When did oral sex become a common part of sex?

As part of the (limited) curriculum on Fashion in my courses on Collective Behavior we were repeatedly exposed to the legend that women’s lipstick was popularized by (or invented by, depending on the person relating the tale) Cleopatra of Egypt.

Legend was that she would have men fight arena battles, throw the losers to her handmaidens, and take the winners to her chambers. She painted her lips bright red (wore lipstick) as advertisement of her oral abilities (those who say she only popularized it tend to note that lipstick was otherwise worn only by prostitutes of the time) while forbidding her handmaidens to do likewise (advertise? or perform the act?).

So how long ago did Cleopatra reign?


Sweet Nancy was so fancy
To get into her pants we
Had to be the aristocracy

The members that she toyed with
At her city club
were something in diplomacy

So we put her on the hit list
Of a common cunning linguist
A master of many tongues

Now she eases gently
From her Austin to her Bentley
Suddenly she feels so young

…–Ian Gillan (Deep Purple)
…Knocking at your Back Door
…Perfect Strangers

Among other things, he claimed that babies had orgasms. :eek:

There’s a website called retroraunch dot info (yeah, to satisfy the two-click rule) that features vintage pornography, and also has a disclaimer stating that they are not responsible for trauma incurred by seeing your ancestors doing it. Plenty of oral action there, from all angles.

So…maybe the references are a pile of baloney.

There are reasons to be skeptical of la marche. But thinking that hippies invented the BJ isn’t grounds for skepticism about cave art. People had mouths and genitals. They were bored.

So the one set of cave drawings that includes oral sex are under a cloud of skepticism and no one has reproduced the actual drawings that depict it.

I don’t think hippies invented BJs but you have not shown cavemen did either. Yes, humans love sex but they are also adverse to sticking their face into fecal matter. Well, most of them anyways.

If you’re sticking your face into fecal matter when you’re engaged in oral sex then you’re doing it wrong.:wink: Especially with fellatio, you’re not going to be close to fecal matter in normal circumstances.

You seem to have peculiar idea about hygiene in traditional cultures. Medieval European cultures may have been adverse to bathing but this is not necessarily typical. I’ve stayed with indigenous people in Panama and elsewhere in the world and they bathe daily whenever possible.

As has been mentioned, bonobos and other primates engage in oral sex. You are proposing that at some point human ancestors abandoned this practice, only to start engaging in it again at some later time. This isn’t a parsimonious scenario.

Even if earlier humans were not concerned with cleanliness, you are projecting the modern aversion toward body odors and contact with feces/urine on other cultures. Just because you might find unwashed genitalia off-putting doesn’t mean that earlier humans would have any such concern.

Poor guy’s never done a 69 lecturing me on sex. :frowning:

Says the guy projecting bonobo behavior onto humans.

Like I say, you’re obviously doing it wrong…:smiley:

Says the evolutionary biologist.

So explain your hypothesis. At what point did human ancestors stop engaging in oral sex, and why? At what point did they start engaging it again? Did they suddenly decide it was OK after inventing toilet paper?

Shit carries diseases. Caged monkeys monkeys throw shit at people they don’t like. A chimp who learned sign language spontaneously signed “shit” when angry at a dog. I’m pretty sure most cultures are averse to contact with feces.

I’d rest your case on “you don’t have to get close to feces” and “primitive people bathed, too.” Yeah, some people are into scat, but I’m pretty sure that has always been a minority.

Here’s a link supporting my claim about apes using “shit” as an explitive:

The other claim is based on a friend’s experience working ina lab with monkeys. The doctors, who injected the monkeys and did other unpleasant things to them wore white lab coats. The technicians who fed the monkeys and cleaned their cages wore green. She said the monkeys routinely threw shit at the doctors, but not at the technicians.

When we started walking upright. Humans’ big gluteus maximus make us more likely to entrap fecal matter, therefore less likely to enjoy sticking our faces’ in each other’s crotches.

Are you saying every other species of ape has regular oral sex?

However, chimps will eat food covered with feces or otherwise smelly. They may hesitate, but will get over their aversion.

And caged chimps and monkeys throw fruit, branches, stones, and anything else they can get their hands on at people. They throw shit because it’s always available since it’s ammunition they can manufacture themselves. The fact that they throw it doesn’t mean they find it particularly aversive. If that were the case you’d also have to conclude they find apples aversive. In fact, you might conclude that they don’t find it all that aversive since they are so readily willing to touch it in order to throw it.

I’m not claiming that people and other primates might not find feces to be aversive, just the extreme degree of aversion postulated by CarnalK is not supported.

It’s not surprising that they distinguished between people that hurt them and those that fed them. However, for this to be relevant you would have to demonstrate that they preferred to throw shit rather than other objects.

I wish someone would tell my dogs that eating every bit of cat shit they can find is very averse to me if not to them.

In my own informal research in the rain forest of Mexico I concluded that aggressive spider monkeys are more likely to throw sticks and shake branches at me while friendly ones are more likely to embrace me with shit-covered hands, which they had because they were happily eating shit-covered fruit which was shat upon by monkeys on the branches above them. Purely anecdotal but 100% true.

Bonobos, which are regarded as our closest living relative, engage in frequent oral sex. In fact, oral sex is the bonobo equivalent of a handshake. Google “Bonobo sex” for some interesting reading.

George Schaller, in his classic The Mountain Gorilla, reports males giving stimulation to females both orally and digitally.

Orangutans also engage in oral sex.

Oral sex has also been documented in gibbons (siamangs), baboons, and macaques.

It’s a basic principle of evolutionary biology that if a trait or behavior is present in two related species it was probably also present in their common ancestor. It is more parsimonious to postulate that a trait evolved once in the ancestor, than that it disappeared and then re-evolved in one lineage. Based on this, one would conclude that oral-genital behavior evolved in not only the common ancestor of apes (including humans), but probably also in the common ancestor of apes and Old World Monkeys, if not earlier.

Given that oral sex is widespread in non-human primates including our closest relatives, and common in traditional cultures throughout the world, it would be extraordinary if the behavior died out in human ancestors due to some sudden development of aversion to smelly odors, only to re-emerge only when people started washing more. I think the default assumption should be that the behavior was continuously present rather than this more complex scenario, which is not based on any evidence.

Your skepticism that ancient humans engaged in oral sex appears to be based on your cultural biases. Both the proscription of oral sex in Western culture (although its widespread surreptitious practice) and modern fastidiousness about hygiene are cultural elements that go back only a few hundred years. To extrapolate from such recent behaviors to the behavior of humans tens of thousand of years ago isn’t warranted.

You forgot about our big fat poo encrusted bums that is central to my hypothesis you requested. That’s a pretty unique feature among apes.

People in traditional cultures don’t go around with poo encrusted bums. I’m not sure where you get this bizarre idea. Again, I would have to attribute this to cultural bias.

I regard this as a concession that you don’t actually have any valid point to make.

Exactly how many traditional culture people’s bums have you inspected in order to speak with such authority? Are they the ones who taught you how to do a 69 with no ass to face proximity?

Can you provide a cite? Perhaps a thread in the GD or IMHO may be better? I haven’t seen any factual claims or cites you have made against the various documentation to the contrary.

As Urinary Tract Infections are a risk with even with missionary style sex and antibiotics not existing before WW2 meant you just died or suffered the consequences your claim that humans had no sanitary standards seems absurd.

Intelligence hasn’t increased significantly in humans for tens of thousands of years in humans and most people were probably smart enough to realize that hemorrhoids from not wiping well are not fun.

I also question your seeming equivalency of cavemen and traditional cultures. There’s no possible advances in hygiene between the two?