Fellatio

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Fellatio is oral sex performed upon the male human penis. It may be performed to induce orgasm and ejaculation of semen or it can be used as foreplay prior to sexual intercourse. Although the technique usually involves sucking, rather than blowing, the act of giving fellatio is commonly referred to as giving a blowjob. Fellatio – as well as cunnilingus – can be referred to as 'giving head'. A woman that frequently performs fellatio may be referred to as a "fellatrix", though this term is mostly out of common use.

Cultural significance

Some receivers regard receiving oral sex as an ego boost, believing that such an act is a form of dominance over their sexual partner because of the overt submissive nature of the act; the giver must often be on their knees before the receiver to perform the act of pleasure. Conversely the receiver is willingly placing their genitals in an environment filled with teeth so the dominance could work both ways with a suitably aggressive giver – particularly if the receiver is restrained (e.g. in bondage).

Spiritual significance

The practice of fellatio was said to have been introduced by the women of Lesbos, who were said to whiten their lips as though with semen.

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. In Islamic terminology the practice hasn't been described as haram (forbidden) but some have claimed that it is makruh (undesirable). 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.

The Moche culture of ancient Peru worshipped daily life including sexual acts. They depicted fellatio in their ceramics.

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. In Islamic terminology the practice hasn't been described as haram forbidden) but some have claimed that it is makruh (undesirable). Authorities considering it 'objectionable' do so because of the contact between the supposedly impure fluids emitted during intercourse and the mouth.

The Moche culture of ancient Peru worshipped daily life including sexual acts. They depicted fellatio in their ceramics.

Ingestion of semen

Ingesting semen ('swallowing') poses some risk of STD-transmission. Certain factors, particularly diet, may adversely affect the taste of semen; while other factors may improve its flavor. It is said that a man's semen will be sweet tasting if he is a vegetarian for at least one month, whereas if he eats a normal diet it will taste salty.[1]

Urban legends sometimes describe semen as nutritious and a good source of protein. However semen contains only a small amount of protein and in any case is typically produced only in small quantities during sex.


Link to reducing pre-eclampsia

It has been suggested that fellatio may, through "immune modulation, have a beneficial role in preventing dangerous complications during pregnancy. Specifically, a research group 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 ended with the semen swallowed. Both results were statistically significant. This is consistent with other evidence that semen contains an agent that prevents preeclampsia, and with the theory that preeclampsia is an immunological condition. According to that view, preeclampsia is caused by a failure of the mother organism to accept the fetus and placenta, which both contain "foreign" proteins from the father's genes. Regular exposure to the father's semen might 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 "other sex acts" than intercourse are half as likely to suffer pre-eclampsia. It is not known whether this represents a protective effect of "other sex acts" including oral sex, or a correlation between these sexual practices and some other protective factor: for example, greater overall frequency of sex.

The standard way to resolve such questions (confounding) in medical science would be through a randomized trial, but there are unique challenges to research in sexual health.

When reporting the findings of the first research group mentioned above, New Scientist magazine thought it worth mentioning that some of the research team were women (including the lead author). Candidates for a protective agent in semen may include serum hormone leutinizing agent and transforming growth factor


STD risk

Chlamydia, human papillomavirus (HPV), gonorrhea, herpes simplex, hepatitis (multiple strains), and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) – including HIV – can be transmitted through oral sex. While the risk of transmitting HIV through fellatio is unknown, it is suspected to be fairly rare. Any kind of direct contact with body 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.

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.

HPV and oral cancer link

In 2005, a research study at the College of Malmö in Sweden 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 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% increased risk

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