● Oral sex is the act of stimulating your partner's genitals or anus using your mouth, lips, or tongue.
● Oral sex may be given and received by both men and women.
● Oral intercourse without a condom exposes one to a variety of Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs).
Oral sex was once considered taboo, but it is now a regular kind of sexual activity. One undoubtedly heard oral sex referred to by a variety of terms, such as 'going down,' a 'blow job,' 'giving head,' a '69,' or 'rimming' (plus plenty more).
Furthermore, researchers have argued for researching teenage sexual behaviour from a normative developmental viewpoint, which looks at non-procreative sexual activities as part of sexuality development and possible contributions to good and negative consequences.
Consistent with this normative viewpoint, most people have oral sex by the end of adolescence/beginning of adulthood, and so oral sex is part of the discovery and development of one's sexual self at this time.
Oral sex has formal medical terminology as well:
● Cunnilingus for oral sex on a woman (the vagina, vulva, and clitoris)
● Fellatio for oral sex on a male (the penis).
● Anilingus is a term used to describe oral sex that involves the anus.
What the Risks of Oral Sex?
Many specialists believe that oral sex is not safe. Although it is ‘safer sex' than genital intercourse without a condom in that you will not become pregnant from oral sex alone, oral sex without a condom still involves a high risk of getting or transmitting sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
● You prefer to give rather than receive oral sex then, you are more likely to be exposed to the genital fluids of your partner.
● You have wounds, sores, or ulcers in your mouth at the moment
● You don't utilize any safeguards.
● One partner may be concerned about their oral sexual performance or what their partner would think of them while having oral sex. Oral sex may make one person feel under the power of the other. All of these are critical concerns to address before incorporating oral sex into your relationship.
What Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STIs) Can You Get from Oral Sex?
There is a range of STIs associated with oral sex. Some of them are given below:
HPV is a virus that has been linked to cervical cancer in women. However, HPV may cause a variety of different cancers, including throat and oral cancers, as well as cancers of other sections of the genital tract, as well as other dangerous disorders.
HPV is a widespread virus that may harm both men and women. It is transmitted by either vaginal or oral sex. Both heterosexual and same-sex couples are affected by HPV.
Some HPV strains cause genital warts, which are soft growths on the genitals; however, genital warts are seldom transmitted to the mouth and lips during oral sex. Genital warts are quite prevalent, yet they are incurable. Medication or surgery may be used to treat them.
Sometimes HPV causes no symptoms at all.
The more relationships you have, the higher your HPV risk. Although contracting HPV does not ensure cancer, studies in the United States have shown that more than half of instances of mouth cancer may be traced back to HPV, for example. Men are more vulnerable than women.
Consult your doctor if you believe you have HPV or genital warts.
Herpes is a common sexually transmitted infection (STI) that comes in two varieties: oral herpes (blisters and cold sores around your mouth or nose) and genital herpes (pain, itching, and small sores on the genitals that turn into ulcers and scabs). You can get either kind of herpes via oral sex if you don't use a condom (and vaginal or anal sex without a condom too).
If your spouse has cold sores around their lips (oral herpes), they can transmit them to your genitals during oral intercourse if you have never had cold sores. If your partner has herpes blisters around their genitals, they might spread them to your mouth if you have oral intercourse with them.
It is possible to have herpes without experiencing any symptoms. One can still surpass the disease to their partner through skin contact.
All of these STIs are caused by viruses or bacteria and may be transmitted in the same way: by contact with contaminated body fluids including sperm, pre-ejaculatory fluid, blood, or vaginal secretions. As a result, having oral intercourse puts you at risk for certain illnesses. HIV is also included in this group.
If contaminated fluids come into touch with any wounds, wounds, or ulcers you have, you might get infected with one of these STIs. Fluids can also enter inflammatory cells on the lips, mouth, genitals, or anus, as well as the membrane of your eye or the cells of your neck. This touch may allow fluids to enter your bloodstream and cause you to become ill.
Am I at a risk of contracting Hepatitis A from Oral Sex?
Hepatitis A is a gastrointestinal illness spread through contact with contaminated feces. If you have oral intercourse with your spouse and lick or touch his or her anus, even if it appears clean, you may be at risk of contracting this disease.
If left untreated, syphilis can be fatal, but it is curable with the appropriate therapy.
Symptoms appear in three phases: a single sore (typically painless), a rash or sores (or both), organ damage, and, in the late stages, can lead to death if ignored. The late stage of syphilis may not appear for 10 to 30 years after infection.
You can get syphilis by having vaginal, anal, or oral intercourse with someone who has a syphilis sore. Sores on your partner's penis, vagina or anus, rectum, or lips and mouth are all possibilities.
If you had sex without a condom, then look for these symptoms:-
● Itches, rashes, lumps, or blisters in or around the genitals, vagina, anus, or mouth
● Unusual vaginal discharge
● Discharge from the penis
● Irritation, pain, or burning when you urinate
● Pain or bleeding during or after sex
● Bleeding between periods
● Pain in the testicles or lower abdomen
● Sore throat.
Even if you don’t have any symptoms, you may want to see your doctor if:
● You’ve recently had sex without a condom with someone new
● You or your partner have sex without a condom with other people
● Your partner has symptoms of an STI.
The best strategies to limit the hazards of oral sex, like any other sex, are to abstain (not have oral sex) or to use protection.
Avoid oral sex if your partner:
● has an STI
● has sores, cuts, ulcers, blisters, warts or rashes around their genitals, anus or mouth
● has unhealed or inflamed piercings in their mouth or genitals
● has a throat infection
● is a woman and has her period.
Avoid getting semen or vaginal fluid in your eyes.
When having oral intercourse with a male, wear a condom.
Should You Get Tested for STIs If You Had Oral Sex?
If you become sexually active, change partners, or begin a new relationship, consult your doctor about testing. Consult your doctor if you suspect you are suffering from an STI.
If you opt not to use condoms, your partner should be checked.
The takeaway message from this article is that although oral sex poses certain risks to the health of the couple engaging in it. However, most of these risks are merely due to poor hygienic practices among couples or individuals.
With personal hygiene taken care of, usage of protection in the form of condoms or dams should provide an extra layer of protection from the activity that is otherwise very enjoyable and plays a major role in the bonding of a couple. Hence, oral sexual practices are certainly not discouraged.
A motivated student of Medicine & Surgery (MBBS) at R. G. Kar Medical College & Hospital, Kolkata, having a knack for reading and composing medical literature. When he's not writing content for MEDtalks, Swapnil is usually looking up the latest trends and innovations in Medicine.