Oral Sex, HPV, and Throat Cancer: Way Forward?

Oral sex is a sexual act with lots of controversies surrounding it from various walks of life. As the religious folks have their thoughts on it, so do the health experts. What is it about oral sex anyway? And what links does it have sexually related diseases? You will find out soon. Oral sex is an act of foreplay that involves kissing or licking of a sexual partner’s genital for sexual pleasure. There is a claim that this act increases the risk of throat cancer; could this be true?  Let’s see. First, have you ever heard of Human papillomavirus (HPV)? It is one that can be spread through oral sex, increasing the possibility of cancer. In the United States, HPV is one of the most common sexually transmitted viri.

Sexual health presents a range of risks, but worrying about potential health challenges can decrease intimacy between partners, and eventually, quality of life.

Oral Sex, HPV, and Throat Cancer: What are the Links? 

First, let`s discuss some quick facts.

What you should Know about HPV

  • Oral sex can enhance the spread of HPV.
  • It is a common STD, with an estimated 80% of sexually active people contracting it at some point in their lives; 14 million new infections occur every year in the United States. About 79 million people — men and women — are thought to have an active HPV infection at any given time.
  • HPV can infect anyone who has ever had a sexual encounter.
  • HPV is spread through skin-to-skin contact, not through an exchange of bodily fluid.
  • In some cases, the virus is harmless and most people have no symptoms.
  • The body clears most HPV infections naturally.
  • If  HPV infection is persistent past the age of 30, there is a greater risk of developing cervical cancer.
  • You can screen for cervical cancer with a Pap test and/or an HPV test.
  • Latex condoms can reduce, but not totally eliminate the risk of HPV transmission.
  • High-risk HPV types are also linked to head and neck cancer
  • HPV can cause pre-cancerous changes in cells, leading to throat cancer later on.
  • Smoking and alcohol consumption further increase the risk that an HPV infection will become cancerous.
  • HPV has been proven to be one of the leading risk factors for cancer of the mouth and throat, known as oropharyngeal cancer.
  • The early stages of oral cancer may cause discolored tissues in the mouth, with mouth sores.
  • While HPV is not the only cause of throat cancer, having it increases the risk that throat cancer may develop.
  • Smoking is one of the highest risks of throat cancer and can contribute to HPV becoming cancerous.

What are the Risk Factors?


a male smoker

Tobacco smoking is the highest risk factor for all cancers of the head and neck, including throat cancer. What`s more? Long-term smokers are about 15 times more likely to develop a type of throat cancer, compared with non-smokers.


Heavy consumption of alcoholic drinks, spirits especially, increases the risk of developing throat cancer.

Unhealthy Exposure

Prolonged exposure to harmful substances such as wood dust and shavings, paint fumes, and some of the chemicals used in the plastic, textile, and metal industries also increase the risks.

What about Throat Cancer?

Throat cancers involve the growth of abnormal cells, and there are quite a number of them. We’ll discuss just two of them, the primary types.

Squamous Cell Carcinoma

This type of throat cancer affects the flat cells lining the throat. It is recorded as the most common throat cancer in the United States.


This is a rare type. In this type of throat cancer, the glandular cells are affected. It is a rare type.

Along with these two main types, throat cancer can be broken into two additional types. One type is pharyngeal cancer, which develops in the neck and throat. This includes:

  • nasopharynx cancer (upper part of the throat)
  • oropharynx cancer (middle part of the throat)
  • hypopharynx cancer (bottom part of the throat)
  • The other type is laryngeal cancer, which affects the larynx or voice box.

HPV and Throat Cancer: What are the Symptoms?

Symptoms of throat cancer are

  • swelling and lumps,

however, while the symptoms of HPV are often unnoticed, they are nevertheless contagious. However, when advancing to an early stage of oral cancer, these symptoms may show up.

  • Mouth sores
  • Discoloration of soft tissues of the mouth
  • Pain while chewing and swallowing
  • Swelling with no pain in the tonsils
  • A sore throat
  • Croaky voice
  • A severe cough
  • A feeling of numbness in the mouth and lips
  • A one-sided earache that persists for days

If not Oral Sex, then what?

worried lady

So you just may have this same question. Really, there are a number of other sexual activities that are not as unhealthy as oral sex, especially when done with only one partner, and/or when practiced protected. Usually, people take oral sex as an alternative to penetrative sex, while others do it as foreplay. For the latter, let`s explore some other options.

Have Arousing Conversations

In other words, get dirty. Say what you’re feeling, say what your partner loves to hear, say what you want your partner to do, say what you want to do, and you both should get hungry for that which you both desire. Get aroused!

Get Close!

Try different arousing ways to touch and hold each other. Engage in activities such as dancing, caressing, or showering together. Get intimate beyond the regular. Caress your partner’s face, run your fingers through their hair, gently and sexily tickle the insides of the arms, the stomach, and thighs. Rub against each other or lightly tickle — whatever feels good.

Use Oils and Flavored Products

Give each other body massages with an oil or lotion. You may even pour whipped cream, chocolate, or other tasty delights on your partner’s skin, and take your time licking it off in an arousing manner.

Just before the final words…

Quick Sex Facts

  • Ginger consumption elevates your heart rate, gets your blood flowing, and gets you excited for the night ahead.
  • Some people consider sperm to be an antiaging treatment, as it has a tightening effect on the skin.
  • Endorphins released during sexual activity create a euphoria similar to opioid drug use.
  • Men who have sex at least twice a week can reduce their risk of heart disease by half.
  • The average shelf life of a latex condom is three to five years.
  • There are five to seven calories in a teaspoon of semen.
  • An orgasm a day may decrease a man’s risk of prostate cancer.
  • Black raspberries are fantastic at boosting the sex drive because they`re phytochemical-rich foods, enhancing libido and endurance.
  • Oysters are high in zinc, making them perfect for testosterone production and healthy sperm.
  • Watermelons are great for the cardiovascular system because they contain citrulline amino acid which helps relax the blood vessels that increase your sex drive.
  • The average vagina is 3 to 4 inches long but can expand by 200 percent when sexually aroused.
  • Sex is a splendid antidepressant.

Final Words…

Although there are links between both oral sex and the transmission of oral HPV, and between throat cancer and oral HPV, the virus, however, has not been conclusively linked to the development of oral cancers. Oral sex does, however, increase the risk of HPV transmission.