The short answer: Yes! Condoms are classified as medical devices under the FDA, which currently regulates male condoms only for vaginal use. The FDA has not explicitly cleared condoms for oral use. However, many sex educators (and ONE Condoms alike) recommend condoms for oral sex to help prevent sexually transmitted infections transmitted orally. So let's dive deeper into some more tidbits on how to play safely while performing oral sex.
STI Transmission During Oral Sex
Ok, so there is no definitive wealth of information available. It is hard to tell how common orally transmitted STIs are. Still, we know how STIs can be transmitted. Like most STIs, these transmissions are primarily spread through bodily fluids, including semen, vaginal fluids or pre-ejaculate, or direct contact with skin. Check out the CDC Fact Sheet for STD Risk and Oral Sex to learn more.
We also know which STIs can be commonly transmitted through oral sex:
- Genital herpes
Furthermore, there is a less likely, but still possible, risk of transmission of chlamydia, HIV, hepatitis A, B, C, genital warts, and pubic lice (more commonly known as crabs).
Quite the range, but all generally unpleasant and harmful to your body. But we're not here to scare or shame. There are several excellent potential options to lower your risk for STI transmission through oral sex.
Safer Sex Options
Again, the research is still being developed. Still, experts generally agree that barrier methods are a solid option for limiting transmission risk and practicing safer sex during oral with sexual partners. Similar to any other barrier method, when used during oral sex, the barrier can prevent direct sexual contact between exposed skin and body fluids.
So what are the best barriers for oral sex? There are two main products: condoms and oral dams. Condoms, certainly the more well-known of the two, have been around for ages and have been tested and researched extensively. But then so have oral dams.
Condoms are an excellent option for oral sex where the "giver" is interacting with (and pleasuring) their partner's penis. Like any condom, you will want to ensure that you are putting it on correctly and following all the best advice to avoid condom failure.
- Remember to check the expiration date on the wrapper.
- Open the condom using your fingers and not your teeth.
- Add a drop or two of lubricant to the condom both on the inside and outside the condom.
- Pinch the reservoir tip and roll the condom down the entire shaft of the penis.
- Always make sure to use a lubricant that is compatible with condoms.
- Don't use oil-based products that can break the latex and cause the condom to tear.
The second barrier-based product is oral dams, the dark horse of the barrier protection family. These are often square-shaped latex sheets placed over the vagina or anus to serve as a physical barrier during oral stimulation.
They are straightforward to use, and ONE Condoms can give you a few tips. First, consider adding a drop or two of lube onto your partner before placing the oral dam for enhanced sensation. Next, make sure to hold the corners of the dental dam to avoid any potential exposure to bodily fluids.
A fun fact that many don't know is that in the absence of an oral dam, you can fashion one out of a condom by carefully cutting along the length of the condom with scissors, and voila! You have an oral barrier.
There is something for everyone regarding safer oral sex options with barrier products like condoms and oral dams. And remember, successful protection from STIs all stems from the correct use of sexual health products. To read up on some tips and tricks from ONE Condoms, check out our recent post on Tips & Tricks For Condom Use and Pleasure!
Condom Fit Matters
Condom fit is an essential part of successful and pleasurable condom use. When it comes to oral sex, it's also important because you don't want a condom too loose. If the condom is too loose, it may fall off during oral sex and be a choking hazard. If you've ever found condoms to be too long, too short, too tight, or loose – check out the myONE brand of 60 condom sizes.
Start The Conversation
It can certainly be awkward to start a conversation around sexual health, and not everyone feels comfortable. However, a simple conversation before a sexual encounter kicks off can be a great precursor to passion and pleasure. It's helpful to establish boundaries and preferences, including condom usage, so everyone is informed and aware.
Not sure how to start the conversation? Not to worry, we have some helpful conversation starters that may do the trick:
- "I brought a little something along for fun -- what do you think about this?"
- "I'm always excited to try new things with you and keep things spicy. Just to make sure, what are your preferences about protection?"
- "I can get really into the moment, so before things get hot and heavy, do you want to talk about protection?"
There are as many ways to talk about sex as there are people. We wrote up a handy guide of "3 Ways to Talk About Sex" you should find helpful.
Looking for Some Inspiration?
There's not just one way to incorporate condoms into oral sex, and there are different products that can help along the way. For example, if you're not sure about the taste of latex condoms, you can always add a splash of flavor with FlavorWaves® Condoms.
These are not your mother's flavored condoms, nor are they flavors you find at most candy shops or soda fountains. With unique flavors like Chocolate Strawberry, Island Punch, Fresh Mint, Bubblegum, Mint Chocolate, and Banana Split, you can truly get your taste on. And because FlavorWaves contain no sweeteners or sugars that would alter vagina pH levels, they are completely safe and intended for intercourse, too.
Maybe you're looking to add a dash of color beyond the standard condom color? Not to worry, we have fun colors to choose from with the Color Sensations Condoms. This variety pack has ten different colors, including red, orange, yellow, green, blue, lavender, and purple.
And why settle for bland, scentless oral dams when you could have products like Satin® Assorted Latex Dams, with colorful packaging and assorted scents like Grape, Strawberry, Vanilla, and Spearmint?