The short and tongue of it: A brief look at glossaphilia

“Is there such a thing as a tongue fetish? I wouldn’t be surprised if there is, people can have a fetish for the most weird things so it wouldn’t be surprising at all if there was such a thing, I personally haven’t heard of one before but would say its true” (Question and answer on

If you type in the words ‘tongue fetish’ into Google it lists hundreds (if not thousands) of websites (mainly in the form of pornographic video clips). This includes such websites as Tongue Fetish Organization (that claims to be “the leading tongue fetish site on the net”), and, as well as dedicated webpages on tongue fetishes at such sites as Daily Motion and Tongue Art (please be warned that these are all sexually explicit sites).

One of the strangest stories in recent years concerned Jafny Mohamed Sunny, a young male sex offender who had a fetish for young girls’ tongues. As was reported in the Asian Press:

[Jafny Mohamed Sunny] used his military police credentials to pass himself off as a police officer. And he did that with the vilest of intentions – so he could frighten and coerce his young, vulnerable victims – as young as 12 years old – into quiet places at HDB blocks, where he could molest and do horrible things to them. [He] also had a fetish. After cornering some of his female victims, he would ask them to stick out their tongues – just so he could touch them. He later explained to a psychiatrist that he did that because he had an urge to know the length of girls’ tongues. He claimed ‘voices’ in his head compelled him to do it, and said he would get inner satisfaction after checking the lengths of girls’ tongues. Jafny had checked the tongues of five girls on different occasions. [He] was sentenced to 8½ years’ jail and 12 strokes of the cane for three out of 10 charges that were proceeded against him”.

This case obviously concerned a fetishist where the behaviour that he engaged in was non-consensual and problematic. However, at Gaia Online, one person posted that they had “just discovered I have a tongue fetish”. When asked by another of the forum members what it involved, the person simply responded that when they saw a person’s tongue, they got sexually aroused (with the tongue being stuck out of the mouth in some sort of sexual manner obviously”). This led one person to assert that this was the “lamest fetish ever” he’d ever heard of. However, this doesn’t seem to be an isolated case as I have come across a number of examples of people who claim to have a tongue fetish. Here is a selection:

  • Extract 1 (male): “I have a friend who has a tongue fetish, specifically for girls and women making the ‘raspberry noise’ as has often been seen in comedy shows through the years…He’s a quiet person by nature”.
  • Extract 2 (male): “I’ve recently hooked up with this chick that has a really long tongue and I find myself strangely drawn towards it. Yeah that’s right, I think I have a fetish for long tongues on chicks”.
  • Extract 3 (male): “I have a tongue fetish, I love it when female’s use it [to lick my testicles]”.
  • Extract 4 (male): “Mine is a tongue fetish thing, had it since being a randy teen. Tongues are the most erotic thing for me and even the sort of woman you normally wouldn’t look at twice can turn herself into a sex goddess with a well timed tongue teaser. Doesn’t have to be used during sex, oral or whatever, just a glance at a woman with a seductive tongue can win me over”.
  • Extract 5 (female): “I have a tongue fetish whether I’m with a guy or thinking of a guy when I’m masturbating. I love tongues…In my mouth, receiving oral, or just having it explore my body its all good. I get really turned on using mine too, watching and feeling how a guy responds to the feel of my tongue on his body is a big turn on for me”.
  • Extract 6 (gender undetermined): I’m fairly sure I have a tongue fetish. Licking, specifically. But then again, what else can you really do with a tongue? Soft tongues are especially nice. I don’t really know why I like it so much, though”.

There doesn’t seem to be any kind of pattern from the examples that I have come across except that it appears (as are most fetishes) to be male dominated. I have also excluded examples of those with sexual tongue piercing fetishes (which I would argue are totally different), tongue licking as part of sexual humiliation in sadomasochistic practices (such as sexual slaves being forced to lick their master’s shoes clean), and those who would describe themselves as ‘licking fetishists’ as these people do not fetishize the tongue per se, but the actions and feelings of being licked (typically on a sexual body part). However, as noted in the examples above, the licking action of the tongue cannot be completely divorced from those who sexualize the tongue and find the tongue ‘sexy’ in and of itself.

