How to practise safe oral sex

Oral sex can be enjoyable, but it's important to make sure you're having safe oral sex
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Oral sex, sometimes known as just “oral”, can be a really enjoyable experience. Oral sex involves stimulating your partner’s genitals with your mouth, lips or tongue. Sometimes this is referred to as “going down” on someone.

It’s important for everyone to practise safe oral sex to avoid the risk of a sexually transmitted infection.

What is oral sex?

Oral sex involves using your mouth, lips or tongue to stimulate another person’s genitals or anus.

This could be:

  • Using your mouth, lips or tongue to stimulate the clitoris, sometimes known as a lick out.
  • Using your mouth, lips or tongue to stimulate a penis, sometimes known as a blow job.
  • Using your mouth, lips or tongue to stimulate the anus, sometimes known as rimming or a rim job.

Oral sex can be very intimate, and no one should pressure you into having oral sex if you’re not ready. It’s okay to say no to anything you’re not comfortable with. If you would like to try oral sex but your partner isn’t ready, give them some time. Be sure that you have sexual consent before having any type of sex with someone, and be sure to be patient, respectful, and understanding. 

Communicate with your partner to find out how they feel about oral sex. Oral sex can be pleasurable for both partners, so find out what they like and don’t like, and make sure they’re comfortable.

Practising safe oral sex

There are a few things to keep in mind when having oral sex.

Protection for safe oral sex

  • There are two main forms of protection for oral sex, dental dams and condoms
  • Dental dams can be used for oral sex performed on a vagina or anus. A dental dam is a rectangular piece of thin latex that you hold over the area you want to stimulate, acting as a barrier between your mouth and you partner’s genitals or anus 
  • A condom can be used for oral sex performed on a penis. You can also use a condom if you don’t have a dental dam, by cutting it up and holding the latex over the area
  • You can buy flavoured dental dams and condoms to give you a more enjoyable experience

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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