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Cunnilingus

Watercolor painting by Achille Devéria depicting cunnilingus

Cunnilingus is the act of using the mouth, lips, and tongue to stimulate the female genitals. Derived from a vulgar Latin word for the vulva (cunnus) and the Latin word for tongue (lingua).

Contents

[edit] Technique

Cunnilingus being performed.

As in all human sexual behaviour, both the techniques used in cunnilingus and individual responses to them are varied.[1] The clitoris is the most sexually sensitive part of the body for almost all women but may be too sensitive to pleasantly stimulate directly at times, especially in early stages of arousal. Author Shere Hite notes in The Hite Report that most women achieve orgasm easily from clitoral stimulation as part of cunnilingus.[2] Some sex manuals recommend beginning with a gentler, less focused stimulation of the labia and the whole genital area. The tip, blade, or underside of the tongue may be used, as can the nose, chin, teeth and lips. Movements can be slow or fast, regular or erratic, firm or soft, according to the participants' preferences. The tongue can be inserted into the vagina, either stiffened or moving. The performing partner may also hum to produce vibration.

Cunnilingus may be accompanied by the insertion of finger(s) or a sex toy into the vagina, which allows for the simultaneous stimulation of the g-spot, and/or into the anus.[3] [4]

[edit] Cultural, spiritual and religious significance

Cunnilingus portrayed at Pompeii

[edit] Taoism

Although not spoken of openly in Western society until recently, cunnilingus is accorded a revered place in Taoism. This is because the aim of Taoism is to achieve immortality, or at least longevity, and the loss of semen, vaginal, and other bodily liquids is believed to bring about a corresponding loss of vitality. Conversely, by either semen retention or ingesting the secretions from the vagina, a male or female can conserve and increase his/her ch'i, or original vital breath. In Taoism:

The Great Medicine of the Three Mountain Peaks is to be found in the body of the woman and is composed of three juices, or essences: one from the woman's mouth, another from her breasts, and the third, the most powerful, from the Grotto of the White Tiger, which is at the Peak of the Purple Mushroom (the mons veneris).

Octavio Paz. Conjunctions and Disjunctions. trans. Helen R. Lane. 1975. (London: Wildwood House, 1969) p. 97.

Édouard-Henri Avril drawing depicting the life of Sappho

According to Philip Rawson (in Paz, p. 97), these half-poetic, half-medicinal metaphors explain the popularity of cunnilingus among people: "The practice was an excellent method of imbibing the precious feminine fluid" (Paz, p. 97). But the Taoist ideal is not just about the male being enriched by female secretions; the female also benefits from her communion with the male, a feature that has led the sinologist, Kristofer Schipper, to denounce the ancient handbooks on the "Art of the Bedroom" as embracing a "kind of glorified male vampirism" that is not truly Taoist at all.[5] Ideally, by mingling the male and female liquids the Taoist aims to reconcile opposites and to recapture the mythical time that existed before the division of the sexes, the primordial time of the original ch'i.

Édouard-Henri Avril's depiction of cunnilingus

[edit] Tantra

The religious historian Mircea Eliade speaks of a similar 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 the male semen must not be emitted if the yogi is to avoid falling under law of time and death.[6]

[edit] Song of Songs

Verse 7:3 (verse 7:2 in the King James Version of The Song of Solomon) of the Biblical Song of Songs may contain a veiled reference to cunnilingus, although many translators render the key term "navel."[7] An alternate translation could read as follows: "Your vulva is a rounded crater, never lacking mixed wine". (Song of Songs 7:2 שררך אגן הסהר אל יחסר המזג)

The context, moving up from her sandals to her vulva to her belly to her breasts, however, makes the meaning of "vulva" (Heb. shor), as derived from an Aramaic word meaning "secret place", all but conclusive.[8] In many Christian and Jewish traditions the erotic intimacy between the bride and groom described in the Song of Songs is given spiritual significance.

