Oral Sex: How To Stay Safer
Most Americans ages 15-24 -- some 66 percent -- have had oral sex, the Centers for Disease Control reports. But that's actually less than in the past.
A reason young people have oral sex is because they don't want a kid, the CDC notes. However, a lot of young people also don't realize that oral sex -- though it doesn't carry pregnancy risks -- can still transmit disease, like throat gonorrhea and HIV.
Since telling people not to have sex doesn't help them if they do decide to have sex -- no matter what kind -- here's some info on how to make oral sex safer.
Though Planned Parenthood notes that oral sex is less likely to transmit HIV than vaginal or anal intercourse, "other infections, like herpes, syphilis, and hepatitis B, can be passed by oral sex."
However, there is hope!
Condoms and other barriers, Planned Parenthood explains, can make oral sex "safer."
There are these things called dental dams -- "small, thin, square pieces of latex used to protect the throat during certain kinds of dental work."
Anyway, Planned Parenthood says that you can put dental dams on "the vulva or the anus when the mouth, lips, or tongue are used to sexually arouse a partner."
They work by keeping partners' body fluids separate and "prevent skin-to-skin contact."
The Sheer Glyde dam, which you can land online or in drug stores, has gotten the FDA's OK for making oral sex safer.
If you can't find a Sheer Glyde, Planned Parenthood suggests "plastic wrap or a cut-open condom."
Some other tips?
Obvs, don't touch STD-caused growths or sores.
Also, don't get it on if you have any type of sore or "other symptoms of infection."
Be sure to check that "your mouth and gums are in good condition before engaging in oral sex. Not allowing your partner to ejaculate into your mouth will also reduce the risk."
And last, get checked for STDs and, if necessary, get treated.
Follow Victoria Bekiempis @vicbekiempis.