Cassandra Jeffery 

Assistant InsideOut Editor

The brisk fall days of September and October have come to an end and almost too abruptly, and the cold and dreariness of winter looms. Students stock up on hot chocolate and pull out their mittens in anticipation for the snowy season ahead.

Class attendance begins to dwindle and hibernation is well under way by the time December rolls around.

Sadly, students have little to no option for extracurricular activities, perhaps with the exception of one: sex – specifically, oral sex.

The outdoor temperature may read -40 C, but inside, under the sheets, you and your partner can be working up a sweat. Forget the frost and create an intimate oasis, perfect for you and your significant other. However, before getting busy this winter season, take some time to learn the ins and outs of oral sex.

We’ve all been given the talk by some sort of authority figure, and by now most of us understand the gist of sexual intercourse.

But most often, students lack basic knowledge when it comes to oral sex. Most don’t realize that they can contract a sexually transmitted infection (STI) through oral sex, while others may feel uncomfortable with the topic and thus completely disregard this form of sex as a pleasurable option. These concerns, left unaddressed, can result in some serious consequences.

Starting with the basics, oral sex is the giving or receiving of oral stimulation to the genitalia.

An excerpt from the Adverting HIV and Aids website explains that, “fellatio, also known as a blow job, is the term used to describe oral sex given to a man, cunnilingus is the term which describes oral sex given to a woman, and anilingus is oral-anal contact.”

Although partaking in oral sex instead of vaginal intercourse is a guaranteed way to avoid pregnancy, the risk of contracting an STI is a definite possibility.

The most common type of STI transmitted via oral sex is herpes, which can form as cold sores on the mouth or sores on the genitals.

Through oral sex, herpes can be transferred from one type to the other.

In Hamilton, chlamydia forms the largest percentile of STI’s. Jennifer Stever, a RPN-BSCN Level 3 at McMaster University, explains that “chlamydia can cause damage to the fallopian tubes and increase the risk of developing PID [pelvic inflammatory disease].

This can lead to infertility in women. In men, chlamydia can lead to epididymitis, if left un-treated men can become sterile when the tubes carrying the sperm are occluded by scar tissue.”

Human papillomavirus (HPV) can cause genital warts and lead to various types of cancer including cancer of the cervix, vulva, vagina and anus in women.

In men, HPV can lead to prostate cancer. Other forms of STI’s include syphilis, gonorrhoea, HIV and hepatitis A, B, and C. Although not all STI’s are easily transmitted via oral sex, young adults should make an effort to understand the risk of contracting an infection from sexual activity.

STI’s are deceiving in the sense that a carrier of an infection may not have any visible symptoms.

For example, HPV, for the most part, is an easily undetected virus; only a small percentage of HPV carriers form visible warts on their genitals.

This means that an individual can easily engage in oral sex with multiple partners before the virus is even detected.

Before engaging in any type of sexual intercourse, both partners should get tested to make sure they’re not carrying any sort of unwanted infection.

The reality is that more and more individuals are contracting STI’s, and while the symptoms may not be visible, it can be difficult to make an assessment just by inspecting genitalia.

There are prevention methods to reduce the chance of transmitting an STI to your partner.

For women, the dental dam may be a viable option. The dental dam is a thin, stretchy, yet strong sheet of latex or silicone that is placed over the vagina or anus region to prevent full contact of mouth to vagina or mouth to anus.

For men, try using a condom during oral; flavoured condoms might make the experience a little tastier.

This winter season, talk to your partner. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, be honest, and remember to get tested before making the magic happen.

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