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Fewer teens having oral sex
More than a third of teens engage in oral sex by the time they reach 17, according to the CDC.
August 17th, 2012
10:41 AM ET

Fewer teens having oral sex

Fewer teens aged 15 to 17 are having oral sex now than in 2002, according to a new report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, but the number remains high.

The report, based on data from The National Survey of Family Growth, found that more than a third of teens had engaged in oral sex by the time they turned 17. That number climbed to almost 50% by age 19, and more than 80% for 24-year-olds.

The study - based on computer surveys given to over 6,000 teens - also looked at the timing of first oral sex in relation to the timing of first vaginal intercourse. It found that the prevalence of having oral sex before vaginal intercourse was about the same as those having vaginal intercourse before oral sex.

"This new CDC analysis debunks many myths about when young people are initiating oral sex," wrote Leslie Kantor, vice president for education at Planned Parenthood, a family planning advocacy group. "Although there has never been data to support it, there has been the perception that many teens engage in oral sex as a 'risk-free' alternative to intercourse. But the CDC analysis shows that sexually active young people are likely to engage in both activities," she wrote.

How Americans view teen sex

But oral sex, like vaginal intercourse, is not risk-free. According to the CDC's website, "numerous studies have demonstrated that oral sex can result in the transmission of HIV and other sexually transmitted disease," not the least of which is Human Papillomavirus (HPV), the disease known to cause both cervical and some throat cancers.

"It's widely accepted that there is an increased number of head and neck cancers today due to changes in sexual practices in the '60s, '70s and '80s," - specifically, an increase in oral sex, said Dr. Otis Brawley, the chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society.

Regardless of whether teens have oral or vaginal sex first, Kantor says, it's imperative they have the knowledge to make an educated decision about their sexual health.

"We need to make sure that young people have the skills to negotiate what they do and don’t want to do in sexual relationships, as well as education about and access to condoms and birth control so that they can protect themselves from STDs and pregnancy and remain healthy," she wrote.

Sex education: Talking to your teen about sex


soundoff (624 Responses)
  1. Stingyfrue

    What about anal?

    August 17, 2012 at 11:25 | Report abuse | Reply
    • weezer

      Good you're checking all the angles, Stingy. With your powers of journalistic investigation I would expect an offer from CNN any day now.

      August 17, 2012 at 11:31 | Report abuse |
    • Adevilson

      That is an excellent question. Both oral an anal can avoid undesired pregnancy. I strongly encourage teens to engage in both ... with me!

      August 17, 2012 at 11:39 | Report abuse |
    • Raindance

      That's cause they are too busy have "regular" sex & pushing out babies.

      August 17, 2012 at 11:54 | Report abuse |
    • ogscor

      LOL! YEAH!

      August 17, 2012 at 11:58 | Report abuse |
    • New Gawker

      +100000000000000000000

      August 17, 2012 at 12:04 | Report abuse |
    • Followme

      Fudgepacking is off the charts unsafe ..think aids and millions around the planet dead and children orphans and lifespan of lgbt cut by 20 years.....oops not PC correct.

      August 17, 2012 at 12:04 | Report abuse |
    • Followme

      Anal real bad idea before oral or anal oral probably bad too. Not speaking from experience.
      However speaking from common sense my nose says keep anything involved with anus away from mouth.
      But isn;'t gay always potrayed as real intelligent? Sorry not PC ok.

      August 17, 2012 at 12:07 | Report abuse |
    • DonRichardslap

      I did that, too, with NorCal_Leo at AR15.com.

      August 17, 2012 at 12:18 | Report abuse |
    • The Candy Man

      Now hold on a minute. Fudge packing is not unsafe. Just check out the video "Billy's Dad is a Fudge-Packer" on YouTube. Maybe you'll actually learn something.

      August 17, 2012 at 12:54 | Report abuse |
    • Anon

      You should never go ass to mouth!!!

