The reasons to use protection when having penetrative sex is often highlighted in sexual education and health promotion, but taking preventative measures when having oral sex is also of great importance.

While the risk of contracting an STI from oral sex is less than the risk associated with vaginal or anal sex, there still is risk present. STI’s are likely to occur in parts of the body that are warm and moist—like the genital areas, as well as the mouth. Bacterial infections of common STIs, such as chlamydia, syphilis, and gonorrhea are can occur in the mouth and throat. In some cases, genital warts can even occur in the mouth. STIs can also be contracted in the mouth region as a result of cuts or abrasions from shaving or even flossing.

Talk About it

Communicating with your partners is important in order to know if you are at increased risk. If you know that you or your partner has an STI, using protection during oral sex is of increased importance. Even if neither you nor your partner has a diagnosis of an STI, using protection during oral sex can still reduce risk if there is a chance of an undiagnosed STI.

Regardless of whether or not you or your partner(s) have an STI, there are very effective ways of having safe oral sex. For more information on how to use these methods of protection, go to

Oral Sex on the Vulva & Anus

  • Plastic Wrap (such as Saran or Cling Wrap): This is an inexpensive and easy to find material that covers a larger area and can be used with oil-based or water-based lubes. Caution should be used as they can rip with fingernails
  • Dental Dams: Dental dams and other similar materials provide a strong latex barrier and can be found in a variety of flavors, such as strawberry and vanilla. These cannot be used with oil-based lubes as they will break down the latex.
  • Cutting a Condom into a Rectangle: Condoms are easy to find and come in a wide variety, allowing for considerable personal preference. These also can only be used with water-based lubes as oil-based lubes will break down the latex. It’s also important to note that they only protect what is covered, so holding the latex shape in place is important.

Oral Sex on a Penis

  • Flavored Lubricated Condoms: Using a condom during oral sex can be more fun when using a flavored condom, which can be found in many drug stores. Glow in the dark condoms are also more available now and can add an element of fun to safe oral sex as well!

by Annabelle Mournet
Peer Health Advocate
Class of 2019