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Oral sex

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Oral sex is the term used for all sexual activities involving the use of the mouth, tongue, etc., to stimulate the sex organs. A common slang term for giving oral sex to either a man or woman is giving head. Done on the genitals of a man (especially the penis), it is technically called fellatio. (Street term for an act of fellatio include blow job, or BJ for short, and doing head.) Done on the genitals of a woman (the vulva and especially the clitoris), it is technically called cunnilingus (or, on the street, eating her out). Most people usually use euphemisms or slang terms when talking about oral sex. The most common euphemism, including all sexes, is the phrasal verb[?] to go down on someone.

Oral sex has been considered to be taboo to a greater or lesser extent in many Western countries since the beginning of the Middle Ages. In the West before that time, and within certain constraints, the act of oral sex was a more or less widely accepted activity in those cultures that practiced regular and consistent bathing.

Even then there were still notable taboos: In pre-Christian ancient Rome sexual acts were generally seen through the prism of submission and control. Under this system, it was considered to be abhorrent for a male to be in any way penetrated (read: be controlled) by another person of lower social standing during sex. This same logic also allowed a man to receive fellatio from a woman or another man of lower social status (such as a slave or debtor), because the man would be directing the actions of the person of lower rank.

Oddly to the modern mind, cunnilingus was widely perceived to be a passive, and therefore shameful act for any man to perform and oral sex between members of low social standing groups was considered superfluous and was often viewed as taboo. Therefore in direct contradiction to the modern view, in the patriarchal Roman mind, performing any type of oral sex was considered to be a passive (as in submissive) act while receiving oral sex was viewed as an active (as in controlling) act (in the modern view, the performance of the act is considered to be active while receiving is viewed as passive).1 (http://www.salon.com/sex/feature/2000/05/22/oral_history/print) Oral sex is still nominally illegal in some jurisdictions (often under sodomy laws) in western countries and is expressly illegal in many other nations.

Oral sex is considered by many to be a method of contraception (birth control), since pregnancy is impossible unless semen (a fluid containing sperm) comes into contact with the vagina or vulva. Many heterosexual people often use oral sex for this reason.

Many people find oral sex very pleasurable. In particular, receiving oral sex is, for many women, one of the better ways of reaching orgasm. Thus, oral sex is used for pleasure even when avoiding pregnancy is not a concern. Oral sex can be enjoyed in a wide variety of positions. Normally, one partner performs while the other receives, but it can be performed by both partners at the same time in a "sixty-nine" position, named after the appearance of the Arabic numeral 69.

A small percentage of men have the penis length and/or body flexibility to fellate themselves, or to autofellate.

Not only are the sexual organs sensitive and well supplied with nerve endings, the same is true of the mouth, tongue and lips, so the pleasures of oral sex are not limited to the person on the receiving end.

Semen contains water and small amounts of salt, protein, and fructose sugar along with the normal, usually harmless, complement of resident flora bacteria[?] that all humans possess. Medical doctors, therefore, deem semen to be neither inherently toxic nor in any way dangerous in the mouth or when swallowed. The female sexual fluids are likewise, in and of themselves, deemed to be inherently harmless. Partners should be careful not to bite or scratch with the teeth harder than desired.

It is possible for the inside of the mouth to be bruised by the penis if oral sex is too rough. If air is blown very strongly into the vagina there is a slight chance that an air bubble can enter the women's circulatory system and cause an embolism which could lead to death (this is an especially important consideration for pregnant women). However, lightly blowing onto the vulva can be pleasurable and perfectly safe.

Although widely considered to be much safer than vaginal or anal sex, chlamydia, human papillomavirus (HPV), gonorrhea, herpes, other sexually transmitted diseases and possibly even HIV can be transmitted through oral sex. It should be stressed, that any kind of direct contact with the sexual fluids of a person infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, should be avoided. Furthermore, oral sex should be avoided when the performer has wounds, sores, or bleeding gums in the mouth, or has brushed, flossed, undergone dental work, or eaten crunchy foods such as potato chips, all of which can cause small scratches in the lining of the mouth. These wounds, even when they are microscopic[?], increases the chance of contracting STDs which normally aren't transmitted orally and also can lead to more mundane infections from common bacteria and viruses found in, around and secreted from the genital regions. Because of this, many doctors advise the use of condoms in the performance of fellatio (flavoured condoms are available for this purpose) and the use of plastic or latex sheets (dental dams or ordinary plastic wrap) for cunnilingus.

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