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Health Matters Does receiving oral sex pose any threat to your vagina?

Although many women have been on the receiving end of oral sex, information out there about its potential health risks is still unclear.

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Oral pleasure has become a standard part of most couple’s bedroom activity.

Although many women have been on the receiving end of oral sex, information out there about its potential health risks is still unclear.

Many times, people tend to talk about the health risks of giving, but not getting. It is, however, important to find out if oral sex is bad for your vagina.

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“Oral sex isn’t necessarily bad for your vagina,” Alyssa Dweck, MD, a New York-based ob-gyn and co-author of The Complete A to Z for Your V has said.

“There’s a natural environment of bacteria in the mouth and a natural environment of bacteria in the vagina, and for people with normal, healthy immune systems, there shouldn’t be an issue,” she tells Health.

However, take note of the following health risks:

Herpes

Your partner's saliva is probably safe, but his mouth, lips, and throat may not be. The fact is, if he has a cold sore or feels he is about to get one, and his lips make contact with the skin on and around your vagina, he may pass it on to you.

Cold sores are caused by the herpes virus, so his oral herpes can turn into genital herpes for you.

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Gonorrhea and chlamydia

If your partner is HIV-positive, and he goes down on you, viral particles may enter your bloodstream through an abrasion or sore in your vagina and pass HIV to you, Dr. Dweck has said.

HPV, or the human papillomavirus

If your partner has HPV in his throat and he carries one of the viral types linked to cervical cancer, he may pass the virus on to you and increase your risk of cervical cancer.

  • If you are also on the receiving end, you can also end up transmitting an STD or other infection. “On the flip side, say a woman has her period and her partner is performing oral sex on her when there’s blood there,” Dr. Dweck said. “That’s not a wise idea because again, an infection could be transmitted via blood or bodily fluid contact.”
  • In effect, if getting oral sex is your thing, you have to be cautious. Dr. Dweck advises that if you don't know your partner's STD status, wear a condom during intercourse.
  • She added that during oral sex, cover your vagina with a dental dam—a thin piece of latex placed over the vulva. This will avoid your partner's tongue and mouth making direct skin contact with your vaginal area. 
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