Sexual Behavior Risk Factors

HIV is transmitted by four body fluids: blood, semen, vaginal fluid and breast milk. For transmission to occur, one of these fluids from an HIV positive person has to get into the blood stream of an uninfected person. We all should know masturbation is safe (ya can’t infect yourself) and anal sex without a condom is not. So what about everything in between? We have listed the HIV transmission risk factors of several sexual acts below in alphabetical order according to their level of risk for HIV. At the end of each section we have also put the notation (STI) if there is a risk of getting another sexually transmitted infection from the activity.

No Risk

Bondage/Discipline and Sado-Masochism:

low risk HIV factorFor some BDSM is a lifestyle, for others it’s a way to spice up a relationship. There is no risk of HIV infection from being tied up, spanked, flogged, tortured, tickled, dominated, or verbally abused. The risk of HIV transmission in BDSM comes if you exchange semen or blood as part of the scene.

Dildos, butt plugs, vibrators or anything else used for anal play should not be shared between partners. Key elements of BDSM are “safe, sane and consensual”.

Dildos/Vibrators/Butt Plugs:

low risk HIV factorPlaying with “toys” by yourself poses no risk for HIV infection. When it comes to “adult” toys, though, forget everything you learned growing up. Sharing your toys can lead to trouble, including HIV transmission.

Fisting:

low risk HIV factorHere is no risk of HIV transmission from fisting. You want to make sure to go slow and use lots of lube in order to keep from tearing or damaging your bottom’s bottom. Fisting tops should wear rubber/latex gloves slathered in lube to ease insertion. Special lubes like Elbow Grease, Slam Dunk or Shaft offer a water based alternative to Crisco for easier clean up.

Kissing:

low risk HIV factorThere is no risk of HIV from kissing no matter how long or deep the kiss. But watch the biting.

Masturbation:

low risk HIV factorHIV and STDs do not magically appear when you take matters into your own hands. And despite your mother’s warnings, you won’t go blind either! There is no risk of needing a trip to the clinic because of masturbation.

Mutual Masturbation:

low risk HIV factorWe’re not talking about a finishing touch after you’ve done everything else! There is no risk of HIV transmission as long as someone doesn’t get shot in the eye by flying objects (seriously). So have fun and aim safe, because apparently the eye thing burns like hell in addition to being a potential risk factor for HIV.

Phone sex/Chat rooms/Hookup sites:

low risk HIV factorHIV and STD’s cannot crawl through the phone and infect anyone, no risk here. Keep in mind that wandering eyes have a way of finding the naughty pics on your phone or computer. There is nothing like showing your mom the cute picture of your dog and her flipping through and seeing the HOT picture of you.

Pornography:

low risk HIV factorThe biggest risk of watching porn is getting caught! Boyfriends get jealous and for some reason bosses get angry (yikes)! A 2008 study of 18-26 year old men reported that 86% had viewed porn in the past year and 50% watched weekly. Watching porn is generally more accepted in the gay community, but you may want to dial it back a bit if your favorite website awards you “Member of the Year” status.

Rimming:

low risk HIV factorThe thought of oral/anal play makes some people go “Ewww” and others go “Ohhh”. The anus is packed with nerve endings and having someone “toss your salad” by licking, sucking, biting or otherwise orally stimulating your back door can be very pleasurable. There is no risk of transmitting or contracting HIV from rimming. (STI)

Teabagging:

low risk HIV factorDropping your balls into an awaiting mouth or opening wide and taking them in does not pose a risk for HIV.

Water Sports/Piss Play:

low risk HIV factorUrinating on someone or in their mouth is not a risk for HIV and neither is having someone return the favor. However, there is a risk if you take the game inside (anally) because it means you are not wearing a condom! Make sure to talk with your partner before initiating piss play. Saying, “I thought you would like it” doesn’t go very far when you just pissed on someone who is not into it.

Some Risk

Oral Sex:

some risk of HIVIt doesn’t matter whether you are giving or receiving, the risk of getting HIV from a blowjob is very low, but there is a risk. If you want to reduce your risk even more you can spit or swallow, just don’t swirl and savor. Your risk goes up if you have oral health issues like bleeding gums, recent dental work or cuts in your mouth. Your risk is reduced even further if you throw on a flavored condom. (STI)

Topping with a condom:

some risk of HIVTopping (your pole/his hole) with a condom has a lower risk of HIV transmission if you use the condom correctly. Make sure you use lots of water-based or silicone lube to lube the bottom up and add some to the outside of the condom for good measure. If you’re going fast and furious, do a condom check by pulling all the way out and sneaking a peek to make sure your package is still wrapped. If the condom breaks, stop the action and put on another one. (STI)

Bottoming with a condom:

some risk of HIVBottoming (your hole/his pole) with a condom is a lower risk activity if you use the condom correctly! Bottoms, remember LUBE is your best friend! Make sure you are lubed up well and throw some extra lube on the outside of the condom as well. The biggest risk of bottoming with a condom is not knowing the condom broke until he pulls out after cumming and says “Oh s**t the condom broke!” (STI)

High risk

Bottoming without a condom:

high risk of HIVThe riskiest behavior for contracting HIV is bottoming without a condom. Bottoms are at risk because the rectum does not produce a lubricant so the lining inside the rectum is susceptible to tearing during anal sex, which increases the chance for HIV transmission. (STI)

Topping without a condom:

high risk of HIVTopping without a condom is a high-risk behavior because the HIV virus can enter your body through the urethra (opening at top of penis) or through microscopic cuts or tears on the penis. Cuts can occur during sex, manscaping, or rough play. (STI)