New Numbers About Oral Sex

Two-thirds of teens and young adults have had oral sex — about as many as have had vaginal intercourse, suggests research by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  The research shows that one in four teens is now having oral sex before vaginal sex.    The CDC study is based on 6,346 interviews from 2007 to 2010, conducted anonymously via computer. Those interviewed ranged in age from 15 to 24.

Forty-four percent of 15- to 17-year-old boys and 39% of girls of that age engage in some kind of sex with a partner of the opposite gender.

Girls and boys gave and received oral sex equally and that sexual activity began at roughly the same age, with 44% of 15- to 17-year-old boys and 39% of girls of that age engaging in some kind of sexual activity with an opposite-sex partner.

There’s no such thing as totally “safe sex,” though oral sex reduces pregnancy risk to zero and HIV risk to almost nothing. But people who perform or receive oral sex are still at risk for other sexually transmitted diseases such as herpes, gonorrhea and chlamydia.

The growing frequency of oral sex means parents also need to address it with their children. Parents need to consistently talk in age-appropriate ways about sexuality, morality and physical self-esteem.

The new figures suggest that sex education programs need to directly address oral sex as well as vaginal intercourse. Those young people are at risk for sexually transmitted diseases even though they aren’t yet at risk for pregnancy if they’re only having oral sex. There is a need to educate teens about the risk of contracting a sexually transmitted disease from oral sex.