Oral Sex is not always safe sex

Posted On: January 17, 2012

This article first appeared on CozyCot.

I run a blow job workshop for ladies – 41 times to date, actually. During the workshop Funtastic Fellatio, whenever I state that oral sex is not safe sex, I inadvertently get raised eyebrows or questioning looks from the female participants.

A few honest ones would admit that they never knew about this fact. They would insist on condom use during sexual penetration, but would also ‘go down’ on the guy without a condom – assuming that one only catches sexual transmitted infections (STIs) through penetrative sex – perhaps due to the widespread advocacy of condom usage.

I should not be surprised, because until I received extensive training towards becoming a sexologist, I actually knew very little about safer sex practices other than the need to put on a condom during sex. I assumed I should have known better and just mistakenly thought other women were smarter and wiser.

Our ignorance may result in dire repercussions to our health. A study released by Ohio State University last month stated that over the last 20 years, there has been a surge in cases of oral cancer linked directly to the human papillomavirus, or HPV, by about 58 per cent. A similar study conducted by Johns Hopkins University in 2007 also found HPV to be a stronger risk factor for throat cancer than tobacco or alcohol use. In case you didn’t know, there are several STIs which have no cure, besides HIV (Human immunodeficiency virus)HPV and herpes being just two of them.


As modern-day women, we should know about safer sex practices and the extent of sexual risk we are exposing ourselves to, but we do not. Therefore, I want to highlight the different types of sexual behaviour one engages in and the associated risk factors.

Guidelines for Risk Management

Safe Safe (if the condom is used correctly and consistently)

Mutual masturbation (touching your own genitals)

Dry kissing

Voyeurism, exhibitionism

Phone/ computer sex

Sex toys (provided condoms are used when toys are shared)
Bathing together

Anal intercourse with condomVaginal intercourse with condom

Fisting with glove

Oral sex with a condom/latex barrier

Rimming/ analingus with latex barrier

Finger fucking vaginally or anally with latex glove or cot

Watersports (urine on unbroken skin)

Possibly Unsafe Unsafe
Cunnilingus without a barrierFinger fucking without a barrier

Fellatio without a condom

Sharing sex toys with cleaning or changing condoms in between uses

Fisting without a glove

Rimming/ analingus without a latex barrier

Anal intercourse without condomVaginal intercourse without condom

Blood contact

Unprotected cunnilingus during menstruation


Source: Winks, C. & Semans, A. (2020) The Good Vibrations Guide to Sex, 3rd edition, Cleis Press Inc, USA, p. 293.

I am not suggesting that you prefer one box of sexual activity – for instance only choosing to engage in safe sexual activity – over another for the rest of your life. I’m not encouraging you to go out and do anything you do not wish to. Instead, I am encouraging you to recognise the risks and learn how to manage those risks.

Taking care of yourself means making informed, and hopefully better, decisions for you – because you have to put yourself first. This is your body, your life, your future we are talking about. And remember, oral sex is not always safe sex, and only the proper use of condoms when giving oral sex is safer.

4 Simple steps for correct use of a condom:

  1. Get it up, check the expiry date
  2. Pinch air out, roll condom down
  3. Lube condom up, slide it in
  4. Use condom once, toss condom out

Credits on condom instructions to: Action for AIDS (Singapore)

Dr Martha Lee is Founder and Clinical Sexologist of Eros Coaching in Singapore. She is a certified sexuality educator with AASECT (American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists), as well as certified sexologist with ACS (American College of Sexologists). She holds a Doctorate in Human Sexuality from Institute for Advanced Study of Human Sexuality as well as certificates in practical counselling, life coaching and sex therapy. She is available to provide sexuality and intimacy coaching for individuals and couples, conduct sexual education workshops and speak at public events in Asia. For more, visit www.eroscoaching.com.

Eroscoaching Logo

Get sex tips straight in your mailbox!