Cunnilingus is still ok, right? Please say yes

Out of all the news stories this week, this one stood out the most to me….ahem….from a public health perspective of course.

Well fellas!! Michael Douglas is saving your life once again. First he introduced some of you to psycho broads with Basic Instinct (or Basic Instank as my husband and I call it) and Fatal Attraction. Now he’s reminding you that you must watch what you eat.  Mr. Douglas has sorta told the world that his battle with throat cancer came from cunnilingus. I say sorta because one interview he did confirmed it but he took it back once the story went viral. (note to Mr. Douglas: As a media person I warn you to say what you mean and mean what you say.)  Mr. Douglas contracted human papilloma virus (aka HPV) through oral sex and the virus created a tumor in his throat which led to his cancer diagnosis.

Anyway, the whole thing prompted me to explore this further as I happen to be a health writer who specializes in sexual health. I also think that from a female stand point that HPV needs a little attention because apparently you can have this virus and pass it on and not even know it. I won’t lie. Cunnilingus is a nice benefit of a healthy sexual relationship. A real nice benefit. But it can backfire on a woman if a man contracts something. Not only will he have to seek treatment for his condition but passing along a virus through oral sex can ruin it for the rest of us women. When performed correctly, cunnilingus can be AMAZING.COM. It can have so many benefits for a woman including stress relief (who couldn’t use a little stress relief in their life?)

Don’t give me the side eye about this. Oral sex-whether it’s fellatio or cunnilingus-is far more common place than you think. But we must be careful about who we perform it on. Mr. Douglas worries me. He didn’t exactly say that his wife Catherine Zeta-Jones had HPV and that’s how he got it. I’m glad he didn’t because that would be an awful thing to do to your betrothed. But who did he get it from? Does he know? Has he performed oral sex so many times that he has no idea how he contracted the virus? Ewwww!!!! People always harp on women for being promiscuous but what about the men. Men are just as wrong for sleeping around with lots of women and spread viruses. Let’s share the responsibility for the ills of society, shall we?

Now professionally I must give you the quick and dirty 101 on HPV (no pun intended). According tot the Feds (i.e. The Center for Disease Control) HPV is a virus that affects approximately 79 million people. It doesn’t really have a lot of symptoms so it can be difficult to tell you have it. It is also likely that your body will clear itself of the virus sans medication. Yippeee!!! Women can be screened for it when they get a pap smear/cervical cancer screening. Sorry fellas but there isn’t a test for you just yet.  There is a vaccine for HPV and it is recommended for boys and girls at the preteen age (yes that young). It is not exactly deadly although if it leads to cancer that isn’t caught in time, you’re more likely to be a goner. Sorry. You can protect yourself from contracting it by using condoms and dental dams which come in delightfully fruity flavors these days.

My point in this post is this: Enjoy oral sex but do it responsibly. Be a choosy lover. Stop trying to get every chick you sleep with to stroke your ego by proclaiming “you’re the best I ever had”. Chances are we’re lying to you anyway. Not every woman is worthy of oral sex, fellas.  Study the craft, communicate well with a potential partner, and make oral sex an exclusive privilege . Bottoms up!

PS Mom if you’re reading this post, please do me a solid. Never discuss it with Dad or with me. 🙂

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