We hear this question a lot from people who call our support line. It’s a great and important question about a confusing and rarely discussed topic. We know that unprotected vaginal and anal sex are definitely risky, but can you really get an STD from giving or receiving oral sex? And which poses a higher risk, giving or receiving?
Flat out, yes. You can get an STD from giving or receiving oral sex. It’s a relatively lower risk activity for some of the infections, but we don’t see the point in detailing the relative risk level for each STD. Why take the chance at all? If you think it’s a small risk, it’s still a risk, right? Going without a condom or a dental dam while performing or receiving oral sex is unsafe sex. Be especially careful performing oral sex without protection. Think about it. If you have cuts or sores in your mouth, bacteria or a virus can spread. This true even when symptoms aren’t present in your partner. It’s also possible to get throat infections and even throat cancer from unprotected oral sex. Yes, this is unpleasant to think about it, but it’s a fact.
Your best defense? Use a condom or dental dam. They may seem unsexy or less intimate, but in the end, wouldn’t you rather have the faint taste of plastic for a few minutes than deal with a lifetime of suspicious oral infections or worse? By the way, condoms come in flavors, just for this occasion. It turns out that, overall, when it comes to oral sex, it is “safer” to receive than to give. So, give the gift of health and wrap it or dam it before you tap it. (Yeah, that slogan’s still in the shop. We’re working on it!)
Tell us what you think about safe oral sex. Are you practicing safe oral sex? Is anybody? We want to hear from you!