Giving head, going downtown – whatever you call it, there are myths and fairytales surrounding the act of getting up close and personal with a male member. Unfortunately, some of them are based on bad science, old wives’ tales and plain old misinformation. Lady Friday’s here to sort the real from the lies.
This myth appears to have originated, and to still be going very strong, in the USA, where circumcision continues to be a very popular choice. A major article in The Atlantic even discussed whether a baby boy’s future ‘oral prospects’ were worth considering when you thought about circumcision.
However, the buck stops there: it’s much more a cultural problem (and a hygiene one) than an actual physical sensation.
Having or lacking a foreskin makes absolutely no difference to pleasure, as far as scientists can figure out. However, in some parts of the world it’s perceived as less ‘likely’ that women will want to give oral to an uncircumcised man.
The anthropology on this one is interesting – is it because foreskins are seen as less clean? Are women supposed to freak out at the extra skin? – but rest assured that either way, the orgasm factor is the same.
Swallowing is bad for your health.
There is only one way in which swallowing is bad for you, and that’s if your partner has an STD. In which case having unprotected oral sex with them is a deeply dumb idea. Always, always ask new partners to take tests before you get anywhere near their underwear-clad areas.
(They really should make a Hallmark card for that – I Think You’re Cute, Let’s Go Get Tested.)
However, semen itself, unless you’re allergic to it, is perfectly harmless to the digestive system. It may not taste particularly nice (although men can change the taste of their sperm by cutting out fatty foods from their diet), but it’s perfectly able to be absorbed into the system. And no, it will not make you gain weight.
Incidentally, it doesn’t clean your teeth either. The zinc and calcium in it are found in such small amounts that it will do precisely nada to your smile.
Oral sex is harmful for pregnant women.
This may be the complete opposite of the truth. It turns out that ingesting sperm from their baby’s father might actually help pregnant women suffering from morning sickness.
It’s just a theory at the moment, but the science, proposed by a psychologist at SUNY-Albany in the USA, is based on the idea that morning sickness might be caused by the woman’s body rejecting the foreign sperm as unrecognised genetic material.
So ingesting more sperm might help the body accept the genes and reduce the nausea.
It’s not completely unfounded – a study published in the Netherlands in 2000 suggests that preeclampsia, the horrible pregnancy illness from which the Duchess of Cambridge suffered, might be the immune system refusing to accept the new genetic material of the baby.
However, at the moment it’s just a suggestion – but there’s definitely no science to suggest that oral sex is bad for baby or for mum.
Semen facials are a completely normal and healthy ending to oral sex.
Blame pornographic films for this particular idea – and Heather Locklear, who says semen keeps her face soft and youthful.
The facial rejuvenation properties of sperm are still up for debate (there are studies ongoing, but it’s definitely not to be tried by anybody with sensitive skin). However, the idea that most women prefer to have the end result all over their faces is directly linked to modern intimate films.
Problem? The X-rated film industry makes the choice to make the orgasms visible for the viewer, not for the pleasure of the participants.
So chalk that one up to a myth created for a very specific film situation – not for the normal bedroom.
Breath mints are a great aid to make things tingle.
This was perpetuated by an internet forward several years ago, which proposed that Altoids, a very strong breath mint, gave a tingling feeling that greatly enhanced pleasure in oral sex.
However, the problem with breath mints is that they often contain ingredients that will cause massive pain to sensitive skin and glans. Like, I don’t know, a lubricated penis.
Menthol is not a good ingredient to add to the sexual mix – it causes burning sensations and can be deeply unpleasant – and peppermint oil, while it’s sometimes marketed by quacks as a solution to premature ejaculation, isn’t comfortable either.
If you want to create different heat and cold sensations, stick to tested lubes or simple things like ice cubes, which don’t contain any nasties!
Lady Friday xx
Taking the pillow talk out of the bedroom, every Friday…
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