Safe Oral Sex 101

Oral sex involves using your mouth or tongue to stimulate your partners’ genitals or anus. While the possibility of being infected with an STI during oral sex is low, it is not negligible. The risk of STIs like chlamydia, herpes, gonorrhea, syphilis, and HPV still exists in the case of oral sex. Some of these cause prolonged health issues or can not be cured. So the role of protection is significant even during oral sex.

Source:Teen Vogue , Illustrator: Lydia Ortiz

How can you protect yourself during oral sex?

Tongue condoms, regular condoms, and dental dams are all protection options during oral sex. 

A tongue condom is worn on the tongue and looks similar to a regular condom, except for a wider opening designed to fit your lips. It can be used for all types of oral sex. Be it fellatio (mouth to penis), cunnilingus (mouth to vagina), or analingus (mouth to anus).


A dental dam is another efficient protection against STIs during oral sex. It is a thin and flexible piece of latex that can be placed over your partner’s vagina or anus during cunnilingus or analingus. It is necessary to ensure that the dam covers the entire vaginal and anal area without being stretched too much. Furthermore, to ensure that it remains affixed during the activity, you can try holding it with your hand or even using a little lube between the dam and the skin. 

Sources: Healthline

How to tackle the problem of accessibility?

Tongue condoms and dental dams may not be readily available in pharmacies or local stores despite their usefulness, but they can always be found online.  For fellatio, one can always choose a regular condom (latex or Polyurethane) that can be worn over the penis. It should be kept in mind to avoid condoms that have nonoxynol-9, a spermicide that can cause irritation and tongue numbness. Experimenting with flavored condoms or using unflavoured condoms with flavored lubes could also make the whole experience more enjoyable!

For analingus and cunnilingus DIY dental dams can be made using regular condoms. This can be done by snipping off the tip and the ring of a standard condom and cutting along one side of the condom. Even in this case, care should be taken to ensure that the condom does not contain nonoxynol-9, which should not be ingested. 

Apart from using proper protection, the following precautions can be taken to protect yourself from STIs:

  • Avoid engaging in oral sex if you have cuts or sores in or around your mouth or if you have any mouth or throat infections.
  • Avoid oral sex in case of visible sores, ulcers, or lumps on the genitals or anal area.
  • Avoid ejaculating in your partner’s mouth.
  • Avoid brushing or flossing right before oral sex. 
Source: Greatist


Despite the fact that the risk of contracting STIs is lower through oral sex than anal or vaginal sex, the possibility is not insignificant. Using protection during oral sex can go a long way in preventing several STIs. Always read the labels and choose products that are safe for oral use and rated for protection against STIs. Furthermore, if you are sexually active, it is always advisable to get a sexual health check-up once a year, regardless of any symptoms.

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