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Oral sex

Information on how to ensure that oral sex is also safer sex

Written by SpunOut | View this authors Twitter page and posted in health

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Oral sex is a sexual act that can be mutually pleasurable to both partners. For some, it is a part of foreplay before another type of sex, and for others, it is the main sex act they do. It can be performed by people of any gender or sexual orientation.

But what actually is oral sex?

  • Oral sex involves using your mouth, lips or tongue to stimulate another person's genitals or anus.
  • You cannot get pregnant from oral sex.
  • You can get certain STIs from oral sex, such as herpes, genital warts, gonorrhoea, hepatitis B, HIV, syphillis and trichomoniasis.
  • Oral sex is very intimate. Don’t let anyone pressure or bully you into having oral sex before you are ready or before you feel safe and comfortable with that person.
  • Likewise, don't pressure or bully anyone into having oral sex with you before they feel safe and comfortable with that. If you're not sure, simply ask them. If they don't wish to have oral sex, be patient, respectful and understanding. Check out our guide to sexual consent here.
  • Some slang terms you might hear for oral sex include "going down on someone", "giving head", "blowjobs" or "lick-outs".

Making sure that oral sex is safer sex

  • You have to use a condom during oral sex performed on a penis, and use a dental dam for oral sex performed on a vagina or anus, otherwise you risk getting a sexually transmitted infection (STI). Most of the STIs that you can pick up during oral sex are treatable with antibiotics, but some can have serious consequences. 
  • If you have a cut in your mouth, bleeding gums, lip sores or broken skin it is possible for infection to enter your body, so make sure to avoid oral sex then.
  • For an enjoyable experience, it’s important that your genitals are clean before having oral sex.

Remember: The age of sexual consent in Ireland is 17. If you're over 16, you can consent to medical treatment including any treatment or tests needed.

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Published February 11th, 2013
Last updated March 28th, 2017
Tags oral sex sexual health safer sex
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