STIs and Oral Sex


Where is the best place to get STI information? I got into a discussion about unprotected oral sex being “safer” than unprotected penetrative sex. The only thing I’ve found is that HIV and Hepatitis are harder to get through unprotected oral sex. It seems to me the risk of getting something through unprotected oral sex would be just as likely as getting something through unprotected penetrative sex. Is that right?

My go to place for STI information is Planned Parenthood. I find the website to be user friendly and filled with the information people actually want to know. Sometimes I double check that information with information from the CDC.

It seems sort of arbitrary to say oral sex is safer than penetrative sex when you could get an infection either way. Perhaps it is the stigma associated with STIs on the genitals in particular that leads to this mentality, or a lack of sexual education when it comes to oral sex.

The language of “you’re more safe if you _____” is hazardous, because it gives people the opportunity to take risks they might not otherwise take.

Are some STIs noted as being more easily transferable through oral or penetrative sex? Sure. You can find resources out there that will break that down for you. But when you can get STIs from oral or penetrative sex, and pass them back and forth between the mouth and the genitals, I personally lose interest in semantics.

If there is doubt as to whether or not a partner has a clean bill of health, or if they are currently being treated for an STI, use barrier methods. While you might not be able to judge the exact risk of getting an oral or genital STI, there is a tangible difference in using a condom or a dental dam to protect yourself and your partner.

If you’re more interested in STIs and the statistics behind them and how they are transmitted, read up and stay read up. I don’t want to begrudge those of you who are interested in all of the specific details of these infections because I think it’s super important to know how things are passed back and forth.

To me, at the end of the day, whats important is how I weigh my safety. Either someone has been recently tested as clean and I’m doing all I can to protect myself, or I’m unsure whether or not someone is clean and I’m taking a risk with myself and my health.

Have a question about sex or love? Submit at the top by hitting ask advice and I’ll answer it on my blog.

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