SWM032 – Is oral sex unsanitary?

Reader’s Question:

The question I have is concerning oral sex and whether it is “sanitary” or not,especially concerning cunnilingus, but also fellatio. I would love to go down on my wife, but she has a belief that she is “dirty” down there. Though she admits that it feels good she does not want me doing it to her. I have respectfully obliged her request, but I did ask if she would be willing to read an article or anything that would help shed some light on this.

Why do we believe this?

We’ve adopted a lot of false beliefs into Christian culture and tradition.  One of them is that the body and sexuality is dirty or sinful.  Pudendum (the name for women’s genitals) even means ‘parts to be ashamed of’ in Latin.  The church taught for a long time that sex is always sinful, and only partially offset by procreation.  Some churches still teach that sex is part of the curse after the fall.

So, oral sex is seen as morally dirty, and that has translated into beliefs about it being physically dirty.

1. There’s nothing unsanitary about genitals by themselves

The mouth may be the least sanitary part about oral sex – Kissing is less hygienic or more unsanitary than oral sex.

Because we wear clothes, skin folds and creases can grow bacteria.  Similar bacteria exist between spouses though, so there’s not much of a concern.

2. STDs/STIs can only be transmitted through oral sex, not created

If you or your spouse don’t already have STDs or STIs, engaging in oral sex won’t give you them.

3. Bacteria & infections

Unless you have bacteria that’s out of hand, or an infection, there’s likely nothing to worry about here.

4. Urine

Men can’t urinate while aroused.  Urine is not sterile, but it’s not likely to be harmful in low quantities.

5. If you’re still worried

Take shower before oral sex if you’re worried.  All you need is water and your hand.  Soap is not needed and can even harm you.  Genitals tend to self-regulate and self-clean, especially the internal parts.

Lysol used to suggest women use their cleaner to wash themselves.  Don’t do that!


There’s nothing unsanitary or unhygenic about oral sex between monogamous couples.  If you’re worried, shower right beforehand.  There’s also nothing morally wrong or dirty about oral sex or our genitals.  God made them and said they were “very good”.  I trust His work.

Looking for more help?

10 thoughts on “SWM032 – Is oral sex unsanitary?”

  1. Clekonan says:

    Urine is sterile if this were false we would have constant bladder infections the loss of sterility happens in the urethra and for men it’s the distal portion at the end of the penis

    1. Jay Dee says:

      I don’t think that’s true. Here’s a study titled Urine is Not Sterile

  2. Clekonan says:

    Notes and Queries
    Nooks and crannies
    Semantic enigmas
    The body beautiful
    Red tape, white lies
    Speculative science
    This sceptred isle
    Root of all evil
    Ethical conundrums
    This sporting life
    Stage and screen
    Birds and the bees


    I have heard that urine is sterile, how can this be? Surely urine, along with faeces, rids the body of toxins?
    IN 1945, after four days in a rubber dinghy in the North Sea, my navigator and I, remembering an RAF lecture on survival, tasted our own urine. My own (and I made sure it was my own) four-day-old urine, even when flavoured with worked-out chewing gum and fluffy splinters of boiled sweet, was certainly not drinkable. Years later, when challenged, the lecturer was able to quote from official advice – “if stored in the first two days, urine is a drinkable fluid”.
    Philip Brett, Yelverton, Devon.
    THE TERMS “sterile” (containing no living organisms) and “toxic” (poisonous) are unrelated. A substance could be sterile and toxic (cyanide) or non-sterile and non-toxic (yoghurt). Urine is normally sterile when produced in the kidney and stored in the bladder, but is likely to become non-sterile as it leaves the body. Urine is non-toxic, although it contains urea and other substances which can be toxic if they are not excreted and reach high concentrations in the body. (Incidentally, something is either sterile or not. “Quite sterile” is like being slightly pregnant).
    Ken Joy, Kenilworth, Warwickshire (lsrak@warwick.ac.uk)
    FOOD consists of many organic chemicals which release chemical energy during digestion. Larger organic chemicals, such as proteins and carbohydrates, are broken down into smaller components and the resultant wastes are excreted. The majority of the nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium which are predominately water-soluble are shed from the body in the form of urine. If we are to be aware of the benefits of organic farming practices, we should take a closer look ways of applying urine wastes to soil as a fertiliser because its nutritional value is much higher than that of faeces and the potential for the transmission of disease is also much lower. Urine is rather innocuous compared to the noxious nature of its counterpart, faeces. There are relatively few diseases that are transmitted by urine compared with the myriad of diseases caused by the faecal route. Two well-known diseases that can be spread through urine include typhoid (the likely source of the Croydon Typhoid epidemic in the thirties) and urinary schistosomiasis. However, there are two other points worth mentioning. Firstly, urine from a healthy person is pathogen free, as is the same person’s faeces. Secondly, the lack of any pathogens in the urine does not mean that the urine is sterile which would imply that it would be void of any microbial activity. Some bacteria inhabiting the stomach intestine are inevitably detectable in urine. However, the concentrations are infinitesimally low compared to that in faeces which harbours vast populations of both living and dead intestinal bacteria.
    Jonathan Parkinson, Urban Water Research Group Environmental and Water Resources Engineering Section, Department of Civil Engineering, Imperial College, London (j.parkinson@ic.ac.uk)
    URINE formed by a healthy kidney does not contain any bacteria, though it could become contaminated with these on its way out through the urinary tract, especially when it reaches the tip of the penis or the vulva. This is why samples are usually taken of “mid-stream-urine” – the first flush washes out the potentially contaminated regions of the tract.
    (Dr) D E Evans, University of Manchester (devans@fs1.scg.man.ac.uk)

