Gone are the days of ignoring the anus as a source of sexual pleasure. But when it comes to oral stimulation, some still shy away from a rimjob for fear of filth. This, to some extent, is understandable. Whether giving or receiving, it can be difficult to relax if you’re hyperaware of what’s happening—or has happened—back there. But is this really a necessary concern?

The truth is, yes. You can get sick from anal-oral contact. The intimacy of getting up in there brings with it the potential for cozying up to the viruses, bacteria and parasites that can reside in the rectum. Thankfully, there are simple and effective ways to lessen that risk so you can relax and enjoy.

Healthy concern

Unfortunately, in terms of salad-tossing, romaine lettuce is not the lone delivery vehicle for bacteria. E. coli and salmonella, among other organisms, can be transmitted via ass-to-mouth activity, which can seriously upset the stomach.

Tanginika Cuascud, clinical sexologist and sexual health educator, said that doesn’t make rimming any dirtier than the myriad ways we come into contact with germs in our daily lives.