Gay Men's Health can be contacted at the above address and/or phone number. Please use the e-mail form to contact us. All enquiries are treated in strict confidence.
sexual health pages
As one of the most excitingly sensual and versatile areas of the body, it deserves the best of care. We experience a world of fantastic sensations through our mouths - initially drawn close to someone by an attractive smile, we share pleasure in talking and touching, we kiss in a dozen different ways and enjoy with a lover one of the most fun, safe and pleasurable experiences around.
Keeping your mouth a pleasure zone
One of the biggest turn-offs can be bad breath. How to avoid it? Keeping a good flow of saliva is important; chew sugarfree gum between meals, eat and drink regularly. Watch your diet though; keep away from excess garlic, spicy food, too much coffee and tobacco. Brush your teeth, gums and tongue three times daily (over 80% of UK adults have gum disease, an important cause of bad breath. It can be prevented by good brushing and regular dental check-ups). Mouth fresheners are OK for emergencies, but tend to just cover up problems for a few minutes rather than sorting out the basic cause of bad breath.
Safe oral sex
Oral sex carries very low risk for transmitting HIV; although there have been a very few case reports of HIV acquired through oral sex alone, this is exceptionally rare. However, don't forget that there are other infections around which can be passed on by oral sex:
Gonorrhoea - can infect the throat, urethra (piss tube) and rectum (arse). Only in the urethra would gonorrhoea cause symptoms (discharge and pain on urinating). Easily transmitted by oral sex.
Herpes - causes sores in the mouth, anal and genital areas.
Hepatitis A - Causes jaundice. Increasing reports in gay men in recent years. Passed on by oral-anal contact.
Intestinal parasites - may cause diarrhoea. Passed on by oral-anal contact.
Syphilis - although less common nowadays, syphilis is on the rise amongst gay and bisexual men and can be transmitted by oral sex and kissing.
Glandular fever - nicknamed 'the kissing disease'; causes sore throat and swollen glands.
You can use a condom (available in a wide choice of flavours) for making oral sex extra-safe. Buy them or get them free (together with information on any of the above and other topics) from the GUM Clinic or Gay Men's Health.
GUM Clinic, Level 4, Lauriston Building, Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh.
Gay Men's Health, 10a Union Street, Edinburgh. Phone (0131) 558 9444.
Images courtesy of the Steve Retson Project
Last updated 20th May 2004
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