Gonorrhea is on the rise in the United States. The Center For Disease Control has claimed that three hundred thousand Americans a year contract it. What they are also saying, however, is that a large proportion of these new cases are due to unprotected oral sex.
The symptoms of gonorrhea are varied. Often it hurts or burns to pee or can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease, which can cause women to become infertile. But even though the effects are usually felt between the legs, the easiest way to contract gonorrhea is through fellatio. It gets passed through the throat (saliva can break it down so it is not transmittable through cunnilingus and kissing) so unprotected fellatio is a major risk factor for contracting it.
The problem is, who uses condoms during oral sex? The answer: hardly anyone. People just don’t use condoms when giving/getting head. Men think that it will take away from the pleasure they experience and, for whatever reason, this is a good enough excuse to forgo safety. I’ll admit, I’ve never met someone who told me that they used condoms during oral sex. I’ve never used condoms during oral sex. A lot of people who are way majorly sexual health conscious have a total mental block when it comes to oral transmission of STIs. There’s a whole, “It’ll never happen to me,” attitude that a lot of us are guilty of.
But what is going to change to make us all practice safer oral sex? Do the condom manufacturers need to develop special condoms specifically for oral sex. How about using some water based lube inside a slightly bigger condom and a lot of checking to make sure that the condom is on properly throughout the session. I doubt that any of these sound as appealing as condom-less oral sex but not spreading gonorrhea is a pretty appealing thing too.
So again, what will it take to make safer oral sex practices more common place? I don’t really know but something has to change (hint: it might be our attitudes).