Dear Dr. G,
I recently came across your article and must say I really enjoy reading your responses. I think you deal with incredible taboo subjects, but yet manage to address the issues without crossing that fine line.
Clearly, many are important sexual health issues that keep people wondering, but too embarrassed to ask.
This week, I would like to put Dr. G on the spot for another touchy subject of sexual nature. I think this is an important part of sexual education that can prevent the spread of lethal diseases like HIV.
I would like to ask about oral sex.
I am a healthy 21 year-old guy who is about to embark on my sexual experience in life. Don’t get me wrong, as I am not engaging in “real” sex yet.
However, I have started having oral sex, as we are getting a bit more physical lately.
I know my friends engage in sex before they even know the person. I really would like to get to know the person more before sexual relations.
I am somewhat fearful of sexually transmitted infection, and therefore think it is wise to get to know the partner more before “real” sex!
In conjunction with World AIDS Day last Friday, I wonder you can outline the risk of HIV transmission through oral sex?
Besides, can you also clarify whether HIV is still as lethal as it was in 1980’s?
On that note, I thank Dr. G for your effort in helping to demystify truly sensitive subject of sex.
Oral sex is a sexual activity involving the stimulation of a person by the partner using the mouth, lips tongue or even teeth. In medical terminology, fellatio is oral sex performed on a male subject, and cunnilingus is performed on a female.
In addition, oral stimulation of a person’s anus is also regarded as oral sex. Oral sex is an erotic and intimate act in its own right, but often performed as part of the foreplay to incite arousal.
A self-administered survey of over 12,000 Americans, age 15 to 44 years old, by the National Centre for Health and Statistic revealed more than half of adolescent questioned admitted engaging in oral sex.
In other study by the Centre for Disease control and prevention (CDC), demonstrated males are more likely than females to have received oral sex, whereas proportions of men and women have given oral sex were equal.
Oral sex is commonly not regarded as “real” sex, as many would consider this as a mean of preserving “technical virginity”, without penetrative sex.
In a medical viewpoint, oral sex is considered oral intercourse. Any oral stimulation of the penis, vagina and anus is real sexual contact.
On the other hand, kissing or licking of the other part of the body is not really perceived as sexual intercourse.
Real or unreal is a truly a matter of perception, the real issue remains: Is oral sex risky?
Like most form of sexual contact, oral sex does pose a risk of contracting sexually transmitted infection.
As oral sexual contact involving the exchange of bodily fluids have the potential of pathogen transmission such as chlamydia, human papilloma virus, gonorrhea, herpes and hepatitis.
Thankfully, the risk of HIV infection is significantly lower for oral sex, compared to vaginal and anal sex.
The real risk of oral sex causing HIV infection is difficult to study, as most oral sex often leads to penetrative intercourse.
Most expert would agree fellatio is not an efficient route of HIV transmission. There hasn’t been a single documented case of HIV transmission to an insertive partner (the person receiving oral sex).
However there is still a theoretical risk of viral transmission through penile oral sexual contacts, which s is exceedingly rare. Oral-vaginal and oral-anal sex is also regarded as low risk sex contacts for HIV transmission.
Indeed, the first day of December is an International Day dedicated to raising awareness of the AIDS pandemic.
As of 2017, AIDS has killed between 28.9 million and 41.5 million people worldwide, and estimated 36.7 million people are living with HIV, making it one of the most important global public health issues in recorded history.
Indeed, the improve assess to antiviral treatment in many regions in the world has made HIV “less lethal”, with the death rate declined from 1.9 million at its peak in 2005 to 1.0 million in 2016.
The theme for World AIDS Day this year is “My Health, My Rights.” The reality is, to know one’s health and rights; one needs to be equipped with knowledge, before making the right decisions in life.
The French novelist, Marcel Proust, once said: “The real voyage of discovery consists not seeking new landscape, but having new eyes.”When Dr. G is put on the spot for his opinion whether oral sex is real sex, his response is simply: “Knowledge is like real eye allowing calculated risks of sexual acts, only that can ensure a real voyage of discovery in the world of sexual health!”