New York City sex therapist Dr. Stephen Snyder, proctologist Dr. David Rosenfeld, and Dr. Dennis Fortenberry, professor of pediatrics at Indiana University School of Medicine, who specializes in the research of health risk behaviors and STDs, sat down with Buzzfeed writer Casey Gueren to talk all thing anilingus.
Here’s what they had to say:
According to Fortenberry, STIs can be transmitted via rim jobs, “not necessarily because the anus or rectum is infected, but because it’s part of the skin that connects the entire genital area, and some of those organisms may simply be moving around.”
That’s right, fellas, Hep A and B, chlamydia, gonorrhea, HPV, herpes, syphilis, and even HIV can all be contracted from ass-to-mouth and vice versa.
“I’m not sure that the exposure that you would get from direct contact with the anus would be that much different than with oral sex or sex,” Fortenberry says.
Germaphobes can relax because, according to Rosenfeld, bacteria festering in your partner’s backside isn’t something you need to be too worried about since there’s bacteria all over the place–in your anus, in your genitals, on your skin, in your bedsheets — and getting a little in your mouth typically won’t do any harm.
Of course, this is assuming neither you or your partner are hosting any strains of harmful illness-causing bacteria or parasites in your bodies, which leads the experts to the next point…
E. Coli, C. difficile, salmonella, etc.
If your partner is suffering any parasites from, say, a trip abroad or eating bad Chinese food, or if his stomach has been acting up, don’t perform a rim job on him without some sort of barrier (i.e. a dental dam). Although, chances are, if he’s battling a bout of salmonella poisoning he’s probably not going to be in the mood for hanky panky anyway.
According to Rosenfeld, if your partner has been having irregular bowel movements or loose stools, you may also want to reconsider tossing his salad, or, if you do, at least use a barrier.
How come? Because irregular bowel movements = excessive bacteria, festering germs, etc.
The goal, Rosenfeld says, is for “smooth, solid stool that doesn’t leave anything behind when you wipe.”
Unfortunately, this may mean asking your man about his BMs, but, as Buzzfeed so eloquently puts it, “a conversation about his poops… [is] better than going in there blind, right?”
This one should really go without saying. Before going down on him, tell your man to wash, wash, wash. And then wash some more.
Rosenfeld recommends washing with a detachable shower head and using a mild soap since body washes can sometimes irritate the anus.
How clean is clean enough? Snyder says it’s a “judgement call.”
“If it passes a visual test and a sniff test,” he says, “you should be in the clear.”