Oral condoms are a barrier method that you can use to protect your mouth when engaging in oral sex. Oral condoms work both ways — protecting you and your partner from unwanted fluids and, in turn, protecting you from STIs (sexually transmitted infections) and unwanted pregnancy.
Herpes and gonorrhoea are the most common STIs passed on through oral sex, but any STI can be transmitted in this way, including chlamydia, HPV, HIV, and syphilis. Bleeding gums and mouth ulceration increase these risks (source).
It’s important to practise safe oral sex (cunnilingus and anilingus) if you have mouth ulcers or sores. Oral sex with someone with ulcers is one of the most common ways to contract or pass on an STI.
Condoms are one of the most effective ways to protect yourself from risk.
Table of Contents:
- Why Use Condoms for Oral Sex?
- Reducing the Risk of Unwanted Pregnancy
- Increasing Overall Sexual Health and Well-Being
- Partner’s Comfort and Peace of Mind
- Types of Condoms for Enhanced Oral Sex
- Tips for Using Condoms During Oral Sex
- Alternatives to Condoms for Oral Sex
Using condoms correctly and consistently lowers the risk of acquiring or transmitting an STI, but condoms do not give 100% protection. The only fool proof method is abstinence! You should use condoms for oral as well as vaginal and anal sex. The oral route of transmission is often ignored or forgotten (source).
If you use an oral condom correctly, you can protect yourself and your partner from infections such as chlamydia, gonorrhoea, herpes, and HIV — to name a few common STDs.
It might sound strange to worry about pregnancy if you’re having oral sex, but the point is sex is sexy, and you can get carried away; any contact between semen and genitals could result in an unplanned pregnancy or unwanted pregnancy.
If things do get out of hand, it's important to act right away if you do not want a pregnancy. Contact your GP or Sexual Health Clinic, or go to the Pharmacy as soon possible to get the best advice about Emergency Contraception - the morning after pill. Emergency Contraception taken appropriately can prevent overt 95% of unplanned pregnancies (source).
Safe sex is all about confidence and maintaining good sexual health. If using a condom makes you feel happier — do it and enjoy enhanced well-being in the process. Oral sex may be safe without a condom, but why take the risk?
Combining comfort and peace of mind is the recipe for fantastic sex, and if you’re wondering, “How does oral feel with a condom”, we can only suggest you try it and find out.
Flavoured condoms are great for oral sex — they protect while adding fun and excitement to the proceedings.
Flavoured condoms get their flavouring as the flavouring is added to the lubricant. Glucose or glycerin are often added and some studies have shown this may increase the risk of a candidal infection (thrush). It may also increase the risk of a local allergic reaction. Most flavoured condoms are latex (source).
Here are some other pros and cons of flavoured condoms:
- Explicitly designed for oral sex as opposed to other forms of sex.
- A variety of flavours enhances the experience and adds a fun element.
- Mask the taste of latex (which isn’t pleasant).
- Not recommended for vaginal or anal intercourse (well, you can’t have everything).
- No lubricant taste, but they still taste of latex (unless you use non-latex or polyisoprene condoms).
- You can use non-lube condoms with a different or complementary flavoured lubricant for a customised and enhanced experience.
- They may require additional lubrication for comfort during other sexual activities (because they aren’t just designed for oral sex).
- You can use them for all types of sexual activities.
- Widely available and commonly used for all kinds of sex, including oral sex.
- The included lubricant may taste unpleasant — not great for oral sex.
Choose the right condom for you (this may take trial and error, but you can have fun doing it). Check the expiration date before use; never use an expired condom — read more about why you shouldn’t use an expired condom.
Open the condom package carefully to avoid damage — don’t use scissors or rip the foil; open in the intended place as indicated on the foil wrapper.
Check the CE mark. Apply the condom before any sexual contact between the penis and mouth/vagina/anus. Squeeze the air out of the tip of the condom and roll it down the erect penis. Hold it in place when you insert the penis into the orifice. After ejaculation, remove the penis right away before the penis becomes limp, check for any tears or leaks. Dispose of the used condom in the dustbin - not down the toilet. Wash your hands. Never re-use a condom.
Apply flavoured or non-flavoured lube (if you want to) for enhanced sensation and taste. Ensure proper application and fit on your penis or sex toys — read more about condom application.
The alternative to condoms is dental dams. Dental dams are also a barrier method for protection during cunnilingus and anilingus. While most dams are made from latex, there are also latex-free dams made from polyurethane available on the wider market.
People have been known to fashion their dental dams from plastic wrap or flattened-out condoms as a makeshift barrier (not as effective as dental dams) or as pleasant.
Practising safe oral sex (cunnilingus and anilingus) with condoms is essential for maintaining sexual health and a great attitude towards oral sex. Choosing the best condom (chocolate flavour is a hot favourite) and following proper usage tips will enhance the experience.
Dental dams give good protection against most STIs but are less good at protecting from HPV, herpes and pubic lice.
Open communication with your partner can lead to a more enjoyable and satisfying oral sex experience — most importantly, have fun and know you have choices — in answer to your question, “Are you supposed to use a condom during oral”, the answer — ultimately it’s up to you.
The best news is you have choices; a wise man once said, “Learning to choose is tricky. Learning to choose well is challenging. Choosing well in a world of unlimited possibilities is the hardest task of all — but at least you have a choice.”
It's worth noting that even sexually active people who use condoms regularly should have an STI screen. Although condoms and dams reduce the risk of STI transmission, they don't remove this completely. Most STIs have no symptoms. The only way to know if you have an STI is to be tested.
Those at high risk are young people aged 25 and under, those with frequent, multiple or overlapping partners, gay and bisexual men, intravenous drug users and sex workers (source). You can find out about your local Sexual Health Clinic here.