Thinking of having oral sex? Then you should get clued-up on it first. Sink your teeth into all the key info here, including what it feels like, what the risks are and general top tips...

What is it?

There are many different names for oral sex, but it's a sexual act that involves using your mouth or tongue to excite and pleasure someone's penis or labia (the fleshy lips between a girls' legs. See our page on the vagina for more info). For a man, his partner licks and/or sucks his penis and the surrounding area. Despite the nickname, there's no blowing in a blowjob! For a woman, her partner licks and/or sucks her labia, clitoris and the surrounding area.

What's it like?

Many people like it. But some people don't. It takes some getting used to, and there's no reason why you should give or receive it, unless you're sure you want to.

You're up close and personal with each other's genitals - seeing, smelling and tasting them. It's one of the most intimate things you can do with someone and it's normal to feel vulnerable, especially with someone new.

What are the risks?

You can't get pregnant by having oral sex (unless you're a woman and your partner has sperm in his mouth) but you can catch sexually transmitted diseases, so it's best to use a condom if you're doing it with a boy (you might want to try the flavoured kind) or a dental dam with a girl (a thin latex device that covers your mouth)... And never have oral sex if you have sores, cuts or ulcers on your mouth or genitals.

What else do I need to know?

Giving and receiving oral sex to or from anyone under 16 is illegal in the UK, even if both of you are underage.

Oral sex isn't everyone's cup of tea, so don't pressurise anyone or feel pressured into it.

If you are thinking of trying oral sex, be gentle and careful. Respect your partner and have a wash beforehand. But remember, no one smells like a bar of soap - so be prepared.

BBC Advice factfiles are here to help young people with a broad range of issues. They're based on advice from medical professionals, government bodies, charities and other relevant groups. Follow the links for more advice from these organisations.


Related Links

More on Sex & Relationships