We Aren’t Having Safe Oral Sex

Do you use protection for oral sex? The overwhelming majority of people don’t.

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In fact, I remember during my sex ed classes— we didn’t learn, “Use condoms for all types of sex because you can catch STDs for all types of sex.” We just learned, “Don’t have oral sex.”

Which is not helpful.

Is Oral Sex Safe?

Oral sex is a great and fun way to spend an evening (or morning, or afternoon, or anytime, really) with someone you want to pleasure. But it isn’t safe to assume that it’s, well, safe, despite rumors otherwise. Just because oral sex won’t get you pregnant (except for in very rare and complicated cases) doesn’t mean it isn’t risky.

But, as we know, it’s entirely fruitless to assume that people won’t have it just because they are told not to. But did you know that oral sex is still dangerous? You can’t get pregnant from it, but you can get a plethora of STDs.

We don’t want to stop you from having oral sex. But we want you to be understand the risks and know how you can protect yourself.

In 2013, actor Michael Douglas announced that his throat cancer was from pleasuring too many women orally. While this he later recanted this announcement (it’s tongue cancer, and it’s probably from drinking and smoking his whole life), the truth remains.

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Contracting HPV or genital warts through any means can put you at risk for many sorts of cancer– including throat and mouth cancer if you contract it from oral sex. And it doesn’t have to be from pleasuring too many women, like Douglas claimed. It only has to be from one– a carrier.

Over half of the adults in the United States carry some form of HPV. Over half. Many are asymptomatic, meaning that they don’t show symptoms. In fact, if you’re a purveyor of unsafe sex, you could be carrying HPV and not even know it. The best way is to know is to get checked– and use protection in the future.

And HPV isn’t the only problem. Another sex ed faux-pas from my youth? We were taught that you couldn’t pass oral herpes (HSV-1, or cold sores) sexually, only from saliva-to-saliva contact. That isn’t the case. And I didn’t even learn this until I started writing for the Condom Depot Learning Center. Talk about an educational lapse!

Stay Protected While Having Oral Sex

Even if you’re young, it’s important to have protected oral sex. A recent study found that many young people don’t consider oral to be real sex– perhaps thanks in part to a former president. If you’re with someone who says that they’re a virgin and you have no need to worry about STDs– ask them if they’ve given or received oral as well. Also, know that types of HPV can be passed along from birth.

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And even if STDs aren’t a problem, the mouth is full of bacteria that often isn’t compatible with the fragile ecosystem of the genitals. Receiving cunnilingus is often a big factor in a diagnosis of bacterial vaginosis.

What we need is more awareness about oral sex– and anal sex too, while we’re at it. Viral condom campaigns have worked in the most recent decade. Our unwanted pregnancy rates are dropping, even if our education system is still recovering from the plague of abstinence-only. But our STD rates should be next to nonexistent.

The taste of latex may be unappealing, but you don’t have to resign yourself to it to enjoy oral sex safely. Here are our favorite flavored products:

Top Three Flavored Barriers

1. We have taste-tested a LOT of flavored condoms. Hey, it’s just a perk of the job, OK? But our favorites, by far, are Lifestyles Fun Bumps. And the flavor isn’t even the main draw to these condoms– not only do they have a delightful minty flavor, but they’re great for vaginal and anal– they have studs!

2. If you have a vulva, don’t worry. Your partner doesn’t have to choose between saran wrap or potential diseases. Lixx carries some pretty amazing flavored Dental Dams— and, not gonna lie, we’re pretty big fans of the grape. Need to know how to use a dental dam?

3. If a little oral with your partner is the best vacation you can think of, Durex Tropical Flavors should put you right in mind of a summer vay-cay on the beach. These condoms are a great option for dudes who blow their load a little too early during oral– they are a little thicker than your average condom, but your partner will say, “Mahalo!” either way.

Top Three Flavored Lubricants

1. When you think about flavored lube, you think about WET’s Fun Flavors. It’s pretty much how the company made their name, and their pillow packets have graced sex stores for years. Personally, we’re pretty crazy about their pomegranate.

2. A close second also comes from WET, but it’s for the all-natural crowd. WET Naturals Sensual Strawberry is vagina-friendly, for those with sensitive skin, and it tastes like delicious strawberries.

3. Our other favorite flavored lube brand? Trustex, of course! They have so many flavors, it was pretty impossible to decide on a favorite, so we had to pick Trustex Assorted Sample Pack to best demonstrate their wide range in skill. Be careful, though, because these lubes have glycerine in them– while they’re great for oral, don’t use them for vaginal or anal sex.

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