Birthday Present

Hi Shawna,

You were recently at my school so this is how I got your email.  I have a situation:  It is almost my boyfriend’s birthday and I wanted to give him a present:  a BJ.   If he doesn’t wear a condom when I do it,  will I get an STD or anything?  I’m pretty sure he has never been “sexually active” with anybody else;  but I’m just a little worried.  Thank you and please reply soon!



Thanks for the question – it’s a good one!

I have to give you props for checking in about health stuff BEFORE actually doing anything.  So first let me clarify a few terms.  A ‘BJ’,  otherwise known as a blowjob,  is a term for giving a male bodied person oral sex (mouth to penis).  Oral sex is simply a term for mouth to genitals (penis or vagina).

Okay,  it is possible to get an STD (sexually transmitted disease or infection) from oral sex – both giving and getting.  To get an STD from giving oral sex – the person who is getting oral has to already have an STD in their genitals (penis or vagina).  To get an STD from getting oral sex – the person who is giving has to already have an STD in their mouth.  It’s also important to note that a very common disease that’s passed orally is not necessary always an STD but can become one:  herpes.  I know this can be a little confusing but I will try to explain.

Herpes is an infection that can affect both the mouth and genitals.  It can be spread mouth to mouth,  genital to genital,  or mouth to genital by skin to skin contact (unlike chlamydia or gonorrhea which are transmitted in fluids).  Herpes are blister like sores that may come and go throughout ones lifetime.  Many people who have oral herpes have had it since before they were sexually active,  usually getting it as a kid from someone in their family through a kiss for example.  Once someone has it on their mouth,  they can pass it to someones genitals through oral sex.  It is most contagious (easy to spread) when the sores are present.  So don’t engage in any kind of skin to skin contact if you or your partner have any kind of bumps or sores present (meaning, no kissing or genital contact, other stuff like holding hands and stuff won’t transmit the infection – only contact with the affected area).  I am hoping this is all making sense (feel free to email me back if you are still confused or have more questions).

Because herpes is transmitted skin to skin (so is HPV), condoms aren’t always 100% effective in preventing the spread of these infections because they don’t cover the entire genital area.  However, condoms do  greatly lower the chance of spreading these infections and PREVENT a lot of other types of infections.

If neither one of you has been sexually active (that means oral, vaginal, or anal/butt) with anybody else – then it’s not likely either of you have an STD  (but remember, oral herpes is not necessarily an STD but can become one.  It’s a good idea to talk to your partner about this).  But if neither of you have an STD or oral herpes,  then you can’t get or give it to one another.

You said you are ‘pretty sure’ he hasn’t been sexually active with anybody else – how do you know that?  Have you talked to him about sex and stuff?  Do you feel comfortable talking to him about stuff like that?  I ask because if you aren’t feeling comfortable talking about sex then maybe you want to reconsider your gift idea.  I also encourage y’all to come into the clinic together – you can talk to one of our counselors (which sometimes helps couples talk about sex).  The counselors can talk you about all this stuff and then some.  I say all this because when it comes to sex – it’s important to enjoy it as much as your partner.  I wouldn’t want you to do anything just for him – you know what I mean?  Anyway,  I hope this answered your question.  Please feel free to write back.

In happiness & health,


Please see the disclaimer in the ‘About’ section : )

Reviewed by Grace Shih, MD

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