Teenagers See Oral Sex as Less Risky, Study Finds

Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), August 20, 2012 | Go to article overview
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Teenagers See Oral Sex as Less Risky, Study Finds


Byline: Elizabeth Lopatto Bloomberg

Two-thirds of U.S. teenagers and young adults ages 15 to 24 have had oral sex, according to U.S. researchers who say people in this group may mistakenly feel it's less risky than vaginal intercourse.

This is the first time researchers asked young people about the timing of oral sex relative to vaginal intercourse, according to findings by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It's important to understand sexual activities of young people to help educate them about the risks, the authors wrote in the report.

The study, based on 6,346 interviews that followed behavior 2007 through 2010, determined that 66 percent of females and 65 percent of males had experienced oral sex. About 25 percent of both genders had oral sex at least once before they had vaginal intercourse for the first time, the survey found.

"Research suggests that adolescents perceive fewer health- related risks for oral sex compared with vaginal intercourse," wrote the authors, led by Casey Copen in the division of vital statistics for the Atlanta-based CDC. "However, young people, particularly those who have oral sex before their first vaginal intercourse, may still be placing themselves at risk of STIs or HIV before they are ever at risk of pregnancy."

About 28 percent of females and 27 percent of males had had no kind of sex, according to the Atlanta-based agency.

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Teenagers See Oral Sex as Less Risky, Study Finds
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