Is oral sex safe sex?

The Myth
There is a common myth that oral sex is the safest sex because you won't get pregnant and you won't get any STDs from it.

The Truth
It is absolutely untrue that you can't get sexually transmitted diseases from oral sex. In fact, the opposite is true. Because the tissue lining the mouth is so delicate and less elastic than the vagina, it is easily broken and is not a good barrier to bacteria and viruses. In addition, the mouth and lips more often have dried or cracked areas and so it can be easier to contract a disease through oral sex. Chlamydia, genital herpes, gonorrhea, hepatitis B, HIV, and genital warts (HPV) are some of the most common STDs spread through oral-genital contact.

Staying Safe
If you are sexually active it is a good idea to get tested for STDs routinely. Here are some common signs that you may have caught an STD:

  • Unusual discharge of any fluid from the vagina
  • Pain or irritation when urinating or during intercourse
  • Sores, blisters, ulcers, warts, lumps or rashes anywhere in the genital or anal area
  • Itchiness or irritation in the genital or anal area
To have safe sex, you need to use a condom during fellatio (oral sex on a male), just like during intercourse. Try to find a brand without lubrication or wipe it off. If you practice cunnilingus (oral sex on a female), your partner should use a dental dam. This is a square piece of latex that should be placed over the vulva so that there is no direct contact or exchange of bodily fluids. These precautions should help to reduce the risk of transmitting any STDs.

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