Two-thirds of U.S. youth have had oral sex, CDC reports
Many may believe it's safer than it actually is, expert says.
(HealthDay) -- Two-thirds of Americans aged 15 to 24 have engaged in oral sex, according to a broad new survey of young people's sexual habits.
The data, published Aug. 16 in the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Health Statistics Reports, also reveals that about one-quarter of young people try oral sex before they engage in intercourse.
"I don't think these numbers are surprising, but I do think that it's important that this data has been captured at all, because it's really important to have, and has for a long time been a fuzzy area in our understanding of sexual behavior," said one expert, Dr. Christopher Hurt, A clinical assistant professor in the division of infectious disease at the University of North Carolina.
He said the findings are also valuable because too many people of all ages mistakenly believe that oral sex is "risk-free."
"That's not the case," Hurt said. "Studies looking, for example, at patients visiting STD [sexually transmitted disease] clinics have shown that 5 to 10 percent have gonorrhea in the throat. And it's often asymptomatic and can be transmitted through oral sex."
Gonorrhea is becoming increasingly resistant to antibiotics, and a report released last week by the CDC noted that certain strains are resistant to all but one such drug. Oral sex can also raise risks for infection with chlamydia, herpes and syphilis, the CDC noted.
While the odds of contracting any sexually transmitted disease from oral sex remain lower than that for unprotected intercourse, the CDC has stated that "numerous studies have demonstrated that oral sex can result in the transmission of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases."
The new report is based on data from the agency's seventh National Survey of Family Growth, involving interviews conducted between 2007 and 2010 with nearly 22,700 people between the ages of 15 and 44.
Even though the survey found that about one-quarter of Americans aged 15 to 24 engaged in oral sex before they moved on to intercourse, for about another quarter of respondents the opposite was true -- they tried penile-vaginal intercourse prior to engaging in oral sex. Among males, 12 percent said their first experience with both practices occurred at the same time, while a little more than 7 percent of women said that that was the case for them.
Examining behaviors solely among the youngest participants -- those 15 to 19 years old -- the CDC team found that more than half of American girls and boys in this age group had already engaged in some form of sexual contact with someone of the opposite sex (55 percent of girls and 58 percent of boys).
Among the survey's other findings:
- About 5 percent of women and nearly 7 percent of men aged 15 to 24 said that at the time of the survey they had only engaged in oral sex, not intercourse. Another 28 percent of women and nearly 29 percent of men said they had had no sexual experiences with an opposite-sex partner whatsoever.
- Among girls aged 15 to 19 years, oral sex and vaginal intercourse experience were equally common (48 percent and 47 percent, respectively), while among similarly aged boys oral sex was slightly more common (49 percent) compared to intercourse (44 percent).
- Rates of sexual behaviors did not appear to vary widely by race. For example, among females aged 15 to 24, nearly three-quarters (74 percent) of black women, 68 percent of Hispanic women and 66 percent of white women said they had had vaginal intercourse.
- Among males aged 15 to 24, about seven in 10 black and Hispanic men said they had had intercourse, compared with 63 percent of white men. There were no appreciable racial differences observed in terms of the percentages of those who said they had engaged in oral sex, the CDC survey found.
"I would say that the risk of STD transmission through oral sex is underappreciated and underestimated," he said. "As part of sex education programs, kids need to be made aware of that fact: that oral sex is not a completely risk-free activity."
More information: To find out more on safe sexual activity, head to the U.S. National Library of Medicine.
Copyright © 2012 HealthDay. All rights reserved.
- Having oral sex increases likelihood of intercourse among teens Nov 01, 2010 | not rated yet | 0
- Middle school youth as young as 12 engaging in risky sexual activity Apr 08, 2009 | not rated yet | 0
- Study shows behaviors and attitudes towards oral sex are changing Aug 11, 2010 | not rated yet | 0
- More at-risk teens and young adults engaging in anal intercourse Nov 19, 2008 | not rated yet | 0
- Virus that causes genital warts linked to oral cancer: study Oct 13, 2010 | not rated yet | 0
- Motion perception revisited: High Phi effect challenges established motion perception assumptions Apr 23, 2013 | 3 / 5 (2) | 2
- Anything you can do I can do better: Neuromolecular foundations of the superiority illusion (Update) Apr 02, 2013 | 4.5 / 5 (11) | 5
- The visual system as economist: Neural resource allocation in visual adaptation Mar 30, 2013 | 5 / 5 (2) | 9
- Separate lives: Neuronal and organismal lifespans decoupled Mar 27, 2013 | 4.9 / 5 (8) | 0
- Sizing things up: The evolutionary neurobiology of scale invariance Feb 28, 2013 | 4.8 / 5 (10) | 14
Classical and Quantum Mechanics via Lie algebras
Apr 15, 2011 I'd like to open a discussion thread for version 2 of the draft of my book ''Classical and Quantum Mechanics via Lie algebras'', available online at http://lanl.arxiv.org/abs/0810.1019 , and for the...
- More from Physics Forums - Independent Research
More news stories
Authorities are investigating rice mills in southern China following tests that found almost half of the staple grain in one of the country's largest cities was contaminated with a toxic metal.
Health 4 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0
The warning images Brussels proposes to include on tobacco packages in order to reduce consumption do not make the desired impact on smokers because they only find some of them really unpleasant. So, if the ...
Health 1 hour ago | not rated yet | 0
Ten years after the Iraq war of 2003 a team of scientists based in Mosul, northern Iraq, have detected high levels of uranium contamination in soil samples at three sites in the province of Nineveh which, coupled with dramatically ...
Health 1 hour ago | not rated yet | 0
When it comes to men's sexual health, dirty jokes may just be the best medicine. A QUT researcher is helping Family Planning Queensland (FPQ) use comedy and YouTube to deliver sexuality education to young ...
Health 2 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
(Medical Xpress)—International researchers are studying the salt intake of Indian adults to provide vital new data to aid the development of a national salt reduction strategy.
Health 2 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
In a remote fishing community in Venezuela, a lone fisherman sits on a cliff overlooking the southern Caribbean Sea. This man –– the lookout –– is responsible for directing his comrades on the water, ...
5 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0 |
Scientists from Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and Lund University, Sweden, have bioengineered a novel molecule which has been proven to successfully kill tumour cells.
14 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0
Regardless of pain, social class or age, a woman is more likely to be prescribed pain-relieving drugs. A study published in Gaceta Sanitaria (Spanish health scientific journal) affirms that this phenomenon is inf ...
24 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0
An article published on the journal Nature describes the major role that Pyruvate dehydrogenase (PDH) —an enzyme of cellular energy metabolism— plays in the regulation of the cellular senescence induce ...
38 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0
Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine will study gender differences in how the heart uses and stores fat—its main energy source—and how changes in fat metabolism play ...
54 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0
The negative effects of poorly controlled asthma symptoms on sleep quality and academic performance in urban schoolchildren has been confirmed in a new study.
13 seconds ago | not rated yet | 0