A lot of couples consider oral sex as an enjoyable, healthy part of their sexual life. However, not so many people have a total understanding of this type of sex. There are some facts about oral sex that might surprise you. This article will provide some uncommon facts about oral sex to help you protect your health and avoid any unexpected risks.
Oral sex is not totally safe.
Although oral sex doesn’t lead to pregnancy, this type of sex does bring about the risk of catching or passing on some sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Herpes, gonorrhea, and syphilis are the three most common STIs that can be transferred by having oral sex. There are some other less common STIs that you can get through oral sex including chlamydia, HIV, hepatitis A, hepatitis B, hepatitis C, genital warts, pubic lice, etc.
Giving oral sex can increase the risk of getting STIs more than receiving it due to the fact that you are more prone to be exposed to the genital fluids of your partner when carrying out the sex. Especially, when you have cuts, sores or ulcers in your mouth, you are more likely to be infected.
In case you think you may have an STI, it is necessary to see your health care provider or go to your nearest sexual health or genitourinary medicine clinic as soon as possible.
You can get throat cancer from oral sex.
The truth is that not oral sex that causes cancer, but the human papillomavirus (HPV), which can be transmitted from infected person to their partner during sex, and, oral sex is not the exception.
Certain types of human papillomavirus (HPV) have been medically proven to be the causes of some cancers of the oropharynx (the middle of the throat) and tonsils. The relationship between HPV and oropharyngeal cancer has been revealed in the late 1980s and early ’90s. A study of The New England Journal of Medicine in 2007 showed that the more oral sex partners you have, the greater the risk of oropharyngeal cancer you will get. The DNA signature of HPV type 16, which causes oropharyngeal cancer contained more frequent in the cancers of people who had multiple oral sex partners.
The HPV infection doesn’t discriminate by gender; therefore, both men and women can get it.
Safe oral sex practices
It is important to know if you or your partner have an active sexually transmitted disease and try to avoid having oral sex. Other safety precautions that you should take include:
- When giving oral sex to a man, the use of condom can help reduce the risk of getting an STI. In case the taste of regular condoms makes you uncomfortable, a flavored one can be an alternative.
- When giving oral sex to a woman or when performing anilingus, it is necessary to use a dam. A dam is a small, thin square of latex or plastic working as a barrier between the vagina or anus and the mouth; therefore, it can prevent the spread of STIs.
- Don’t perform oral sex when there are open sores cuts, or broken skin in the mouth or the genital area.
- Avoid brushing your teeth or using dental floss shortly before giving oral sex as this could cause your gums to bleed. Wait at least 30 minutes. If you want to freshen your mouth first, you could try mouthwash or mints.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Review Date: May 16, 2017 | Last Modified: May 16, 2017
What is oral sex? http://www.nhs.uk/chq/pages/1685.aspx?categoryid=118. Accessed May 15, 2017.
4 Things You Didn’t Know About Oral Sex. http://www.webmd.com/sex-relationships/features/4-things-you-didnt-know-about-oral-sex#1. Accessed May 15, 2017.