Unprotected Oral Sex: What Risks?

Unprotected Oral Sex: What Risks?


Il oral sex is a type of intimate relationship that involves the use of mouth, lips e area of language to stimulate the partner's genital (fellatio and cunnilingus) or anal (anilingus) area. In the presence of certain predisposing factors, this practice correlates with several health risks, both men and women.

In addition to sexually transmitted diseases (STIs, such as chlamydia, genital herpes, HPV, gonorrhea and syphilis), intimate intercourse that occurs in this way can favor the onset of urinary, oral, pharyngeal or respiratory infections. To reduce this occurrence, you can use a condom, dental dam, or other barrier method of contraception each time you have oral sex or received it.

It should be noted right now that infections transmitted by unprotected oral sex mainly affect people who have relationships occasional and frequent evaluation with multiple partners, while the use of condoms drastically reduces the risk of contagion.


What is meant by Oral Sex?

Oral sex involves using the mouth, lips, or tongue to stimulate the penis (fellatio), the vagina (cunnilingus) or the anus (anilingus) of a partner.

Oral sex is commonly practiced by over 85% of sexually active subjects between the ages of 18 and 44. This type of intimate relationship can take place between couples made up of people of the opposite sex (heterosexuals) or with same-sex partners (Homosexuals).

The main risk related to unprotected oral sex is represented by urinary, genital or rectal infections e faringee.

Unprotected Oral Sex: Why Can It Be Risky?

Through unprotected oral sex, it is possible to contract some sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and promote their spread, but not only.

  • If the partner has agenital or anal / rectal infection, unprotected oral sex can promote the transmission of the infectious agents in question in the mouth and throat;
  • Conversely, if the partner has amouth or throat infection, it is possible that these will be disseminated at the level of penis, vagina, anus or retto.

It should also be considered that sexually transmitted infections they can involve more than one district bodily at the same time, as in the case, for example, of the throat e to the genitals.

Another risk of unprotected oral sex is that sexually transmitted diseases can be transmitted to a sexual partner, even if the person is infected does not show particular signs or symptoms (note: at first, many STIs are asymptomatic).

Predisposing Factors

Unprotected Oral Sex: What increases the chances of contracting or transmitting an STD?

Many sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), as well as other infections of the mouth, throat, genitals, or rectum, can be spread through unprotected oral sex. Most at risk are people who have unprotected relationships with multiple and occasional partners.

Pathogens are transmitted with fluids e organic liquids, as:

  • Le pre-coital secretions;
  • Le vaginal secretions;
  • Lo sperm;
  • Il blood coming from small lesions;
  • La saliva.

Often, the risk is greater the more vigorous the unprotected oral intercourse is. In some cases, however, even the simple contact of the skin and genital mucous membranes may suffice, as happens, for example, for genital herpes or acute warts.

The risk of contracting one of these diseases through unprotected oral sex and the likelihood of passing them on to other sexual partners depends mainly on:

  • Type of infection sexually transmitted;
  • Mode and number of sexual acts practiced;
  • Incidence of STD in the population to which the different sexual partners belong.

Other factors that can increase the chances of contracting an STI during unprotected oral sex when exposed to an infected partner include:

  • Poor oral hygiene and the presence of particular conditions such as caries, canker sores and bleeding gums;
  • Presence of lesions, sores or ulcers in the mouth or on the genitals
  • Exposure to pre-coital secretions or the ejaculate of an infected partner.

Of course, the STD can also be passed on when partners they do not reach orgasm, during unprotected oral sex.

It is also necessary to consider that sexually transmitted diseases they do not always cause noticeable symptoms, for which even asymptomatic subjects, apparently in perfect health, can still transmit the infection with unprotected oral sex.

Unprotected Oral Sex: is it safer than vaginal or anal intercourse?

The exact risks of unprotected oral sex are difficult to estimate; in part, this is due to the fact that many people practice it and also have vaginal or anal intercourse. Additionally, few scientific studies have looked at the risks of contracting sexually transmitted diseases (other than HIV) with cunniligus and anilingus versus fellatio.

In general, it should be considered that:

  • Contracting a sexually transmitted infection in the throat and mouth, such as chlamydia or gonorrhea, can predispose to the spread of the disease throughout the body, as well as facilitate the spread of the infectious agent to other people through unprotected oral sex.
  • Although unprotected oral sex carries a lower risk of HIV transmission than other forms of intercourse, repeated unprotected exposure can increase the chances of becoming infected. The concomitant presence of an oral or genital STD may further increase this risk.
For further information: HIV - AIDS (Causes and Methods of Contagion)

Infections and associated Risks

What Infections Can Be Transmitted by Unprotected Oral Sex?

