Archives for : Sexualization of Women

Cunnilingus and Cunts: A Study of Female Oral Sex in Pop Music

Cunnilingus and Cunts: A Study of Female Oral Sex in Pop Music

There is an old joke that goes: “No lady can say no to a Cunning Linguist.” In case that joke doesn’t seem so humorous, it is playing off of the term cunnilingus, the act of oral sex performed on a woman’s genitals. According to Inga Muscio, author of  “Cunt: A Declaration of Independence,” claims that another term for genitals, ‘cunt’ was once a positive word relating to a woman. Throughout the years, it has become both a negative term for a woman and/or their genitals. Muscio argues in her book that women need to take back words such as cunt, pussy, and bitch as not only positive terms for a woman but also as strong anatomical words for the female genitals. To do so, men and women must acknowledge these typically taboo words in a positive way and not be afraid to say them in public. I believe that singers in recent years have been afraid of addressing female genitals by using euphemisms or failing to address them at all while singing about cunnilingus. In this essay, I will examine the rise of female performers singing very bluntly about the subject and how it is now hidden behind other meanings as well as the modern day response to cunnilingus in popular music. I will focus on different tracks from Lil’ Kim(1996), Khia (2002) Lady Gaga (2009), Christina Aguilera featuring Nicki Minaj (2010),and Kelly Rowland(2013).

Shame of Cunnilingus in Rap Culture

The act of Cunnilingus has been a hot topic in the Rap/Hip-hop world. According to blogger Heidi Lewis, rappers in the 1990s did not have the same relationship with cunnilingus as they do today(Lewis). Lewis brings up the song “Can I Eat It?” by rapper DJ Quik from 1995.

Quik raps about his frustration with women who want him to perform cunnilingus on them instead wanting to engage in sexual intercourse. He advises others to not perform oral sex on their lady friends because they will be left without sexual satisfaction and without protection from sexual transmitted infections performing oral sex. Quik shames women who do enjoy it by stating “And I was like damn, you must’be sick/You mean you’d rather have a tongue/instead of a pair o’nuts and a stick/” (Quik). By shaming women, Quik is arguing that men should only enjoy sex that directly pleases him because if he will not have sexual gratification by the end of it, it wasn’t worth it for him. He also promises STI’s during cunnilingus and gives a dire warning that if you do please your lady orally, you will end up with a sexual organ that will no longer be able to perform sexual purposes. If his sexual organ can no longer perform, he fears he could no longer be sexually satisfied and this worst case scenario happens because he had to perform oral sex on his partner. He fails to mention that STI’s do not always happen while performing oral sex, especially if they are practicing safe sex.

But this atmosphere changed when Lil’ Kim released her song “Not Tonight” in 1996 (Lewis).

Lil Kim is very sexually upfront in this song. She raps about how she enjoys different positions in sex, but she is bored. Although the men she sleeps with give her gifts for the acts she performs with them, she still isn’t satisfied.  She raps about the frustration of not receiving oral sex and affirmatively states ‘I don’t want dick tonight/eat my pussy right.” (Lil’Kim). She proudly states that she doesn’t needs all the presents the men were giving her, but instead needed sexual satisfaction that she wasn’t receiving. Although this was not the first time positive cunnilingus has ever been sung about, Lil Kim paved the way for women in pop and rap to sing about how they wanted their partners to pleasure them in ways that may have been taboo before. After this, more male singers, such as Lil Wayne and 2 Live Crew, became more upfront and proud of their cunnilingus ways (Lewis).

In 2002, Khia broke into the top 100 when “My Neck, My Back” hit number 42.

This song praised cunnilingus and anilingus, both of which were heavily seen as taboo in the Top 100 and in response edited on the radio. This didn’t stop people from singing the catchy chorus. In an interview from August 2013, Khia states:

   ‘Everyone around the world was like “right on, thank you Khia…”I was really shocked that older people really loved it too, they must’ve been doing neck and back way before I was born. I’m talking 40+ year old people loooove Neck and Back.’ (Seattle Weekly News).

“My Neck, My Back” has the reputation of being nasty, as Khia likes to call it. The term “pussy” is said 40+ times and is being referred positively to the body part. The song itself is very demanding, channeling Lil’ Kim from years before. She is not suggesting, but telling her lover that they will perform these acts for her satisfaction if they themselves want sexual pleasure. She is being assertive in her sexual needs but is not denying sexual gratification to her male lover. Another interesting issue that arose from this song was the realization of female sexual pleasure it gave many of her fans. Many fans would tell Khia how her music changed the ways they thought and practiced oral sex. Khia prompted women to demand their sexual needs to come first and to not be ashamed of wanting something that may not directly pleasure their lover. She also brought vulgarity to pop music, as Khia states, by using terms that have not previously been used.

