Chlamydia From Oral Sex

Can You Get Chlamydia From Oral Sex?

When you think of chlamydia infections you might think of penetrative sex and passing the bacteria between genitals. In fact, transmitting chlamydia is not limited to this kind of physical contact.

Oral sex is often seen as safer than penetrative sex, but does that really mean there is no risk of catching chlamydia this way?

Can Oral Sex Give you Chlamydia?

Yes, it’s possible to pass on chlamydia through oral sex – many STIs are most commonly spread via oral sex. Oral sex is the stimulation of the genitals using the mouth, lips and/or tongue – in other words, when a person puts their lips/mouth/tongue to another person’s penis/vulva/anus.

Chlamydia is one of the most common STIs in the UK – although people who have it don’t always display recognisable symptoms. If can be treated fairly easily with antibiotics if it is caught early, but if left untreated, chlamydia can cause serious long-term health problems.

How can oral sex spread chlamydia? – in terms of giving and receiving oral sex with your partner, it is both possible to:

  • Get chlamydia (of the vagina, penis and/or anus) when receiving oral sex by a partner who has chlamydia (of the throat)
  • Pass on chlamydia (of the vagina, penis and/or anus) when giving oral sex if you currently have chlamydia (of the throat)

What kind of oral sex is most likely to spread chlamydia? – the most common way to pass chlamydia during oral sex is in oral sex on the penis without using a condom. However, it is also entirely possible to give or get chlamydia via oral sex on the vagina or anus.

Reducing the risk of chlamydia from oral sex – the only way to reduce your risk of getting or giving an STI like chlamydia during oral sex is by using a condom, a dental dam, or another barrier method during the act. Theoretically, the chances of passing on infection when using a condom are close to none, but this is of course not accounting for the a broken condom, slipping off, or being used incorrectly.

Can You Pass Chlamydia From Mouth to Genitals?

You can pass chlamydia from mouth to genitals – just like you can from genital contact. However, it’s very rare to pass chlamydia on during deep kissing (with tongues).

To avoid passing chlamydia on this way – the safest way to avoid chlamydia during oral sex is to use a condom if you are sleeping with a new partner, until you have both been tested. The test for chlamydia is quick and simple and can be performed from your own home.

Trying other forms of sex instead – you can also practice other forms of sex (such as mutual masturbation) as long as you are careful not to share bodily fluids between each other’s genitals and mouths. This is how the bacteria is most commonly spread.

Do You Need Protection From Chlamydia During Oral Sex?

Yes, to help avoid catching STIs like chlamydia – if you want to reduce your risk of getting chlamydia during oral sex, use a barrier method of protection (such as condoms or dental dams).

Condoms and dental dams can protect you – these provide a barrier between you or your partner’s mouth and genitals, to reduce the risk of any harmful bacteria spreading between. If you have a new partner and are worried about getting chlamydia through oral sex, use a barrier method until you have both been tested for STIs.

Unprotected sex always comes with risks – having any kind of unprotected sex with someone you know has chlamydia is a big risk, and will leave you open to infection. Chlamydia is easy to diagnose and even easier to treat, so it's worth keeping up with testing. Withholding information about STIs when having unprotected sex with another person is a very serious issue.

How Can You Tell if You Have Gotten Chlamydia From Oral Sex?

It’s not always easy to tell if you’ve gotten chlamydia from oral sex – symptoms of chlamydia vary slightly between the different types (vagina/penis/anus/throat), but the main symptoms are:

  • Pain when you go to the toilet (urination)
  • Unusual discharge from the vagina/penis/anus
  • Stomach pains, bleeding during or after sex from the vagina, or bleeding between periods
  • Painful or swollen testicles
  • A sore throat

Chlamydia is an STI that often doesn’t display symptoms – many people have or carry chlamydia without knowing about it at all. However, this can be incredibly dangerous in the long-run, especially in terms of your fertility.

The only way to check if you are STI-free is to have an STI test – you can get this done in-person, at most local GP surgeries, sexual health clinics, or by ordering a chlamydia test kit online.

Who is Most At Risk Of Getting Chlamydia From Oral Sex?

Chlamydia is most commonly reported in young people (between the age of 14 and 24) – the reasons for this could be:

  • Behavioural (not using condoms consistently, or having several different sexual partners)
  • Biological (certain conditions such as cervical ectopy can increase your risk of getting infected)
  • Cultural (potentially having less access to STI prevention services, or a perceived stigma)

Situations that can pass on chlamydia – according to some sources, the greatest chance of passing on infection is through oral sex involving a penis without a condom. Chlamydia is passed on during sex (oral or genital) and also during childbirth. For chlamydia in pregnancy – if the person giving birth is infected and remains untreated at the time of birth.

To lower your risk of getting chlamydia – you should use a barrier method (like condoms) with all new sexual partners, and have regular STI screening tests to make sure you have not caught an infection. STIs like chlamydia are very easy to treat with antibiotics, which are available free on the NHS.


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