The main infections that can be transmitted and / or contracted with unprotected oral sex are:

Clamidia (Chlamydia trachomatis)

Chlamydia is a bacterial infection caused by Chlamydia trachomatis, common mainly among adolescents and young adults. The main problem with this disease is that it produces quite vague and nuanced symptoms: the ailments related to the infection are not always recognizable by people or are mistaken for other conditions.

Chlamydia can be passed on to uninfected sexual partners, especially by practicing fellatio. Unprotected oral sex predisposes, in particular, to throat, genital, urinary and / or rectal infections.

Risk of Chlamydia trachomatis Infection with Unprotected Oral Sex

Chlamydia trachomatis is transmitted with various kinds of intercourse, including unprotected oral sex, between an infected person and a healthy one. In this sense, the risk is hidden whenever there is a direct or indirect exchange of sexual fluids (for example: through the hands or the exchange of sex toys).

In case of oral-genital intercourse, chlamydia can also infect the throat.

Sites of initial infection

  • Gola;
  • Genitals;
  • Urinary tract;
  • Rectum.

Initial signs and symptoms of infection

Symptoms of chlamydia appear one to three weeks after being infected. This window of time is risky, as one can pass the disease on to others at this stage without being aware of it.

in women, the bacterium infects the urethra and cervix, and causes:

  • Burns and intimate itching;
  • Vaginal discharge that is yellowish-white in color;
  • Annoying feeling of irritation.

If neglected, chlamydia can cause:

  • Pain in the lower abdomen and back;
  • Nausea;
  • Fever;
  • Blood loss even outside the menstrual cycle.

In men, chlamydia can lead to:

  • Urethritis with burning and discharge from the urethra;
  • Sensation of irritation and itching in the private parts;
  • Inflammation, enlargement and pain in the testicles.

If chlamydia is transmitted through oral-anal intercourse, it can infect the rectum and cause pain, discharge and bleeding.


Given the bacterial nature of the infection, chlamydia is treated with antibiotics. Therapy should be established on the basis of the results of the antibiogram carried out during the microbiological analyzes; this test evaluates the susceptibility of the bacterium to various types of antibiotics, in order to identify the most effective drug. In addition to the relevant subject, they must also be treated all sexual partners had up to 60 days before the onset of symptoms.

If not treated properly:

  • Chlamydia can lead to woman, to an inflammation of the cervix, with serious consequences for the reproductive system that can lead to the so-called pelvic inflammatory disease (PID).
  • In menon the other hand, chlamydia can cause an inflammatory state of the genital area (in particular: epididymitis), with the risk of infection spreading to other organs. In addition, testicular damage and prostate infections can occur.

In both sexes, chlamydia transmitted by oral sex:

  • It can increase the risk of getting HIV infection;
  • Could increase the risk of spreading HIV to sexual partners;
  • It can cause reactive arthritis, pneumonia and conjunctivitis.

Gonorrea (Neisseria gonorrhoeae)

Also known as blenorrhagia (or drainage, in popular parlance), gonorrhea is an infection caused by the bacterium Neisseria gonorrhoeae, which needs a warm, humid environment to grow and reproduce. Therefore, the urethra in men, the urogenital tracts in women and the anal mucosa represent ideal habitats. More rarely, the bacterium settles in the mouth and throat, in the rectum or even in the eye.

Risk of Neisseria gonorrhoeae Infection with Unprotected Oral Sex

Gonorrhea is spread through oral sex and anal or vaginal intercourse. Contagion can also occur by direct contact with infected secretions, typically with sperm or vaginal secretions.

Indirect transmission is less likely; the gonococcus is, in fact, scarcely resistant in the external environment and is easily inactivated by heat and disinfectants. A certain risk could be linked to the exchange of objects for erotic use, such as vibrators during intercourse.

Sites of initial infection

  • Gola;
  • Genitals;
  • Urinary tract;
  • Rectum.

Initial signs and symptoms of infection

Nell 'man, the first symptoms of gonorrhea appear 2-7 days after infection; in one out of ten cases, the infection is asymptomatic.

 The most common symptoms are:

  • Burning when urinating;
  • Itching, redness and swelling at the orifice of the penis.

However, the most evident sign remains the loss of secretions first serous, then purulent, then greenish-yellow; precisely because of this loss, favored by the squeezing of the glans, gonorrhea is also known as discharge. Sometimes, swelling of the testicles and pain during erection and ejaculation may appear.

