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Can I Get an STD From
Oral Sex?

By Lizzie De La Cruz
July 12, 2020

Can You Get STDs From Oral Sex?

Imagine that you've been seeing someone new and things are feeling pretty monogamous—dating, hand holding, romcoms and maybe some introductory oral sex. Not long after, you start to feel a burning in your throat, have an unusual discharge from your vagina, and it burns to pee. You start to get scared, and you don't know what's going on, after all, you've only had oral sex. And you wonder, is it possible to get a sexually transmitted disease (STD) from oral sex...can I get an STD if I just gave head?

The truth is, without protection, yes, you can get an STD from oral sex. In fact, many individuals end up contracting an STD this way because they were trying to avoid penetrative sex. This pattern is especially common at the beginning of a relationship, when, out of fear of STIs, we forget to take the proper safety precautions with oral sex too. A lot of people don't realize that you can transmit STDs this way.

The good news is that most STDs are super easy to diagnose and treat. So, let's talk about what kind of diseases you can get from oral sex, their symptoms, treatments, and preventive measures you can take to reduce your chances of getting an STD.

What Is Oral Sex?

Nearly 85% of sexually active humans engage in oral sex. It's natural, normal, pleasurable and can be a safe way to enjoy sex if you use protection. Whenever you use your lips, tongue and mouth on someone else's penis, vagina or genital area, you're performing oral sex. The best way to protect yourself when having oral sex is with dental dams and condoms.

What Diseases Can You Get From Oral Sex?

These are the most common STDs you can get from unprotected oral sex:


Gonorrhea is a highly contagious bacterial STD that you can get from oral sex. As with most STDs, if you catch gonorrhea early, it's easy to treat. Discharge, burning and itching are common symptoms of gonorrhea.


Caused by bacteria, syphilis is an STD that's easily cured with antibiotics but that can be dangerous if left untreated. Symptoms of syphilis are small sores around the genital area or mouth, small skin growths on the vulva and anus and sometimes a fever. It's really important to get tested for syphilis and get it treated quickly.


Genital herpes is caused by a virus that you get from oral sex and penetrative sex. Herpes can be painful, as sores develop in your mouth and genital area. When you first get herpes, you may have a fever, headache and aching muscles. After initial exposure to herpes, the virus goes dormant and lives in the body and can reoccur at any time.

After your herpes symptoms go away, you'll need to take an antiviral medicine on a daily basis or when you feel an outbreak beginning. Tingling, burning, a slight fever and an aching body are often signs of a herpes outbreak. While herpes is not curable, medicine can help manage any outbreaks.

Genital Warts

Genital warts caused by the virus human papilloma virus (HPV) can be quite painful. Sores develop on your lips and mouth when you've had oral sex with someone who has genital warts. HPV is transmitted through skin-to-skin contact, so you really want to use a dental dam or condom when performing oral sex. Genital warts can be treated with antiviral medication.


Chlamydia is a fairly common STD that is sexually transmitted either through oral sex or penetrative sex. Symptoms include discharge and burning when you pee or have intercourse. While the name sounds scary, it's easy to treat with antibiotics.

When Should I See a Doctor?

Whenever you have symptoms such as foul-smelling discharge, itching, burning, lower back or abdominal pain or a fever, consult with our Wisp online doctors right away. You won't need to leave the house to go to the doctor or clinic. We'll talk online with you and ask you some questions about your symptoms, your sexual history and your general health.

Once we diagnose your symptoms, if safe and appropriate, our doctors prescribe the proper medicine to get rid of the STI quickly and easily. You can either go to your local pharmacy to pick up the medicine or we'll send it to your house in discreet packaging so your nosy neighbors won't think twice.

What Are the Treatments for STDs From Oral Sex?

Most STDs are really easy to treat, especially when caught early, and that's why it's super important to get tested and screened regularly. The sooner you catch an STD and treat it, the healthier you'll be, and there will be less chance of spreading the disease to your sexual partner. Bacterial infections like chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis are treated with antibiotics. Viral infections such as HPV get treated with antiviral medicine. Herpes outbreaks are managed with a specific herpes antiviral medicine.

What Can I Do to Prevent Getting an STD During Oral Sex?

  • Get screened regularly for STDs. Sometimes STDs show no symptoms, so it's really important to get screened on a regular basis. In addition, your partner or partners should also get screened. While STI testing requires a blood or urine sample performed in a lab, you can treat STIs online with a Wisp doctor first and get your lab test done when it’s convenient.
  • Use a dental dam. A dental dam is a thin piece of latex that fits over the vagina or rectum during oral sex to reduce the risk of transmission of STDs. They come flavored or unflavored and are meant to be used once and then thrown out. If you don't have a dental dam, it's really easy to make one from a condom. Simply snip off both ends of the condom, slice it down one side to create a square piece of material to make a barrier.
  • Use a condom. When giving oral sex on a penis, use a condom as a shield to help prevent transmission of diseases. Condoms come in lots of fun flavors, so experiment to find one you enjoy.
  • Avoid oral sex with someone who has visible sores. If the person has visible sores, abstain from oral sex or penetrative sex. Make sure the person gets tested and gets treatment for whatever STD they have before having sex with them.

Even though STDs are scary, they are common, and most of them are very easy to treat, especially if you catch them right away. If you feel uncomfortable, frightened or alone while you have an STD, you don't need to be! We are always here for you! We listen and can help you get through the STD so you can enjoy having a healthy sex life soon. Don't hesitate to reach out to us anytime.

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