FOral sex is the stimulation of the genitals using mouth and the tongue. This is an act of sex that can be given and received from both men and women. Oral sex can also be known by the common names ‘going down’, a ‘blow job’, ‘giving head’, a ‘69’ or ‘rimming’ (plus plenty more). Its official names are cunnilingus if done on a woman, and fellatio if done on a man. Oral sex can be a very interesting way of showing love between two partners especially when they both consent to it except that it comes with some risk if done unprotected.

Risks of oral sex

Many studies have revealed that oral sex is not safe sex. This is because oral sex involves sucking, licking and stimulating of your partner’s genitals with tongue and lips, during this process you might likely come in contact with genital fluids and secretions and this puts you at risk of STIs. Some of these include;

  • Gonorrhea
  • Syphilis
  • Hepatitis A
  • Hepatitis B
  • Hepatitis C
  • Genital warts
  • Genital herpes
  • Chlamydia
  • HIV
  • Public lice
  • Oral cancer: Researchers have found that some cancers of the oropharynx (the middle of the throat) and tonsils are probably caused by a certain type of human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV is common, but it doesn’t always cause cancer. If you aren’t exposed to HPV during oral sex, you’re not at risk for cancer.

     How to reduce risks of oral sex

  • Avoid unprotected oral sex
  • Avoid giving oral sex when you have a cut, blisters, and warts around the genitals or your mouth
  • Do not give or receive oral sex from a partner with 2 or more sexual partners
  • Avoid oral sex if your partner has STIs
  • Do not give oral sex if you have unhealed or inflamed piercings in their mouth or genitals
  • Avoid oral sex if you have a throat infection
  • Do not give oral sex to a woman who is on her period.
  • For oral sex on a man, you a condom
  • For a woman, use a dam (small thin latex or plastic square that acts as a barrier between the vagina and the mouth)

When to see a doctor

You should see a doctor if any of the following happens;

  • You’ve recently had unprotected sex or oral sex with someone new
  • You or your partner have unprotected sex with other people
  • Your partner has symptoms of an STI.

It is important to get treatment for an STI as soon as possible. Some STIs can’t be treated but medications may reduce symptoms. Leaving an STI untreated may cause discomfort in the short term, and may harm your health or fertility in the long term.