      August 17, 2012 at 13:36 | Report abuse |
    • bspurloc

      does the man written bible disallow that too?
      oh nm just another one of those things preachers who havent read the bible claim is in it.

      August 17, 2012 at 15:47 | Report abuse |
  2. Aaronski

    I love the statement in the last paragraph, "We need to make sure that young people have the skills to negotiate what they do".
    I absolutely agree. Nothing like good oral sex.

    August 17, 2012 at 11:34 | Report abuse | Reply
    • MBiggenson

      My first reaction was "Teens not having oral sex?" Well, that sucks.

      August 17, 2012 at 11:49 | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      I would have loved to be the one doing this study...

      August 17, 2012 at 13:41 | Report abuse |
    • bspurloc

      no teeth! ugh...

      August 17, 2012 at 15:47 | Report abuse |
  3. Adevilson

    This means we need to train better our teens!

    August 17, 2012 at 11:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. woodie

    "...head and neck cancers today due to changes in sexual practices..." I'm a little baffled how oral sex can cause head and neck cancer.

    August 17, 2012 at 11:44 | Report abuse | Reply
    • DDS

      STD's do can lead to higher incidence of head and neck cancer. Specifically the STD Human Papilloma Virus has a very high incidence of becoming Squamus Cell Carcinoma.

      August 17, 2012 at 11:52 | Report abuse |
    • MomofTeens

      HPV virus is the cause, same as cervical cancer. The virus somehow triggers cancer cells, if contracted in the throat then throat cancer, if in the cervex, cervex cancer.

      August 17, 2012 at 11:53 | Report abuse |
    • JRR2

      Note that HPV is a broad term for over a dozen different viruses. Of those, just a small handful (3 or 4 if I remember correctly) have been shown to increase the risk for cancers.

      August 17, 2012 at 12:26 | Report abuse |
    • berman

      My girlfriend is so going to die of throat cancer...

      August 17, 2012 at 13:26 | Report abuse |
    • serdich

      Gardasill vaccine will take care of that...

      August 17, 2012 at 13:36 | Report abuse |
    • shawbrooke

      It's difficult to believe that anyone has missed the media fuss about STD's and oral sex. What about making sex a joint activity with your partner so that you both get something out of it? Ever figured out that women get nothing out of oral sex? Oops, forgot that it's all about you. Someone so tough will be able to take the comment that If you make oral sex a condition of your relationship, then you take ALL the responsibility for subsequent deaths. And there will be some, and one death could well be your girlfriend. But then, if you are that callous, here's hoping that she'll walk soon anyway.

      August 18, 2012 at 23:55 | Report abuse |
  5. King

    .......and then you could hear the thunderous sounds and the giant quake in the ground as millions of our forefathers flipped in their graves.

    How the hell did this make its way into the news?

    August 17, 2012 at 11:47 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Followme

      Taxes pay for planned parenthood hundreds of millions yearly. Gov't pays for medical for millions of Americans and then gets all upset about obesity, aids, smoking, etc.
      Medical coasts soar.
      How about do not use taxes for any of this and let people be responsible for themselves like America was intended. that is how we roll. Pay cash prices drop like bomb. Easy follow me in common sense. Gov't is the problem.

      August 17, 2012 at 12:01 | Report abuse |
    • Orly?

      @ Followme

      Your logic is flawed. Americans in general clearly have little to no sense of personal responsibility (at least when it comes to health).

      August 17, 2012 at 12:37 | Report abuse |
    • MarkinFL

      Through the usual channels? What do you mean, how did it make it into the news?

      August 17, 2012 at 12:46 | Report abuse |
    • Portland tony

      @followme....Agree, but the article talks about teen sex. By all means let adults be responsible for their own actions. But someone needs to educate youngsters when parents fail. Without knowledge, these teens are more apt to get pregnant, have abortions, get STD's. etc...all of which is gonna cost someone many $$$ to fix.

      August 17, 2012 at 13:05 | Report abuse |
    • allinurmind

      Our forefathers were getting married and banging at a much earlier age. It's all in your perspective.

