I’d love some advice. I gather from some of your tweets that you might have some personal insight into this, so here goes:
I’m in a poly relationship with a close friend who is married. All is cool. We’re happy, and I date other people and it’s fun and supportive and great. Friendship gets better all the time, and so does the sex.
I’m also romantically very attached to an old old friend from way back who is recently coming back into my life. She lives on the other coast, but we’re talking about getting together in the next few months and sex is definitely on the agenda. Whether we can make a long term thing of it will depend on a lot of factors, too many to go into, but I’m still interested.
The problem is that in the past year she was diagnosed with HSV2. Asymptomatic. Neither I nor any of my other partners have it. I’ve done a pile of research and I think I understand what my risks are. I also think I’m willing to take those chances (they seem slight enough) at least for the time being. We probably won’t spend more than a week together this year anyway. The transmission rate appears to be like 4% per year for hetero males who are with HSV positive females. Condoms reduce this by half, so 2%. Valcyclovir ["Valtrex"] would reduce it by another 50% so that would be 1%. Per year. And we’re not going to be together for a whole year.
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What should I look for as warning signs before performing oral on someone?
I’m not a doctor. Hell, I’ve never even fucked a doctor. All I am is a girl that like to have a lot of sex, a girl who likes to read about sex, and a girl who likes to write about sex. That said, I’m also a girl who likes to do a little research on the Internet. Your question is something that I personally think about from time to time, as well. We’re all adults here, so by now we know that oral sex is not without risks. STI’s can be contracted via oral sex. And, just like with vaginal and anal sex, simply looking for telltale signs on your partner isn’t going to protect you. Many, if not most, STI’s are not symptomatic, or have symptoms that can easily be mistaken for something else so that you or your partner may not even realize an infection is present. The real answer? Just use protection. Every time. Period.
But you’re not going to, are you? No matter how many times we’re told that there is risk of infection from oral sex, most of us continue to believe that it won’t happen to us. Sure there’s risk, but it’s so small I don’t really have to worry about it. I always use condoms for anal and vaginal sex, so I’m safe. Well, here are a few facts that might make you think twice:
Herpes can be easily transmitted via oral sex
The transmission of herpes requires no fluids, only skin to skin contact. And, while the risk of transmission is highest during an outbreak, the virus can be present in the skin when no sores are present.
Oral STI’s can cause cancer
HPV, an extremely common STI that can cause genital warts and cervical cancer, has been linked to throat and oral cancer in partners of infected individuals. Although there is a vaccine for this virus that has been approved for women, there is no cure and currently there is no test or vaccine available for men.
HIV can be passed via oral sex
You know that HIV is present in semen, but did you also know that it is present in precum? That means that transmission is possible even if the man does not ejaculate in his partner’s mouth. HIV is also present in vaginal fluid. Additionally, cuts or sores in the mouth (even the irritation that can occur from brushing and flossing) increases the risk of transmission both for the giver and receiver.
Alright, alright! We get it. There are risks with oral sex. Now what?
Well, that’s up to you. You know how to protect yourself. Now you just have to decide what risks you’re willing to take.
End of lecture.