Sexual Etymology: Fellatio and Cunnilingus

by Jason

[Note: today’s words are from Etymonline.com and not Chambers, since Chambers didn’t have these words listed]

Today’s words are the technical names for “blow job” (fellatio) and “eating out” (cunnilingus).

Fellatio: 1887, from Latin fellatus, pp. of fellare “to suck,” from PIE base *dhe- (see fecund). The sexual partner performing fellatio is a fellator; if female, a fellatrice or fellatrix.

Cunnilingus: 1887, from modern Latin cunnus “vulva” (see cunt) + lingere “to lick” . The Latin properly would mean “one who licks a vulva,” but it is used in English in reference to the action, not the actor. The verb ought to be cunnilingue.

One thing I find interesting about the words we use for oral sex is that both of our current terms (blowjob and eat out) are very metaphorical in nature and very imprecise, whereas the latin is very literal and direct.  Compare the term “blow job” (who wants someone just to blow on their penis?) with fellatio, which is literally to suck (which is what one is actually desiring).  Or the term “eating out” (which is so purposefully ambiguous to be nonsensical) with cunnilingus, which is literally to lick the vulva (which is what one actually desires – or at least to lick the clit, but that the clit was distinct from the vulva may not have been entirely understood at the time).

I think these two Latin words are much better than the current words we employ and I try to use them in my writing, instead of the more confused words that are currently in vogue.  Although, I’m not suggesting that you start using Latin in bed, but consider asking for an action directly (suck my penis) as opposed to asking for something that you don’t actually want (blow on my penis).

I’m still taking suggestions for next week’s edition of Sexual Etymology, on the list still are:
-hymen
-orgasm
-coitus
-fetish
-paraphilia
-homosexuality
-heterosexuality
-sodomy
-erotic
-procreation
-hysteria

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