Every parent needs to understand the dangers of oral sex because surveys indicate that 71% of people aged 16 to 24 claimed to have had oral intercourse. The risk of oral sex is great because it involves putting the mouth to the genitals or the anus.
Oral sex risks include a wide variety of infections and other health problems. The dangers of oral sex can be increased by the number of partners and refusal to use protection. There are protective devices, including dental dams and condoms, which can stop most pathogens available. Unfortunately, many people don’t use these devices because they underestimate the risks or, worse, believe that vaccines or antibiotics will protect them. This line of thinking is dangerous because many bacteria are now antibiotic resistant, and there are many diseases that don’t respond to vaccines, such as HIV, which causes AIDs.
Top 8 Oral Sex Risks
Everybody needs to understand the risk of oral sex if they want to avoid getting sick.
1. HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus)
The virus that causes AIDS. The good news is the risk of catching HIV through oral sex is low. It is, however, possible to catch HIV through oral sex if body fluids enter the mouth. Mouth ulcers, injuries to the mouth, and other infections are among the factors that can increase the risk of catching HIV through oral sex. Even though HIV can be controlled by drugs, there is no cure for it, and it often leads to death.
A common bacterial infection that can be spread by common forms of oral sex. It infects both sexes and causes infections in the throat, genitals, and rectum. Gonorrhea is particularly dangerous because some people can be infected without showing symptoms. Like all bacterial infections, it can be treated with antibiotics, but there are some antibiotic resistant strains around.
This is one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases (STD). The causative bacteria can enter the body by close contact with an infected sore, normally during vaginal, anal, and oral sex, or by sharing sex toys with someone infected.
This bacterial infection has become very common in recent years. It is now the most widespread STD in the United Kingdom, where as many as 10% of sexually active people have it. Chlamydia has some nasty potential side effects, including pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), which can damage the female genitals and potentially cause cancer. It can spread through oral sex; doctors have found it in the throats of some people.
5. Hepatitis A & B
Hepatitis refers to viral infections that can cause inflammation of the liver. Persons who engage in anal sex are more at risk. Since they are viruses, Hepatitis A and B do not respond to antibiotics. If you practice rimming, you should talk with your doctor about getting vaccinated.
Another common viral infection, there are two varieties, oral and genital, both of which can spread by oral sex. Like gonorrhea, it can be spread by persons with no symptoms. Some drugs can reduce the symptoms, but there is no cure. To make matters worse, research shows condoms are not that effective in controlling its spread. Persons with cold sores should avoid oral sex because cold sores are caused by herpes.
Some of the infections spread by oral sex, including genital human papillomavirus (HPV) and Chlamydia, could cause cancer. HPV, the most common STD according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is known to cause cervical cancer. Fortunately, there are HPV vaccines that can stop the development of cervical cancer.
Worm infections can be spread through oral sex. The most common pathogen of such is the threadworm or pinworm, which lays eggs in the anus. Symptoms include inflammation and itching. Worms can be treated with drugs.
How to Reduce Oral Sex Risks
Despite what some people think, oral sex is not safe sex. Fortunately, the dangers of oral sex can be reduced with some simple precautions. These safety measures include the following tips:
- Limit the number of sexual partners and avoid sex with persons that have a lot of partners.
- Never engage in oral sex with a person that you do not know or trust.
- Practice good hygiene by bathing, brushing teeth, using mouthwash, and washing hands. Wash the mouth and all areas touched right after sex.
- Use protective devices such as dental dams and condoms, which can stop some but not all pathogens.
- Never have oral sex with a person who is dirty or practices poor hygiene.
- Avoid having oral sex when you are sick or suffering from a cold.
- Never have oral sex with someone who is visibly sick.
- Avoid oral sex if you have cold sores or other sores in your mouth.
- Never have oral sex with somebody with cold sores even if you use a condom.
- Women should get the HPV vaccine before engaging in any type of sexual activity.
- Seek medical treatment immediately if you think you’ve caught an infection from oral sex to reduce the above mentioned oral sex risks.