[Question #4116] Oral risk

31 months ago
I am a male and am interested in performing oral sex (plus fingering) on a female erotic dancer.  What STIs would I be at risk for from this activity and what is the likelihood of infection? i.e., I understand there may be some STIs that are a theoretical risk from performing oral sex on a woman, and others that may present a more meaningful risk?

Separately, what STI would I be at risk for if I recieved oral sex from her?
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
31 months ago
Welcome to the forum. Thanks for your question and your confidence in our services.

Oral sex in general is low risk for STDs -- low risk for all and virtuallly zero risk for others. Cunnilingus (oral-vaginal contact) is very low risk for all STDs and probably zero risk for some. For example, there has never been a proved case of HIV transmitted by cunnilingus, either vaginal to oral or in the other direction. You will be at small risk for oral gonorrhea, herpes, or HPV, and in theory for syphilis, but that's so rare in most female sex workers currently (in the US and most industrialized countries) that it's not a serious consideration. In theory oral chlamydia could be a risk, but there has never been a proved case of such transmission.

Fellatio (oral-penile) is somewhat higher risk. You could get gonorrhea, nongonococcal urethritis (NGU, often believed to be due to normal oral bacteria and probably harmless), or herpes due to HSV1, the usual cause of oral herpes. Syphilis same as above -- possible but unlikely due to its rarity in most heterosexuals.

As for fingering or other hand-genital contact, no measurable risk for any STD.

All in all, the risk is sufficiently low that I would not recommend testing after any single exposure. If you have multiple similar exposures over time, you could consider testing with a throat swab for gonorrhea, urine for gonorrhea and chlamydia, and blood tests for HIV and syphilis. But the chance of any of these is miniscule, so testing would be optional. 

I hope this information is helpful. Let me know if anything isn't clear.