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Updated 11 March 2014

Good, clean fun with your mouth

Several STDs including HIV, herpes, syphilis, gonorrhea, HPV, and viral hepatitis can be transmitted through oral sex.

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Many people mistakenly believe that oral sex is safe, as it does not lead to unwanted pregnancies. However, safe sex is about much more than that. What about sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)?

While oral sex is less risky than vaginal or anal sex, several STDs including HIV, herpes, syphilis, gonorrhea, HPV, and viral hepatitis can be transmitted through both penetrative and oral sex.  

Any sore, lesion or scratch in your mouth or on your lips can allow bacteria and viruses easy access into your bloodstream. Everyone is vulnerable. Even something as normal as brushing your teeth can produce microscopic lesions in your gums, or eating food can scratch the lining of your tongue.

And, if you have a piercing in your mouth, the irritation caused by oral sex can provide an easy point of entry for the virus or bacteria to get into your bloodstream.

So what do you do?

It is important to get tested for STDs. You or your partner could be carrying an STD without even knowing it. Not all STDs present symptoms immediately and as a result you could unknowingly be infected with the disease, or give it to your partner.

You may have been in a committed relationship for years, but did you and your partner go for an STD screening before you got together the first time? Many virgins also mistakenly believe that they could not have STDs. Just because someone has never had sex, it does not mean that they can't have a disease that may be sexually transmitted.

Once you’ve tested yourself for STDs, protect yourself and your partner by doing the following:

When giving a blow job protect yourself by making sure that a condom is placed on your partner’s penis. If you don’t like the smell and taste of the latex; opt for a flavoured condom. There are many types of condoms that are ultra thin and won’t interfere with enjoyment.

For oral sex on a woman, protect yourself by stretching a "dental dam" (a sheet of latex) over her vaginal opening and clitoris. You can also make your own dental dam by cutting a condom open and stretching it out as a sheet.

When it comes to oral sex, be creative and have fun, but always put safety first.

Video: how to make your own dental dam

A guide to safe oral sex

(Photo of lovers from Shutterstock)

 

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