Oral sex is when someone licks and or/sucks another person’s genitals.
There is a lot of debate among sex workers about whether to use a condom when you have oral sex with a customer. Many women feel pressurised to have oral sex without a condom with their customers because other women are offering this service.
It is possible to transmit (catch or pass on) many sexually transmitted infections through oral sex without a condom.
Infections such as chlamydia, herpes, hepatitis A and hepatitis B, syphilis, gonorrhoea and HIV can all be transmitted via unprotected oral sex, though it is a less common way of catching them than through vaginal or anal sex.
The exact risk of getting HIV through oral sex is not known. There have been a few documented case of HIV transmission through oral sex.
If you have open sores on the genitals and you are receiving oral sex, or open sores or bleeding gums and are giving oral sex there is an increased risk of transmitting infections.
Do not clean your teeth, floss or use mouthwash, eat food such as toast, crisps just before or just after having oral sex. This is because all these can cause small cuts in your mouth making it easier for infection to pass from one person to another.
If you want to rinse your mouth before or after oral sex use plain water. Chewing gum can leave a pleasant taste in your mouth. If a customer comes inside your mouth swallow it immediately or spit out any sperm quickly - do not let it stay in your mouth.
The best way to protect against transmitting sexually transmitted infections during oral sex is to use a condom or a dam. Some women like to use a flavoured condom for this.
Dams are small square sheets of latex that can be placed across the anus or vagina to give protection when rimming or giving oral sex.