As per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, involving the mouth to stimulate the genital parts (clitoris, penis, anus) is called oral sex.
Oral sex is common among sexually active people, especially those between 18 to 44 years of age. However, as per a study, almost 55 per cent of males and females aged between 15 to 19 years have had oral sex at least once with the opposite sex.
Oral sex is of three types - fellatio (stimulation of the penis with the mouth); cunnilingus (clitoral and vaginal stimulation with tongue); anilingus (stimulating the anal area with tongue).
This article will discuss the benefits and side effects of oral sex and demystify the myths and reveal the facts about oral sex.
Is Oral Sex Is Harmful for Health?
Is oral sex harmful for health? No, oral sex is not harmful if both partners are tested negative for sexually transmitted diseases. However, if you and your partner are not aware of your STDs status or about any unknown condition that might lead to infection, then you must abstain from oral sex.
Oral sex is a safer option when compared with penetration sex. In a healthy relationship and a satisfying sex life, oral sex plays a major role. However, there are a few facts that most people are unaware of about oral sex. These facts are:
1. Throat Cancer From Oral Sex
As per research, oral sex is associated with oropharyngeal cancer (oral and throat cancer). The study concluded that having multiple oral sex partners may increase the risk of developing throat cancer. However, the study discussed that the oral sex that leads to throat cancer is mostly unprotected.
Unprotected sex may transmit infection-causing microorganisms to your oral cavity and the body, making you vulnerable to sexually transmitted infections. Hence, you must make sure that your partner wears a condom before fellatio. It is important to note that you and your partner must use genital wash before getting involved in oral sex.
2. Stress From Oral Sex Due to Oral Hygiene Concerns
Concern about your oral hygiene may give you stress while planning for oral sex. The idea of having oral sex can make you anxious, especially if you are going to indulge in it for the first time. The best way to overcome anxiety and stress is to make sure that your partner uses genital wash and is wearing a condom.
3. Health Risks From Oral Sex
As per a study, oral sex may lead to oral cavity infections, genital areas, and even respiratory tracts. Considering it to be safe in terms of no chances of pregnancy, unprotected oral sex is very common, exposing you to several sexually transmitted infections such as
Is Oral Sex Safe Without Protection?
As per research, unprotected oral sex is not completely safe and may lead to sexually transmitted diseases like HIV, Herpes, Syphilis, and HPV. As per another study, oral sex is considered a risk factor for sexually transmitted infections. Unprotected oral sex may transmit the infection-causing microorganisms if:
1. Your partner has genital or a rectal STD, and you indulge in fellatio or anilingus with them.
2. Your partner has any oral infection, and you indulge in cunnilingus or anilingus with him.
Indulging in anilingus increases the risk of developing sexually transmitted diseases. It is important to note that not all STDs show symptoms, and hence you may get infected without realising that you have contracted the infection. Hence, unprotected oral sex must be avoided. If not possible to avoid, make sure you and your partner disinfect the genitals with a mild genital wash before having oral sex.
As per a study, adolescents who had oral sex showed a higher prevalence of a parasitic infection called toxoplasmosis. The prevalence was higher among females involved in fellatio (stimulation of partner's penis with mouth) and ingested the semen. The study reported that swallowing the semen (ejaculation from the penis) may result in the transmission of toxoplasmosis cysts in the body leading to a fatal infection.
Advantages of Oral Sex
Oral sex is safe over penetrative sex in terms of reduced or no risk of pregnancy. The other benefits and advantages of oral sex are:
1. Improves Sleep Quality
Sleep disturbances are common in this busy world, especially among the working class. As per a study, sex and sleep are important for a person’s best preferred transmit physical and mental well-being, and good sex may be associated with better sleep quality. Sex relaxes the mind by releasing brain-calming hormones. Oral sex is considered the safest way to get a better orgasm resulting in a night of good quality sleep.
2. Memory Booster
As per a study, sleep improves brain plasticity, it's working, and hence the memory. Sex improves sleep which finally results in better memory.
3. Relieves Pain
Endorphins, a hormone that relieves pain, is released when you have sex.
4. Blood Pressure Regulation
As per a study, semen contains soluble HLA that reduces the risk of abnormal and unexplained high blood pressure in pregnant women. Oral sex is the best-preferred way to have sex during pregnancy, and swallowing semen may prevent preeclampsia (high blood pressure during pregnancy).
Sex releases love and good mood hormones that increase your immunity and slow down your ageing process.
How to Have Safe Oral Sex?
Having safe oral sex is important to protect both yourself and your partner from contracting infections. To have safe oral sex, follow the below tips:
- Ask your partner to use a genital wash to clean his genitals
- Make sure you clean your genitals before indulging in the oral sex
- Take precaution to wash your genital areas after having oral sex
- Ask your partner to clean his involved genitals after oral sex
- Ask your partner to wear a condom
- Make sure you and your partner do not have any oral or throat infections at the time of having oral sex
- Wash your face and mouth after oral sex
Side Effects of Oral Sex
Oral sex may have some side effects of its own such as:
Multiple oral sex partners and unprotected oral sex may lead to transmission of HIV. If you have multiple partners, make sure you know the partner's and your STI status. The infection travels faster through the exchange of fluids during oral sex.
Getting involved in oral sex may lead to transmission of Herpes simplex infections leading to painful lesions on the mouth and genital areas. Hence, your partner must be wearing a condom while you perform fellatio.
Like any other infection, gonorrhoea may also spread through body fluids that are exchanged during oral sex. Gonorrhoea symptoms may appear as sore throat, high fever, and inflammation of the lymph nodes.
Oral sex is considered the safe alternative to penetrative sex, but it is not all that safe as it is presumed to be. While performing oral sex, you still need to wear protection and keep your genitals clean. Otherwise, you may end up transmitting or contracting sexually transmitted infections.
- Tarun Kumar, Gagan Puri, July 2015; Oral sex and oral health: An enigma in itself - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC4660550/
- Carin A. Koelman, April 2000; Correlation between oral sex and a low incidence of preeclampsia: A role for soluble HLA in seminal fluid? - https://www.researchgate.net/publication/12608688
- Sheng Li, Xiao-Bing Ni, August 2015; Oral sex and risk of oral cancer: a meta-analysis of observational studies - https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26107371/