In woman, are more frequent asymptomatic courses: in about 30% of cases, gonorrhea does not produce significant disturbances, so it can go unnoticed for a long time. When present, symptoms in women are generally mild and difficult to distinguish from other vaginal or urinary tract infections.

Initial symptoms include:

  • Burning and difficulty urinating;
  • Frequent and painful urination;
  • Swelling of the external genitals
  • Yellowish vaginal discharge
  • Blood loss between menstrual periods.

Depending on the sexual practices, symptoms may also arise in the mouth or throat, in the form of redness or irritation.

In anorectal region, infections are usually asymptomatic, but discharge, bleeding, itching or irritation can occur in both men and women, all typical symptoms of a proctitis.


Gonorrhea is a bacterial infection, so it can be effectively treated with antibiotics. Healing is usually achieved within a few days, provided that treatment is timely and appropriate. Treatment should always be extended to recent sexual partners, even if they have no symptoms.

Throat infections are more difficult to treat than genital or rectal infections.

If not treated properly, gonorrhea can have serious and permanent consequences. In humans, the infection can extend to the prostate and epididymides, which are small ducts located in each testicle.

In women, gonorrhea shows a strong tendency to become chronic and the bacterium can travel up the genital tract infecting the fallopian tubes, causing pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). This syndrome can cause fever accompanied by chronic abdominal and pelvic pain. Furthermore, it represents one of the major causes of infertility and increases the risk of miscarriages and ectopic pregnancies. Also in women, the infection can reach the ovaries and the abdominal cavity, causing peritonitis.

Sifilide (Treponema pallidum)

Syphilis is a disease caused by a bacterium called Treponema pallidum. The infection is mainly transmitted through sexual contact and direct contact with infected skin and genital lesions. Treponema Pallidum is present in all body fluids of infected people, especially sexual ones, therefore in sperm and vaginal and pre-coital secretions. For this reason, the transmission of the infection occurs mainly through unprotected sexual intercourse, both genital, oral or anal, consumed with an infected person and in the contagious phase.

The disease has a very long course, divided into various stages which, in the absence of treatment, gradually become more and more serious, to the point of seriously damaging multiple organs and systems, such as skin, heart, skeleton and nervous system.

Thanks to the availability of valid diagnostic methods and the high efficacy of antibiotic therapy, syphilis is a controllable and treatable infection.

Risk of Treponema pallidum infection with Unprotected Oral Sex

  • In addition to sexual fluids, the bacterium is also abundantly present in lesions caused by syphilis, present in the skin, genitals and mucous membranes in general, including those of the mouth;
  • Practicing unprotected oral sex to a partner who has syphilitic lesions on the genitals or anus favors the transmission of the disease;
  • Receiving unprotected oral sex from a partner with full-blown syphilis or a rash on the mouth or throat can lead to the disease.

Areas of initial infection

  • Lip;
  • Mouth;
  • Gola;
  • Genitals;
  • Year;
  • Rectum.

Initial signs and symptoms of infection

Typically, syphilis incubation times are quite long and extend from 2 to 12 weeks. After a first onset with no obvious symptoms, the disease manifests with skin and genital lesions, accompanied by flu-like symptoms.


The antibiotic therapy of choice for the treatment of syphilis is based on penicillin. Only in patients allergic to this active ingredient are other drugs used, such as doxycycline and tetracycline. The doctor will use the stage of the disease to determine the correct dosage and duration of treatment.

Genital herpes (Herpes simplex virus type 1 and type 2)

Genital herpes is a disease caused by viruses Herpes simplex di type 2 (responsible for about 80-90% of all cases) ed Herpes simplex di type 1 (i.e. the same cold sore virus).

Within a week of infection, Herpes simplex infection can manifest at the virus entry site. These manifestations can be quite annoying, but it is also possible that herpes simplex does not cause any noticeable disturbances. In this regard, a relevant factor in the spread of genital herpes is precisely the unconscious transmission of the disease. It may happen, in fact, that a person is a healthy carrier of genital herpes, and can therefore pass it on to other people while not showing any symptoms or ailments related to the disease.

Risk of Herpetic Infection with Oral Sex

  • The transmission of genital herpes occurs mainly through unprotected oral sex and vaginal and anal intercourse. The probabilities of contagion also hide behind the so-called pettingPractices such as kissing, erotic caresses, rubbing of the genitals and mutual masturbation are at risk, particularly when the oral or genital mucous membranes come into contact with vaginal fluids, pre-coital secretions and semen. Sex toys used for sexual pleasure and exchanged during intercourse can also be a vehicle for infection.
  • Generally, herpes simplex type 1 limits its action in the area of ​​the mouth, lips and nose; however, during sexual intercourse of an oral nature this virus can spread by direct contact of the genitals with the infected lip mucosa.

