When you're dating, safer sex applies to oral sex too.
Even a woman who tries to take all the precautions in the world when it comes to intercourse — from a six-week screening process to a virtual drugstore of condoms in her nightstand drawer — can have a tendency to travel south of the border for her partner without so much as a second thought. It seems the same goes for allowing someone to go south of her border. But did you know that keeping sex safe applies to oral sex too?
Unfortunately, oral sex can be as risky for your health as vaginal sex. Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) don't need much more than a wet, warm environment to set up shop, so the mouth is as hospitable as the genitals. Gonorrhea, herpes (both oral and genital), hepatitis, HPV, and even HIV can all be transmitted through oral sex.
So for the same reasons you use a condom when you're not sure about a new partner's health status, you should play it safe when engaging in oral sex. A dental dam or plastic wrap will work for you, and flavored condoms are a fun method of protection when it's his turn. Just don't make the mistake of assuming oral sex is safe sex until you've both gotten tested. If you aren’t sure how to bring up this conversation, consider the following:
First, a good rule of thumb is this: If you feel extremely awkward discussing safer sex with your partner, you probably aren’t ready to hit the bedroom. Some discomfort is natural, but if the issue has you in hives, it’s probably not a good idea to become physical just yet. The sex itself will likely be uncomfortable as well since you haven’t quite established enough trust and intimacy.
Second, bring up the topic long before you hit the bedroom. Don’t wait until you are hot and heavy and about to make the leap into sexual activity. Instead, bring it up in a neutral time and place, like over dinner or while you are chatting on the phone. You don’t have to feel silly bringing the topic up. It’s crucial to protect yourself, and in this day and age, any responsible partner will appreciate and respect your commitment to safety.
Third, don’t feel the need to make the topic grave and depressing. Instead, be lighthearted. Perhaps say something like, “I think things are going so well between us. I have to admit I have definitely thought about us taking things to the next level. But, before we do, I think we should talk about our histories a little bit. I was tested in May and got a clean bill of health.” Offer to go get tested with him if he hasn’t been in a while, and make it clear that you aren’t being accusatory or judgmental…just cautious!
Lastly, make sure to discuss your safer sex practices. For example, agree to use dental dams and condoms each and every time, and then stock up on some different varieties and flavors so you can have fun experimenting together. Remember, great sex requires mutual trust and respect…both of which cannot exist without safer sex precautions!