Friday, January 2, 2009

The Health Risks Associated with Noncoital Sexual Activity

Noncoital sexual behaviors, which include mutual masturbation, oral sex, and anal sex, are common expressions of human sexuality. Couples may engage in noncoital sexual activity instead of penile-vagina intercourse hoping to reduce the risk of sexually transmitted diseases and unintended pregnancy. Although these behaviors carry little or no risk of pregnancy, women engaging in noncoital behaviors may be at risk of acquiring sexually transmitted diseases.
Most individuals engaging in oral sex are unlikely to use barrier protection. However, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) may be spread through saliva, blood, vaginal secretions, semen, and fecal matter, especially in the presence of preexisting infections, open sores, or other lesions.
Hepatitis B virus is commonly spread through noncoital sexual activities, as it is found in semen, saliva, and feces. Hepatitis A is transmitted via fecal contamination of the oral cavity and is more common in men practicing oral-anal contact. Although sexual transmission of hepatitis C virus is uncommon, it may occur with preexisting hepatitis B virus and HIV infection and with oral-genital contact.

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