[edit] STI, HPV and oral cancer risk

Chlamydia, human papillomavirus (HPV), gonorrhea, herpes, hepatitis (multiple strains), and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) — including HIV — can be transmitted through oral sex.[9] Any kind of direct contact with body fluids of a person infected with HIV (the virus that causes AIDS) poses a risk of infection. Nevertheless, the risk of HIV infection is generally considered far lower than that associated with vaginal or anal sex.[10] If the receiving partner has wounds or open sores on her genitals, or if the giving partner has wounds or open sores on or in his or her mouth, or bleeding gums, this poses an increased risk of STI transmission. Brushing the teeth, flossing, undergoing dental work, or eating crunchy foods such as potato chips relatively soon before or after performing cunnilingus can also increase the risk of disease 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.

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% of the cancer patients had HPV compared to only 1 percent of the healthy control group. [11]

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 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.[12]

[edit] Prevention

Due to disease risks, many medical professionals advise the use of dental dams when performing or receiving cunnilingus with a partner whose STI status is unknown. In some cases, individuals may make a dental dam out of a condom although this comes with a multitude of risks including accident holes created by the scissors.[13] Or in the case of home made dental dams out of plastic wrap, many kinds of plastic wraps are manufactured with tiny holes to allow venting during microwaving, which may allow transmission of pathogens.

[edit] Terminology

There are numerous slang terms for cunnilingus, including "drinking from the furry cup"[14] and "muff-diving".[15] It is also commonly called "eating someone out", "eating pussy" or "licking someone out."[16] Several common slang terms used are "giving lip", "lip service", or "tipping the velvet", an expression that novelist Sarah Waters claims to have "plucked from the relative obscurity of Victorian porn".[17] Older erotic literature refers to it as "gamahuching", with some variation in the spelling.

A person who performs cunnilingus may be referred to as a "cunnilinguist",[18] and the phrase "cunning linguist" is also often used as a pun, implying oral skill of a different sort,[19] and is used in the 1997 film Tomorrow Never Dies by Moneypenny to James Bond: "You always were a cunning linguist, James."[20]

[edit] In popular culture

Napoleon referred, it would seem, to cunnilingus in letters to Joséphine early in his career. He said, "I kiss your heart, and then a little lower, and then much lower still."[21][22]

"Ritual public cunnilingus ... takes place at the present time (1966) nightly -- especially Saturday nights -- across the border from San Diego, California, in Tijuana, Mexico, at a public night club with open access from the street, known to American students and sailors as the Blue Fox ... hundreds ... being urged and shamed into partaking of this ritual communion -- it can hardly be called anything else -- ... at the tables circling the stage on which the girl strip teasers stand offering themselves."[23]

"Hell's Angels ... are famous for cunnilinctus, à la Aleister Crowley, on menstruating women".[24] A Hells Angel whose colors include red wings indicates that he has performed cunnilingus on a woman who was having her period at the time or black wings for performing cunnilingus on a black woman.[25]

Austin Powers In Goldmember featured Austin saying to Foxy Cleopatra "You may be a cunning linguist, but I am a master debater", playing both on cunnilingus and masturbation.

The song Metalingus, an Alter Bridge metal rock song, is a portmanteau of metal and cunnilingus.

The British sketch comedy Not the Nine O'Clock News featured a song entitled "Kinda Lingers"; a double entendre of cunnilingus.

There is a sketch in a Saturday Night Live episode with Christopher Walken playing a dishonored Confederate officer named Colonel Angus. The sketch is filled with double entendres.

[edit] Ethnology

[edit] Marquesas

"His role was to excite the woman by sucking her breasts and cunnilingus".[26]

[edit] Tubuai (Austral) Islands

On the island of Ra’ivavae, "in traditional times, public sex followed ... prayers in the sacred temples. ... cunnilingus was practiced".[27]

[edit] New Guinea

Cunnilingus as ceremonial public spectacle : A man "threw the woman to the ground and her skirt was removed. ... She was then ordered to stand up with legs apart. [The man] was forced to squat between them and told to put his mouth to her vulva. After he had done this, a sweet potato would be placed into [the woman's] vagina and [the man] was forced to nibble at this until he had completely eaten it. Finally, [the man] was ordered to lie down on his back, while [the woman] was made to squat over him, placing her vulva to his mouth. He was told to suck out the fluids, swallowing them."[28]