      August 17, 2012 at 13:56 | Report abuse |
    • bspurloc

      YEAH! my preacher told me u dont speak about things like this openly!
      just like they dont openly speak about their lust for lil boy juice

      August 17, 2012 at 15:49 | Report abuse |
  6. EricLr

    Got to echo Doug Stanhope on this one. Unlike with previous generations, the problem with this generation isn't that they're too rebellious. It's that they're not rebellious enough. All those ADD drugs have made them dull and boring.

    August 17, 2012 at 11:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Sinfully Yours

    D@mn! Does this increased risk in head and neck cancer mean that I have to let the teen secretary that's under my desk go?! 😦

    August 17, 2012 at 11:47 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Grumpster

      Looks like you'll have to give her additional insurance coverage or something like that.

      August 17, 2012 at 13:24 | Report abuse |
  8. Jeff

    Adevilson,
    Do thet need training or education!

    August 17, 2012 at 11:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. jon

    Killjoys!

    August 17, 2012 at 11:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. M

    I personally THINK oral sex IS disguising.....
    What happened to the all NATURAAL WAY ........

    August 17, 2012 at 11:56 | Report abuse | Reply
    • M

      NOT disguising .....Disgusting......

      Sorry for my typing.....am only human.

      August 17, 2012 at 11:57 | Report abuse |
    • Howie

      Clearly you and your partner are not doing it right.

      August 17, 2012 at 12:43 | Report abuse |
    • derp

      My wife completely disagrees with you.

      August 17, 2012 at 13:18 | Report abuse |
    • berman

      You poor, poor, poor soul. Also, what is "unnatural" about oral sex? All the bits and pieces involved are 100% natural.

      August 17, 2012 at 13:25 | Report abuse |
    • bspurloc

      ur're disgusting

      August 17, 2012 at 15:51 | Report abuse |
  11. Ant928

    "Fewer Teens Having Oral Sex..."

    Well then get off the d*mn video games! Kids...no work ethi these days!!!

    August 17, 2012 at 12:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Ah'sheet M'Drurz

    It is not acceptable in my country to have sex before marriage. It is acceptable to have sex with your neighbor's goat, but only if it is not currently providing milk.

    August 17, 2012 at 12:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. A HARD MEMBER

    this article made me find wood

    August 17, 2012 at 12:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. MF

    Why in the hell anyone ever bothers to post stats about teenage sex/drug habits is beyond me. How do they know that less teens are having oral sex? Do they go around every car, bedroom, behind every set of bleachers on a friday night and actively monitor every single teenager in the US? For all we know, teenage oral sex could be the highest it's ever been in all of human history.

    August 17, 2012 at 12:06 | Report abuse | Reply
    • A HARD MEMBER

      THANK YOU CAPTAIN OBVIOUS

      August 17, 2012 at 12:12 | Report abuse |
    • schwandive

      You're awesomely stupid.

      August 17, 2012 at 12:21 | Report abuse |
    • Jason K

      Where do you think our taxes go? Certainly not to pay off our increasing debt. They had to figure out why the girls weren't getting as much protein as years past. Also, we need more studies on how the noble Platypus affects global warming.

      August 17, 2012 at 12:49 | Report abuse |
    • Brent

      oral sex...well if they just wanna talk about it...let them go crazy.

      August 17, 2012 at 12:56 | Report abuse |
    • bspurloc

      y did u read it and comment?

      August 17, 2012 at 15:52 | Report abuse |
    • Kellym

      Uh, it's called statistics. Do you think when the do polls for presidential elections that they survey every voter in the country? Nope. They poll about 500 to 2000, out of hundreds of millions of people. Yet most of those polls are pretty much right on the money.

      August 17, 2012 at 21:23 | Report abuse |
  15. pointless1

    That really seems to be a BLOW for all teens looking for a little...

    August 17, 2012 at 12:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Boinking Bill

    This helps explain why the US teen pragnancy rate is the highest in the world. Got to do some pole smoking girls. Or better yet, 'Don't be a mum, take it up the bum'.