As I have never seen this sexual behaviour officually listed in any reputable academic source (and it certainly does not appear in either Dr. Anil Aggrawal’s Forensic and Medico-legal Aspects of Sexual Crimes and Unusual Sexual Practices or Dr. Brenda Love’s Encyclopedia of Unusual Sex Practices), I have decided to give such behaviour a name. The Greek word for ‘tongue’ is ‘glossa’ and the word ‘glossal’ usually refers to, relates to, and/or pertains to, the tongue. Therefore, I am naming the behaviour ‘glossaphilia’ – a sexual paraphilia in which individuals derive sexual pleasure and arousal from human tongues.

I deliberately used the word ‘human’ as I noted in a previous blog on zoophilic classification to what Dr. Anil Aggrawal calls fetishistic zoophiles that keep various animal parts that they then use as an erotic stimulus as a crucial part of their sexual activity. Such individuals have been reported in the clinical literature including the case of a woman (reported in a 1990 issue of the American Journal of Forensic Medical Pathology) who used the tongue of a deer as her primary masturbatory aid.

I’ve only come across one academic research paper that makes any mention of mouth-related fetishes. In a previous blog on odontophilia (a sexual paraphilia in which individuals derive sexual pleasure and arousal from teeth), I wrote about a study led by Dr G. Scorolli (University of Bologna, Italy) on the relative prevalence of different fetishes using online fetish forum data. It was estimated (very conservatively in the authors’ opinion), that their sample size comprised at least 5000 fetishists (but was likely to be considerably more). Their results showed that there were 1697 fetishists (2% of all fetishists) with a sexual interest in aspects of the mouth on the websites they studied (although they only reported lips, teeth and the mouth in general, rather than a specific mention of the tongue).

Dr Mark Griffiths, Professor of Gambling Studies, International Gaming Research Unit, Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham, UK

Further reading

Aggrawal A. (2009). Forensic and Medico-legal Aspects of Sexual Crimes and Unusual Sexual Practices. Boca Raton: CRC Press.

Aggrawal, A. (2011). A new classification of zoophilia. Journal of Forensic and Legal Medicine, 18, 73-78.

Love, B. (2001). Encyclopedia of Unusual Sex Practices. London: Greenwich Editions.

Randall, M.B., Vance, R.P., McCalmont, T.H. (1990). Xenolingual autoeroticism. American Journal of Forensic and Medical Pathology, 11, 89-92.

Scorolli, C., Ghirlanda, S., Enquist, M., Zattoni, S. & Jannini, E.A. (2007). Relative prevalence of different fetishes. International Journal of Impotence Research, 19, 432-437.

About drmarkgriffiths

Professor MARK GRIFFITHS, BSc, PhD, CPsychol, PGDipHE, FBPsS, FRSA, AcSS. Dr. Mark Griffiths is a Chartered Psychologist and Distinguished Professor of Behavioural Addiction at the Nottingham Trent University, and Director of the International Gaming Research Unit. He is internationally known for his work into gambling and gaming addictions and has won many awards including the American 1994 John Rosecrance Research Prize for “outstanding scholarly contributions to the field of gambling research”, the 1998 European CELEJ Prize for best paper on gambling, the 2003 Canadian International Excellence Award for “outstanding contributions to the prevention of problem gambling and the practice of responsible gambling” and a North American 2006 Lifetime Achievement Award For Contributions To The Field Of Youth Gambling “in recognition of his dedication, leadership, and pioneering contributions to the field of youth gambling”. In 2013, he was given the Lifetime Research Award from the US National Council on Problem Gambling. He has published over 800 research papers, five books, over 150 book chapters, and over 1500 other articles. He has served on numerous national and international committees (e.g. BPS Council, BPS Social Psychology Section, Society for the Study of Gambling, Gamblers Anonymous General Services Board, National Council on Gambling etc.) and is a former National Chair of Gamcare. He also does a lot of freelance journalism and has appeared on over 3500 radio and television programmes since 1988. In 2004 he was awarded the Joseph Lister Prize for Social Sciences by the British Association for the Advancement of Science for being one of the UK’s “outstanding scientific communicators”. His awards also include the 2006 Excellence in the Teaching of Psychology Award by the British Psychological Society and the British Psychological Society Fellowship Award for “exceptional contributions to psychology”.

Posted on July 17, 2013, in Case Studies, Compulsion, Obsession, Paraphilia, Psychology, Sex, Sex addiction and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. I definitely have “Glossaphilia”, I have hade a fetish for tongues since I was really young. I would do anything to get licked by someone I fancy. And I don’t care what others think of “glossaphilia” I AM PROUD TO HAVE A TONGUE FETISH.

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