Oral sex seems like some good ole’ innocent (the innocent part is a little questionable, actually) fun, doesn’t it? A lot of people seem to have this idea that giving or receiving oral sex is safer than actual intercourse (think about it, though). In fact, there are a lot of people out there who don’t even consider oral sex sex. They just consider it third base. But here’s a super scary question for you: can blow jobs lead to throat cancer?
As it turns out, they sort of can. Giving oral sex without any sort of protection at all can lead to a rare, but very serious, type of cancer called oesophageal cancer, which is a cancer of oesophagus. A lot of things can cause oesophageal cancer and one of those things just happens to be the human papillomavirus, more commonly known as HPV. You’re probably most familiar with HPV in connection with cervical cancer in women – but research has recently discovered that HPV can be a pretty big risk factor in getting oesophageal cancer. Eek. Just when you thought HPV couldn’t get any scarier, right?
To break it down: you can contract HPV on your oesophageal tissue by giving blow jobs to a guy who is infected with the virus. Eventually, that HPV on your oesophageal tissue can possibly lead to oesophageal cancer (although it doesn’t always happen).
One thing to keep in mind is that doctors have found this happening more in men than women – but that doesn’t mean that we can’t still be affected. If you think about it, it makes sense that it’s happening more to men. A lot of boys never get the HPV shot (which vacciantes against HPV) because the majority of them are never advised to get it, while young women are strongly advised to get the shot – so, generally, women are more protected against it in the first place.
Why aren’t guys advised to be protected against HPV? Good question. I’m guessing it’s because a lot of people tend to believe HPV doesn’t do anything to males. They think guys are only carriers and the biggest issue with HPV is that it causes cervical cancer in women. In my opinion, it’s kind of silly. Since dudes can carry HPV and, thus, spread HPV if they’re doing the deed without a condom, they should be vaccinated against it also.
Here’s the thing with HPV: I think a lot of people have the wrong idea about it – some people don’t know that much about it and think you can only contract it through intercourse. They think that as long as they stick with oral sex, they’re safe. But that’s not true! You can still spread diseases and infections by putting your mouth on someone else’s genitals. You can definitely contract HPV in your oesophagus. And while genital HPV can lead to cervical cancer, HPV in your oesophagus can lead to oesophageal cancer. Scary stuff!
Another thing people seem to believe about oral sex is that it doesn’t require a condom. Hate to break it to you guys, but that’s not true either. Like I said, you can still get infected with some sort of disease or infection via oral sex and so obviously, using a condom is your best bet to prevent that.
But if I’m being honest with myself, I know that the chances of everyone in the world starting to use condoms during oral sex are slim to none. So here is what you can do to protect yourself against a very serious virus that can lead to some very serious complications: for one thing, you can get yourself vaccinated against HPV (and you can get more info on that here). For another thing, you can make sure that any partner you have has been tested for STDs and STIs recently. You can also make sure you’re getting tested regularly yourself. Oh, and you can encourage the guys you hook up with to get vaccinated as well.
Really, just be careful out there when hooking up. This is a giant reminder that, whether it’s vaginal or oral sex, you still need to be careful when dealing with other people’s genitals.
Have you been vaccinated against HPV? Are you planning on doing it? Do you think guys should have to do it also? Tell us in the comments!