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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. Samson

    Hilarious! It doesn't mean children are being chaste. It means they're merely skipping the foreplay!

    August 18, 2012 at 14:19 | Report abuse | Reply
    • G

      Lol, for most kids oral sex is the main event, not foreplay!

      August 18, 2012 at 19:41 | Report abuse |
    • M

      I'm in my late 20s and it's still my favorite main event ;p

      August 18, 2012 at 20:53 | Report abuse |
    • shawbrooke

      Last I read well researched work, a large proportion of the population is not attracted to oral sex. Those who are not attracted apparently do not feel differently after trying it. Whether or not the partner is attracted to oral sex should be handled by words t before the couple has sex. There's no point in starting a relationship or even a one night stand if one partner likes and wants oral sex and the other is not attracted to it. Reluctant sexual partners who have to be talked into something will walk, often at the most inconvenient time.

      August 18, 2012 at 23:10 | Report abuse |
  2. Not Fat

    This story makes me sad. Oral sex should be encouraged.

    August 18, 2012 at 14:20 | Report abuse | Reply
    • JJ

      Umm, really? Have you tried it? I think you would lke it if you gave up your repressed ways...

      August 18, 2012 at 22:28 | Report abuse |
  3. Fishermans Tail

    There are only two things that smell like fish and one of them is fish.

    August 18, 2012 at 14:21 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Huh?

      What's the second thing?

      August 18, 2012 at 18:46 | Report abuse |
  4. Mike Hunt

    I am a teen girl and Mike hunt is hot.

    August 18, 2012 at 14:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Porcche

    Hats off to those who can stand the real smelly ones long enough to have a taste. Yuk to you all.

    August 18, 2012 at 14:35 | Report abuse | Reply
    • LeRoy_Was_Here

      Once you get past the smell, you've got it licked.

      August 18, 2012 at 15:15 | Report abuse |
    • Huh?

      Vajajas are the grossiest things! Yuck!

      August 18, 2012 at 18:52 | Report abuse |
  6. achepotle

    Yes! Jesus is winning!

    August 18, 2012 at 14:47 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Joe

      Jesus Sanchez?

      August 18, 2012 at 16:01 | Report abuse |
    • sportreform

      what's he playing?

      August 18, 2012 at 17:55 | Report abuse |
  7. Bookenz

    What a stupid topic, like you could really trust surveys about this.

    August 18, 2012 at 14:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Katae

    I understand that scientists/doctors have recently been able to link oral sex with throat cancer.

    August 18, 2012 at 15:03 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Mastodonrocks

      Cripes! Im screwed! Love eating down at the Y.

      August 18, 2012 at 16:15 | Report abuse |
    • Scordiddo

      I am thinking you just made that up/

      August 18, 2012 at 19:03 | Report abuse |
    • Scordiddo

      I mean they** made that up.

      August 18, 2012 at 19:06 | Report abuse |
    • RichardSRussell

      Yes, they're linked in the same way that Mardi Gras is linked to Katrina. Just ask Pat Robertson.

      August 18, 2012 at 19:45 | Report abuse |
    • shawbrooke

      It's true.

      August 18, 2012 at 23:11 | Report abuse |
  9. jon

    Who cares. People are just monkeys anyway. What to monkeys do when they get aroused? Where the heck do they get these numbers anyway? The health department? I'm pretty sure they aren't surveying our kids about it and if they are then Uncle same needs to be registered as an offender.

    August 18, 2012 at 15:13 | Report abuse | Reply
    • oneeyedjohnson

      Penises are growing at astronomical speed due to black apes marrying white women and having half breeds with longer and fatter penises!

      August 18, 2012 at 18:45 | Report abuse |
    • oneeyedjohnson

      Penises are growing at warped speed due to black apes marrying white women and having half breeds with longer and fatter penises!

      August 18, 2012 at 18:46 | Report abuse |
  10. albert

    maybe it means something all together different

    August 18, 2012 at 15:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. H

    Am I the only person that's asking myself, why the hell is this even on the news? What's next? Fewer misquitos are biting humans?

    August 18, 2012 at 15:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. gstlab3

    this is the first test for a real long term girl freind..,

    no blo???? no go.....

    This test should and can also apply to those girls you will never ever consider for marrying.

    you do'nt want those kind of lips kissing your children!!!!!!!!

    August 18, 2012 at 15:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. What The F

    Hmmm, let me get this straight who the hell gives a flying rats a$$ over this information. It's all about the human mating process because we as a species are driven to procreate. Just a waste of money because its not going to change any behavior that is already hard wired into us as a species...Just Saying...This is apart of our personal lives and has gone on since the beginning of mankind's haphazard MIS-adventures here on this blue planet our home in space.

    August 18, 2012 at 15:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. narfzort

    they're skipping the oral traditions and going straight for the rectum. go kids of today!!!! yeyyyyy!!!

    August 18, 2012 at 15:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. bhs

    More teens lying about oral sex than ever before.

    August 18, 2012 at 15:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Joe

    Mike Hunt, meet Mike Hock.

    August 18, 2012 at 15:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Joe

    Mike Hock, meet Mike Humm.

    August 18, 2012 at 15:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Joe

    Mike Hunt, meet Mike Hoochie.

    August 18, 2012 at 15:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Joe

    Mike Hooter, meet Mike Lit.

