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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Safer Sex & Birth Control » Safe oral sex during hook-ups?

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Author Topic: Safe oral sex during hook-ups?
sparr0w
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So, I'm currently in a (temporarily) poly/open/casual relationship. Basically, I'm in love with someone that is far away right now, and when we're reunited we're going to be monogamous, but this is college and we want to both be footloose and explore.

That said, we also want to keep each other safe, because we love each other, and so we're always supposed to have safe sex with any other partners we encounter (we're fluid-bonded, so we have unprotected sex with each other). This presents a problem when it comes to oral sex, especially during one-night-stands and hook-ups. If I'm going down on a guy, I can always use a flavored condom, but any time I've heard dental dams or saran wrap mentioned for a woman, people just laugh and joke. Also I've heard they taste/feel awful. Last time I hooked up with a guy, I had to lie and tell him I hated being eaten out, just to avoid the awkwardness. If I were with a more permanent partner, maybe I'd feel more comfortable bringing it up, but even explaining it to a one-night-stand kills any interest I'd have in the situation.

So how do you guys think I should deal with this? I'm bisexual, too, and I'd love to have sex with some cute girls, but I'm too afraid to disappoint them when I say I can't give them head without a layer of latex or saran wrap in between. My priority is keeping my partner safe, so I don't want to risk diseases, but I want a good, non-awkward way to avoid/deal with the issue.

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Heather
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Well, first up, do you have a vulva yourself? If so, why wonder about how dams feel (for the record, I don't personally think they taste or feel awful: I think they're pretty much just like using a condom)? Why not try them out? That way, too, you can learn how to use them well, and what makes them feel great.

For sure, I'd say that barriers for cunnilingus are one of those things where people who aren't super-safer-sex-savvy can have negative attitudes. But usually, I'd say that's because a) everyone in the equation is often unfamiliar with them and b) no one in the equation is just like, "Hey, I use dams for this, cool?" In other words, when at least one person is relaxed and matter-of-fact about it, and also knows how to use them, you're WAY less likely to encounter anything different attitude-wise than we'll tend to with condoms and partners.

It sounds like the real issue here is your own discomfort with them, despite never using them, so, for now, you're the real barrier here (no pun intended), not anyone else. That's good news, because you have control of you, and you can take the time to develop that comfort, you know?

For sure, sometimes this might be awkward. But sometimes ANY part of sex might be, and with brand-new partners or casual partners? Awkward, in one respect or another, is often totally unavoidable. So, I always say: embrace the awkward. It's not a performance, it's an experience, after all, and one where we should all feel okay being vulnerable or awkward if we're going to engage in it.

Get my gist? If so, what can we do to help YOU get more comfy with dams? talking about other people just doesn't really make much sense to me when so far, you haven't had any issue with partners feeling funny about them, only you.

[ 11-20-2012, 05:48 PM: Message edited by: Heather ]

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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sparr0w
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I should clarify--I've used them on myself before while pleasuring myself (I am female-bodied) just to see what they feel like, and I don't like them one bit. They're noisy, dry, and uncomfortable, even with lube. I've also heard that the people giving oral sex don't usually find them appealing, either.

Is there a good way to just avoid oral sex from hook-ups in general? I don't mind getting it from my primary partner, since I know he gets tested regularly (as do I) and I trust him more. What are good alternatives, for both hetero and lesbian sex?

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Heather
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Might I ask what brand of dam you're using? I ask because with lube on both sides, a good quality dam shouldn't be noisy. And if you keep up with the lube, they shouldn't be getting dry, either.

For the person on the giving-end, it's really just a matter of learning to work with the material, the same way you do with a condom and oral sex. learning to hold -- or have a partner help hold -- the dam right also goes a long way.

I'd posit that the people who don't find them appealing on the giving-end more often than not are either simply unfamiliar with using them, and/or are often folks with the attitude that cunnilingus (or sex between women, period) just isn't something anyone should have to worry about per safer sex, or that there's some STI stigma stuff floating around. Just my two cents. If it helps, I'd also posit that IMO, some of this is often rookie stuff; that a lot of people who aren't so great about this when younger get better about it as they get older.

(We also have instructions here somewhere for making a DIY dam harness I can dig up if you like. Those can come in handy, too.)

Of course, you don't have to have oral sex, or any kind of sex in any sexual interchange. And it seems to me that it sounds like for you, the reason you wouldn't is because a) you're in a poly agreement where you and your partner(s) are fluid-bonded, so that means safer sex with any other partners, but b) you don't want to use barriers for cunnilingus, so it's a no-go for you. And I don't see any reason why you can't say just that if you want to say more than "not interested," or plain old "no thanks."

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Heather
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Alternative-wise, I don't know how to answer that. I mean, tongues and mouths are tongues and mouths.

There are a couple toys on the market that are designed to semi-replicate oral sex, but otherwise, I think it's simply a matter of choosing to not do that activity and do any of the other wide range of sexual activities we can do with someone instead.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Robin Lee
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HI There,

Have you tried plastic wrap as well as dams? I'm asking as the texture is very different for the wrap--more flexible--so might be more comfortable.

IN terms of avoiding oral sex with hookups, as with any sexual activity, all you need to say is that you don't wish to do that with them, but you'd be very happy (ecstatic, pleased, etc) to do X, Y, Or Z with them. That could feel a bit awkward for you if you really would like to engage in oral sex with them but sometimes life is about making choices. [Smile] ...and there are certainly plenty of other fun things to do. [Smile]

On the other hand, if you haven't tried using plastic wrap you could give that a try. As Heather said above, oftentimes if we both suggest and execute something with confidence it goes a long way towards people feeling comfortable with what's going on. And if the choice is to engage in oral sex with barriers, or not engage in oral sex at all, many may well choose the former even if it's unfamiliar to them.

What do you feel like you need to be comfortable with this, either with using barriers or with opting out of oral sex with casual partners?

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Robin

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sparr0w
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I feel like I need to have an easy way to opt out of it without my hook up partner thinking I'm just playing coy. Also, I want to know if any lesbian/bisexual women out there would be okay with me using fingers and toys only, and no oral. Or would they be upset/disappointed?

[ 11-21-2012, 12:13 AM: Message edited by: sparr0w ]

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smittenkitten
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Hi Sparrow,

I am a lesbian and I generally don't enjoy receiving oral sex. There are a lot of people who enjoy oral sex but also some who don't. I would imagine that if a partner wanted oral sex badly enough, they would be willing to compromise and use a dam/plastic wrap. But in reality that's not necessarily true. And I suppose if you aren't willing to use dams/wrap, the point is moot. There is plenty that can be done with fingers and toys though!

Marion

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eryn_smiles
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Another possibility if you enjoy using flavoured condoms is to cut one up and use it as a dam on yourself or someone else.

I'm sure there are women who have sex with women who would be fine with no oral, you just need to ask them individually [Smile] . I have used dams before for receptive sex and actually can't remember feeling discomfort or hearing noise- I couldn't tell a difference between the dam being there or not.

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"Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation and that is an act of political warfare."

Audre Lorde

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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
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I'm not sure I grok what's coy, or could even come off that way about, "I"m in a poly relationship where we're fluid bonded, so I can't have oral sex unprotected, but I am also uncomfortable using dams, so it's just out for me."

?

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

Posts: 68290 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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