We ask a sexual health expert if it's ever OK, biologically speaking, to put a limp prophylactic in your mouth.
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So you're having a bad day. I get it. Let's do a quick visualization exercise.
Imagine you're a Welsh schoolboy, playing with his friends. On the floor, a condom glints, slick with bodily fluids and gritty with playground dirt. Confused by this new balloon shape, you pick it up and pop it wetly into your mouth. Immediately, you know Mom is going to be angry when she finds out. Ashamed, you begin to cry. A horrified teacher comes running.
Exercise over. Now ask yourself, does your day really seem so bad? Have you accidentally treated a used prophylactic as a chew toy? No. Then stop bumming out about all the emails you've got to read or how Deirdre from accounts keeps stealing your soy milk. Perspective, people.
WalesOnline reports that an elementary school pupil from Bridgend has been taken to hospital for a medical check-up after trying to blow up a used condom found on the playground floor, in the mistaken belief that it was a balloon.
Anyway, the case raises other important questions like: Will putting a stranger's used condom in your mouth give you a horrifying disease and potentially lead to the welcome reappearance of the bubonic plague in these dark, dystopian days?
Read more: Why Cum Leaks from Your Vagina After Sex
(Really, at least a plague would take care of the news cycle for a while and then I wouldn't have to choke down bile as I view footage of President Trump—who dodged the Vietnam draft five times—wearing a military jacket and squinting at an aircraft carrier like a poodle in a dress. Anyway, I digress.)
While the schoolboy in this case is physically fine but probably psychologically scarred by consequences of his actions for a lifetime, I wanted to find out whether consenting adults should ever put used condoms in their mouths, for fun or experimenting or whatever.
It turns out that lunching on used johnnies is mostly an okay thing to do, biologically speaking.
"Although handling a used condom is unpleasant, the risk of it giving you an infection is low as most sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are unable to live for long outside the body," says Karin O'Sullivan, a clinical consultant at sexual health charity FPA. "This is why most STIs can't be passed on through things like toilet seats or shared cups, plates or cutlery."
Before you start salivating in anticipation of all the rubbers you're going to collect from a local dogging spot, a word of warning: Putting used condoms in your mouths is not without risk. "It's not completely impossible to get an infection from putting a used condom in your mouth, but it would depend on a number of factors such as whether semen in the condom contained an infection, whether the infection was still live, how long since the condom had been used and whether someone putting it in their mouth had any cuts or sores on their mouth or lips," O'Sullivan explains.
Here's another free, useful piece of advice from O'Sullivan, whom I've only spoken to via email but seems to have her shit together: Don't put random stuff you find on the floor in your mouth. Just don't.
"It's generally a good idea not to put anything you find on the ground in your mouth, not just used condoms."