Do I Need to Use a Condom With Oral? | Ask Athena | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Do I Need to Use a Condom With Oral?


Dear Athena,

I'm 19 years old and I haven't had sex yet, nor anything too special! But I've been with a really amazing guy for some time now. I performed oral sex for the first time, and he didn't ejaculate because he didn't want me to get scared or something. The oral sex didn't last long 'cause I used my hands, too, but here's my question: I've read that you don't need a condom for oral sex and it's better not to swallow any semen. I know that my partner is clean and healthy. Do I need to use a condom next time if I don't let any semen touch my mouth? I'm kinda worried because we didn't use any condoms last night, but it lasted only for a couple of minutes. I'll be waiting for your answer! Thank you very much!


A Greek Girl

Dear Greek Girl,

Good for you for wanting to be safe and informed. When it comes to taking care of your health and wellbeing, you must be your own advocate.

You say your partner is clean and healthy, but you're still worried. Do you trust him or not? If he's had other sexual partners but hasn't been tested, your concern is warranted. You should know that unprotected oral sex and intercourse can put you at risk for the following: gonorrhea, syphilis, chlamydia, crabs, HIV and hepatitis. According to Dr. Jake Deutsch, a veteran ER doctor and contributor to GQ magazine: "Herpes and genital warts are the most easily transmitted STIs, and your partner doesn't have to have an outbreak for you to catch them ... Eighty percent of people carry the herpes simplex virus (like cold sores), the most commonly transmitted STI from oral sex; 50 percent of sexually active people have genital warts caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV), which, when orally transmitted, is thought to be a cause of head and neck cancers."

So, don't leave it to chance — ask your guy to get tested before you take things any farther. If he has been tested and the coast is clear, then by all means go down on him sans condom. Swallowing is always optional, but as long as your partner is STI-free, you don't need to worry about getting semen in your mouth.

If you decide to go all the way with him, though, you should absolutely protect yourself from an unwanted pregnancy. Planned Parenthood is a great place to start — you'll get what you need in the way of birth control, and the staff can answer any lingering questions you have about safe sex.

Sex is fun, but it's also serious business. Communicate and take precautions now so you can focus on the fun part later!