Question: Is there a polite way to tell a partner during sex that you don’t want to be kissed immediately after they finish giving you oral? Are there health detriments to that, or am I just being extra germaphobic?
Answer: This is such a good question! There are a lot of people who question if kissing after oral is hygienic and taboo. Some people think it is intimate or erotic and some find it to be unpleasant. So, there are many things to reflect on regarding your no-kissing preference.
Do you not want to taste or smell yourself on your partner’s lips? Are you worried about bacteria or your personal hygiene? What messages have you received about kissing after oral? If you perform oral, do you not want to kiss your partner afterwards?
The way we engage in sex, and the reasons why we do so in certain ways, are heavily influenced by not only our experiences but also by what our peers, family, and society have to say. We should all take a pause and be curious about the “why” of our beliefs and behaviors and challenge them when we experience internal conflict. Take some time to answer some of these questions for yourself and other ones that may come up. Having this information will help you talk to you partner about your preferences as well.
Ok, time to talk!
Conversations about sexual history, preferences, pleasure, and safety can be difficult and awkward but good communication is part of good sex. Being open about what your needs and desires are, along with those of your partner, requires consistent and honest conversations. It’s a good practice to have talks about sex beforehand because less is at stake, you can share your sexual history and safer sex practices, and increase the likelihood of a good experience. It’s the perfect time to tell someone your preference to not be kissed immediately after getting head—you are setting your expectations and boundaries.
If you need to have this conversation with someone that you are already having sex with, we have a few helpful tips.
Timing is essential. Right after an intimate experience is not the best time to tell your partner what you are not happy or that you want to try something different. Think about the reason you asked how to say this “politely”, what are you hoping to avoid? They may feel embarrassed, disappointed in themselves, and that they are not able to please you. Having the conversation at the right time can be the difference between feeling like you are complaining and telling someone what makes your more comfortable and turns you on.
Use “I” Statements. Centering your statements around your own experiences and preferences encourages open dialogue. Starting your sentences with “I need/want _____” or “I feel ______ when _____” identify what you are looking for out of the situation and the emotion that arises because of it. Framing your statements this way can decrease the chances of someone becoming defensive. Remember to stay positive, the goal of the conversation is to have more enjoyable sexual experiences.
Body language. It’s very likely that you will spend a lot of time going over what you want to say. But be mindful of the messages your body may be giving off too. People are more likely to listen to the message your body is sending when they differ from the words you are saying. This includes the placement of hands and arms, do you use your hands to talk or cross your arms; eye contact, are you looking at your phone, watch, or the person; facial expressions, is your emotion going to show on your face; and touch, will you hold their hand or touch at all during this time. Body language during talks about sexuality is especially important because it’s very personal and no one wants to feel shamed or unheard.
Be there to listen. To improve mutual understanding, you have to engage your active listening skills. Since this is a conversation and not a speech, show your partner that what they think and ask is also important. They may be trying to interpret what was said and if you are not listening, you could miss the opportunity to clarify. Having good listening skills enhances our interactions with others, builds a connection, and ensures that the message is heard empathically and meaningfully.
Go with honesty. Tell them why this is important to you and that you’d like to come up with a solution. You can even let them know this is a difficult conversation to have and share why that is so. This will likely not be the first hard conversation to have but knowing that either of you are not shying away from tough talks is affirming to the relationship.
We didn’t forget about the health aspect of your question so let’s talk about oral sex, health, and being safer.
Although there is less risk of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in oral sex than genital to genital sex, there is still a risk. The viruses and bacteria that are related to STIs really enjoy warm, moist places which include the mouth and genital areas. So yes, there are potential health factors involved, as bacterial infections can be acquired in the mouth and throat. Herpes, genital warts, gonorrhea, and HIV can be passed between genitals and mouth through cuts, sores, small abrasions, skin-to-skin contact, and bodily fluids. Note that HIV is not spread through saliva.
Also be mindful of your oral health and hygiene practices. Canker sores, ulcers, or other open cuts and wounds could increase exposure and transference of fluids. Some people want to clean their mouth by brushing or flossing to help decrease the spread of bacteria after oral sex. However, brushing can lead to scratches and bleeding of the gums which again increase exposure. Rinsing with mouthwash or warm salt water afterwards has been recommended instead.
Many people do not use any barrier methods during oral sex for reasons related to preference and lack of education. So, we are going to go over ways to engage in safer oral sex:
- Ask that the body parts your mouth will explore be washed beforehand. Wash your body parts if you want someone’s mouth to be involved.
- Use a non-lubricated condom for penis to mouth and a dental dam for vulva to mouth or anus to mouth oral.
- A condom can be used for vulva and anal oral sex if you cut the tip of the condom horizontally and the side vertically. Try out flavored condoms!
- Plastic food wrap can also be used for vulva and anal oral sex. It is more porous than latex which means fluids could pass through.
We hope some of this helps you learn more about yourself and have this conversation with your partner. Let us know how it goes!
Dalychia & Rafaella