Thursday, January 3, 2008

Oral Sex

Opinions differ on the use of safer-sex barriers for oral sex. It's clear that herpes can be transmitted from genitals to mouth or mouth to genitals during unprotected oral sex. It is also very possible to pick up a bacterial infection of the mouth or throat by going down on someone who currently has a bacterial STD (typically Gonorrhea, Syphillis, or Chlamydia), but these can usually be cured with antibiotics once they're identified.

At the time of this guide's writing, the available evidence strongly suggested that the risk of transmitting HIV was much, MUCH lower for unprotected oral sex than for unprotected anal or vaginal intercourse, and conventional wisdom amongst sex educators was that the risk is much lower for the person being sucked or licked than for the person doing the sucking or licking. For the person doing the sucking or licking, it seemed physically plausible that: the risk of transmission could be lower if your gums (and lips/mouth/throat) are healthy, if you don't let men come in your mouth, and if you don't perform cunnilingus on a woman while she is menstruating.

Some sex educators recommend NOT flossing or brushing your teeth for an hour before giving unprotected oral sex (use an anti-bacterial mouthwash if you're concerned about bad breath or just want to freshen up), and others recommend quickly looking over the genitals you're about to go down on for obvious signs of contagious STDs (including genital warts, which can potentially be transmitted from genitals to mouth). If your policy for performing unprotected fellatio is to not let your partner come in your mouth and he does so anyway, it's probably better to immediately spit than to either wait or swallow, and it may help (especially for bacterial STDs) to then go use an anti-bacterial or peroxide mouthwash. Pre-cum can contain HIV, and although not letting men come in your mouth SIGNIFICANTLY reduces your already low risk to even lower levels, if you are concerned about becoming infected via pre-cum while performing fellatio you have two risk-reduction options: not taking the head of his penis in your mouth or using barriers for oral sex.

If after getting all the current facts you decide that your personal safety standards include barriers for oral sex, then you'll need to use latex condoms (without Nonoxynol-9) for fellatio, and either regular saran wrap or one of those "Glyde" dams for cunnilingus (for cunnilingus, put a little water-based lube on your partner's side of the barrier to increase the sensation transmitted to her). The same barrier techniques used for cunnilingus can also be used for analingus (rimming), where they should be considered essential if the person doing the licking isn't immunized against hepatitis A or if the person being licked may have a bacterial infection.

Source @ Sexuality.org

No comments: