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Sexual Health

Oral sex

​​​​​​​​​What is oral sex?

Oral sex is when a person touches another person’s genitals or anus with their mouth, lips, tongue or teeth.

  • Mouth to vulva (opening of the vagina including labia and clitoris) is also called cunnilingus, going down on, or eating out.
  • Mouth to penis is called fellatio, a blow job, or giving head.
  • Mouth to anus oral sex is called anilingus or rimming.

How safe is oral sex?

  • no risk for pregnancy
  • a lower risk for STIs and HIV compared to other types of sex

How can I have safer oral sex?

  • Condoms and dental dams (a piece of latex, also called latex barrier, oral barrier and oral dam), are used to cover the anus, genital or penis before starting and during oral sex. You can buy condoms and dental dams at some drugstores.
  • Use a condom or a dental dam every time you have oral sex, to lower your risk of STIs and HIV.
  • Use a new condom or dental dam for each act of anal, oral, or vaginal sex.
  • To increase feeling consider putting lubricant on the genitals before using a condom or dental dam to reduce friction. Don’t use condoms that are lubricated with nonoxynol-9; it can increase the risk of HIV.
  • Wash genitals and anus before and afterwards.
  • Latex condoms may provide better protection than non-latex condoms (e.g., polyurethane) because there’s a higher chance of non-latex condoms breaking or slipping off. However, non-latex condoms are still a good option for people who have a latex allergy.
  • If sperm gets near the genitals of a person who could become pregnant, think about getting emergency contraception as soon as possible to help prevent pregnancy.

How can I make a dental dam?

You can make your own dam out of a condom (latex or non-latex). To make a dam you need a new, rolled up condom and a pair of scissors.

  1. Check the expiry date (don’t use if expired) and check that the package doesn’t have any holes.
  2. Open the condom package and while the condom is still rolled up, cut the tip off.
  3. Keep the condom rolled and put the scissors through the middle and cut through one side of the ring.
  4. Unroll the condom. You now have a rectangular piece of material to spread out over a vulva or anus to act as a barrier.
  5. Hold the dental dam in place and don’t let it flip over. Consider marking one side so you know which side your mouth goes on.
  6. Throw it in the garbage — don’t flush down the toilet.

​Did You Know

  • You have the right to make the decision to have sex or not.
  • You can plan ahead and talk to your partner(s) about how to lower your risk of pregnancy, STIs, and HIV.
  • You can consider getting regular testing for STIs and HIV. Talk to your healthcare provider.
  • Many clinics offer low or no cost birth control.

For More Information

  • Health Link – Health Advice 24/7: 811

Current as of: May 21, 2021

Author: Sexual and Reproductive Health, Alberta Health Services