Oral Sex – Do You Need A Condom And Can You Get An STD?

Oral sex isn’t something that makes you think of STD’s automatically –  you’ve probably heard that the greatest risk for transmitting sexual infections such as HIV, AIDS, chlamydia and syphilis come from anal sex and vaginal intercourse. But can STD’s be transmitted through mouth to genital sex? What do you need to do to protect yourself?

Question: Dear Dan and Jenn, I am still young and recently had the “talk” and my parents told me to navigate to this channel. Do you have any tips for a person new to the sex world? Also, I was still confused about oral sex and didn’t want to ask my parents. Do you still need a condom and can you get a STD?

–YouTube Viewer

Remember That You Can Only Eliminate Risk Through Abstinence

No matter what kind of sex you’re talking about – whether it’s oral sex, vaginal sex, anal sex or even giving your partner a handjob or fingering them – you’re never 100% safe from sexually transmitted diseases. Even if you use spermicide, condoms or the withdrawal method, there is nothing you can do short of abstinence to completely eliminate your risk. If you’re engaging in any kind of sexual activity whatsoever with another person, you are putting yourself at risk of getting STD’s.

That said, there are lots of ways you can safely and easily reduce your risk – and be fairly confident that you’re not going to contract an STD. First of all, being in a monogamous relationship with someone who has been tested for and is free from STD’s is a start. If you have multiple sexual partners, condoms are your best asset as far as safety during sex is concerned.

Yes, Oral Sex Can Transmit STD’s

Generally speaking, the risk for spreading sexually transmitted diseases through mouth to genital sex is much less than the risk of spreading them through anal sex or vaginal intercourse. However, there is still a risk there, because STD’s like AIDS and HIV are found in vaginal fluid, pre-cum and semen. Don’t assume that just because your partner doesn’t “ejaculate” in your mouth that you are safe from STD’s.

If you have a sore or cut on your mouth before giving someone cunnilingus or fellatio, your risk of getting an STD multiplies by quite a bit. Hepatitis C, HIV and AIDS are spread easily through blood contact, even semen or precum to blood – which is the case if you have a cut or sore on or around your mouth.

You may not even know you have a cut or sore in your mouth – many times, people have small lacerations on their gums from brushing their teeth and if your gums bleed when you brush your teeth, you can be pretty certain that you have an “open wound” in your mouth all the time, at least when it comes to talking about the transmission of STD’s.

Your Risk Of Contracting An STD During Oral Sex Varies

There’s no sure way of determining how high your risk of getting a sexually transmitted disease through fellatio or cunnilingus is, because it varies. For example, pre-cum has a lower concentration of virus than semen or blood does, and if a woman infected with the HIV, Hepatitis C or AIDS virus and is on her period, she is much more likely to transmit the disease to her partner during sex.

Because how high the risk is depends on so many different factors, there’s no way to accurately say that you’re going to be safe from getting an STD during fellatio or cunnilingus without a condom.

It’s Not Just AIDS Or HIV That Can Be Spread

While HIV and AIDS are probably the most worrisome of viruses that you can contract from mouth to genital sex, they’re not the only ones. There are lots of different sexually transmitted diseases and infections:

  • Chlamydia
  • Hepatitis C
  • Gonorrhea
  • Syphilis
  • Herpes
  • Pubic Lice
  • Genital Warts
  • HPV
  • Hepatitis B

That’s a pretty long list – and while some of these diseases can be treated with antibiotics, others can’t and some can even contribute to throat and mouth cancers later on in life. Furthermore, be aware of the fact that you may not know someone has an STD – in fact, they may not even know it. They may not be displaying any symptoms at all, so it’s best to be safe and assume that you have a risk of contracting any of these diseases through oral sex at any time.

Using A Condom Or A Dental Dam During Oral Sex Will Greatly Reduce Your Risk

If you want to reduce your risk of getting an STD during fellatio or cunnilingus, using a condom or a dental dam will make it much less likely that you would take anything home that you didn’t want to. Here are some tips on how to make yourself safer when giving (or receiving):

  • Wear a condom. Try flavored condoms or a flavored lube to make things taste better (and they smell great) and definitely avoid condoms that have spermicide on them.
  • For cunnilingus, make sure that you use a dental dam. If you place a dab of lube underneath the dental dam on the clitoris and vulva, it will create real feeling sensations that are just as good – if not better – than unprotected fellatio or cunnilingus.
  • Don’t use oil based lubricant at all. Oil based lubes will break down the latex and make the condom pretty much pointless.
  • Get a fresh condom after anal sex or vaginal sex if you’re going to have mouth to genital sex. You don’t want to be using the same condom for fellatio as you did for vaginal or anal sex. Not only does that make the condom less effective, it’s a great way to spread lots of harmful bacteria.
  • If you don’t have a dental dam on hand for cunnilingus, you can do one of two things. You can use a nice, large square of plastic food wrap, or you can cut a condom lengthwise and spread it out over the vulva. Either way is better and safer than using nothing at all.

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