Tops, Bottoms, and Blow Jobs

Oral Sex “Blow Job”

Most people like getting blown, or blowing a guy, or both. But there still some uncertainty about how safe it is. In general, it’s a lot safer than unprotected anal sex (if it weren’t there would be MANY more cases of HIV that we’ve seen to date.) However there are a few things you can do to make oral sex safer, especially if you’re the dude doing the sucking. Don’t brush just before you blow. Brushing can irritate gums or cause bleeding – exposed surfaces that can be a site for infection. Likewise, hold off sucking if you have canker sores or other cuts or wounds in your mouth. These are also sites where HIV can enter the body.

Finally, try not to take semen “cum” in your mouth. This is where infection is most likely to happen. Some people use condoms (flavored or not) for oral sex – it all depends on how it feels to you and your partner and how much risk you are willing to accept.

“Top or bottom?”

We all have our preferences when it comes to sexual positions and behaviors. It’s also good to know that all sexual practices can be made “safer”—meaning you can lower your risk of transmitting/contracting STDs and HIV—but some activities are much safer than others. Here’s a list of sexual activities and the risks they pose for transmitting HIV or other STDs:

 RECEPTIVE ANAL SEX (BOTTOMING)

  • The odds of getting HIV from “bottoming” without a condom are higher than any other sexual behavior.
  • HIV has been found in pre-cum (pre-ejaculatory fluid), so having your partner pull out before he cums (ejaculates) may not decrease your risk.
  • Do not douche before sex. Douching irritates the lining of your rectum and this can increase your risk for getting HIV. If you are concerned about cleanliness, clean the rectum gently, with a soapy finger and water.
  • If you are bottoming, always use plenty of water-based lube with a latex, polyurethane, or polyisoprene condom. Lambskin condoms will NOT protect you from HIV, because the virus is small enough to slip through lambskin. Lubes reduce friction and help keep the condom from breaking. Do NOT use an oil-based lube (like petroleum jelly (Vaseline), hand lotion, or cooking oil). Oil-based lubes can damage condoms and make them less effective. Lube will help to minimize damage to the rectum during sex and to prevent the transmission of STDs (including HIV).

INSERTIVE ANAL SEX (TOPPING)

  • “Topping” without a condom is considered a high-risk behavior for transmission of HIV and other STDs.
  • Your partner may have sores or other signs of infection in his/her rectum that you can’t see. If you have tears or cuts on your penis, HIV can enter your body this way.
  • It is possible for blood and other fluids containing HIV to infect the cells in the urethra of your penis.

ORAL-ANAL CONTACT (RIMMING)

  • The risk of getting HIV by rimming is very low—but this kind of sexual contact comes with a high risk of transmitting hepatitis A and B, parasites, and other bacteria to the partner who is doing the rimming.
  • You should use a barrier method (cut-open unlubricated condom, dental dam, or non-microwaveable plastic wrap) over the anus to protect against infection. For more information on dental dams, please see the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ Tips For Using Condoms And Dental Dams.

DIGITAL STIMULATION (FINGERING)

 

  • There is a very small risk of getting HIV from fingering your partner if you have cuts or sores on your fingers and your partner has cuts or sores in the rectum.
  • Use medical-grade gloves and lots of water-based lube to eliminate this risk.

SEX TOYS

  • Using sex toys can be a safe practice, as long as you do not share your toys with your partner.
  • If you share your toy with your partner, use a condom on the toy, if possible, and change the condom before your partner uses it.
  • Clean your toys with soap and water, or a stronger disinfectant if indicated on the cleaning instructions. It is important to do this after each use!