[edit] See also

[edit] Notes

  1. ^ Oral Sex Etiquette
  2. ^ Hite, Shere (2004). The Hite Report: a Nationwide Study of Female Sexuality. New York, NY: Seven Stories Press. pp. 11. ISBN 1-58322-569-2. 
  3. ^ Human Sexuality in a World of Diversity. Boston: Pearson Allyn and Bacon: Pearson Education. 2005. pp. 124, 226. ISBN 0205406157. 
  4. ^ Masters, W.H.; Johnson, V.E. (1966). Human Sexual Response. Toronto; New York: Bantam Books. ISBN 0-553-20429-7.. 
  5. ^ Kristofer Schipper. [1982] 1993. The Taoist Body. trans. Karen C. Duval. Berkeley; Los Angeles; (London: University of California Press). p. 148
  6. ^ Eliade Mircea. [1954] 1973. Yoga, Immortality and Freedom. trans. Willard R. Trask. (Princeton: Princeton University Press). p. 267–268
  7. ^ "[T]he description of the woman's aperture as containing wine implies the man's desire to drink from the sensual bowl. Thus, this may be a subtle and tasteful allusion to the intimacies of sex". Tremper Longman, Song of Songs, B. Eerdmans Publishing, 2001, p. 195. See also J S. Exum, "The Poetic Genius of the Song of Songs", in Hagedorn (ed), Perspectives on the Song of Songs, Walter de Gruyter, 2005, p. 90
  8. ^ Cf. the brief discussion in Brown, Francis; Driver, S.R., and Briggs, Charles A. Hebrew & English Lexicon of the Old Testament. Oxford: The Clarendon Press, 1902; repr. 1978; p. 1057a. A more complete discussion is found in Frants Buhl's edition of Wilhelm Gesenius' Hebrãisches und Aramãisches Handwörterbuch über das Alte Testament.Göttingen: Springer-Verlag, 1915; repr. 1962; p. 863a.
  9. ^ University Health Center | Sexual Health | Oral Sex
  10. ^ http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/resources/Factsheets/pdf/oralsex.pdf
  11. ^ Oral Sex Linked To Mouth Cancer Risk
  12. ^ Oral sex can cause throat cancer - 09 May 2007 - New Scientist
  13. ^ instructions
  14. ^ drinking from the furry cup - Dictionary of sexual terms
  15. ^ muff_diving at Wiktionary
  16. ^ http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=licking+out
  17. ^ "Taking Velvet public: author Sarah Waters reflects on the sensation she started by writing Tipping the Velvet, the novel that became a smash U.K. miniseries that's now set to conquer America." The Advocate (The national gay & lesbian newsmagazine), 13 May 2003.
  18. ^ Morrison, Blake (2007-11-10). "The pleasure principle". The Guardian (London). http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2007/nov/10/featuresreviews.guardianreview26. Retrieved 2008-10-19. 
  19. ^ Urban dictionary
  20. ^ "Tomorrow Never Dies (1997)". http://www.bbc.co.uk/films/2001/09/07/tomorrow_never_dies_1997_review.shtml. Retrieved 2009-01-25. 
  21. ^ Schom, Napoleon Bonaparte, p.51
  22. ^ Dutourd, Jean; Club des ronchons (1992) (in French). Notre amie la femme. Lausanne: L'AGE D'HOMME. p. 46. ISBN 9782825102701. http://books.google.com/?id=riLk91kLF38C&pg=PA46&dq=%2224%20avril%201796%22. "«Un baiser plus bas, plus bas que le cœur» (7 avril 1796), «Un baiser au cœur, et puis plus bas, bien plus bas» (24 avril 1796)" 
  23. ^ Legman 1966, p. 124
  24. ^ Legman 1968, p. 781
  25. ^ Thompson, Hunter S. (1995). Hell's Angels. New York: Ballantine Books. pp. 64. ISBN 0-345-41008-4. 
  26. ^ Abraham Kardiner & Ralph Linton : The Individual and His Society. New York : Columbia University Press, 1939. p. 173. cited in Legman 1968, p. 571
  27. ^ Sexology -- French Polynesia C
  28. ^ Ronald R. Berndt : Excess and Restraint : Social Control among a New Guinea Mountain People. University of Chicago Press, 1962. p. 340

[edit] References

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