By Rachel Khona

Ever wonder where all those funny sex words come from? Hence I bring you the etymology of sex words. Etymology is the study of the origin and history of words. See sex doesn’t have to be just about our basest desires, it can be educational too. Now you can stuff your brain full of information that is infinitesimally more interesting than the history of the Magna Carta. So if Jeopardy ever takes a turn for the saucy, you’ll be ready.

Cunnilingus (n)
This word comes from the Latin cunnus meaning “vulva” and lingere (to lick). In Latin, cunnilingus technically refers to the one the licking not the actual action of licking. For example, “That cunnilingus really worked it out for me last night!” This term has a relatively recent entry into our lexicon making its first debut around 1887.

Fellatio (n)
Once again, there’s a Latin root behind the meaning. Fellatio comes from the past participle of the Latin word fellare which means “to suck”. The participle in question is fellatus. When converted into English, the “io” was thrown on as a suffix et voila! Fellatio is born. Around 1893 to be precise.

Fornication (n)
We can thank the French for the word fornication. It comes from the Old French term fornicacion which comes from the Late Latin fornicari which comes from the Latin fornix meaning “brothel” which at one point meant “arch”. Phew! It’s like a big game of etymological telephone. So how did arches get mixed up into fornication? In Roman times, prostitutes solicited sex from underneath the arches of certain buildings. The first known use in its modern sense was noted in 1400.

So there you have it; the meaning behind all those sexy sounding words. Now you can walk the walk and talk the talk...

Rachel is a writer based in Brooklyn and can be found hanging out at rock concerts and fantasizing about singing telegrams. Follow her on Twitter @rachelkhona


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