HPV Panic Commencing in 3. . .2. . .1

Most folks I know in my age group or younger are adamant about safe sex.  We pride ourselves on the precautions we take for sexual safety. Those of us 40 and under grew up during the dawning of HIV/AIDS.  We know how important condoms are and we would never dream of engaging in unprotected intercourse.  Never, ever, EVER.  It’s just not in our vocabulary.

We know about the risks of HIV, herpes, syphilis, chlamydia and a host of other STI’s.  We’re also so up on the latest news that we’re aware STI’s are no longer called STD’s.  We go to the doctor regularly, we get tested.

We all now know HPV is the primary cause of cervical cancer and plays a role in some anal, vaginal, and penile cancers.  We’ve known this for a while now.

Did you hear the latest news?

HPV now tops cigarette smoking as the top cause for throat cancer.  64% of throat cancers result from an HPV infection.  80% of women will have at least 1 strain of HPV by age 50.  Also, it’s suspected half of all men are currently infected with the HPV virus.

Did you also know HPV tests for men don’t exist nor will insurance cover the cost of male vaccinations?  Insurance won’t cover the cost of vaccinations for women outside of the 12-26 age range either.  For those of us lucky enough to get vaccinated, the vaccines don’t guard against all strains.  Women over 30 are routinely tested for HPV during their pap smears but unfortunately, the tests have a pretty significant level of inaccuracy.  The high risk cancer causing strains of HPV show no symptoms.

The experts tell us to use unlubricated condoms and dental dams for oral sex.  We all nod our heads, “Oh yes, of course, of course . . . safe oral sex.  It’s a must!  What do you think I am? CRAZY? Ha! Of COURSE I have safe oral sex! Always!”  And we’re all blatantly lying to each other.  Picture the cat that ate the canary . . . except the cat is you and there is an unwrapped dick in your mouth.

Who are we kidding?  None of us are having safe oral sex.  Don’t worry; I’m not here to preach to you about how you’re putting your life at risk.  I’m not going to give you advice on how to position that awkward, uncomfortably small dental damn and lubricate it on the underside so she might feel something.  Nor will I tell you how to put a condom on with your mouth.  Why?  Because I know you’re not doing it.  Either am I.

We’ve all justified our lack of protected oral sex.  The risks of contracting HIV, while possible, are pretty miniscule from oral.  Almost everything else we can get an antibiotic for, right?  And we’ve all collectively decided to just forget about herpes. Herpes who?

Adult sex educators routinely give us tips on how to make unprotected oral sex safer, which we interpret as an endorsement.  Don’t brush your teeth within two hours of oral so you are less likely to have fresh mouth cuts and scratches. When it comes to semen, follow this simple rule: “swallow or spit, just don’t let it sit!”  We always have condoms in our pockets and purses but we save those for “real sex.”

I’m just as devastated as you are.  I love oral sex.  And like most of this country’s teenagers, I don’t really see it as “real sex.”  If you give me your lunch money, I’ll totally give you a blow job on the back of the bus when the driver isn’t looking.  Yes, kids ARE doing that.  And no, they aren’t packing rubbers in their lunchboxes.

I need to make some serious changes, you need to make some serious changes.  I’m not happy about it and either are you.  Actually, I’m more than not happy, I’m completely crushed.  This is going to ruin sex forever.  I need to throw myself on the floor and sob for a while.  This feels like that diet I don’t want to go on.  I’ll start this new, ‘responsible person’ behavior next week.  Until then, I’m going to eat every pussy in sight.

Sucking on condoms sucks. Am I the only one afraid I’m going to A. swallow it down like a long spaghetti noodle or B. suck too hard and make a reverse bubble in the back of my mouth?

And I can’t even begin to comprehend eating a pie without tasting the pie.  Dental dams are so small and just like condoms, the taste is less than desirable.  They say you can cut a condom or latex/vinyl glove in half and use that but that really isn’t much bigger or palatable.

Saran Wrap has been thrown out as a solution to either place over a vagina, anus or wrap around a penis.  This seems like the only solution I might be able to get used to.  Saran Wrap is large, thin and easily moldable.  Turns out though, Saran Wrap is somewhat permeable and tears pretty easily.  It’s not very safe or the ideal material but it is better than nothing.

Perhaps this HPV scare will lead to people using more toys and manual stimulation?  Maybe that isn’t so bad?  I’m all for handjobs and toys— Hey!  Fucksaws for everyone!  The jury is still out on that one though, too.  There is also evidence HPV can also be transmitted through kissing and manual skin-to-skin contact.  Fucking hell.  Really!?

I’m not sure what the answer is here.  I am pretty certain, however, we’re not going to be able to figure it out until we start admitting we aren’t having safe oral sex.  The first step to recovery is acknowledging there is a problem.  How can we change our behaviors to include livable, real world alternatives for safe oral sex if we can’t even admit we’re having unprotected oral sex?  Say it out loud. Tell people.  I did.  You can too.

