Cultural Attitudes Towards Cunnilingus‏


There are numerous (cultural) slang terms for cunnilingus, some are downright offensive, some are whimsically subtle. For instance, plucked from the relative obscurity of the Victorian era is the expression “tipping the velvet” to describe the oral stimulation clitoris.

Fresco from the Suburban baths depicting cunni...

Fresco from a Roman suburban bath depicting cunnilingus

In the course of history, cultural attitudes towards giving or receiving cunnilingus range from disgust to reverence. It has been considered taboo, or at least frowned upon, in many cultures and parts of the world.

Despite the clitoris being the female’s most sensitive erogenous zone and the primary source of sexual pleasure, cunnilingus is – as far as one can measure – not widely practised in a number of social and cultural settings.

People give various reasons for their dislike or reluctance to perform cunnilingus, or having cunnilingus performed on them: some regard cunnilingus unnatural or wrong because it does not lead to procreation; some cultures attach symbolism to different parts of the body, leading some people to believe that cunnilingus is ritually unclean or humiliating. This has been more or less the case in Christian and Sub-Saharan African cultures and other modern religions.

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.

Conversely, cunnilingus is accorded a revered place in Taoism. This is because the practice was believed to achieve 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 fluids from the vagina, both male and female can conserve and increase ch’i, or original vital breath.

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Ernst Gräfenberg


German-born medical doctor and scientist Ernst Gräfenberg became famous for his studies of woman’s genitalia, and human female sexual physiology; published studies include the seminal The Role of Urethra in Female Orgasm published in 1950, describing female ejaculation, and an erogenous zone where the urethra is closest to the vaginal wall.

In 1981 sexologists John D. Perry and Beverly Whipple named that area the Gräfenberg spot, or G-spot in his honour. While the medical community has not embraced the whole concept of the ‘G-Spot’, Dr. Sanger, Dr. Kinsey, and Drs. Masters and Johnson credit his extensive physiological work.