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A sexual act in which a male places his penis into the mouth of another person.
At Common Law, fellatio was considered a crime against nature. It was classified as a felony and punishable by imprisonment and/or death. Presently it is a crime in some states, sometimes punishable as a form of the more encompassing crime of Sodomy, the act of unnatural sexual relations between two persons or between a person and an animal.
Under both the common law and present-day statutes, there must be actual insertion of the male organ into the mouth of another for the crime to be committed. Any penetration, however slight, is sufficient. Emission is not a necessary element of the offense under most modern statutes.
If the offense is committed by two persons who mutually consent to engage in the act, both are guilty of the offense. If one party is below the age of consent, only the adult is guilty.
The U.S. Supreme Court has held that the regulation of unnatural sexual conduct or activity is within the Police Power of the state. The penalty for fellatio in many states is a fine, imprisonment, or both. Some states, however, do not treat it as an offense. In New York, a penal law prohibiting consensual sodomy was held unconstitutional by the highest state court on the grounds that it violated the constitutional rights of privacy and Equal Protection of the law.
Statutory definitions of fellatio may exempt from prosecution spouses who engage in such sexual conduct within the confines of their marriage. Fellatio is among several sexual acts that remain illegal in many jurisdictions, but are rarely prosecuted when consensual and engaged in in private.