    1. Jay Dee says:

      1) Just because it’s drinkable doesn’t mean it’s sterile. Yogurt is edible, but not sterile. Though, one shouldn’t drink urine to survive as it will soon lead to kidney failure.
      2) The one quote says “the potential for diseases is much lower”, which is proof that it can’t be considered sterile. Something that is sterile cannot have diseases.
      3) Another quote of yours says “Secondly, the lack of any pathogens in the urine does not mean that the urine is sterile which would imply that it would be void of any microbial activity. Some bacteria inhabiting the stomach intestine are inevitably detectable in urine. However, the concentrations are infinitesimally low compared to that in faeces which harbours vast populations of both living and dead intestinal bacteria.” This again, is asserting that it’s not sterile.

      Here’s another couple of studies for you though, to balance the theories, opinions and anecdotal evidence:
      Urine Is Not Sterile: Use of Enhanced Urine Culture Techniques To Detect Resident Bacterial Flora in the Adult Female Bladder
      The resident microflora of voided midstream urine of healthy controls: standard versus expanded urine culture protocols.
      Human urine is not sterile – shift of paradigm.

  3. Luke says:

    Oral sex within a marriage can’t possibly be unsanitary. We’ve done it as a married couple 99% of all the times we’ve had sex over 18 years. Not one single infection or health issue at all. We’ve both orgasmed many times from oral in each other’s mouths and again no issues.
    Most likely the questioners wife has a mental block that time spent on good Christian sex books & sites like this can help overcome. There is not a single organ or part of the human body that God made for only one thing. Genitalia are not just for intercourse, mouths are not just for eating or talking.
    It’s well worth getting over the “dirty” mind block, a good shower by both spouses beforehand is highly recommended. If the husband has a beard, surprise the heck out of her & shave it clean off and perform oral. You might never grow that beard again! The only reason I don’t grow a beard ever, is for my wife’s oral sex preference for a smooth face down there.

    1. Clemkonan says:

      Sorry for the confusion I was not attempting to say that urine was sanitary but rather to show that as produced by the kidneys and stored in the bladder it is sterile and that contamination is due to the fact that the urethra being connected to the exterior serves a passage way of method of cross contamination. It is OK to speak or have an opinion but its powerful to search out knowledge and to understand how your body works.

      1. Jay Dee says:

        I got what you were trying to say, but the studies show you are incorrect. Urine is not sterile in the bladder.

        Urine is not sterile, even before it comes out of you and gets contaminated by your skin.
        Article here

  4. Bill says:

    I was surprised you didn’t refer to all the double entendres in the Song of Solomon on this topic…
    For example, see: http://www.new-life.net/2009/08/05/sexual-allusions-and-symbols-in-the-song-of-songs/
    A short search of the web will unearth many more articles that draw the same conclusions.
    If a christian spouse of either sex were concerned with this topic, Song of Songs is the first place I’d send them… even in English, even without a knowledge of the near-Eastern poetic language being used, reading this aloud to each other in bed is tremendously erotic. …and inspiring.

    1. Jay Dee says:

      Song of Solomon is often contended about whether it’s discussing sex or not, so while I do refer to it occasionally, I can’t count on it being a convincer. In fact, some people, as soon as they see me reference Song of Solomon as referring to sex, will just write off the article as “wrong” because they’ve already decided it’s not about that.

  5. Bill says:

    One of your points here (you also make it in your 1st sermon podcast) — how the church sees physical things as “dirty” and spiritual things as “pure” — is really a form of neo-platonism that has plagued the church and the whole of Western thought since the Greek/Roman times. Paul addresses is in his letter to the Corinthians, especially as it affected the sexual sins going on in that church. The best description I’ve found of this theological error (even though it’s from 1987) is here: https://bible.org/article/rushdoony-neoplatonism-and-biblical-view-sex

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