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The throat has been eroticized for its role in both oral sex and in BDSM activity. In the former case, the practice of "deep throating"—made famous by the film Deep Throat (1972)—is a fellatio technique in which the "bottom" (or receiving/penetrated partner) takes the entire length of the penis into her or his mouth and throat by suppressing the gag reflex and drawing down the vocal muscles. Viewed, on one hand, as a more pleasurable approach to oral sex and, on the other hand, as a way of swallowing semen without having it in the mouth (and thus avoiding its taste and texture), deep throating is practiced by both hetero- and homosexual couples.

The film Deep Throat is often regarded as having introduced pornography and oral sex into the main-stream social conscience. Highly controversial upon its release, Deep Throat was played in many traditional American movie theaters as opposed to just in adult theaters. While the film's director Gerard Damiano himself admitted that it wasn't a great film, Deep Throat nevertheless paved the way for bolder and more open sexual practices, politics, and beliefs to be depicted and discussed (Keough 2005). In fact, the film is credited as starting the "porn chic" movement of the 1970s, wherein seeing pornographic films was considered to be a hip thing to do with polite company. More importantly, however, Deep Throat introduced the practice of deep throating to large groups of people who may have otherwise never attempted such practice. Deep Throat also began a genre of pornography that focused specifically on deep throat oral sex—a genre in which videos and images of men and women alike performing deep throat fellatio on men presents the throat as an erotic site of sexual pleasure.

In the case of the BDSM community, the throat is often cast as a site for enacting a dominant partner's power over the submissive partner. Exemplified by the practice of "collaring," the bondage and discipline (BD) eroticization of the throat involves placing collars around the submissive's throat for both sexual practices and metaphorical ownership. Collars can be constructed from leather, chain, metal, fabric, and so on, and they can be worn as chokers or used in conjunction with leashes. Collars and leashes enable the dominant partner to enact physical control over the submissive partner by giving the dominant partner the power to manipulate and control the submissive partner's position. This practice may also be used to signify a master/slave relationship in which the collar is an indicator of ownership.

Rendered explicit by the practice of collaring, the connection between power and sex has its axis at the throat. In a BDSM master/slave relationship, a process of increasing ownership and corresponding collars ensures that the throat and neck remain a site for enacting dominance. In this process, a slave or submissive partner is first given a "collar of consideration," which is analogous to a courting or dating stage. This is followed by a more elaborate collar, called the "training collar," that signifies increasing ownership and autonomous devotion. Finally, a "formal" or "slave collar" signifies a complete, autonomous and committed relationship between the master and slave, or dominant and submissive partner.


"Collars: Who, What, and Why." Within Reality. Available from

Keough, Peter. 2005. "Throat Culture: Inside Goes Deep." The Boston Phoenix (February 11). Available from

Montgomery, Paul L. 1972. "Film Critic Says Deep Throat Could Expand Sexual Horizons." New York Times (December 21): 40.

                                               Jeremy Justus

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throat / [unvoicedth]rōt/ • n. the passage that leads from the back of the mouth of a person or animal. ∎  the front part of a person's or animal's neck, behind which the esophagus, trachea, and blood vessels serving the head are situated: a gold pendant gleamed at her throat. ∎ poetic/lit. a voice of a person or a songbird: from a hundred throats came the cry “Vive l'Empereur!” ∎  a thing compared to a throat, esp. a narrow passage, entrance, or exit. ∎  Sailing the forward upper corner of a quadrilateral fore-and-aft sail. PHRASES: be at each other's throats (of people or organizations) quarrel or fight persistently. cut one's own throat bring about one's own downfall by one's actions. force (or shove or ram) something down someone's throat force ideas or material on a person's attention by repeatedly putting them forward. grab (or take) someone by the throat put one's hands around someone's throat, typically in an attempt to throttle them. ∎  (grab something by the throat) seize control of something: in the second half, the Huskies took the game by the throat. ∎  attract someone's undivided attention: the movie grabs you by the throat and refuses to let go. jump down someone’s throat see jump.stick in one’s throat see stick2 .DERIVATIVES: throat·ed adj. [in comb.] a full-throated baritone a ruby-throated hummingbird.

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throatafloat, bloat, boat, capote, coat, connote, cote, dote, emote, float, gloat, goat, groat, misquote, moat, mote, note, oat, outvote, promote, quote, rote, shoat, smote, stoat, Succoth, table d'hôte, Terre Haute, throat, tote, vote, wrote •flatboat •mailboat, sailboat, whaleboat •speedboat • keelboat •dreamboat, steamboat •lifeboat • iceboat • longboat •sauceboat • houseboat •rowboat, showboat •U-boat • tugboat • gunboat •powerboat • motorboat • riverboat •workboat • Haggadoth • anecdote •scapegoat • redingote • nanny goat •zygote • redcoat • tailcoat • raincoat •waistcoat • greatcoat • petticoat •topcoat • housecoat • undercoat •entrecôte • surcoat • turncoat •matelote • banknote • headnote •endnote • keynote • woodnote •footnote • compote • whitethroat •shofroth • bluethroat • cut-throat •creosote • mitzvoth • mezuzoth

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throat OE. þrote, þrotu = OHG. drozza (MHG. drozze), f. Gmc. *þrut- *þrūt- (repr. also by ON. þroti swelling. OE. þrūtian, ON. þrútna swell).
Hence throaty (-Y1) XVII.

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throat. Contraction of the flue of a chimney over the fireplace.

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throat See pharynx