For a lot of people, oral sex is a taboo topic – something too private and personal to be discussed openly. The problem with that is that the silence has resulted in a dangerous lack of knowledge. When it comes to your health, ignorance isn’t bliss. In fact, it can be costly and painful. For the sake of your health and safety, you need to know the risks of oral sex.
What is oral sex?
Oral sex is contact of one person’s mouth or tongue with the genitals of another person.
Is it sex?
Yes. Sexual activity is any activity where bodily contact is meant to give or derive sexual gratification. A lot of teens will say that oral sex isn’t really sex. Don’t be deceived.
Is it safe?
While you cannot get pregnant by having oral sex, you are exposing yourself to the risk of getting a sexually transmitted disease. Some of these diseases are painful. Some of them cannot be treated. And some of them can be deadly.
If you engage in oral sex with many people, remember that you are being exposed to not only them, but everyone they have ever had sex with. Check out your sexual exposure here.
Some of the diseases that can be transmitted during oral sex include:
A highly contagious STD, transmission can occur during vaginal, anal, or oral sex. Read more about syphilis here. Oral sex is an efficient way to transmit syphilis, and has played an important role in a number of recent syphilis outbreaks.
Gonorrhea is a very common, highly contagious STD that is passed through contact with infectious fluids. Gonorrhea survives well in the throat, and gonorrhea throat infections from oral sex are relatively common. Although most throat infections from gonorrhea cause no symptoms, you can develop a sore throat, fever, and swollen lymph nodes. Read more about gonorrhea here.
Chlamydia is the most common bacterial STD in the USA. It is particularly common among sexually active youth. In addition to vaginal sex, chlamydia appears to be transmissible through oral sex. Read more about chlamydia here.
Herpes simplex-1 and herpes simplex-2 are very similar viruses that are transmitted by direct contact. Because herpes is a viral infection, there is no cure. Treatments do exist to reduce the severity and frequency of outbreaks, but the disease will never be eliminated. Both types of herpes can be spread from an infected person to an uninfected person even if the infected person has no visible sores. Both viruses are easy to spread through oral sex. Read more about herpes here.
Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common viral STD and is transmitted by skin-to-skin contact. This means that you don’t even have to have sex to get it! Some types of HPV can cause genital warts, while other types can cause cervical cancer. HPV appears to be transmissible by oral sex. Read more about HPV here.
HIV is transmitted through contact with infected blood or body fluid. The virus invades the immune system and destroys it over time. People with HIV eventually develop AIDS, which is often fatal. Transmission of HIV can be caused by having anal sex, multiple sex partners, or shooting drugs. Transmission of the virus also occurs during vaginal and oral sex. Read more about HIV here.
Emotional Risks of Oral Sex
In addition to the risks of STDs, oral sex can really mess with your mind. You may feel serious regret over your loss of innocence, self-control, or self-respect. You might get a reputation you don’t want or memories you can’t forget. Oral sex is powerful enough to not only damage existing relationships, but future ones as well. Why risk it?