What is oral sex?
Also known as cunnilingus or fellatio oral sex is a common act performed for pleasure by many. It involves using the tongue, lips and mouth to stimulate your partner’s penis or vagina. Oral sex is usually considered a warm-up act or foreplay before actual genital intercourse and can be pleasurable for either or both partners. Consent before sexual activity is important.
What are the possible risks involved in oral sex?
According to experts oral sex, like any other form of sexual activity, comes with its fair share of risks. Though you might not get pregnant by oral sex alone, other possible risks associated with oral sex are-
- Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD) – Physical contact with genital fluids, faeces and saliva puts whoever is performing oral sex at risk of contracting Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) or infections (STIs).
- Risks of catching STDs during oral sex increase if
- You are the one giving rather than receiving oral sex.
- You have cuts, sores or ulcers already present in your oral cavity or lips. Avoid oral sex till you are completely healed.
- You have unprotected sexual intercourse.
- Another relevant risk of oral sex is performance anxiety or feeling of inadequacy. This can put a strain on your romantic and sexual relationship.
What are the STDs from oral sex?
Some of the most common STDs or STIs that can be transmitted during oral sex are-
- Genital Herpes– Genital Herpes is a common and highly contagious STI which is characterised by itchy, blister-like sores on or around the genital region. If your partner has oral herpes (small sores around the mouth), they can pass them to you when they give you oral sex or if they have genital herpes, they can give it to you when you give them oral sex.
Sometimes people have herpes but do not display any symptoms such as sores. Practising protective sex does not guarantee protection from herpes since there might be an ulcer or sore that remains uncovered by the condom or dental dam.
- <" target="_blank">Gonorrhoeay– It is a highly contagious bacterial infection caused by contact with bodily fluids such as semen, blood and vaginal secretions.
Symptoms of gonorrhoea include
- White, green or yellowish vaginal discharge.
- Painful and burning sensation while urination.
- Painful bowel movement.
- Bleeding even when you are not menstruating.
Women who are diagnosed with gonorrhoea must receive treatment to prevent a painful condition called pelvic inflammatory disease, which may lead to infertility.
- Chlamydia– It is a bacterial infection spread by vaginal, penile or oral contact with an infected person. The symptoms include genital itching, burning or pain during urination.
- Human papiloma virus caused genital warts– HumanPapilomavirus or HPV is a common virus that is passed by both oral and genital sex. It affects both men and women and is a cause of cervical cancer, throat cancer and genital cancer, to name a few. HPV results in genital warts, which are soft bumps on the genitals or around them. It is passed through genital or oral sex when you come in contact with a genital wart.
- Hepatitis B and C– Both these viruses attack the liver. The virus spreads through contact with infected bodily fluid during oral or genital sex. In some cases, Hepatitis B and C cause acute liver failure.
- HIV– The chances of contracting the HIV virus if oral sex is accompanied by vaginal or anal sex. For the virus to spread through oral sex, the infected body fluid, such as rectal fluid, vaginal fluid, blood etc., must come in contact with an open wound in the mouth or other parts of the recipient’s body. Auto-Immune Deficiency or AIDs is a syndrome where the person’s immunity system starts to fail due to the presence of the HIV virus.
How to prevent STD transmission during oral sex?
The only way to eliminate any chances of contracting oral STDs is to not engage in any form of oral, anal or vaginal sexual intercourse.
To lower the chances of getting an STD while staying sexually active, you must wear protection such as condoms, dental dams or other barrier methods.
- Oral sex on penis– Cover the penis with a condom before giving oral sex. If your partner is allergic to latex, use a plastic (polyurethane) condom instead.
- Oral sex on anus or ” target=”_blank” rel=”noreferrer noopener”>vagina– Use a dental dam. Instead of opting for a pre-packaged dental dam, it is advisable to cut open a latex condom into a square sheet and place it between your mouth and your partner’s vagina or anus.
Apart from barrier methods, you can reduce the risk of sexually transmitted disease through oral sex by
- Being in a monogamous relationship with a partner who does not have a history of STDs or has been tested negative for STDs.
- Avoid sexual relations with someone who has a visible outbreak of STDs such as herpes, public lice or genital warts.
- You and your partner must regularly test for STDs and take prompt medical action if any symptoms of STIs show up.
- Talk openly with your healthcare provider and do not hide sexual activity details to ensure an accurate diagnosis.
- Healthy communication with your partner and being aware of bodily changes can ensure a healthy and pleasurable sexual life.
Oral sex is perceived to be less risky than vaginal or anal sex, but this article clearly presents how far from the truth this conception is. The risk of contracting STDs should be enough reason to ensure protective measures are undertaken before sexual intercourse in any form. Sexually transmitted diseases and infections not only hamper your fertility but is also detrimental to your general well-being.
Disclaimer: The information included on this site is for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional. Because of unique individual needs, the reader should consult their physician to determine the appropriateness of the information for the reader’s situation.