    August 18, 2012 at 15:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Vumba4

    Testing

    August 18, 2012 at 16:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. jimmer

    Was the author being punished for something to write this?

    August 18, 2012 at 16:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Realdirect

    White chicks love to give head.

    August 18, 2012 at 16:30 | Report abuse | Reply
    • WhiteSaladin

      Word.

      August 18, 2012 at 16:49 | Report abuse |
    • Bill The Cat

      Until the wedding...

      August 18, 2012 at 22:14 | Report abuse |
  23. Henry

    Candy is a dandy, but oral sex won't rot your teeth!

    August 18, 2012 at 17:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Law of the Universe

    What's in will eventually be out .In out-in-out-in-out-inoutinoutinout ...Choo chooooo!.

    August 18, 2012 at 17:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. EJ in metro Houston

    how on earth do they REALLY know this? If you're not there when it happens or doesn't happen then you really don't know do you? Another wasted study.

    August 18, 2012 at 17:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Hawkeye321

    Teens today. Don't know what they're missing.

    August 18, 2012 at 17:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Jim

    The study was given to 6000 teens yet they have data on 24 year olds. FAIL!

    August 18, 2012 at 18:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. res

    Drink to the bearded clam!

    August 18, 2012 at 18:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. gezus

    this is newsworthy to who?

    This is liberal garbage reporting that at best aimed at teens with hormore issues.

    August 18, 2012 at 18:42 | Report abuse | Reply
    • RichardSRussell

      It's true. Science and facts have a liberal bias.

      August 18, 2012 at 19:43 | Report abuse |
    • I wonder

      Sounds to me like someone didn't get any. Little uptight? You should consider blowing off some steam... wink wink

      August 18, 2012 at 20:42 | Report abuse |
  30. TRAVELO

    Fewer teens having oral sex........What a damn shame !!!!!!!

    August 18, 2012 at 19:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. sunsets55

    why is this 'breaking news'????

    August 18, 2012 at 19:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Geeez....

    If you jump up and down are you giving a protein shake?

    August 18, 2012 at 19:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. RichardSRussell

    "Any idiot, upon seeing the 1st automobile, could easily predict that it would revolutionize transportation. Only someone with exceptionally keen insight could have foreseen that it would also revolutionize the s¢x lives of teenagers." —Isaac Asimov (1920-1992), American science-fiction writer

    August 18, 2012 at 19:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. BBoy705

    "Fewer teens having oral sex" – What is wrong with young people these days? Is it because they're too lazy??? Get up off the couch and do something!

    August 18, 2012 at 19:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. BBoy705

    Once you find out it tastes like chicken the thrill is gone!

    August 18, 2012 at 20:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. Kale

    The headline should be "More teenagers deny having oral sex"

    August 18, 2012 at 20:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. Bubbles the clown

    Bunch of blowhards!

    August 18, 2012 at 20:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. dhondi

    I guess they have the problem licked.

    August 18, 2012 at 20:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. j

    Did we SERIOUSLY have to read this?? CNN is a SAD and PATHETIC news company!

    August 18, 2012 at 20:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. Finally a story that doesn't suck

    Well at least it's teen readers don't... as much...anymore... for now.

    August 18, 2012 at 20:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. erik

    this is not good

    August 18, 2012 at 20:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. I wonder

    Does this mean more teens are getting married? Think about it... think about it.... ok... now you got it!

    August 18, 2012 at 20:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. Voiceinthewind

    Yep and taking LSD will make you look at the sun until you go blind.

    August 18, 2012 at 21:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. Voiceinthewind

    What a bunch of Garbage. Remember, taking LSD will make you look at the sun until you go blind?

    August 18, 2012 at 21:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. Bill The Cat

    Well, they won't notice a difference when they get married, will they?

    August 18, 2012 at 22:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. Tom

    Hey religion=insanity:
    Read those "stats" to my Christian daughter who married at 24 as a virgin. Maybe there is something she missed . . .

    August 18, 2012 at 22:13 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Ms

      Here's a link:

      http://parenting.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/09/17/religions-link-to-teen-pregnancy/

      August 20, 2012 at 16:44 | Report abuse |
  47. Jo An

    Why do I need to know this!!!

    August 18, 2012 at 22:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. Tommy

    Too many promises of "not coming in your mouth" led to this.

    August 18, 2012 at 22:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. Kats

    Like with any form of sex know your partners, and do it right, take precaution, no matter what. Not everyone is honest enough to tell you they have had sexual tranmitted diseases, may not be from themselves but from unprotected sex. It use to be people cared about themselves and if they were sick, they were concerned about the other person, now days, it's a game teenagers view sex as a game, or a challenge of conquering. Give yourself a break and grow up! If you can't understand the ramifications then where are you?

    August 18, 2012 at 22:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. Cmoney

    @Tommy, haha

    August 18, 2012 at 23:01 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Mike

      How could this even be legally accurate? Good news though... oral is the most disgusting thing ever invented.

      August 19, 2012 at 09:13 | Report abuse |
    • maverick

      "We need to make sure that young people have the skills to negotiate what they do .....blah blah blah....."
      Ok......then we need better teachers in school and make it required for everybody to pass test.
      NO CHILD LEFT OR RIGHT BEHINDS !!

      August 19, 2012 at 10:21 | Report abuse |
    • sf

      Aural sex.

      August 19, 2012 at 11:56 | Report abuse |
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