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Sexual Discourse: Protect yourself

Oral sex might not be tradional penetration, but it can be just as dangerous

 by Erika Wurst  published on Thursday, February 24, 2005

<em>Brandon Quester / STATE PRESS MAGAZINE</em><br> Photography junior Jessica Rose says many people don't use protection during oral sex because of common misconceptions about safety. /issues/arts/692156
Brandon Quester
Brandon Quester / STATE PRESS MAGAZINE
Photography junior Jessica Rose says many people don't use protection during oral sex because of common misconceptions about safety.
 
<em>Brandon Quester / STATE PRESS MAGAZINE</em><br>Pre-business freshman Andrew Brown also believes many people do not practice safe oral sex due to their misconceptions about sexually transmitted diseases. /issues/arts/692156
Brandon Quester
Brandon Quester / STATE PRESS MAGAZINE
Pre-business freshman Andrew Brown also believes many people do not practice safe oral sex due to their misconceptions about sexually transmitted diseases.
 

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Back in the day, oral sex used to be something that only happened in the Playboy Mansion.

These days, the act has become an integral part of many relationships. For teens and young adults, it has become increasingly popular and some don't even think of it as sex.

But often, the repercussions of oral sex can be just as scary as actual intercourse. Sexually transmitted diseases that can be transmitted through oral sex include herpes, syphilis, gonorrhea, intestinal parasites, Hepatitis A, and even the HIV virus if there are open sores in the mouth.

Many students aren't using protection when engaging in oral sex and haven't the slightest clue that they should or where to start.

"I think safe sex is not practiced as often as it should be, which is all the time," says Lori Lynn, nursing supervisor at the ASU Student Health and Wellness Center.

She adds, "The best method to practice safe sex is using a condom or some type of barrier."

For women, there are dental dams that act as a barrier between the person performing oral sex and the vagina.

Lynn says people involved in relationships have a responsibility to themselves and their partners to be educated and informed about protection, even if it is just oral sex.

In this installment of "Sexual discourse," SPM talks to two ASU students about their oral experiences, whether they use protection and what they think about using protection.

Who: Pre-business freshman Andrew Brown
Found: Outside the Memorial Union

SPM: When did you start giving oral sex?

Brown: Sophomore year of high school. I was a late bloomer.

SPM: Did you engage in oral sex before or after you began having intercourse?

Brown: Before. I was trying to do the whole progression thing -- work my way up.

SPM: So, after you engaged in oral sex for the first time, did you think of it as having sex?

Brown: I didn't consider that. I considered myself a virgin. I always thought that sex is a penis entering a vagina. But I guess when it comes down to it, it's what a person believes.

SPM: Do you think oral sex is becoming more commonplace?

Brown: I think more people are considering it less of a big deal. I think they think either you have sex or you don't. A lot of people just consider sex a penis entering a vagina.

SPM: Have you ever used protection when having oral sex? Have you ever even considered it?

Brown: No, I have not, as sad as that sounds. I think the danger of it, you don't really consider as much. They're there, but they are overlooked. The whole oral sex thing is overlooked, period. There's not as much emphasis put on it as there should be.

SPM: Why do you think some people are really cautious about using protection while having intercourse, but not when engaging in oral sex?

Brown: I think the reason people use condoms is not for STD [protection]. It's to not get her pregnant. I could get an STD or big old warts or whatever on my lip. It's not that people don't realize that, they just overlook it.

SPM: What do you think can be done to change that mentality?

Brown: The only thing that's going to change it is education. Everyone is going to make their own decisions, but at least that decision will be an educated one.

SPM: Now, the million-dollar question: Do you even know what you would use for protection while giving oral sex to a woman?

Brown: I've seen things. Isn't it like a sleeve kind of deal that you put over "it?" They don't seem as accessible as condoms and that's a darn shame.




Who: Fine art photography junior Jessica Rose
Where: Eating sushi in the grass

SPM: When did you start giving oral sex?

Rose: Probably 18, I guess. Or 17.

SPM: And was this before or after you had sexual intercourse?

Rose: It's hard for me to remember. After. The first time I had sex, I was young. When it was real though, I was doing oral first, as most people do.

SPM: And do you consider oral sex to be sex?

Rose: I consider it a sexual action. I don't think it should be used as an excuse; "I just gave him a blow job." But it's not a penis in a vagina.

SPM: Why do you think oral sex has become more common over the years?

Rose: Well, mainstream consciousness view it as safer [than intercourse]. I guess that could be a reason.

SPM: So have you even used protection while giving or receiving oral sex?

Rose: I haven't. I think there's a higher consensus that it's safer. Plus, you can give a blow job anywhere, like in a bathroom, where you'll be less prepared with protection.

SPM: So what do you think will change people's minds about the severity of repercussions that can come with giving oral sex?

Rose: I guess if you constantly scare the shit out of them through the media, it would work. They show you gross genitalia in sex education and you'll think, "I don't want to suck that with no protection."

SPM: Do you know what a guy would use as protection while giving you oral sex?

Rose: What do they call it? A mouth guard? Just like a piece of cellophane.

SPM: It's actually called a dental dam. Strange name. Kind of scary.

Rose: That's it! They showed us in class. And of course, the girl won't feel a thing. But I guess it's worth it if you don't want to get herpes.

Reach the reporter at erika.wurst@asu.edu.



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