BETHESDA, Md. — A new study has found that using saliva as a lubricant for anal sex among men who have sex with men leads to an increased risk for rectal gonorrhea.
Research conducted by staff at the National Institutes of Health found that 4.3 percent of the 1,312 men surveyed had rectal gonorrhea. Using a partner’s saliva for lubricant was a common practice — 68.5 percent of men surveyed reported having done it. Researchers said rectal gonorrhea associated with the practice was attributable in nearly half (48.9 percent) of those cases.
“Saliva use as a lubricant for anal sex is a common sexual practice in MSM,” researchers wrote. “It may play an important role in gonorrhea transmission. Almost half of rectal gonorrhea cases may be eliminated if MSM stopped using partner’s saliva for anal sex.”
Other anal sexual practices common among the men surveyed including receptive rimming (70.5 percent) and receptive fingering or “penis dipping” (84.3 percent).
The study is online at ncbinlm.nih.gov.