Sites of initial infection

  • Lip;
  • Mouth;
  • Gola;
  • Genital area;
  • Year;
  • Rectum;
  • Buttocks.

Signs and symptoms of infection

Primary Herpes virus infection can be asymptomatic or give demonstrations in the entry point of the infectious agent. When present, symptoms of genital herpes usually appear 4-7 days after infection. Generally, the first symptom to appear is an annoying sensation of burning and tingling, located in the area where the lesions will later appear. In the acute phase, in fact, the most characteristic sign is the appearance of roundish vesicles gathered "in clusters". These lesions are located on the mucosa or skin of the genitals and surrounding areas.

Within a few days, these vesicles rupture, spilling their contents and leaving small ones painful and itchy ulcers; precisely this moment coincides with the phase of maximum contagiousness. In addition to genital signs, primary infection can be complicated by systemic symptoms, with onset of fever, headache, joint pain, general malaise and difficulty urinating.

As the disease progresses, the ulcers left by the ruptured vesicles dry out. In this way, scabs are formed which gradually heal until they disappear, just as happens to the lesions of herpes when it appears on the lips.


Currently available treatments are unable to cure herpetic infection permanently. However, antiviral drug therapy is still effective in reducing the symptoms and manifestations of genital herpes.

An important feature of all herpes viruses is that after the infection and the first manifestations, they remain in the body hiding in the nerve ganglia, where the immune system and drugs cannot attack them. So holed up, herpes viruses remain in a dormant state for long periods, which can be several weeks, months or years.

This characteristic is also reflected in the course of genital herpes, which is typically relapsing; in practice, the disease recurs from time to time, with short episodes and, generally, less severe than the primary infection.

Trichomoniasis (Trichomonas vaginalis infection)

Trichomoniasis is an infection that affects the genital organs and urinary tract and is mainly transmitted through unprotected intercourse (including oral sex). The protozoan Trichomonas vaginalis is responsible for the disease. The infection mostly causes sexual and urinary disorders, such as vaginitis, urethritis and prostatitis.

Risk of Infection with Unprotected Oral Sex

  • Practicing oral sex on a woman or a man with trichomoniasis in the genitals (vagina and penis) could cause pharyngeal infection;
  • The spread of trichomoniasis with other oral sexual practices has not yet been reported.

Sites of initial infection

  • Vagina;
  • Penis;
  • Mouth / Throat.

Initial signs and symptoms of infection

The incubation period of trichomoniasis is quite long and extends from 4 to 28 days. Very often, Trichomonas vaginalis infection does not cause any notable symptoms or complaints, especially in men.

The latter are, in fact, more often than the carriers asymptomatic and only in the rare cases where the infection causes urethritis o prostatitis may be present:

  • Glans irritation;
  • Mild or moderate urethral secretions
  • Burning when urinating and during ejaculation.

Compared to men, women are more prone to developing symptoms, as Trichomonas vaginalis infection often results in vaginitis, cervicitis and urethritis. The symptomatology is characterized by an intense itching or burning to the external genitals and vagina, with greenish-yellow, frothy discharge and, in general, smelly, sometimes with small streaks of blood. As a result, intercourse can be painful. Always in the woman, they can be present urination disorders, such as burning and the need to urinate frequently. Another rather common finding, identifiable during a gynecological examination, is that of the so-called "strawberry cervix"This similarity derives from the typical presence of small reddish spots on the surface of the cervical mucosa and on the wall of the vagina.


If the treatment of trichomoniasis is timely, recovery is rapid. Treatment of trichomoniasis is based in particular on the intake of specific antibiotics, such as metronidazole or tinidazole.

Papillomavirus (HPV) infections

HPV is an infectious agent characterized by a wide genetic variability: over 100 serotypes are known that can infect humans. Some of these are responsible for benign lesions of the skin and mucous membranes, such as warts, warts or papillomas. Other viral strains, on the other hand, have an oncogenic potential, that is, they are capable of producing lesions that can evolve in a neoplastic sense.

In particular, the papilloma virus represents the main risk factor for cervical cancer.

Risk of Infection with Unprotected Oral Sex

Genital HPV infection can be transmitted through oral sex, as well as vaginal and anal intercourse. Modalities of contagion also include manual intimate contacts and the exchange of sex toys contaminated by infected people.