Unfortunately, we can’t continue to close our eyes, bury our heads in a delicious lap and pretend the risk of disease isn’t there.  It’s not working with herpes and it certainly won’t work with HPV.

What’s your take on this?  Are these new findings going to change your behaviors?  Are you having safe oral sex?  No?  What will it take to get you to start?  Or will you?




*post contains affiliate links, mama needs to buy a bunch of Saran Wrap ;)


12 replies
  1. Hardin Reddy
    Hardin Reddy says:

    You raised one point that came to my mind when I first heard about this: if HPV can be transmitted through oral sex, can’t it be transmitted by kissing too? Apparently so! It seems all that’s needed is a pathway from one partner’s blood stream to the other. Hell, if you both have open paper cuts I suppose HPV could be transmitted by holding hands.

    I’m not sure what to make of this. I’ve never used protection for oral sex, and I hate the thought of sexual encounters being reduced to watching each other masturbate. And I fully realize no one is immortal, either.

  2. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    I don’t have protected oral, and I don’t think that’s going to change.

    At this point I think I’m pretty much screwed, but I’ve also seriously cut back on the number of people I play with and prefer monogamy at this point. If I were playing w/ a large number of partners I might choose differently.

  3. Sunnymegatron
    Sunnymegatron says:

    Hardin- check this out: “HPV is spread through skin-to-skin and mucous membrane contact during sexual activity. HPV can be spread in the absence of vaginal and rectal intercourse.” via: http://www.health.state.ny.us/prevention/immunization/human_papillomavirus/index.htm

    You don’t even need to get as complicated as paper cut on paper cut. *sigh* Wonder if this will cause folks to say “if you touch me or kiss me you can give it to me and I can’t protect against that. So f-it, why do I need to protect against oral? HPV is something we are all going to get eventually anyway.”

    @Anonymous – thanks so much for candidly sharing your oral practices/views. I’d bet my last dollar we’ll find the vast majority of folks confirming they also do not use protection for oral– even those with multiple partners.

  4. vP
    vP says:

    So when I get toe cancer from the plantar warts (human papilloma virus types 1, 2, 4, or 63) when I was a kid, I will know who I need to talk to.
    Yes of course I know none of those strains actually cause cancer. but seriously if it is that easy for us to get sick and die, then I know if I get throat cancer I will have lived a good life and die a happy woman with no regret in that area, other than I should have done it more!

  5. carrie
    carrie says:

    me and my wife practice oral sex very often and we are not going to stop or use dental dams cause of risks,the way I see it as these days anything will kill you,from the air we breathe to the foods we eat,to stress,ect…im not going to worry about this unless it happens..life is too short as it is..and not going to stop enjoying my self :)

  6. McTrouble
    McTrouble says:

    Sunny, an important note: the plastic wrap used for things like wrapping furniture and moving materials is non-porous and great for use in place of a dental dam (if it says “non-microwaveable” that’s usually a safe bet that you can use it safely). It’s stronger than Saran Wrap, too!

  7. Zelda Gillian
    Zelda Gillian says:

    I’ve been hearing more and more about this lately, and, I, like most here, abhor the thought of forced condom/dental dam use for oral sex. But I guess I hate condoms for “real sex,” too, and I don’t take the risk there, so perhaps it’s just one of those things we’ve got to just get used to? Or go get vaccinated against HPV, I guess, which is always an option… *sigh* Everyone’s always trying to ruin our fun!

    McTrouble, do you know where one can buy this type of plastic wrap?

  8. Klark
    Klark says:

    Statistics? Hmmmm…

    64% of what number? Also, many fewer people are smoking so *of course* other mechanisms that cause oral/throat cancer will grow in percentage versus smoking, right?

    My digging seems to show that there are about 30,000 cases of throat cancer a year (citation needed, yes I know!). 64% of that equals about 19,500. Reading elsewhere on other types of cancers, it seemed accepted (citation, yes, yes…) that about 10,000 cases per year is a tiny number of incidents. Double that, and perhaps one has a less tiny number. That’s just one point of view, of course.

    There’s risk, as with anything, and we should be aware of it. It was probably someone like Hemingway (who shot himself in the foot. Twice. On the same hunting trip) who said, “If I avoid all the common ways of dying I’ll just die in an uncommon way.”

    It’s still a conundrum overall, though.
    Great comments!

  9. McTrouble
    McTrouble says:

    @Zelda You can find it at most home improvement stores, from what I’ve noticed. I bet moving places (like fedex and UPS) also carry it.

  10. that girl
    that girl says:

    I have small bumps on the outside lips on my vagina and i was wondering what it could be! And if it is an std or something can it spread if it gets cut open from shaving. It is really starting to freak me out. And can it go away by its self or do i need something to make it go away?

    • Sunnymegatron
      Sunnymegatron says:

      If this is really going on you need to get to your doctor ASAP. If you’re a teen and are afraid of parents finding out, seek out your local Planned Parenthood and make an appointment.


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