Fellatio, also called fellation, is oral sex performed upon the penis. It may be performed to induce orgasm and ejaculation of semen, or it can be used as foreplay prior to vaginal or anal forms of intercourse. Fellatio, or, more precisely, fellating to the point of orgasm, is commonly referred to as a blow job. Fellatio is sometimes referred to as "giving head", although this term can also apply to cunnilingus. An alternative method of oral sex performed on men is irrumatio. A chickenhead is a slang term for someone who performs fellatio. The term originated in African-American sexual slang and gained popularity through use in hip-hop, notably the 2001 single Chickenhead by Project Pat.
The Ancient Indian Kama Sutra, dating from the first centuries AD, describes oral sex, discussing fellatio in great detail and only briefly mentioning cunnilingus. However, according to the Kama Sutra, fellatio is above all a characteristic of eunuchs (or, according to other translations, of effeminate homosexuals or transwomen similar to the modern Hijra of India), who use their mouths as a substitute for female genitalia. The author states that it is also practiced by "unchaste women" but mentions widespread traditional concerns about this being a degrading or unclean practice, with known practitioners being evaded as love partners in large parts of the country. He seems to agree with these attitudes to some extent, claiming "a wise man" should not engage in that form of intercourse while acknowledging that it can be appropriate in some unspecified cases.
The religious historian Mircea Eliade speaks of a desire to transcend old age and death and achieve a state of nirvana in the Hindu practice of Tantric yoga. In Tantric yoga the same emphasis is placed on the retention and absorption of vital liquids and Sanskrit texts describe how semen must not be emitted if the yogi is to avoid falling under law of time and death.
In Islamic literature the only two forms of sex that are explicitly prohibited within marriage are anal sex and sex during menstrual cycles. But the exact attitude towards oral sex is a subject of disagreements between modern scholars of Islam. Authorities considering it "objectionable" do so because of the contact between the supposedly impure fluids emitted during intercourse and the mouth. Others emphasise there is no decisive evidence to forbid it.
While lower risk than anal sex, exposure of the cells lining the mouth to semen carrying HIV can put the person performing oral sex at risk. Exposure of cells lining the mouth to alcoholic beverages can increase this risk. HIV can also enter through open sores or bleeding gums.
A very small percentage of people are allergic to semen. Nancy Friday's book, Men in Love - Men's Sexual Fantasies: The Triumph of Love over Rage claims that swallowing ejaculate is high on the intimacy scale.
As late as 1976, doctors were advising women in the eighth and ninth months of pregnancy not to swallow semen lest it induce premature labor. As it is very safe to swallow semen during pregnancy, fellatio is sometimes practiced as a replacement for vaginal sex by couples looking to engage in a sexually pleasurable activity while avoiding the difficulty of vaginal intercourse during the later stages of pregnancy.
Semen ingestion has also had central importance in some cultures around the world. In Baruya culture, there is a secret ritual in which boys give fellatio to young males and drink their semen, in order to "re-engender themselves prior to marriage".
Fellatio alone cannot result in pregnancy, there is no way for sperm from the penis to enter the uterus and fallopian tubes to fertilize an egg. In humans, there is no connection between the gastrointestinal system and the reproductive tract. Ingested sperm will be killed and broken down by acid in the stomach and proteins in the small intestine. The breakdown products will be absorbed as a negligible quantity of nutrients.
Despite this, fellatio does carry a potential risk of pregnancy if semen from the man comes in contact with the vaginal area indirectly. This can occur if the semen in the ejaculate is carried on the fingers, hands, or other body parts; and comes in contact with the vaginal area. It is therefore still necessary to exercise caution when engaging in fellatio to prevent pregnancy.
About.com's Teen Advice, is regularly asked if fellatio can lead to pregnancy.
It has been suggested that fellatio may, through "immune modulation", have a beneficial role in preventing dangerous complications during pregnancy. Specifically, several research groups have reported that preeclampsia, a life threatening complication that sometimes arises in pregnancy, is much less frequent in couples who have practiced oral sex, and even more rare in couples where fellatio regularly ended with a woman's swallowing of her partner's semen. The results were statistically significant and are consistent with the fact that semen contains several agents that have important roles in the prevention of preeclampsia, which may arise out of an immunological condition. According to that view, preeclampsia is caused by a failure of the mother to accept the fetus and placenta, which both contain "foreign" proteins from the father's genes. Regular exposure to the father's semen helps cause her immune system to gradually "grow accustomed" to their proteins. Other studies also found that, while any exposure to the partner's sperm during sex appears to decrease the chances of various disorders, women in couples who have practiced "sex acts other than intercourse" are less than half as likely to suffer preeclampsia. The studies noted that it would be impossible to assume conclusively the likely protective effect of the "other sex acts" including oral sex, or that the correlation between these sexual practices was due to the presence of collinearity induced by some other protective factor not noted in the studies: for example, greater overall frequency of sex. The standard way to resolve such confounding questions in medical science would be through a randomized trial, but there are unique challenges to research in sexual health.
If the receiving partner has wounds on their genitals, or if the giving partner has wounds or open sores on or in their mouth, or bleeding gums, this poses an increased risk of STD transmission. Brushing the teeth, flossing, undergoing dental work, or eating crunchy foods such as potato crisps relatively soon before or after giving fellatio can also increase the risk of transmission, because all of these activities can cause small scratches in the lining of the mouth. These wounds, even when they are microscopic, increase the chances of contracting STDs that can be transmitted orally under these conditions. Such contact can also lead to more mundane infections from common bacteria and viruses found in, around and secreted from the genital regions. Because of this, some medical professionals advise the use of condoms when performing or receiving fellatio with a partner whose STD status is unknown. Flavoured condoms may be used for this purpose.
Another recent study suggests a correlation between oral sex and throat cancer. It is believed that this is due to the transmission of human papillomavirus or (HPV) because this virus has been implicated in the majority of cervical cancers. The study concludes that people who had one to five oral-sex partners in their lifetime had approximately a doubled risk of throat cancer compared with those who never engaged in this activity and those with more than five oral-sex partners had a 250 percent increased risk.
Fellatio, Masochism, Politics, Love and Leo ; as an MP, Leo Abse Did Much to Usher in the Permissive Society. as a Freudian Biographer He Has Stuck the Knife into Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair. Now, in His New Book, He's Blaming Society's Ills on Oral Sex. Thomas Sutcliffe Meets Him
Jul 09, 2000; Whatever you think about Leo Abse, former Labour MP and unauthorised psychoanalyst to the stars, he certainly knows how to kick...