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Depiction of anilingus

Anilingus (from the Latin anus + -lingus, from lingere, "to lick", variantly spelled "analingus",[1][2]) is the oral and anal sex act in which a person stimulates the anus of another by using the mouth, including lips, tongue, or teeth. It is also called anal–oral contact and anal–oral sex; colloquial names include rimming, rim job, or tossing the salad. It may be performed by and on persons of any sexual orientation for pleasure or as a form of erotic humiliation. Health risks include fecal–oral transmission.


The term anilingus entered English through the 1899 F. J. Rebman translation of Edition 10 of sexologist Richard von Krafft-Ebing's 1886 book Psychopathia sexualis.[3][4]



Pleasure for the giver during anilingus is usually based more on the principle of the act.[5][6] The anus has a relatively high concentration of nerve endings and can be an erogenous zone, and the receiver may receive pleasure from external anal stimulation. The person receiving anilingus is regarded as the passive partner in the act, and the person performing anilingus is the active partner. People may engage in anilingus for its own sake, before anal fingering or penetration, or as part of foreplay. Studies indicate that anilingus is a rare sexual practice between women.[7][8]


Anilingus can involve a variety of techniques to stimulate the anus, including kissing or licking; it may also involve the tongue moving around the edge of the anus or up and down the insides of the cheeks of the buttocks, and in and out of the anus.

Anilingus can be performed in a number of sex positions including:

  • the passive partner is on all fours in the doggy position with the active partner performing anilingus from behind.
  • the passive partner is on their back in the missionary position with their legs raised high with the knees drawn towards their chest, and with some sort of support (such as a pillow) under their hips for comfort and to raise their buttocks. With the partner's anus exposed, the active partner kneels between the partner's legs to perform anilingus.
  • the passive partner on top in the 69 position.[9][10] The passive partner may lie down on the active partner in the missionary position, with legs raised high, from the front to raise the partner's buttocks to perform anilingus on the exposed anus.
  • often used in combination with the 69 position detailed above, another position has the active partner lying on their back with the passive partner sitting on their face. This position allows the "passive" partner to become more active or even completely dominant as they can now easily gyrate their hips and thrust their pelvis.
  • the rusty trombone, in which a male stands while the active partner performs both anilingus from behind, generally from a kneeling position, and also performs masturbation on the standing partner, thus somewhat resembling someone playing the trombone.[11]

Health risks and prevention[edit]

Health risk[edit]

Anilingus has potential health risks arising from the oral contact with human feces. Diseases which may be transmitted by contact with feces include: bacterial diseases including shigellosis (bacillary dysentery); viral systemic diseases including hepatitis A, hepatitis B, hepatitis C, poliomyelitis, human papillomavirus (HPV) and herpes simplex virus; parasites including intestinal parasites; and infections and inflammations chlamydia infection, gastroenteritis, conjunctivitis, gonorrhea, lymphogranuloma venereum[12] and other sexually transmitted infections.[13]

Applying the mouth to the genitals immediately after applying it to the anus can introduce the bacterium Escherichia coli ("E. coli") into the urethra, leading to a urinary tract infection. HIV/AIDS is not believed to be easily transmitted through anilingus.[14]

Anilingus with a number of casual partners increases the health risks associated with the practice. Generally, people carrying infections that may be passed on during anilingus appear healthy. Parasites may be in the feces if undercooked meat was consumed. The feces contain traces of hepatitis A only if the infected person has eaten contaminated food.

Another recent study suggests a correlation between oral sex and throat cancer. It is believed that this is due to the transmission of HPV because this virus has been implicated in most cervical cancers. The study concludes that people who had one to five oral-sex partners in their lifetime had approximately a doubled risk of throat cancer compared with those who never engaged in this activity. Those with more than five oral-sex partners had a 250% increased risk compared with those who never engaged in this activity.[15]


Safe sex practices may include thorough washing of the anal region before anilingus to wash away most external fecal particles and reduce the risk of contraction of fecal-sourced infection. An enema can also reduce the risk of direct fecal contact.[16] A dental dam may also be used, and another safe sex practice is to avoid unprotected sex which involves fellatio after anal intercourse.

