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STI Myth: Oral Sex Is Safe Sex

How often do we hear people say they didn’t really have sex-because she only gave him a blowjob or he just went ‘down on her’. The assumption is that by sex is defined as intercourse, and if we aren’t having ‘sex’ we are protected from a sexually transmitted infection.

Wrong. Let’s look at a the facts:

Myth: Oral Sex isn’t really sex and I can’t get an STD from it

  • Oral sex, without protection, is not safe sex. It’s true a woman can’t get pregnant from oral sex alone but it is still a sexual act. Sexually transmitted infections can be contracted by the giver or the receiver of oral sex.
  • Many people are unaware of their STI/STD status and some people won’t tell the truth when asked.
  • Herpes, genital and oral, is transmitted by skin to skin contact. A cold sore is a form of herpes–so when you kiss someone with a cold sore or if you have a cold sore and place your mouth on their genitals there is a risk of transmission.
  • Condoms can reduce the risk of transmission of STIs, but do not eliminate it entirely. The risk varies depending on the type of STD. Herpes and HPV (human papillomavirus) for example are contracted by skin to skin contact. HIV is transmitted through contact with bodily fluids. A condom is more effective in reducing the risk of HIV but using a condom on someone who has Herpes or HPV still carries a risk as those STDs may be present on skin around the sex organs.
  • You can effectively give a good blowjob and use a condom. Condoms manufactured today are safer, stronger, and THINNER than those in the past, allowing for more pleasurable sensations.

Know the facts about safe sex and STD/STIs. Use caution and enjoy a healthier, longer and more satisfying (oral) sex life.

Reviewed by Luis Ferdinand M. Papa, MD, MHA

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