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Could oral sex — mouth-to-genital action — be a "gateway" to penetrative sex? Research suggests so. While 19.6 percent of adolescents, whose mean age was 14.5 years old, said they had had oral sex, 13.5 percent reported having had vaginal sex. Around five percent more said that they intended to have oral vs vaginal sex in the upcoming six months, as well. 

Why are more adolescents having oral sex than penetrative sex? Because modern young people perceive oral sex as less risky in all ways — emotionally, socially, and health-wise, too. 

Yet, there is no doubt that oral sex is both a very intimate experience and one that does, indeed, carry health risks. It's true that oral sex isn't going to get anyone pregnant, and it's also true that it is very difficult indeed to end up with HIV from oral sex, but that doesn't mean there are no risks. Sexually transmitted diseases can, indeed, be spread through oral sex. 

What Are The Medical Risks Of Oral Sex?

HIV transmission via oral sex is highly unlikely. When it comes to HIV and oral sex, blow jobs are the most risky kind of oral sex, and HIV transmission is most likely if the "giving" partner has bleeding gums or some kind of injury in the oral cavity that leads different fluids to mix. 

A whole assortment of STDs, from chlamydia and gonorrhea to herpes and syphilis, can be spread through oral sex much more easily. When the mouth has anal contact, it's also quite possible to spread diseases such as Hepatitis A and B, and bacteria and parasites that live in the intestines.  

Dental dams and condoms both represent means of making oral sex less risky, but we also know that they're not the most enjoyable way to have oral sex. This may lead to a dilemma — do you want to be as safe as possible, or risk catching an STD? Those monogamous couples in which both partners have been tested for STDs and been found not to have any can safely engage in oral sex, but still need to be weary of anal contact. 

What If I Don't Want Oral Sex?

The answer is always the same. In sex, consent rules. If you don't want to receive or give oral sex, then don't. Yes, this may make for an unhappy partner or even someone who doesn't want to be your partner anymore, but that's OK. Someone with the same preferences as you have is out there!

What If I Want Oral Sex, But It's Not Fun?

Oral sex isn't, or rather shouldn't be, an activity to mechanically tick off your sex list. Good sex. of any kind, depends on good communication. If you don't enjoy the movements your partner makes — if their movements are too slow, too fast, with too much pressure, or not enough, or in the wrong places — you'll hopefully be in a relationship where you can openly say what you do and don't like, and your sex will get better. You can also show your partner what kinds of movements you enjoy through mutual masturbation. 

And if you don't know what you like, yet? Masturbation is the time and place to best uncover this, so you can arm yourself with information about what feels good to your body and communicate back to your partner. 

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