Licking, Sucking, Blowing, Slurping and Pulling: Oral Sex in Different Languages

As a linguist, it is only natural to question semantically inconsistent terms, and sexual terminology is no exception. Why do they in English call fellatio a “blowjob”, when the verb is “to suck”? Are other languages just as inconsistent? Is “licking” the only verb that describes cunnilingus? This article will not teach you what strategy to apply in the bedroom (there are other websites for that), but give you a small introduction to words and expressions for oral sex in different languages.

Fellatio: Pipe Cutting, Flute Playing and Breastfeeding

NO oral cover en“Fellatio” comes from Latin “fellare” (to suck). Most languages seem to prefer the verb to suck over to blow when it comes to performing a blowjob (Swedish: suga, Italian: succhiare, French: sucer, Russian: сосать, Portuguese: chupar etc.). One exception is German “blasen” (to blow). There are, however, many other variations. In the Netherlands, performing a blowjob is called “pijpen” (to pipe), and the noun “pijpbeurt” literally means the pipe turn (as in It’s your turn). This most likely refers to the action of pipe smoking (sucking, that is), not playing on a pipe, which would imply some form of blowing. Frenchies also use “pipe” for blowjob, but, painfully enough, the verb they use is “tailler” (to cut [someone a pipe]). Judging by semantics, Turkish fellatio too seems to involve rough techniques: the term for blowjob is “sakso”, which most likely comes from saxophone. However, they don’t play the instrument: “sakso çekmek” (performing fellatio) literally means something in the lines of pulling the saxo. Ouch. There are musical connotations to French and German bedroom expressions as well: fellatio can be expressed by oh so poetic “jouer de la trompette”, French for to play the trumpet, or German “die Flöte spielen” (to play the flute, a fairly creative term for a nation that refers to oral sex as “Oralverkehr” – oral traffic). While we are discussing German-French connections: An alternative German term for blowjob is “es Französisch machen” (to do it the French way). Why Germans affiliate fellatio with French culture is uncertain, but the Spanish make the same connection, referring to a blowjob as “un francés” (a french). Speaking of Romance cultures, Italians romantically refer to blowjob as “pompa” (pump) or “pompino” (from “pompina”: little pump). The two terms do not imply different sizes in equipment, but are used interchangeably. Another Italian word for fellatio is “bocchino”, No oral intext1which either comes from the word mouthpiece or refers to a small mouth. In Brazil they are also fixated on mouths and their volume: In Portuguese, a blowjob is called “boquete”, which means small mouth or small hole. Aside from the point, Boquete is also a small town in the green mountain highlands of Panama. The long list of Portuguese terms for fellatio also includes “mamada” (to breastfeed), which is anatomically strange at best, the cute expression “tomar chá de miapica” (to drink my dick’s tea) or “chupar rola” (to suck my bird). Italians also have a thing for birds: an alternative term for blowjob is “succhiare l’uccello” (to suck the bird), whereas a vagina can be referred to as “passera” (from “passero”: sparrow). Speaking of animal connotations, “stok slobberen”, another Dutch term for blowjob, literally means stick slurping, but the verb “slobberen” is most often used about the slurping of a drinking dog.

Cunnilingus: Frog Kissing, Rug Licking and Falling

NO oral intext2Cunnilingus comes from Latin “cunnus” (vulva) + “lingere” (to lick). The modern terms for cunnilingus are overall less varied and creative, which probably has to do with the fact that women have been in the background sexually. In most languages, you can use the verb to lick (Norwegian: slikke, French: léche, Portuguese: lamber, Turkish: yalamak, German: lecken etc.). In French, English and Spanish, you can also use the verb “eat” in the heat of the moment (eat my pussy), but this vulgar variant is for some reason not used in the other languages under research. In Portuguese, you can use the exotic term “beijar a perereca”, which literally means to kiss the frog. Other Portuguese expressions are “lamber carpete” (to lick the rug) and “cair de boca” (to fall with your mouth). Accidents do happen. The Dutch word for cunnilingus is “beffen”, which either comes from High German “Befze” (lip), or from “bef”, the Dutch word for fur coat (delish). Not necessarily semantically related, but “bef” is also the Dutch name for the formal neckwear that was worn by clergy and lawyers some decades ago (see left). Another interesting thing is that several languages refer to a vagina as a cat (e.g. English: pussy, Dutch: poesje, French: chatte), whereas in the Scandinavian countries, it is referred to as “mus” – mouse. Both Tom and Jerry would be honored.

To sum up: there is a wild jungle of terms for oral sex out there, and a literal interpretation of sexual terminology is generally not advised.

[Norsk]

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