The term “safe sex” can be used somewhat loosely. Yes, deciding to practice oral or anal sex can be a good alternative for couples who are looking to be intimate and avoid pregnancy. However, that doesn’t mean that either option is completely safe. According to Better Health, both oral and anal sex can still carry the risk of transmitting infections and disease. Oral sex can transmit such viruses as the human papillomavirus (HPV), herpes, and gonorrhea. As such, couples should avoid having oral sex if one partner has a sexually transmitted disease or any sores, cuts, or blisters around the mouth, genitals, or anus.
Similar to oral sex, anal sex is also not a risk-free activity. For starters, as noted by Medical News Today, the anal area does not have any natural lubrication, which can lead to tears as a result of friction. These tears can leave the body open to bacterial infection. In addition, for people who are worried about pregnancy, there is still a slight risk, as semen could still enter the vagina if it leaks out from the rectum (via Planned Parenthood). So, while anal and oral sex are alternatives to vaginal sex, it’s best to know all the risks before adding them to your bedroom repertoire.