Study debunks teen oral sex scourge myth

How many times have you heard that – whether it was on some terrible Dr. Phil episode or urban myths about “rainbow parties” – American teens were having tons of oral sex because they don’t consider it “real” sex? I’ve certainly heard a lot about it. Turns out, it’s not really so accurate.

Contrary to widespread belief, teenagers do not appear to commonly engage in oral sex as a way to preserve their virginity, according to the first study to examine the question nationally.
The analysis of a federal survey of more than 2,200 males and females aged 15 to 19, released yesterday, found that more than half reported having had oral sex. But those who described themselves as virgins were far less likely to say they had tried it than those who had had intercourse.

The report, from The Guttmacher Institute, notes that if teens are having oral sex, they’re probably having vaginal sex as well. Of course abstinence-proponents are using the study to argue that virginity-pledgers aren’t big oral- and anal-sex enthusiasts after all. (The fact that they’re less likely to use contraception doesn’t bug them that much, I guess.) But virginities aside, the real point of the study is that debunks these panicked myths about promiscuous teens.
The study’s lead author, Laura Lindberg, says the study “does not suggest that teens are hooking up around oral sex with lots of partners.”
In fact, the report showed that most teens who were engaging in oral sex – 67 percent – had only one partner. Certainly throws a wrench in all those media-created scare tactics about slutty teens. (I think it’s also worth mentioning that the sensationalized media stories always seem to focus on girls giving oral sex to boys, when studies have actually shown that reciprocity is the norm. And, naturally, same-sex relationships are dismissed altogether.)

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