To some, the concept of a flavored condom is a curious thing. There is more than one reason why flavored condoms are produced and some of these reasons can be enlightening, to say the least. Manufacturers treat flavored condoms with a flavored lubricant; they are designed mostly for safer oral sex. Some people enjoy a less pungent latex smell from flavored condoms.
Oral sex is not necessarily safe sex. Many sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) can be transferred from one partner to the other via sexual fluids such as semen. Studies indicate that oral sex is commonly practiced by sexually active male-female and same-gender couples of various ages, including adolescents. Although there is only limited data about how often adolescents engage in oral sex, some data suggests that many adolescents who engage in oral sex do not consider it to be sex; therefore they may use oral sex as an alternative to intercourse while still, in their minds, remaining abstinent.
Moreover, many consider oral sex to be a safe or no-risk sexual practice. In a recent national survey of teens conducted for The Kaiser Family Foundation, 26% of sexually active 15 to 17 year olds surveyed responded that one “cannot become infected with HIV by having unprotected oral sex”, and an additional 15% didn’t know whether or not one could become infected in that manner.
Oral Sex and the Risk of HIV Transmission
The risk of HIV transmission from an infected partner through oral sex is much smaller than the risk of HIV transmission from anal or vaginal sex. Because of this, measuring the exact risk of HIV transmission as a result of oral sex is difficult. In addition, since most sexually active individuals practice oral sex in addition to other forms of sex, such as vaginal and/or anal sex, when transmission occurs, it is difficult to determine whether or not it occurred as a result of oral sex or other more risky sexual activities. Finally, several co-factors can increase the risk of HIV transmission through oral sex, including: oral ulcers, bleeding gums, genital sores, and the presence of other STDs.
A flavored condom is a fantastic solution for those who are entering into a new relationship and are not monogamous or have not had recent STD and HIV screenings done. Protecting both yourself and your partner is a step into a positive direction. As always read the instructions on the box of condoms and keep it safe!