    August 17, 2012 at 12:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Bubba

    another slow news day I guess. Simply who cares?

    August 17, 2012 at 12:10 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Bubba™

      Me. Quit borrowing my name unless you are going to be funnier than I am.

      August 17, 2012 at 14:00 | Report abuse |
    • Bubba™

      And I realize I'm basically a moron, but I'm still pretty funny.

      August 17, 2012 at 21:24 | Report abuse |
  18. Seymour Holz

    Ah, I remember eating that young high school p00ntang when I was a kid. mMMMMMMMM-MMMMMmmmmmmmh!

    Day-um it sux to be middle aged.

    August 17, 2012 at 12:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. N'oreaster

    Love the last paragraph:"We need to make sure that young people have the skills to negotiate what they do and don’t want to do in sexual relationships, as well as education about and access to condoms and birth control so that they can protect themselves from STDs and pregnancy and remain healthy," she wrote.
    Duh!! Another educated investigator with too much time on her hands. Wonder if a personal study of the increase in hand jobs is next on the agenda.

    August 17, 2012 at 12:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Pliny

    Well, blow me down.

    August 17, 2012 at 12:17 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Bubba™

      Gee, you're just so clever. FAIL.

      August 17, 2012 at 21:26 | Report abuse |
  21. DonRichardslap

    CNN is lying. I Richard-slapped forty kids last night.

    NorCal_Leo at AR15.com, join me.

    August 17, 2012 at 12:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. belial666

    I believe teenage boys should have oral sex with one another, and other hot males, as often as possible. It really does calm one down. Nothing like greeting the day with a smile on your face.

    August 17, 2012 at 12:19 | Report abuse | Reply
    • bspurloc

      ah that explains the smile on altar bois faces

      August 17, 2012 at 15:53 | Report abuse |
  23. mklsgl

    Gotta wonder about the percentage of those 6000 teens who took the survey were indeed being honest and sincere. Between ages 15-17, I was more likely to have some fun with filling out a survey than take it seriously.

    August 17, 2012 at 12:22 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Bubba™

      I remember when we figured out that they hired extra cops if we said what we were really doing on those anonymous surveys.

      August 17, 2012 at 13:57 | Report abuse |
  24. JohnnyLurg

    Hopefully this signifies a decrease in fundamentalist Christianity, because of the whole "technical virginity" bullschlock.

    August 17, 2012 at 12:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. ted

    "The study – based on computer surveys given to over 6,000 teens"

    I bet if I asked 6,000 kids on Facebook intimate details about their sex life, the PoPo will come busting through my door, and I'd be on the 5 Oclock news as a predator.

    August 17, 2012 at 12:26 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Spencer

      Actually they take the surveys in school, last time I did one was a couple of years ago. They also ask about drug usage and some other stuff.

      August 17, 2012 at 13:45 | Report abuse |
  26. edofmtl

    Now they tell us oral sex can cause throat cancer. Why didn't they tell me this when I was in high school? It's a little late for me now.

    August 17, 2012 at 12:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Matthew Mac

    That's what I love about those young girls. I get older, they stay the same age. 🙂

    August 17, 2012 at 12:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Shawn

    Head and neck cancers... dang, someone must be getting a hell of a lot more 'oral sex' than I am!

    August 17, 2012 at 12:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. Mikie

    Do you know the difference between teenage oral sex and yourt job? After 20 years your job still sucks!!

    August 17, 2012 at 12:32 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Ruby

      Too funny MIkey!

      August 17, 2012 at 13:14 | Report abuse |
  30. Quagmire

    Fewer teens having oral sex? Then how about your mom? Giggity.

    August 17, 2012 at 12:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. MoronsareMorons

    Education and Future must be their priority, and not pecking and suc....g.

    August 17, 2012 at 12:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Steve

    Teens must be getting married at an earlier age since that is when oral sex stops.

    August 17, 2012 at 12:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Bubba™

    Silly, they have just learned not to tell you their secrets.

