Irrumatio (oral sex)

Irrumatio, also called irrumation, is a type of sexual intercourse performed by actively thrusting one's penis into a partner's mouth[1] and throat. It may also be the thrusting of the penis between the legs, breasts, feet, upper thighs (also known as interfemoral sex), or between the abdomens of two partners.

"Latin erotic terminology actually distinguishes two acts ... First, fellation, in which the man’s penis is ... orally excited by ... the ... [fellator ..., and] Second, irrumation ... in which the man (the irrumator) ... engages in ... motions by moving his hips and body in a rhythm of his own choice."[2]

A Latin synonym for 'irrumator' is labda (Varr. ap Non. 70,11; Aus. Epigr. 126).[3]


Etymology and history

The English noun irrumatio or irrumation and verb irrumate come from the Latin irrumare, to force one to perform fellatio.[4] Also note that J. L. Butrica, in his review of R. W. Hooper's edition of The Priapus Poems,[5] a corpus of poems known as Priapeia in Latin, states that "some Roman sexual practices, like irrumatio, lack simple English equivalents."[6]

As the quotation from Butrica suggests, and an article by W. A. Krenkel shows, irrumatio was a widespread sexual practice in the Roman Empire.[7][8] J. N. Adams states that "it was a standard joke to speak of irrumatio as a means of silencing someone."[9] Oral sex of any kind was considered to be an act of defilement: the mouth had a particularly defined role as the organ of oratory, as in Greece, to participate in the central public sphere, where discursive powers were of great importance. Thus, to penetrate the mouth could be taken to be a sign of massive power differential within a relationship. Remaining frescos from the Roman city of Pompeii demonstrate that irrumatio was one of the specific Roman sexual acts, the others being fututio, fellatio, pedicatio and cunnilingus.[10] This was probably because the extant frescos appear to be in bathhouses and brothels: oral sex was something usually practiced with prostitutes because of their lowly status. Pedicatio and Irrumatio are referenced in Catullus 16.

Still, C. A. Williams argues that it was accepted as a degrading act, even more so than anal sex.[11] S. Tarkovsky states that despite being popular, it was thought to be a hostile act, "taken directly from the Greek, whereby the Greek men would have to force the fellatio by violence."[10] Furthermore, as A. Richlin has shown in an article in the Journal of the History of Sexuality it was also accepted as "oral rape," a punitive act against homosexuality.[12][13]

Roman historian Suetonius has a passage in his De Vita Caesarum which inconclusively states that Roman emperor Tiberius took great pleasure from forcing women, even those of rank, to perform fellatio.[14]

In oral sex, irrumatio is performed by actively thrusting the penis into the mouth of the partner. In slang, this act is called face fucking, throat fucking, mouth fucking, or skull fucking. Fellatio and irrumatio can be used interchangeably during oral sex. Indeed the distinction between fellatio and irrumatio has vanished in modern English and the latter term has fallen out of widespread use.[15]



"Peruvian erotic pottery of the Mochica cultures ... represent ... a form of fellation ... in the vases showing oragenital acts ... . See the vases illustrated in color in Dr. Rafael Larco-Hoyle’s ... Checan (Love!), published in both French and English versions by Éditions Nagel in Geneva, 1965, plates 30-33 and 133-135. ... The action should really ... be considered irrumation".[16]


  1. "irrumatio in Sex-Lexis". Retrieved 2009-07-07.
  2. G., Legman (1969). Oragenitalism: Oral Techniques in Genital Excitation. The Julian Press. pp. 174.
  3. Charlton T. Lewis & Charles Short : A Latin Dictionary. Oxford, at the Clarendon Press. (s.v. "2. labda")
  4. "Richlin, A. 1981. "The Meaning of Irrumare in Catullus and Martial." Classical Philology 76 (1): 40–46. Link to preview available from the WWW". Retrieved 2009-07-07.
  5. James L. Butrica. "Bryn Mawr Classical Review 2000.02.23". Retrieved 2009-07-07.
  6. Richard W. Hooper (ed.) (1999). The Priapus Poems. Urbana and Chicago, IL: University of Illinpis Press. ISBN 0252067525.
  7. Krenkel, W. A. (2006 [orig. 1980]). "Fellatio and Irrumatio" in W. Bernard and C. Reitz (eds.). Naturalia non turpia (This work is one of a series of articles written by Krenkel about sexuality in the Roman Empire.). ildesheim, Zurich, and New York. pp. 205–32.
  8. Krenkel, Werner.. "Masturbation in der Antike." "Pueri meritorii." "Fellatio und Irrumatio." "Tonguing." and "Tribaden." '. 'Wissenschaftliche Zeitschrift der Wilhelm-Pieck-Universität Rostock. pp. 28 (1979): 159–89; 29 (1980): 77–88; 30 (1981): 37–54; 38 (1989): 45–58..
  9. Adams, J. N (1982). The Latin Sexual Vocabulary. Baltimore. pp. 126–127.
  10. a b Tarkovsky, S.. "Roman Sex ?C Hot Sex from the Frescos in Pompeii". Retrieved 2009-07-07.
  11. Williams, C. A. (1999). Roman Homosexuality: Ideologies of Musculanity in Classical Antiquity. Oxford: Oxford University Press:. pp. 331.
  12. Richlin, A. (1993). "Not before Homosexuality: The Materiality of the Cinaedus and the Roman Law against Love between Men". Journal of the History of Sexuality 4 (4): 523–573.
  13. "Preview of "Not before Homosexuality: The Materiality of the Cinaedus and the Roman Law against Love between Men"". Retrieved 2009-07-07.
  14. Chaplin, E. (2006). ""Tiberiana 1: Tiberian Neologisms". Princeton/Stanford Working Papers in Classics: 20–24". Retrieved 2009-07-07.
  15. ""Fellatio" in Sex-Lewis". Retrieved 2009-07-07.
  16. G., Legman (1969). Oragenitalism: Oral Techniques in Genital Excitation. The Julian Press. pp. 243.


G. Legman : Oragenitalism : Oral Techniques in Genital Excitation. New York : the Julian Press Inc., 1969.

| more