Oral sex, sometimes referred to as oral intercourse, is sexual activity involving the stimulation of the genitalia of a person by another person using the mouth (including the lips, tongue, or teeth) and the throat. Cunnilingus is oral sex performed on the vulva or vagina, while fellatio is oral sex performed on the penis. Anilingus, another form of oral sex, is oral stimulation of the anus. Oral stimulation of other parts of the body, such as by kissing or licking, is not considered oral sex
Oral sex may be performed as foreplay to incite sexual arousal before other sexual activities (such as vaginal or anal intercourse), or as an erotic and physically intimate act in its own right. Like most forms of sexual activity, oral sex can pose a risk for contracting sexually transmitted infections (STIs/STDs). However, the transmission risk for oral sex, especially HIV transmission, is significantly lower than for vaginal or anal sex.
Oral sex is often regarded as taboo, but most countries do not have laws which ban the practice. Commonly, people do not regard oral sex as affecting the virginity of either partner, though opinions on the matter vary. People may also have negative feelings or sexual inhibitions about giving or receiving oral sex, or may flatly refuse to engage in the practice
Oral sex may be practiced by people of any sexual orientation.
Oral sex is sexual activity involving the stimulation of the genitalia of a person by another person using the mouth or throat, and may take various forms. During facesitting the receiver sits on the giver's face and pushes into it with his or her genitals. Oral sex can also be performed by both partners at the same time in the so-called "sixty-nine" position. Spitting and/or swallowing of the ejaculatory fluids or giving a pearl necklace may cause different sexual stimulations. Autofellatio is a possible but rare variant; autocunnilingus may also be possible for women with extremely flexible spines.
An act of group sex restricted to one woman giving oral sex to several men is referred to as a gangsuck, blowbang or lineup, all derivatives of the slang term gang bang for group sex. Bukkake and gokkun may also involve oral sex.
A 17th century sculpture depicting a woman performing oral sex on two men. From the wall of the Umamaheshwor Temple at Kritipur.
Oral sex may be practised to preserve virginity, especially among heterosexual pairings; this is sometimes termed technical virginity (which may include anal sex, mutual masturbation and other non-penetrative sex acts, but excludes penile-vaginal sex). The concept of "technical virginity" or sexual abstinence through oral sex is popular among teenagers.
Gay males who regard oral sex as a way of maintaining their virginities view penile-anal penetration as resulting in virginity loss, while other gay males may define oral sex as their main form of sexual activity. By contrast, lesbian pairings commonly view oral sex or fingering as resulting in virginity loss, though definitions of virginity loss vary among lesbians as well.
Oral sex alone does not result in pregnancy and heterosexual couples may engage in oral sex for contraception reasons. For conception to take place, sperm from the penis must enter the uterus and fallopian tubes and fertilize the female's egg. In humans, there is no connection between the gastrointestinal system and the reproductive system,[nb 1] and sperm ingested by the woman would be killed and broken down by acids in her stomach and proteins in the small intestine. The breakdown products are then absorbed as a negligible quantity of nutrients. However, there is a potential risk of pregnancy if semen comes in contact with the vaginal area in some way, such as semen in the ejaculate finding its way onto fingers, hands, or other body parts, which then comes in contact with the vaginal area.
Oral sex is not necessarily an effective method of preventing sexually transmitted infections (STIs), although some forms of STIs are believed to be less commonly spread in this way, and oral sex has been recommended as a form of safe sex. In the United States, no barrier methods for use during oral sex have been evaluated as effective by the Food and Drug Administration. However, a barrier protection like a condom for fellatio or dental dam for cunnilingus can offer some protection from contact when practicing oral sex.
Oral sex should be limited to the protected areas. A makeshift dental dam can be made out of a condom or a latex or nitrile glove, but using a real dental dam is seen as preferable; this is because real dental dams cover a larger area, avoid accidents caused by "slipping" outside the covered area, and avoid the risk that makeshift versions may be accidentally damaged or poked with the scissors during the cutting procedure. Plastic wrap may also be used as a barrier during oral sex, but there exists no conclusive scientific research regarding how effective it may or may not be at preventing disease transmission. Certain kinds of plastic wrap are manufactured to be microwaveable and are designed to have pores that open when heated, but there also exists no scientific research on what effect, if any, this has on disease transmission when used during oral sex. Some people complain that the thickness of the plastic dulls sensation.
A report issued by the National Center for Health Statistics in 2005 was the basis of an article in the 26 September 2005 issue of Time magazine. The report comes from the results of a computer-administered survey of over 12,000 Americans between the ages of 15 and 44, and states that over half the teenagers questioned have had oral sex. While some headlines have interpreted this as evidence that oral sex among teenagers is "on the rise", this was the first comprehensive study of its kind to examine the matter. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stated in 2009: "Studies indicate that oral sex is commonly practiced by sexually active male-female and same-gender couples of various ages, including adolescents." Research also indicates that "males are more likely than females to have received oral sex, whereas equal proportions of men and women have given oral sex."
Syphilis transmission: a review of the current evidence