Current Songs Ft Cunnilingus 

What could have been a new wave of female sexuality in the Top 100 declined as the years went on. Cunnilingus is still around, but it has seldom been upfront as Lil Kim and Khia. I had a difficult time finding songs as provocative as the late 90’s rap music today in the Top 100. It wasn’t until actually looking deeper into the lyrics of popular songs did I find mentions of female oral sex that had been masqueraded behind the euphemisms. Pussy and cunt are not used as often today as they were by the women rappers in the 1990s. Instead, pop singers are electing to use vanilla terms while singing about the female genitals in relation to oral sex.

In 2009, Lady Gaga released the song ‘Teeth’ to which it received many mixed reactions. Audiences were confused if the song was about vampires, having a deep connection with somebody, or about oral sex (Lady Gaga, Teeth). The line “take a bite of my bad girl meat” (Songmeanings) has lead many fans to argue that this is actually a symbolization of her heart and not her genitals. Finally, Lady Gaga addressed this issue on MTV News in November of 2009.

She admits that this song is partially about oral sex, but is also about fear of truth and hiding from it behind sex. Bad girl meat is a euphemism for a vagina of a woman who is considered filthy in bed. It could also be suggested the she is using the phrase ‘show me your teeth,’ as an animalistic Flehmen response, or the act of showing teeth to show your are sexually available. Lady Gaga instead choose to use cunnilingus not as empowerment to female sexuality, but as a method to hide truth. This is not the only time Lady Gaga would sing about cunnilingus under a euphemism. In her holiday ditty from 2009, she lovingly alludes to her vagina as a ‘Christmas tree’ and states about how it is delicious(Christmas Tree).

Former Disney star Christina Aguilera teamed up with Trinidadian rapper Nicki Minaj in 2010 for the pop song “Woohoo” from her album Bionic. It had mild success on the charts hitting 79 before falling off. It seemed that critics were spilt in the middle over what they felt for this song. Although people may not have realized its sexual tones due the act of cunnilingus being hidden behind the immature use of ‘woohoo’, others felt that it was too blunt. An article by Alexis Petridis in The Guardian criticized Aguilera for her choice of language by stating:

“If you do refer to your vagina as your woo-hoo, you’re going to deflate the atmosphere of commanding female sexuality the rest of the track works so hard to create(14).”

Petridis is criticizing not so much the use of cunnilingus in the song, but instead the way it is presented to the audience. The vagina is being referred to something as juvenilie as ‘woohoo.’ The song feels as though it is trying to be empowering but just comes off as silly. Even Nicki Minaj, who is known for her blunt language and overt sexuality, comes off as relatively innocent in this song. There is nothing sexual about the term ‘woohoo’ and instead sounds as if the act of cunnilingus is not to be taken seriously because it is only a joke.

In February of 2013, Kelly Rowland released Kisses Down Low, her first single off of her album Talk a Good Game, which immediately became a hot topic. Rowland sings about cunnilingus without ever mentioning the female genitals. She implies she likes her ‘kisses down low’ but never explicitly states where that ‘down low’ is. It can only be assume that she means the vagina and not her feet. Rowland chooses to not mention something as important as the vagina in a song about cunnilingus creates the assumption that she is afraid of not even using a euphemism as the pervious singers have done before. She creates the act as taboo as it had been in the past but instead acts as though she is vulgar for wanting it. It makes little sense how a singer can act as though they are doing something wrong when they are too shy to even say what it is they want done to them.

Modern Day Responses 

I chose to use Khia’s “My Neck, My Back” and Kelly Rowland’s “Kisses Down Low” in a survey. For these interviews, I asked the interviewee’s age and gender and then asked when was the first time (if ever) they heard about cunnilingus in music. I then showed them the video of “My Neck, My Back,” by Khia and “Kisses Down Low,” by Kelly Rowland and asked them their opinions on both songs.

Survey Question

What is your gender?








How Old are You?

RJ: 20

LN: 43

TN: 45



SH: 31

TV: 28

When was the first time you heard about Cunnilingus in music?

RJ: Probably in a rap song, I really can’t remember anything that stands out.

LN: Never.

TN: I don’t think people sing about that.

KH: No idea

NH: Lil Wayne probably

SH: That Lick My Pussy song.

TV: I have no idea.

(After listening to Khia’s My Neck, My Back) Having heard this song, what is your reaction? 

RJ: Perverted. I would not be comfortable hearing people walk around humming it. Especially family members, which would be horrible.

LN: They should make better music. That was not appropriate.

TN: What the hell, that is just gross.

KH: It sure is blunt.

NH:I really like it! It’s so straight forward.

SH: Reminds me of the nightclubs that would play this song.

TV: It’s ok, she sure knows what she wants. Nothing wrong with that.

