Oral Sex & STIs
STIs are caused by viruses or bacteria that like warm, soft, moist places such as your mouth and genital area (penis, vulva, vagina, anus, area between penis and anus, and area between vulva and anus).
STIs can spread from the genital area to the mouth and from the mouth to the genital area. They are generally passed between people via body fluids or direct contact with skin or sores.
Though there's admittedly less risk of STIs in oral sex than in vaginal or anal sex, the risk still exists. You can get a bacterial infection
, or gonorrhea
in your mouth and/or throat and – in some rarer occasions – can develop genital warts
in the mouth. Herpes is commonly passed between genitals and the mouth, and HIV
can be passed through cuts in the mouth or small abrasions.
The only 100 percent effective way to avoid an STI is not to have oral, vaginal, or anal sex at all. If you are planning to have oral sex, know how to make it safer by avoiding the exchange of bodily fluids and other risky contact.
Before you have oral sex, talk to your partner about sexual history, history of STIs, and protection.