The act of sexual intercourse isn’t just limited to peno-vaginal penetration, therefore, practicing safer sex shouldn’t be limited to its penetrative aspects. Oral sex – which includes sexual stimulation through mouth-to-penis (fellatio), mouth-to-vagina (cunnilingus), or mouth–to–anus — should therefore be treated with as much caution, since, contrary to popular belief, it can cause multiple STIs if not done right. Sure, oral sex doesn’t amount to an unwanted pregnancy scare, but that doesn’t mean you can take it lightly and forgo using protection during the process.
STIs, or sexually transmitted infections, are usually caused by viruses or bacteria that like warm, soft, moist places such as your mouth and genital areas. Hence, the exchange of bodily fluids during any kind of sexual activity (whether penetrative or not) or even the direct contact with skin or sores can expose one to such diseases. Though there's admittedly a lesser risk of contracting STIs in oral sex than in vaginal or anal sex, the risk still exists. You can contract bacterial infections ranging from Chlamydia to syphilis, to gonorrhoea, and in some cases, you can even develop genital warts in the mouth. HIV, too, can be a possible outcome of unprotected oral sex.
If you adminster oral sex from mouth-to-vulva (commonly known as cunnilingus) or from mouth-to-anus, the following protective methods are somewhat effective:
Plastic Wrap or Cling Film: This is an inexpensive protective method, but surprisingly useful. Cling film is easily available in grocery stores, and you can (after sanitising it first), spread it on to the vulva or the anal area, apply oil or water-based lubricants, and then carry on with the oral sex process. It covers a large area, and allows heat to be felt through it, so there’s no difference in the kind of stimulation one encounters with or without it. The only thing to keep in mind that it rips easily, so be gentle with handling it.
Dental Dams, Licks, & Other Latex Square Barriers: Dental dams and the other varieties of protective material that’s available in the market is nothing but a piece of rubber to cover the vulva during cunnilingus. Some dental dams will stay in place while others must be manually held in place for protection, or need to be secured using garter belts. While they offer a more foolproof protection from bodily fluids, they’re not as easily available in the market.
Cutting a condom into a rectangle: With a non-lubricated condom, one can always off the very tip and the very end and then cut lengthwise to make a rectangle, which would form a more than effective barrier during cunnilingus or anal sex. This, too, needs to held in place firmly and then slowly lubricated before the oral stimulation commences, but it’s a still good and cheap method of protection.
Condoms are always the best, the easiest, the cheapest, and the safest form of penal protection. Though there are cases of condoms breaking or getting damaged, they are still effective 99% of the time, and are easily available in drugstores and pharmacies, which avoids an extra hassle. Condoms not only restrict the exchange of bodily fluids, but also offer better lubrication during the process.
If you’re the one administering oral sex, it is imperative to always make sure that the genitalia you’re about to orally stimulate are perfectly healthy, even apart from protection. If you spot any lesions, growths or unusual discharge in the genital area, it’s best to not proceed. These symptoms can be a result of infections, and physical contact with them can lead to you getting infected too.
Oral sex is fun, for sure, but it’s definitely not a matter of joke. There are serious risk factors involved if one isn’t careful, and to be aware of any of your partner’s possible diseases, and to use the right kind of protection is supremely important. Sex is healthy, and safe sex even more so. So, let’s start being more careful while enjoying it.