Oral sex used to be something that was only practised by a minority of couples. But it seems likely that in western countries the majority of sexually active people do it sometimes.
In the USA, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently reported the results of a massive sex survey. The chief findings were:
- among male teenagers, 48.4 per cent said that they had had oral sex with a partner
- among female teenagers, the equivalent figure was 44.6 per cent
- among adult males aged 25 to 44, 90.4 per cent had had oral sex with a woman
- among adult females in the same age group, 88.8 per cent reported having sex with a man.
We must stress that the results of all sex surveys should be regarded with a certain amount of caution because they're unlikely to be absolutely accurate! For instance, in the above survey it's unlikely that people who regard the idea of oral sex as repellent would have agreed to even answer the questions.
Oral sex has advantages, but one serious concern about it has recently emerged – the risk of cancer.
Also, In 2011 conference, where it became clear that chlamydia infection is now a possible hazard of oral sex – particularly if you are promiscuous or do it with a promiscuous partner.
Advantages of oral sex
What are the advantages?
Well, although it's not everyone's cup of tea, for a lot of people oral sex is fun. It can help 'spice up' a relationship.
Oral stimulation given to a woman is often an excellent way of getting her aroused. Also, if it's practised by a reasonably expert partner, it's an extremely effective method of giving her an orgasm.
Many women who have had difficulty in climaxing find that oral sex helps them to achieve an orgasm.
Similarly, oral sex given to a man is something that many males find exciting. Also, where an older man is having difficulties with potency, oral 'suction' can help with inducing a good erection.
What types are there?
There are two main types of oral sex. Sometimes a couple will engage in both of them at the same time.
Oral sex given to a woman by her partner (whether male or female) is called cunnilingus.
Oral sex given to a man by his partner (again, female or male) is generally termed fellatio, though strictly speaking this word only covers the type of oral caress in which the penis actually enters the partner's mouth.
Some couples practise cunnilingus and fellatio at the same time. In other words, the man has his mouth on the woman's genitals, while she has her mouth on his.
This activity is widely known as 'the 69' or 'le soixante-neuf', because of the notion that when viewed from the side, the couple's bodies look a bit like the figures '6' and '9'.
Cunnilingus can be intensely exciting for many women. It's also satisfying for a man who enjoys giving his partner intense pleasure.
However, for 'first-timers' it can be a somewhat overwhelming experience. So, if either of you is just learning and not used to this type of thing, it's a good idea to take things easy at the beginning.
Therefore, the man should avoid making a sudden lunge for his partner's genitals. A gradual approach is usually better, taking care to kiss her tummy and thighs before slowly progressing to her vulva. (The vulva is the external and visible part of the female genitals.)
Useful tips include:
- take care to keep things moist
- begin by gently kissing the entire area of the vulva
- later, progress to kissing the clitoral region
- in the early stages, avoid direct pressure on the clitoris, which is a very sensitive organ
- kiss just to one side of it, or just above it – at least, during the first few minutes of cunnilingus.
As noted above, the word fellatio really means putting your partner's penis in your mouth. But women who are skilled lovers will also go in for such techniques as kissing the penis and licking it.
In addition, they may give oral attention to the man's testicles, although this is not as intensely arousing as 'working' on the penis – since there are far more nerve endings in the penile shaft and head.
Having a penis enter your mouth can be a bit of a shock for an inexperienced women. However, a lot of females get used to it, and indeed like it.
Nevertheless, the man should take great care not to 'ram' his organ hard into his partner's mouth. This can cause great discomfort and even gagging.
From the male point of view, the softness, warmth and moisture of the mouth clearly 'mimic' the qualities of the vagina.
In addition, a partner's mouth has two attributes that the vagina does not possess.
- There's a tongue – and this can be used to swirl around the penis during fellatio.
- The mouth can create suction – and this can be useful in creating and maintaining an erection.
Fellatio and the male orgasm
Some couples just go in for fellatio for a few seconds or a few minutes, and then progress to something else – like intercourse.
However, often they agree that the woman will continue fellating the man until he reaches orgasm. This raises some difficulties.
If you're female, it's important that you should realise that there's something primitive in the male psyche that gives him a strong desire to 'discharge' his seed inside a woman. That is one reason why the human race has survived so long!
So the curious fact is that a lot of men actually want to reach a climax inside your mouth. And some of them desperately want you to then swallow their semen.
Indeed, We can assure you that quite a few rather silly young males get resentful or feel rejected if you do not agree to let them 'come' in your mouth, or if you refuse to swallow.
Unfortunately, their views have been reinforced by a good deal of present-day pornography – especially on the internet – which tends to suggest that:
- women love the taste of semen
- they like nothing better than swallowing it – except perhaps 'sharing' it with their female friends, through kissing them.
This is of course isn't true. Seminal fluid does not taste particularly nice, and in consistency, it's reminiscent of uncooked egg white.
So, if you're a woman, don't let yourself be pressured into doing something that you don't want to. And if you're a man, please don't try and blackmail your partner into letting you come inside her mouth.
There are ways of getting round the problem. For instance, many couples agree that the guy will 'withdraw' at the last second. In other cases, the woman may agree to the idea of letting her man discharge inside her mouth – but will then spit the fluid out.
Having said all that, for completeness I must add that there really are some highly-sexed women who do enjoy having a partner 'go all the way' in their mouths. Generally, they seem to feel that this is a tribute to their attractiveness and sexiness.
The new dangers in oral sex
So, oral sex has many advantages, and a lot of couples find it a really fulfilling part of their bedroom repertoire.
Also, it's nearly impossible to get pregnant this way!
However, in 2010 to 2011 a new and serious concern about oral sex emerged. You're probably aware that there is a very widespread virus called human papilloma virus (HPV). It causes cancer of the cervix and some other benign and malignant growths.
Oncologists (cancer specialists) have been pointing out for several years that:
- the incidence of some kinds of mouth and throat cancer seems to be rising
- this type of cancer is often associated with the presence of HPV in the mouth or throat.
In April 2010, the British Medical Journal published a multinational review that showed that there's no doubt the incidence of a particular form of cancer (oropharyngeal squamous cell carcinoma) is increasing in various western countries, and this rise appears to be due to HPV.
The authors stated that the risk of developing oropharyngeal cancer is associated with a history of having six or more sexual partners – and of having four or more oral sex partners.
The obvious implication is that the virus is being spread by sex, and particularly by oral sex.
This is certainly bad news for people who like oral sex. However, it is hoped that there's little danger to a monogamous couple, who only have oral sex with each other.
But suddenly, promiscuous oral sex seems like a bad idea.
In the next few years, much more will be learned about this subject. My forecast is that the modern anti-HPV vaccines will be used much more widely, in order to combat this unexpected danger caused by the widespread use of oral sex.
Another concern that has recently arisen is the question of catching chlamydia through oral sex.
In May 2011 International conference at Gateshead, at which Dr Indrajit Ghosh and his colleagues revealed the results of their screening programme among female commercial sex workers (FCSWs) in London.
They found that one in every 25 of these women had chlamydia in the throat. It seems fairly certain that they had acquired the germ through offering fellatio to customers.
Additionally, one in every 50 of the FCSWs had unsuspected gonorrhoea in the throat. This research makes it clear that oral sex is not quite as safe as it may have seemed – except of course if you only do it with one partner.