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Analingus is a form of oral sex where the performer’s mouth or lips make contact with the receiving person’s anus. There are several slang terms used to describe the act, such as rimming, a rim job, or tossing salad. It can be performed by both men and women of any sexual orientation. It is commonly done for pleasure, but can be used as a form of humiliation for one of the partners or as lubrication for anal sex.
Techniques for performing analingus vary. The performer can kiss or lick the anus or the area around it, such as the crack or the butt cheeks; they can also penetrate the anal opening with their tongue (Zdrok, 2004, p.102). It is sometimes performed in combination with oral sex of the penis or vagina. There are several popular sex positions for analingus. They range from the receiver being on their hands and knees, in a position commonly referred to as doggy style, to sitting on the performer’s face. Two people can perform mutual analingus on each other simultaneously through what is called sixty-nine, an oral sex position named after how the two look when performing the act. Reasons for performing or receiving the sex act vary. The anus contains sensitive nerve endings that are stimulated when analingus is performed, bringing pleasure to the receiver (Morin, 1998, p. 147). Often, it may be the performer who enjoys analingus for various reasons, such as enjoying intimacy, appeasing curiosity, or finding it enjoyable to please a partner. It may also be used to humiliate or show dominance over the person performing it, as licking someone’s anus can be seen as degrading. The saliva and spit can be used to lubricate the anus making anal sex easier or more pleasurable. Analingus has also been cited as a helpful lead-in to anal sex, as it can, especially if done in combination of inserting fingers in the anus, loosen or relax the sphincter muscles around it, making penetration easier or more relaxing (Zdrok, 2004, p. 9).
As with any sex acts, a performer or receiver of analingus is at risk for contracting sexually transmitted infections. It is possible for the anus to contain traces of fecal matter, which carries bacteria (Burns, 2008). Hepatitis A, B, and C,
A drawing of a man performing analingus to a female sex partner in the popular sex position known as doggy style.
gonorrhea, herpes, human papilloma virus, HIV, chlamydia, syphilis, and conjunctivitis are just some of the diseases that can be transmitted through analingus (Burns, 2008). The prevalence of HIV infections caused by analingus is very low, however the risk does exist, particularly if there are cuts or opens sores on the performer's mouth or lips. It can also infect a performer with an intestinal parasite, and has, in some instances, transmitted bacteria into the urethra causing a urinary tract infection when it was performed immediately before oral sex of the vagina or penis (Burns, 2008). A 2007 study at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health found that having more than five oral sex partners in a lifetime increases the risk of throat cancer by 250% (Gypsyamber et al, 2007). The researchers speculated that people with more oral sex partners are at high risk of contracting HPV, which can cause cancer in the throat. This theory was supported by the same study, which found people who had HPV were 32 times more likely to have throat cancer (Gypsyamber et al, 2007). People can significantly reduce their risk of contracting an infection while performing analingus by using a dental dam or a condom when carrying out the act (Burns, 2008). A dental dam is a thin piece of latex that is placed over the genitals or anus while oral sex is being performed. A condom could be used similarly. Both a dental dam and a condom would act as a barrier between the mouth or lips of the performer and the anus of the receiver, thereby helping to block the transmission of infections.
Analingus as a Taboo
Compared to other forms of oral sex, analingus is much less discussed in the mainstream (non-pornographic) media (Frayser & Witby, 1995, p.350). Even sex researchers Alfred Kinsey and Richard von Krafft-Ebing, both famous for their groundbreaking studies on sex topics, did not discuss or study analingus. Some researchers speculate that its status as a taboo topic stems from the popular belief that fecal matter, which exits the body through the anus, repels people and does not drive sex or sexual fantasies (Frayser & Witby, 1995, p.350). However, scatological sexual fantasies do exist, where a person can be turned on by things or behaviors associated with the anus or the anal region. According to one study, the prevalence of analingus in pornographic films, particularly homosexual porn, has risen steadily since the 1980’s, suggesting that the taboo attached to anal pleasure is diminishing, at least in the pornographic industry. (Dines, Jensen, & Russo, 1998, p.81). Several websites exist that offer tips to make analingus more enjoyable, another sign that there is significant interest, or at least curiosity, in performing or receiving analingus. However, its prevalence in mainstream films and television shows remains minimal. When it does get mentioned in the mainstream media, it is often to show one’s disgust over the act or to discuss the act’s status as a taboo topic (Dines, Jensen, & Russo, (1998), p.80).
Analingus can be made more pleasurable for the performing party when the anus and the area around it are clean. A clean anus can help reduce the risk of passing on harmful bacteria to the performer. Some people opt to have an enema before having analingus performed on them, which cleans out the anus and rids it of much of the fecal matter. However, health issues can still arise as an enema does not disinfect the area and could still leave it with residual harmful bacteria (Dines, Jensen, & Russo, (1998), p.81).
Some sex partners choose to perform analingus immediately after showering or bathing, or while do so, to ensure that the anal region has been cleaned.
Burns, N. (2008). How to reduce the risk STD risks of analingus. Health.com <
Dines, G., Jensen, R., & Russo A. (1998). Pornography: The production and consumption of inequality. New York City: Routledge Publishing.
Frayser, S. & Witby T. (1995). Studies in human sexuality, a selected guide: second edition. Englewood, CO: Libraries Unlimited, INC.
Gypsyamber D., Kreimer, A., Viscidi, R., Pawlita, M., Fakhry, M., Koch, W., & Gillison, M. (2007). Case–Control Study of Human Papillomavirus and Oropharyngeal Cancer.
The New England Journal of Medicine
Morin, J. (1998). Anal pleasure and Health. Oakland, CA: Down there press.
Zdrok, V. (2004). The anatomy of pleasure. West Consholtocken, PA: Infinity Publishing.
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