It’s not breaking news that you can catch an STD from oral sex. Or that you can prevent them by using a condom or dental dam.
But, there’s much more to learn and there’s no such thing as “too prepared or informed.”
Let’s take a closer look at oral sex and STIs…
INFECTIONS ARE NOT CREATED EQUALLY
Some STDs (aka STIs = Sexually Transmitted Infections) carry a greater risk of infection through unprotected oral sex.
GONORRHEA – has been higher among teens as of the publication of this article, AND they are REALLY hard to treat.
GENITAL HERPES – remember that the HSV-1 virus causes cold sores (a common infection that a lot of people have) while the HSV-2 causes genital herpes. The various strains only differ less than 17% of their genome, which is why they can easily “jump” from one site to another.
SYPHILIS – it’s easy to transmit, even the second-stage sores are painless and hard to spot. Condoms won’t do much if there’s a sore outside the latex-covered area.
After gonorrhea, herpes, and syphilis, there are the ones that are “less frequently” passed on.
FOR EXAMPLE: Chlamydia, HIV, Hepatitis A/B/C, Genital warts, Pubic lice, aka Crabs
NOTE: Don’t let the “less frequent” part make you think you can take more risks.
THERE’S A CHANCE OF CANCER
Cancer finds a way to screw up just about anything.
Although there are still plenty of studies going on, current findings show that it’s possible to spread HPV and therefore increase the risk of oral and throat cancers.
However, unlike herpes, it can spread via skin-to-skin contact rather than solely through bodily fluids.
OTHER THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW
1. STIs do not always transmit “both ways”
For example, gonorrhea can be transmitted both ways if oral sex is performed on a man. However, it becomes a different story with catching through cunnilingus because the infection is in the cervix – it’s still possible, but a dental dam will significantly reduce the risk.
2. STI tests are not always accurate
Well, hospital tests, in general, are not always 100% (that’s why they do re-tests). This is just another kick in the ass to keep yourself safe.
3. STIs symptoms are not always visible
People can have an infection and there is no sign whatsoever.
4. It’s not always through sex fluid
Like I mentioned before, it can be through skin-to-skin contact.
5. Sore and cuts will increase chances of infection
Yep, that mouth ulcer will not help things.
6. Women get it worse
For some sciencey reason, health problems from STIs hit women harder than men.
7. Viruses vs Bacteria
Antibiotics can often treat infections caused by bacteria, yeast, or parasites. However, this is no cure for the ones caused by viruses. You can only manage the symptoms.
NOTE: With anything this serious, I always recommend doing some of your own research as well as talking with a health professional.
The relatively high percentage of STIs still being passed on in developed countries is staggering. There are over 30 kinds of infections that can be passed on orally alone.
Whether through lack of education or lack of accessible/affordable testing (or idiots who believe that oral sex is totally safe), people still don’t use condoms … and even less use dental dams.
With all things hanky-panky, the whole “better safe than sorry” approach is best. And remember there’s actually no such thing as “safe” sex … just “safER” sex.
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If you found this article useful, you might enjoy these as well:
- At Home STD Test 101 – Staying Safe But Confidential
- What is a Dental Dam – Add Another Layer of Protection
- 20 Reasons There’s Pain During Sex – For Woman and Men
Anything you want to add? Share in the comments!