11/03/2009 09:19 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Gay and Lesbian Manners: The Great Oral Sex Dilemma

Q: What do you do when a guy comes in your mouth?

A: It's an age-old predicament and one with no simple answer. Of course, it makes a big difference how well you know the guy. An anonymous trick is not the same as a boyfriend who is not the same as your husband. But communication and planning will get you through this sticky situation every time.

Even if you feel embarrassed talking about sex (especially with someone new), discuss your preferences beforehand. If you're the shooter, ask your friend if it's okay to come in his mouth and, in any case, give a little warning before you do ("Hey, I'm about to shoot!") Similarly, let your partner know if you plan on spitting it out -- or if you don't want him coming in your mouth at all.

Whatever you decide, if you're expecting a mouthful, follow the Boy Scout motto: Be prepared. By that I mean, think ahead about what exactly you're going to do with this "load" and make the proper arrangements beforehand. If you know you're going to spit it out, it's a good idea to have a box of tissues or a hand towel at your side. If you're planning to swallow, make sure you have a glass of water nearby.

The safest practice, of course, is to use a condom (yes, even with oral sex). HIV risk is believed to be very low from this particular activity but lots of other STDs are easily transmitted through oral sex. In fact, if you happen to know that you or your partner has an STD, you should not have unprotected oral sex under any circumstance.

Note for Straights: Heterosexuals gets STDs, too. Know your risks. If you're the guy, make sure she's comfortable with the plan and don't forget to reciprocate.

Steven Petrow is the author of "The Essential Book of Gay Manners & Etiquette." Visit him on the Web at