So you’re easing into a sex session with your partner and even though you’re totally up for it, things are a little dry down below. (Hey, it happens.) You don’t have any lubricant on hand, so you work up a little spit and use it as your makeshift lube. Or you have your partner go down on you and use their saliva as a substitute when it’s time for penetration.
Not a big deal, right? Actually, spit just might be dangerous. “When they don’t have lube on hand, I’ve had patients tell me that they use saliva,” Felice Gersh, MD, author of PCOS SOS: A Gynecologist’s Lifeline to Naturally Restore Your Rhythms, Hormones, and Happiness, tells Health.
Saliva may seem like a harmless swap for your own natural lubrication or the store-bought kind—it’s always available and free, after all. But your vagina will thank you for not resorting to it for three important reasons.
STIs can be spread through saliva
“Any STI in the throat or mouth can be transmitted to the genitals through saliva,” explains Dr. Gersh. In other words, if your partner has an active herpes lesion for example, using their spit to make things slick could leave you with genital herpes.
This scenario happens more than you might think—and it’s the most common way genital herpes is contracted, she says. Even if you don’t see a cold sore on or around their mouth, the virus can still be transmissible. “Herpes can present with blisters or sores, but it can also present asymptomatically,” she explains.
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