Spit play is the act of spitting on another person with erotic intent. At its core, it's the transferring of liquid (often saliva) from one person's mouth to another person—regardless of location. The act fits comfortably into foreplay when spitting on one's hand to engage in hand sex or giving a particularly wet oral sex session. Spitting on genitalia to use as a lubricant (in conjunction with additional lubricant) can be highly erotic, as well.
“Whether it’s saliva, water, alcohol, or whatever liquid, spitting when done in a consensual and sensual manner can be incredibly arousing.” —sexual health specialist Varuna Srinivasan, MBBS
“Whether it’s saliva, water, alcohol, or whatever liquid, spitting when done in a consensual and sensual manner can be incredibly arousing,” says Varuna Srinivasan, MBBS, MPH, FRSPH, sexual health specialist and founder of Tara Health Media. “[But] because spitting is associated with a lack of propriety and civility, and we live in a society that prioritizes purity, it can be seen as off-putting, when it’s quite the opposite.”
This kink lends itself to erotic ubiquity in that it can live across the sexual spectrum but is initially associated within the scope of BDSM with "D" referring to degradation play as a highlighted scene where spit play can live. Being spit on also has the potential to be used in dominant/submissive, sadist/masochistic arrangements, says sex educator Tara Jones: “It's an ideal option for those turned on by humiliation but adverse to any type of pain or rough sex, and a level up in some ways from verbal degradation.”
But spit can make its way into sex play without having a spit kink, interest in dominant-submissive dynamics, or desire for a degradation scene. For some, spit exchange is a form of intimacy and fluid bonding to increase closeness, trust, and connection, says licensed psychologist and AASECT-certified sex therapist Jordan Soper, PsyD. “There is no right or wrong way to experience eroticism associated with spit play," she says. "It’s more a matter of identifying why you may enjoy it, how to communicate your needs to your partner, not shaming yourself or others for it, and safely engaging in the experiences.”
In fact, it is probable that something under the spit-play umbrella has made its way to your sex life already. “Spit play is widespread, yet I don't think people know that they are actually engaging in it,” says board-certified sex educator and sex coach Linnea Marie. If you're curious to try or you want to be more intentional in your exploration of spit play, check out four steps below to guide your practice.
4 steps for exploring spit play with your partner(s)
1. Talk about it first
Before launching a sexy loogie at your partner, make sure all parties are aware and interested in said event and occasion. Spitting on a person who is uninterested or unaware is not only a non-consenting act, but it has the potential to bring up negative emotions—or even trigger past unwanted experiences.
And since spit play can incorporate so many possibilities, be sure to have a conversation about preferences that go beyond mere interest to engage. There's room to discuss if you're a spit bottom, spit top, or spit verse—and where on the body that spit is cleared to land. There are also plenty of forms of spit play to try: hard spit, sensual spit, drooling, in the mouth, not in the mouth, and beyond. “It can be placed anywhere the parties agree to," Linnea Mare says.
2. Spit safely
Keep in mind that certain STIs can be present in bodily fluids and can transmit to another partner via other bodily fluids. “Direct mouth-to-genital or genital-to-genital contact carries a higher risk of STI transmission,” says Jones. “With herpes that presents orally, HSV1 or HSV2, there must be direct contact between the contagious area and another's mouth or genitals, so spitting from a distance would not carry that risk.” Research has also found that there's a risk factor for transmitting gonorrhea via saliva.
Furthermore, spit could upset the vaginal microbiome and lead to infection. “There’s a lot of bacteria in the mouth that can be transferred and irritate the pH balance of the vagina, so just be mindful of how clean the mouth is that the spit is coming from,” says Linnea Marie.
For these reasons, it's important to have conversations with any sexual partner before engaging in any play about their STI status and to proceed according to your own risk tolerance.
3. Select your spit option
Not everyone is blessed with a saliva factory in their mouth nor do we all have the ability to evoke spit on command. If you're looking for ways to sustain spit play, staying hydrated will keep the mucus membranes in the mouth working and more active.
4. Practice aftercare
Nurturing our partners after play, aka aftercare, builds closeness in the relationship and supports our post-orgasmic, post-arousal, and post-spit play bodies as it regulates the release of oxytocin, dopamine, and prolactin. This also helps to avoid the experience of postcoital dysphoria.
“Aftercare is a foundational component of any healthy and functional sexual dynamic," says Dr. Soper. "When it comes to spit play, begin by identifying what are your goals for spit play…. The best aftercare begins with solid pre-care by discussing needs and wants with your partner and effectively hearing their needs and wants on the subject matter.”
- Chow, Eric Pf, and Christopher K Fairley. “The role of saliva in gonorrhoea and chlamydia transmission to extragenital sites among men who have sex with men: new insights into transmission.” Journal of the International AIDS Society vol. 22 Suppl 6,Suppl Suppl 6 (2019): e25354. doi:10.1002/jia2.25354
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