Filed under:

Questions and Answers

Does Rimming Have a Risk for STIs?

satisfied-looking lube cartoon with safer sex gloves

Rimming is when someone uses their mouth, tongue, or lips on another person’s anus. It’s also called analingus, oral-anal sex, or “tossing a salad”.

Unprotected rimming can pass on viral or bacterial infections, including most STIs (sexually transmitted infections).

What STIs can I get from rimming?

Viruses and bacteria can infect the anal and mouth area. Someone with an STI could pass it on through rimming, whether they are giving (using your mouth on someone else) or receiving (having someone else’s mouth, lips, or tongue on your anus). This is especially likely if there is an active outbreak of sores or warts on the mouth or anus.

Some common STIs passed through rimming are:

  • Herpes, a virus causing cold sore outbreaks on the mouth, genitals, or anus
  • Gonorrhea, a type of bacteria causing abnormal vaginal discharge, abdominal or pelvic pain, itchy eyes, burning when peeing, and bleeding from the vagina
  • HPV (human papillomavirus), which could cause genital warts or cancer
  • Hepatitis, a class of different viruses that could eventually lead to liver damage
  • Syphilis, a bacterial infection that starts with sores and can lead to heart, brain, and nerve damage if untreated

There is also a theoretical possibility of passing on HIV. However, this is very, very unlikely, especially if the person with HIV is taking medication. People are at higher risk if they have open cuts or wounds in their anus (if they are receiving) or their mouth, lips, tongue, or gums (if they are giving).

It’s also important to remember that not everyone with an STI will have symptoms. You can have STIs and not know about it. If you’re sexually active, getting tested regularly can help keep yourself safe. There are also vaccines for few different types of HPV, hepatitis A, and hepatitis B.

What other infections can I get from rimming?

The mouth and anus are part of the digestive system. This means rimming can also pass on other infections found in the gut or in fecal matter (poo). Some of these are:

  • E. coli, a type of bacteria causing diarrhea, kidney failure, anemia, or urinary tract infections (UTIs).
  • Giardia, a parasite causing diarrhea, cramping, gas, nausea, and vomiting.
  • Shigella, a type of bacteria causing diarrhea, fever, abdominal pain, and the need to poo even when you’re empty.

Only the person giving (using their mouth) can get these digestive infections.

How can I make rimming safer?

You can prevent STI transmission during rimming with a barrier knows as a dental dam. This is a square sheet of latex you hold between the mouth and anus. You can find these at sex shops, sexual health centers, or the Concordia Centre for Gender Advocacy. You can also make one by cutting up one side of a condom lengthwise, or cutting a sheet out of non-microwaveable plastic wrap or from a latex glove. Adding some lube on the anus under the dental dam can make it feel better.

Cleaning around the anus with mild soap and water can get rid of some fecal matter (poo), but cleaning too roughly can cause cuts. Some people also use enemas, where they put some water in the anus to flush it out. However, doing this too often can irritate the digestive system.

Infections from the anus can also damage the vagina or urethra. If you’ve put anything (like mouth, lips, tongue, penis, dildo, fingers, etc.) in or around an anus, it’s best not to put it in a vagina afterward. You can also change dental dams/condoms between activities.

More info:

Related Posts