    August 17, 2012 at 12:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. heyheyhey

    And this is important news because why?

    August 17, 2012 at 12:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. High School Fever

    Teens can no longer afford a Big Gulp drink and a smoke after sex, so they have cut back on practicing oral sex.

    August 17, 2012 at 12:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. RAWoD

    Thursday, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control released a report that says "Two-thirds of U.S. teenagers and young adults ages 15 to 24 have had oral sex.". How does this author conclude that "fewer teens are having oral sex" given Thurstday report?

    August 17, 2012 at 13:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. sure.......

    Headline should have read : Fewer teens admitting to having oral sex.

    August 17, 2012 at 13:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. PJ

    Time the USA again gets a president that can set the example!

    August 17, 2012 at 13:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. Kent3

    The participation in formal physical education classes is at an all-time low and even when a kid does exercise, he/she rarely uses the facilities of a locker room to shower afterwards. Thus, personal hygiene may similarly be at an all-time low and this relatively common unwashed state may have an appreciable impact in discouraging this type of sexual activity.
    Conversely, gaining a reputation for impeccable hygiene may be all that is needed to enjoy this type of attention.

    August 17, 2012 at 13:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. Badly-Bent

    "Oh yeah, life goes on,
    Two American Kids growing up
    in the homeland. . ."

    August 17, 2012 at 13:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. JoJo

    One Third of the Teens.....I just can't look at a teenager anymore without thinking .ummm........are you the 1/3 ?

    August 17, 2012 at 13:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. jaybee

    Thank god I'm not a teen anymore.

    August 17, 2012 at 13:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. Primal 4 Life

    Not accurate, period. It's clearly much, much, higher.

    August 17, 2012 at 13:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. E

    One-third of teens having oral sex by age 17? Blows me away. Pitiful.

    August 17, 2012 at 13:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. berman

    Only 80% of 24 year olds have engaged in oral sex? I feel so bad for the other 20%.

    August 17, 2012 at 13:23 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Ladouane

      Dave @ 11, my mindset was feormd by , which suggests that it is 30 times faster now than back then. The new paper seems to confirm this in rough terms, although metrics sometimes confuses me.There is relating to the PETM, however. It started from a much higher base back then possibly 1000ppm compared to 280ppm for AGW.This, of course, makes the problem worse now, because climate sensitivity is logarithmic in its effect on temperature, so a smaller amount will move the temperature more from a lower base.Hope I've got that right!

      November 16, 2012 at 02:50 | Report abuse |
  46. Bill

    Whenever the wife asks me what I want for my birthday, I always respond: steak, beer & a BJ

    August 17, 2012 at 13:24 | Report abuse | Reply
    • i am a moron

      March 14th. Steak and a bj day. it is wonderful.

      August 17, 2012 at 14:14 | Report abuse |
  47. onepercenter

    The report, based on data from The National Survey of Family Growth, found that more than a third of teens had engaged in oral sex by the time they turned 17. That number climbed to almost 50% by age 19, and more than 80% for 24-year-olds.

    What's wrong with the other 20% of 24-year olds?

    August 17, 2012 at 13:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. Steve

    is this how low our country is going, talking about teen sex like it's O.K.? Gee, my teenage daughter isn't having as much oral sex as she used to, I better have a talk with her. She's going to have to know how to do this stuff if she's ever going to get married. Oh, that's right, they don't get married anymore, just live with whoever.

    August 17, 2012 at 13:26 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Thomas

      Good point Steve. After all if we don't talk about sex, teenagers will not have sex. That's been demonstrated throughout history.

      August 17, 2012 at 13:44 | Report abuse |
  49. MotoJB

    If more 18 year old girls would like some practice...hit me up. 😉

    August 17, 2012 at 13:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. Anon

    You never go ass to mouth!!!

    August 17, 2012 at 13:34 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Thomas

      That's an extra $50.

      August 17, 2012 at 13:45 | Report abuse |
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