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How to reduce the risks of oral sex

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Like any sex, the best ways to reduce the risks of oral sex are to abstain (not have oral sex) or to use protection.

Avoid oral sex if your partner:

– has an STI

– has sores, cuts, ulcers, blisters, warts or rashes around their genitals, anus or mouth

– has unhealed or inflamed piercings in their mouth or genitals

– has a throat infectionis a woman and has her period.

You can’t reduce the risks of oral sex by using mouthwash or brushing your teeth – in fact brushing and flossing can cause abrasions on your gums which put you more at risk of contracting an STI. Also avoid getting semen or vaginal fluid in your eyes.

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For oral sex on a man, use a condom during oral sex. For oral sex on a woman, or when performing anilingus on a man or a woman, use a dam. A dam is a small thin latex or plastic square that acts as a barrier between the vagina or anus and the mouth. It may prevent the spread of STIs. You can buy dams at some sexual health clinics, online or at your pharmacy.

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