(After listening to Kelly Rowland’s Kisses Down Low) What do you think of the song Kisses Down Low in comparison of My Neck, My Back? Which version do you prefer?

RJ: Oddly conservative in comparison. I prefer Rowland. That is something that wouldn’t have to be censored on the radio. It’s almost family friendly.

LN: Sounds like a happy little love song.

TN: I guess Rowland, I can pretend like she is being innocent.

KH: Rowland never refers to ‘vagina’, someone could listen to that song and not know what it is about. Children could sing it and it could be clean.

NH: I wasn’t sure what the song meant. If I knew this wasn’t an article about cunnilingus I wouldn’t have figured it out. I prefer My Neck, My Back. Actually talks about the female body as if it is sexual and not cutesy.

SH: She was in Destiny’s Child, right? Sounds like she never grew up.


Many of the interviewees were unsure or even unaware of cunnilingus in pop music. Only two could think of either a song or an artist that released a song referencing to it. I had previously assumed that those under 25 would at least be aware of one or two song and was surprised that many didn’t know what to say. While interviewing RJ, he was very shocked to discover that there has been cunnilingus in pop music as he assumed that it was too taboo of a subject to sing about. I had already guessed that many of the interviewees would be shocked by Khia’s song although it was mostly met with giggles and only TN asked for the music to be turned off. The most surprising response was in the survey was TN’s comparison of Khia to Rowland. TN is aware of cunnilingus in pop music but states that instead they can just pretend otherwise if the music is poppy and not as ‘gross.’ I believe that this statement not only showed that many people are still uncomfortable about female sexuality in pop music but are aware of that it is there but refuse to see it. I believe that it is this mentality that must be reversed before society becomes comfortable with both taboo words and blunt female sexuality.

Many musicians are still trying to reclaim the word, as we can see from Nicki Minaj in her song Roman’s Revenge: “I’m a bad bitch/I’m a cunt/.  Here, Nicki is stating that she is in control of the situation, which not only makes her a bad bitch but also a cunt. These are meant to be positive terms depicting a strong woman. Azealia Banks also shocked listeners when she sang the line: “guess that cunt gettin eaten.” By reclaiming words like cunt and pussy, musicians are trying to give new meaning to them and replace their historically negative definitions. In music, cunnilingus is sung about across the music charts but it isn’t until society becomes comfortable with the terms that musicians that the Top 100 will proudly be able to play uncensored “eat my pussy right!”


Works Cited

Aguilera, Christina; Minaj, Nicki. “Woohoo.” Youtube. Youtube. 7 May. 2010. Web. 04 Nov. 2013

Banks, Azealia. “212.” Youtube. Youtube. 12 Sept. 2011. Web. 3 Nov. 2013

Khia. “My Neck, My Back(Lick It).” Youtube. Youtube. 8 Aug. 2007. Web. 1 Nov. 2013.

Lady Gaga. “Christmas Tree.” Youtube. Youtube. 31 Jan. 2009. Web. 29 Nov. 2013.

Lady Gaga. “Teeth.” Youtube. Youtube. 11 Dec. 2009. Web. 3 Nov. 2013.

“Lady Gaga-Teeth.” Songmeanings. Songmeanings. Web. 4 Nov, 2013.

Lewis, Heidi R. “Li’l Wayne and the New Politics of Cunnilingus in Hip Hop.” NewBlackMan(in Exile). NewBlackMan, 18 Aug. 2012. Web. 10 Nov. 2013

Lil’ Kim. “Not Tonight.” Youtube. Youtube. 27 Feb. 2011. Web. 4 Nov. 2013

Minaj, Nicki; Eminem. “Roman’s Revenge.” Youtube. Youtube. 1 Nov. 2010. Web. 4 Nov. 2013

Quik, DJ. “Can I Eat Coochie (Demo 1995.)” Youtube. Youtube. 12 Dec. 2012. Web. 9 Nov. 2013

MTV. “Track By Track: Lady Gaga’s “The Fame Monster.” MTVNews. MTV News. 23 Nov. 2009. Web. 4 Nov. 2013.

Muscio, Inga. Cunt: A Declaration of Independence. Berkeley: Seal Press, 2002. Print.

Petridis, Alexis. “Christina Aguilera: Bi-On-Ic.” TheGuardian. TheGuardian. 3 June. 2010. Web. 4 Nov. 2013.

Rowland, Kelly. “Kisses Down Low.” Youtube. Youtube. 12 Mar. 2013. Web. 10 Nov. 2013.

Sears, Kelton. “Khia Talks Miley Cyrus, Licking Necks and Cracks, and the Universality of ‘The Nasty.’” Seattleweeklynews. Seattleweekly. 8 Aug. 2013. Web. 10 Nov. 2013.