My boyfriend and I are in a committed, monogamous relationship. In that light, do we really need to use a flavored condom and dental dam during oral sex? We know that we don’t any STIs so is there a need?
– Oral Sex Proponent
Dear Oral Sex Proponet,
This is a really great question that covers a bunch of different issues. First, let’s talk about oral sex in general. At William & Mary, about three-quarters of students have had oral sex. It is important to use a barrier during oral sex because, just like during vaginal and anal sex, there is a risk of contracting a sexually transmitted infection or STI. STIs are either bacterial or viral. Bacterial STIs (such as gonorrhea, chlamydia, and syphilis) are curable; viral STIs (such as HPV, HIV, herpes, and hepatitis) are incurable. The only way to effectively protect yourself from these infections are barriers such as condoms and dental dams. Flavored condoms are used for oral sex performed on a man and a dental dam is used for oral sex performed on a woman. Flavored condoms can be used to make homemade dental dams. These condoms are available, for free, through the Condoms in CSU program, at the Health Center, and at the FISH Bowl in the Campus Center. (The sweeteners and flavorings used in flavored condoms can promote vaginal and anal infections and/or irritation so they are not recommended for vaginal or anal sex).
From our perspective, even though you are in a committed, monogamous relationship, you should still use a flavored condom/dental dam during oral sex. From the way you phrased your question, it seems that you are sure you and your partner do not have any STIs. The only way to confirm that you and your partner are STI-free is to get a STI test. This is because many symptoms of STIs are not visible despite infection – only a medical test will confirm an infection’s presence. These tests are available on-campus, for free, at the Health Center. All tests are painless and many are needle-free. Click here for more information. Once you know that you’re STI-free, it significantly lowers the risk of giving a STI to your partner. Unlike the reliable results of a test, you can never be 100% sure your partner, or someone you’re hooking up with, is STI-free. Although he or she may say they do not have any STIs or that he or she is completely committed to you, it’s best to be completely sure. From our point-of-view, it is never worth the risk of potentially infecting yourself with a lifelong disease in exchange for a few minutes of temporary pleasure. Therefore, even if you’re in a committed, monogamous relationship, you should still use protection for oral sex.
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