Can I get sick from swallowing semen?

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Someone asked us:

Can I get sick from swallowing my fiancé’s cum?

It depends on how you define “sick.” Can you get STDs from swallowing cum? Yup! Bacterial infections that are spread through semen, like gonorrhea and chlamydia, can infect the throat. 

There is a very, very small chance of HIV transmission from having semen in your mouth (if there’s a cut in your mouth that provides an entry point for the virus, for example). And oral sex without a condom, whether or not semen shows up to the party, puts you at risk for skin-to-skin STDs, like herpes. But if you and your partner have both been tested, are STD-free, and are totally monogamous, no worries there.

As far as other illnesses go, semen isn’t dangerous to swallow. But everyone’s body is different, and some people discover they don’t like the way swallowing semen makes them feel. Rarely, people may have semen allergies or sensitivities that can cause nausea and discomfort when semen is swallowed, and irritation when other body parts are exposed.

Others may simply be grossed out by the taste of semen or the experience of swallowing. Bottom line: if swallowing semen makes you feel sick or you just plain don’t like it: don’t do it! Consider alternatives like using condoms (flavored ones are great for oral sex), spitting instead of swallowing, or having your partner ejaculate away from your mouth.

But if you like swallowing and feel just dandy afterward: bottoms up! There’s nothing to stress about (as long as you’re keeping STD prevention in mind).

-Kendall at Planned Parenthood