There are a number of myths about oral sex and the transfer of STIs, namely that the two don’t go together. And while the risk of transferring HIV through oral sex is relatively low—unless you or your partner(s) have open sores and/or bleeding gums—other STIs are easily spread through oral sex, including gonorrhea, syphilis, and herpes. Unfortunately, the use of condoms and other forms of protection during oral is rarely presented to the public as an option, nevertheless something we should all actively engage in—and this even less so for performing oral sex on a woman. In spite of what we’re taught, there are a few ways to make oral a safe sex act, while maintaining the same level of sexiness.
Using condoms and dental dams during oral sex is the best way to prevent the spread of STIs. For many, a lubricated condom tastes disgusting, and can deter people from using them during oral sex, a problem that is easily fixed by using non-lubricated condoms during oral sex, and switching to lubricated condoms during penetrative sex. Dental dams, which are pieces of thin, soft plastic meant to cover the vagina and/or anus, are harder to come by and far less popularized than male condoms. In spite of that, they make for an excellent tool in practicing safe oral sex on a woman and/or a person with a vagina. If you don’t have any dental dams lying around, it’s easy enough to make a makeshift dam by cutting a male condom in half long ways so that it forms on flat piece of plastic. Whichever you choose to use, remember to always use a new condom if you’re going between anal and vaginal oral or penetration, and use a new condom after oral sex if the next step is penetration.
Despite popular belief, neither form of protection will degrade the sensation of oral sex. Remembering to use these products and actually applying them may make the process a bit clunkier than normal, but ultimately protecting oneself and one’s partner(s) from contracting disease is more important. Happy licking, folks!
Written by Emma Glassman-Hughes