Speaking of Spit
Simon Sheppard, QSyndicate.com
It's high time to give a high-minded thought to lowly spit.
Saliva has, maybe oddly, been thought of as a major marker of contempt: "I
spit on your grave" and all that. Saint Bernardino of Siena even urged his
15th-century congregation to show their contempt for "sodomy" by spitting
holy hockers, resulting in a sacred splatting sound and a very slippery
But spit has its uses, as we masturbators – particularly those of us without
foreskins – all know. "When I learned to beat off, I first used spit as
lubricant," an avid wanker recalls. "Since then, I've tried all sorts of
lubes, but it's still my favorite."
Spit can lubricate not just solo masturbation, but person-to-person play.
Rub a spit-slick finger on a sensitive nipple. Spit on an asshole before you
finger it. Or get your palm soaking wet and stroke someone else's cock.
(In the carefree days of yore, spit was widely used to lube up for fucking.
But it lacks the slipperiness for extended use with condoms, and so has
largely been replaced by lubricants that are expensive and less readily
Beyond its slickly practical uses, saliva also packs a wetly symbolic punch.
It can be largely decorative, tracing the path of a lover's tongue over
flesh. Lips wet with saliva are lips that invite a kiss. And isn't a
well-sucked stiffy shiny with spit just a whole lot prettier than a dry and
Through the alchemy of kink, a gob can be turned into power-dynamics gold. A
dominant top recalls, "I played with a submissive who loved being spat at.
On his crotch, his chest, right smack dab on his face. It was hot to spit on
his cheek, then watch him stick his tongue out and let it drip into his
mouth. It was so pleasantly demeaning." So if you have a submissive curled
up at your feet, why not show you that you care with a similarly damp
gift? "I also spit down on my own bare feet," the top reminisces, "and then
commanded the guy to kneel and lick it off. Really hot."
But spit play need not be so oppositional; it can flow with mutual
affection. Deep kissing is, after all, dubbed "swapping spit." (Of course,
spit's not the only liquid that can be swapped; other fluids, from a swig of
beer to a squirt of cum, can move from mouth to mouth and back again.)
One fellow says, "When I'm above someone, screwing him, I love it when I get
my mouth full of saliva, he opens his mouth, and I let a stream of spit flow
into his mouth as he gulps it down. It's almost a parallel to what's
happening at crotch level, and it just seems wildly romantic to me."
Spit is totally public, yet oddly intimate; it's the readily accessible body
fluid that isn't piss or cum. Inexhaustible, universal, it's usually
undervalued: the uncouth dispose of it in gobs on the sidewalk. Yet it also
can be a symbol of commitment, the salivary symbol of erotic domination or
the wet bond between two hungry mouths. It's an erotic accessory of a
thousand uses, so next time you're with your honey (or your
honey-of-the-moment), open your mouth and let it flow. We spit-loving queers
can teach that dry-mouthed Saint Bernardino a liquid thing or two.
Simon Sheppard is the author of Kinkorama: Dispatches from the Front Lines
Sex Talk: Other Subjects