- Blow Job redirects here. For other uses of "Blow Job", see Blow Job (disambiguation)
Fellatio (also known as fellation, and colloquially blowjob, BJ, giving head, or sucking off) is an act of oral stimulation of the penis by a sexual partner or by oneself (autofellatio). It involves the stimulation of the penis by the use of the mouth, lips, tongue or throat. A person who performs fellatio on someone can be referred to as the giving partner, and the other person as the receiving partner. Fellatio is regarded by many as an erotic act in its own right and a physically intimate act. For many males, it is a turn-on which may be used by the giving partner to initiate foreplay and sexual arousal before sexual intercourse. The act may also be performed for the sexual gratification derived by the male receiving partner and can be continued until orgasm and ejaculation of semen.
Though the person receiving fellatio must be male, his sex partner may be of either gender. When the penis is forced into someone's mouth, it may be called irrumatio, though the term is rarely used. Oral sex when the receiving partner is female is called cunnilingus. Laws of some jurisdictions regard fellatio as penetrative sex for sexual offense purposes, with the person performing fellatio being regarded as the person penetrated; but most countries do not have laws which ban the practice itself, as in the case of anal sex or extramarital sex. Most people do not regard fellatio as affecting the virginity of either partner.
The English noun fellatio comes from fellātus, which in Latin is the past participle of the verb fellāre, meaning to suck. In fellatio the -us is replaced by the -io; the declension stem ends in -ion-, which gives the suffix the form -ion (cf. French fellation). The -io(n) ending is used in English to create nouns from Latin adjectives and it can indicate a state or action wherein the Latin verb is being, or has been, performed.
Further English words have been created based on the same Latin root. A person who performs fellatio upon another may be termed a fellator. Because of Latin's gender based declension, this word may be restricted by some English speakers to describing a male. The equivalent female term is fellatrix.
The essential aspect of fellatio is for a man's sex partner to take his penis into their mouth, and then moving their mouth up and down the penis to a rhythm set by them mimicking the thrusting motion of vaginal penetration, with saliva acting as a lubricant, and being careful not to bite or scratch with the teeth. The man receiving fellatio can slow the rhythm of the stimulation by holding his partner's head. The man's partner may also orally play with his penis by licking, sucking, kissing or otherwise playing with the tongue and lips.
It is difficult for some people to perform fellatio, due to their sensitivities to the natural gag reflex. Different people have different sensitivities to the reflex, but some people learn to suppress the reflex. Deep-throating is an act in which a man's partner takes the entire erect penis deep into their mouth, in such a way as to enter their throat.
Nancy Friday's book, Men in Love - Men's Sexual Fantasies: The Triumph of Love over Rage claims that swallowing semen is high on a man's intimacy scale. The man receiving fellatio receives direct sexual stimulation; while his partner may derive satisfaction from giving her or his partner pleasure. Giving and receiving fellatio may happen simultaneously in sex positions like 69 and daisy chain.
Fellatio is also sometimes practiced when sexual intercourse would create a physical difficulty for a sex partner. For example, it may be practiced during pregnancy instead of vaginal sex by couples wishing to engage in intimate sexual activity while avoiding the difficulty of vaginal intercourse during later stages of pregnancy. There may be other reasons why a woman may not wish to have vaginal intercourse, such as apprehension of losing her virginity, of becoming pregnant or she may be menstruating or pregnant, besides other possible reasons.
It is physically possible for men who have sufficient flexibility, penis size or a combination of the two to perform fellatio by oneself as a form of masturbation, such act is called autofellatio. Few men possess sufficient flexibility and penis length to safely perform the necessary frontbend. However, increased flexibility achieved via gravity-assisted positions, and physical training such as gymnastics, contortion, or yoga may make it possible for some.
Personal hygiene is important as poor hygiene may lead to bad odors, accumulation of sweat, and micro-residue (such as lint, urine, semen), which can be unpleasant or nausea-inducing for the fellator. Some couples use gels or scented condoms when performing fellatio, which come in a number of flavours.
Health and cultural aspects
Sexually transmitted infections
Any kind of sexual contact with bodily fluids of a person infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, poses a risk of infection. The risk from most of these types of infection, however, is generally considered far lower than that associated with vaginal or anal sex.
There is an increased risk of STI transmission if the receiving partner has wounds on his genitals, or if the giving partner has wounds or open sores on or in his or her mouth, or bleeding gums. Brushing the teeth, flossing, undergoing dental work, or eating crunchy foods such as potato chips 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 STIs 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 STI status is unknown. Flavored condoms may be used for this purpose.
Links have been reported between oral sex and oral cancer with human papillomavirus (HPV)-infected people. In 2005, a research study at Malmö University's Faculty of Odontology suggested that performing unprotected oral sex on a person infected with HPV might increase the risk of oral cancer. The study found that 36 percent of the cancer patients had HPV compared to only 1 percent of the healthy control group.
Another recent study in The New England Journal of Medicine suggests a correlation between oral sex and throat cancer. It is believed that this is due to the transmission of HPV, a virus that has been implicated in the majority of cervical cancers and which has been detected in throat cancer tissue in numerous studies. 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.
Ingestion of semen
As late as 1976, some doctors were advising women in the eighth and ninth months of pregnancy not to swallow semen lest it induce premature labor, even though it is now known to be safe.
Semen ingestion has 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, to "re-engender themselves before marriage". Among the Sambia people of Papua New Guinea, beginning at age seven all males regularly submit to oral penetration by adolescents in a six-stage initiation process, as the Sambia believe that regular ingestion of an older boy's semen is necessary for a prepubescent youth to achieve sexual maturity and masculinity. By the time he enters mid-puberty he in turn participates in passing his semen on to younger males.
Fellatio alone cannot result in pregnancy, as there is no way for ingested 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. Sperm is killed and broken down by acid in the stomach and digestive enzymes in the small intestine. It has been suggested that fellatio may, through "immune modulation", have a beneficial role in preventing dangerous complications during pregnancy, reducing specifically the risk of miscarriage and pre-eclampsia. Specifically, several research groups have reported that pre-eclampsia, 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 pre-eclampsia, 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 immunological tolerance 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 pre-eclampsia.
The studies noted that it would be impossible to conclusively assume 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.
Some people use oral sex as a means of preserving virginity, especially in the case of adolescent girls who fellate their boyfriends to create and maintain intimacy while preserving their virginity, avoiding pregnancy, or both. Other reasons given for the practice among adolescent girls are peer-group pressure and as their introduction to sexual activity.
Fellatio is legal in most countries.
In Islamic literature the only form of sex that is always explicitly prohibited within marriage is 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 emphasize there is no decisive evidence to forbid it.
In Malaysia, fellatio is illegal, but the law is seldom enforced. Under Section 377A of the Penal Code, the introduction of the penis into the anus or mouth of another person is considered a "carnal intercourse against the order of nature" and is punishable with imprisonment of 20 years maximum and whipping.
In ancient Greece and modern Japan, fellatio has been referred to as "playing the flute"; the Kama Sutra has a chapter on auparishtaka (or oparishtaka), "mouth congress".
The Ancient Indian Kama Sutra, dating from the first century 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 the law of time and death.
In some cultures, such as the Manchu, Telugu, and in rural areas of Cambodia and Thailand, kissing or briefly taking the penis of a male infant or toddler into one's mouth is considered a nonsexual form of affection or even a form of greeting. Such practices generally decline with urbanization or Westernization.
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