How Do You Ask To Use A Condom During Oral Sex? A Sex Educator Explains

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In this week's Sex IDK column, Emma McGowan, certified sex educator and writer, answers your questions about asking a partner to wear a condom for oral sex.

Q: How do you bring up condoms for giving blow jobs?

Here’s a not-so-fun fact about oral sex: You can still get sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in your throat. In fact, the majority of cases of throat cancer are related to people contracting high-risk strands of HPV in their throats. Viruses and bacteria love the moist mucus membranes of your mouth and throat. So if you have oral sex with someone who is carrying chlamydia, gonorrhea, herpes, syphilis, or HPV, you just might catch it there.

This is why it’s a great idea to use condoms to give oral sex, especially when you’re having sex with someone who you don’t know well or whose sexual history you don’t know much about. But because people don't wear condoms during oral sex as much as they should, bringing it up can be… awkward.

The best way to start the process is by being prepared. Carry the brand of condoms that you prefer to use for oral with you, so that when it gets to that point of the encounter you can whip it right out. (Actually, do this for all kinds of penetrative sex — no one should rely on their partner to supply condoms when they can do it on their own.) Maybe you really like flavored ones. Or maybe you prefer non-latex, for the taste, or non-lubricated ones, because you like to add your own lube. If you're having sex with a person who has a vagina, grab a couple dental dams or cut your condom of choice to DIY one. Whatever your preference, make sure you have a stash with you.

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Then, suggest using it in a sexy way. You can say something like “I feel so much more comfortable using condoms during oral, which means I’m much better at it” or “Trust me, you’ll love it.” You can also make eye contact and give them a smoldering look like, “I can’t wait to get this on you.” Communicate with your words and body language that this condom is the key to the incredible sex they’re about to have. With that kind of delivery, it’s much more likely they’ll be into it.

Another option is to just present the idea of using a condom as an obvious fact. Like, "Yeah, of course we're using a condom for oral sex! That's how I do things." That's you being super clear about your boundaries, which is also sexy.

At this point, your partner might decide that they’d rather not have oral sex than have it with a condom. And that's on them and their preferences, which have nothing to do with you or your BJ skills. But if they’re down to keep going (yay, enthusiastic consent!), continue the sexy moves. Add some lube to the inside of the condom and then either put it on with your mouth (classic) or slide it down sexily with your hand. Because blow jobs are all about being as slippery as possible, add some more lube to the outside of the condom as well. Then, proceed as you usually would!

One note: If you're using a condom for oral, be sure to switch to a new one before going on to penis-in-vagina or penis-in-anus sex. Condoms aren't reusable, for one, but it's also possible to have herpes in your mouth and then transmit it to your vagina or anus if you don't change the condom. Not ideal.

When it comes to having safer sex, everyone has their own boundaries, and learning how to advocate for yours is key to having the kind of sex you want to have. So go to your favorite sex shop (online or in person), pick up some lube and condoms, and feel prepared for your next oral adventure.

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