If the receiving partner has wounds or open sores on the genitals, or if the giving partner has wounds or open sores on or in the mouth, or bleeding gums, this poses an increased risk of sexually transmitted infections. Brushing the teeth, flossing, undergoing dental work, and eating crunchy foods (such as potato chips) relatively soon before or after performing anilingus also increases the risk of transmission, because all of these activities can cause small scratches on the inside of the lips, cheeks, and palate. These wounds, even when they are microscopic, increase the chances of contracting sexually transmitted infections that can be transmitted orally under these conditions.

As punishment[edit]

Forced and mostly public anilingus was used as a form of humiliation and punishment, usually of prisoners. The use of the practice in the Thirty Years' War was described by Grimmelshausen in Simplicius Simplicissimus (1668).[17] The practice is commonly referred to as "arse licking", and the term is still at times applied to the behaviour of someone who is overly respectful or helpful to someone in authority.[18]

In the United States prison system, anilingus is one of the ways one prisoner pays his dues to another inmate. In prison slang, this activity is known as "tossing a salad".[19][20]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Jordan Tate (2007). The Contemporary Dictionary of Sexual Euphemisms. DSt. Martin's Press. pp. 8–9, 106. ISBN 0-312-36298-6.
  2. ^ Jack Morin (2000). Anal Pleasure & Health: A Guide for Men and Women. Down There Press. p. 147. ISBN 0-940208-20-2.
  3. ^ Mark Forsyth. The Etymologicon: A Circular Stroll through the Hidden Connections of the English Language. Icon Books, 2011, p. 49.
  4. ^ "anilingus". Oxford English Dictionary (3rd ed.). Oxford University Press. September 2005. Retrieved 16 July 2018. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  5. ^ Newman, Felice (2004). The Whole Lesbian Sex Book: A Passionate Guide for All of Us. Cleis Press Inc. p. 174. ISBN 978-1-57344-199-5.
  6. ^ Taormino, Tristan (2006). The Ultimate Guide to Anal Sex for Women. Cleis Press Inc. p. 92. ISBN 978-1-57344-221-3.
  7. ^ Jonathan Zenilman; Mohsen Shahmanesh (2011). Sexually Transmitted Infections: Diagnosis, Management, and Treatment. Jones & Bartlett Publishers. pp. 329–330. ISBN 0495812943. Retrieved 14 May 2014.
  8. ^ Diamant AL, Lever J, Schuster M (June 2000). "Lesbians' Sexual Activities and Efforts to Reduce Risks for Sexually Transmitted Diseases". J Gay Lesbian Med Assoc. 4 (2): 41–8. doi:10.1023/A:1009513623365.
  9. ^ Adam Cowell. "Rimming - GayLifeUK". Archived from the original on 29 May 2014. Retrieved 10 December 2012.
  10. ^ Morin, J. (1998). Anal pleasure and Health. Oakland, CA: Down there press.
  11. ^ Tate, Jordan. (9 January 2007) The Contemporary Dictionary of Sexual Euphemisms. Publisher St. Martin's Press ISBN 0-312-36298-6
  12. ^ LGBT Foundation. "Lymphogranuloma Venereum - LGBT Foundation". Archived from the original on 26 June 2015. Retrieved 25 June 2015.
  13. ^ "Is Oral Sex Safe?". University Health Center at the University of Georgia. Archived from the original on 10 October 2007. Retrieved 12 October 2007. (from internet archive)
  14. ^ "What's Rimming?". Columbia University's internet health service. Archived from the original on 14 July 2016. Retrieved 12 October 2007.
  15. ^ Roxanne Khamsi (9 May 2007). "Oral sex can cause throat cancer". news service. Archived from the original on 30 September 2007. Retrieved 12 October 2007.
  16. ^ Castleman, Michael (27 April 2010). "Rimming: The curious couple's guide to oral-anal play". Psychology Today. Retrieved 23 November 2012.
  17. ^ Simplicissimus, The German Adventurer, trans. John C. Osborne, Newfound Press, 2008. ISBN 978-0-9797292-5-6
  18. ^ "arse-licking definition and synonyms - Macmillan Dictionary".
  19. ^ Byrne, J.; Hummer, D. (2007). "In search of the "Tossed Salad Man" (and others involved in prison violence): New strategies for predicting and controlling violence in prison". Aggression and Violent Behavior. 12 (5): 531. doi:10.1016/j.avb.2007.02.001.
  20. ^ Marc Levin for HBO (1996). Prisoners of the War on Drugs (Documentary). IMDB. Retrieved 31 August 2013.

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