Oral Sex

Regardless of common beliefs, unprotected oral sex is a risky behavior. You can contract herpes, genital warts, or other STDs. If you do, their symptoms may show up on your face.

The following are two forms of Herpes:

  • Herpes simplex-1 (HSV-1)
  • Herpes simplex-2 (HSV-2)

It was previously believed that herpes simplex-1 was causing only 30% of genital herpes cases and was primarily a herpes found around the mouth area, while herpes simplex-2 was the main culprit for genital herpes. This gave a false sense of security that herpes simplex-1was less likely to transfer to the genitals. However, a recent study of Univ. of Wisconsin Madison college students over a decade found that herpes simplex-1 was in fact the cause of 78% of all genital herpes cases. This means cold sores from the mouth commonly cause genital herpes through unprotected oral sex. They also found that HSV-1 was more common in ages 16 to 21 than older ages, which puts teens at higher risk. The most scary thing is that the herpes simplex-1 virus is infective a couple days before a cold sore appears, so people can be shedding the virus in their saliva and have no idea that they are infectious. The reason, simplex-1 has become the main cause of genital herpes on this particular campus, may quite possibly be because people tend to use protection during intercourse but not during oral sex. Remember, any form of herpes is not curable. You may be able to decrease the frequency of flare ups (when the sores appear) with medication, but you will never be rid of the disease. For more info see Herpes.

If someone's mouth contains blood, as it does after brushing teeth, a blood born STD such as AIDS could technically be transferred to the person on which they are performing oral sex. If a person has a cut on their lip (tiny cracks are common on chapped lips) or an open sore inside their mouth (from eating chips for example), they could technically contract a blood born STD from the person on which they're performing oral sex.

There are ways to perform oral sex using protection such as a condom, dental damn, sheet of latex, or saran wrap. These methods are not used often, but if you have oral sex, they are recommended.

Some people may think of oral sex as less intimate or risky than sexual intercourse. The truth is, it carries many risks. It can also be much more intimate than sexual intercourse. Oral sex is performed to pleasure the partner and thus can be a selfless expression of love and devotion. Oral sex can also be cheap and brutal when performed on a person that doesn't respect the person giving it. A rough blow job could actually gag a woman to the point of vomiting. Some women unfortunately give blow jobs to avoid having sexual intercourse. This should not be necessary. Women should only do what they truly want to do, and only what is safe for their bodies.

Know your partner well. People often lie about their sexual history. There's really no way to know for sure how many people your partner has slept with. Abstinence like always, is the only way to delete the risk. If you do have oral sex, we highly recommend using protection. If you don't, you could aquire a non-curable STD.

References:
"Cold sore virus is cause of new genital herpes" Reported at National STD Prevention Conference in San diego, by UW-Madison Univ. Health Services epidemiologist, Craig Roberts, and Wisonsin state Laboratory of Hygiene epidemiologist John Pfister, 3/4/02

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