The use of condoms, in this case, has only partial effectiveness in preventing infection, since contact with the virus can occur between the parts not covered by the condom. In general, the infection can occur especially if there are active viral cells and if there are lacerations, cuts or abrasions in the skin or mucous membranes.

Transmission of the HPV virus can also occur indirectly. Particularly at risk are places that host many people, such as public bathrooms, changing rooms or swimming pools, where contact with surfaces previously used by carriers of the infection is possible.

Areas of infection

  • Mouth;
  • Gola;
  • Genital area;
  • Vagina;
  • Cervix;
  • Year;
  • Rectum.

Signs and symptoms of infection

Genital warts (papillomatosis) - Some HPVs are implicated in the onset of warts, Also called acuminate warts o cockscombs. These lesions can be located on the external genitalia, in the vagina, around the anus and on the perineum and appear as small growths or bumps, raised or flat, sometimes arranged in clusters. In most cases, they don't cause pain, but they can discomfort, itching, or discomfort. These lesions have very little oncogenic potential. However, they are very infectious, so they need to be treated. Warts can also occur in extra-genital sites, such as in the oral cavity and on the hands, feet or face.

Infection of the cervix - Potentially oncogenic HPV strains produce a subtle infection, as unlike warts it does not manifest itself clearly. HPV infection is characterized by asymptomatic changes in the genital mucosa, typically in the cervix.

The absence of symptoms, among other things, favors their spread, since most affected individuals are unaware of the ongoing infectious process. However, there are some signs that can point to a uterine infection and can put you on alert. Among the most common symptoms we remember the unusual bleeding, mostly after intercourse, and the pain in the lower back or when urinating.


Currently, there is no cure for HPV infection. It is possible, however, to deal successfully with the pretumor lesions caused by the virus. It should be noted that HPV lesions often undergo spontaneous regression, so many cases of mild dysplasia are not treated, but are only monitored over time. When necessary, precancerous lesions of the uterine cervix are instead removed with small conservative surgical procedures or by laser therapy. In cases where the tumor treatment options have already been developed include partial or total excision of the uterus, chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

With regard to genital warts, generally, an application of chemical solutions or a laser treatment is carried out.

What Other Diseases Can You Get From Unprotected Oral Sex?

In addition to STDs, unprotected oral sex can promote other infections such as E. E. coli coli, Shigella, hepatitis A virus e intestinal parasites (including Entamoeba histolytica, responsible foramebiasi).


Unprotected Oral Sex: What to do to prevent STDs?

During unprotected oral sex, you can reduce the chances of contracting or passing on sexually transmitted diseases by using:

  • Condom;
  • Dental dam;
  • Other barrier method.

For oral sex on the penis (fellatio):

  • Cover the penis with a non-lubricated latex condom;
  • In case of latex allergy (own or partner's), it is possible to resort to polyurethane condoms.

For oral sex on the vagina (cunnilingus) or on the anus (anilingus):

  • Place a dental dam between the mouth and the vagina or anus of the partner or, alternatively, make a square by cutting a condom.

How to Reduce the Risks of Unprotected Oral Sex

Strategies to prevent STDs are mainly based on the adoption of responsible sexual behavior.

In particular, to reduce the chances of getting an infection with oral sex, it is important to remember that:

  • The most effective method of preventing sexually transmitted diseases is towear a condom before starting the relationship. The correct use of condoms not only hinders the transmission of infections through body fluids, but also reduces the risk of contracting diseases by simple contact between the genitals, as in the case of genital herpes, acute warts and syphilis. In the latter cases, the protection offered is partial, as the contagion could occur by contact with areas not covered by the condom.
  • any infection therapy contracted with unprotected oral sex it must also involve the partner, even when the latter shows no symptoms. This precaution is important to limit the spread of the disease to other people and avoid the ping-pong effect, i.e. the continuous passage of the infection from one partner to another. It is also important to refrain from sexual intercourse during treatment. Often, in sexually active women and men, a check-up is recommended within 3-6 months from the end of therapy, given the high incidence of relapses in this type of infections, to ascertain that eradication has taken place.
  • An in-depth Personal care insufficient, incorrect or excessive, especially with unsuitable products, can facilitate infections. It is important to use specific and delicate products, so as not to alter the balance of the mucous membranes. In addition, it is good to wear underwear made of natural fibers, such as cotton, and avoid nylon, microfibre and clothing that is too tight, which can hinder the natural transpiration of the skin.

To conclude, it is useful to remember that, in general, infections, not only those transmissible with oral sex, can be easily prevented with some precautions:

  • Wash your hands, before and after using the toilet;
  • Never share: underwear or towels, sex toys, toothbrushes, medications, or syringes.
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