Fellatio is a type of oral sex in which there is mouth contact with the penis. In fellatio the head and shaft of the penis are licked, kissed and sucked. The mucous membrane inside the mouth is similar to the lining of the vagina. The moist slippery feel of the mouth and tongue on the penis can be extremely pleasurable.

Fellatio can be incorporated as part of a couple's foreplay, meant to heighten sexual arousal, or it can be the main activity, meant to bring the man to orgasm. Fellatio is common among both heterosexual and homosexual couples, yet not everyone engages in it. Some women, and to a far lesser extent some men, simply do not feel comfortable with this type of oral sex.

Attitudes Toward Fellatio Have Changed The historic Kinsey reports published in 1948 provided the first real evidence of how many people were having fellatio. (Kinsey's report on female oral sex was published in 1953). Comparing Kinsey's data collected in the 1930's and 1940's to later (1970's) studies including the Hunt Report, the Hite Report, the Spada Report, the Redbook Report and the Bell and Weinberg study entitled Homosexualities, shows that attitudes toward oral sex have changed over the years, indicating an increase in the practice of oral sex, fellatio and cunnilingus.

It is difficult to identify precisely which factors have led to a greater acceptance of oral sex, but some likely contributors include the following:

  • Scientific and medical evidence has helped dispel the myths about harmful health effects of oral sex and made it clear that fellatio between disease-free people does not in and of itself lead to disease
  • The major religions have relaxed their historical prohibitions about fellatio being sinful and unnatural
  • Modern hygiene practices have resulted in both men and women bathing far more often than was true in earlier times, thus reducing offensive body odors and tastes that may be associated with oral sex
  • Since the 1960s couples seem to be more willing to experiment and openly explore sexual practices and issues, just as society as a whole has shown an increasing acceptance of sexual expression.