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 (800 Responses)
  1. Left hanging

    This is an outrage. How can we let this happen to our teens? Are there no perverts left in our country?

    August 17, 2012 at 16:56 | Report abuse | Reply
    • duckforcover

      There are still plenty of perverts but apparently the survey didn't include any priests.

      August 17, 2012 at 17:28 | Report abuse |
    • MarileeBob

      Oral sex is not a 'perversion', it's perfectly (awesome and) natural.

      August 17, 2012 at 17:37 | Report abuse |
  2. nokoolaidcowboy

    Wow. This is some topic. Uhmmm, do we discuss this with out kids or is this just for our knowledge? As a parent I guess I feel relieved...
    Does this mean they are waiting until they are married?

    August 17, 2012 at 16:57 | Report abuse | Reply
    • j

      If you haven't discussed anything with them then: probably not.

      August 17, 2012 at 17:33 | Report abuse |
    • MarileeBob

      No, it means they are teenagers and lie on tests. Shock!

      August 17, 2012 at 17:38 | Report abuse |
    • wavejump1100

      no they are not waiting, they are just having intercourse before oral.

      August 17, 2012 at 17:53 | Report abuse |
    • Jim in Georgia

      Wait 'til their married... Very funny. By then it's too late. No More BJs for you.

      August 17, 2012 at 18:55 | Report abuse |
    • frontgate

      No, this means that your daughter is still polishing the knob!

      August 17, 2012 at 19:40 | Report abuse |
  3. Lars Babaganoosh

    My first oral was followed by quickly by me getting my dingy wet, which was quickly followed by me blowing my wad.

    August 17, 2012 at 16:57 | Report abuse | Reply
    • revolting peasant

      thanks for sharing

      August 17, 2012 at 17:17 | Report abuse |
    • Miss Trixie

      Surprised you could get it up.

      August 17, 2012 at 17:26 | Report abuse |
  4. Anon

    Won't someone please think of the children?

    August 17, 2012 at 16:59 | Report abuse | Reply
    • frontgate

      HAHAHAHA, you're a geek troll, right?

      August 17, 2012 at 19:42 | Report abuse |
  5. asdf

    BJs and baloney sandwiches will be the currency of the future they way America is going so they better practice now.

    August 17, 2012 at 17:01 | Report abuse | Reply
    • frontgate

      Practice, oh yes, practice. (hate cliches) but it does make perfect, and oh, the perfect BJ, right on!

      August 17, 2012 at 19:44 | Report abuse |
  6. yomama

    Of course there is less oral sex among teens;you can't get pregnant from oral. If you don't get pregnant, you don't get a shot to be on Mtv.

    August 17, 2012 at 17:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. ghjk

    Am I the only one who finds oral sex to be very disgusting and repulsive? I don't understand how people can enjoy it.

    August 17, 2012 at 17:12 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Lars Babaganoosh

      Yeah homie, you are the only one.

      August 17, 2012 at 17:17 | Report abuse |
    • revolting peasant

      yes, you are the only one

      August 17, 2012 at 17:18 | Report abuse |
    • james

      It is repulsive if you do it right.

      August 17, 2012 at 17:18 | Report abuse |
    • MarileeBob

      Sex is only dirty if you're doing it right.

      And oral sex is amazing. I have dated two guys who weren't into it, and our relationships didn't last long, I can tell you that.

      August 17, 2012 at 17:39 | Report abuse |
    • wavejump1100

      yes i would say you are the only one.

      August 17, 2012 at 17:48 | Report abuse |
    • Jeff S


      Yep, or at least one of the minority.

      August 17, 2012 at 18:03 | Report abuse |
    • frontgate

      HAHAHAHA, a female who doesn't like giving head. Too bad. Maybe you can try one of your sisters.

      August 17, 2012 at 19:45 | Report abuse |
    • ccw

      yep the only one

      August 17, 2012 at 20:56 | Report abuse |
  8. The Gash Licker

    "Practice makes Perfect" The last thing I want to do on my wedding night is to be teaching my new wife not to scrape her teeth !!!

    August 17, 2012 at 17:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Anonymous

    Won't someone please think of the children?

    August 17, 2012 at 17:31 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Piranha

      Oral sex don't produce children.

      August 17, 2012 at 17:33 | Report abuse |
    • MarileeBob

      Indeed! This aggression will not stand-we gots to help the children!

      August 17, 2012 at 17:39 | Report abuse |
  10. spike

    This is another area in which the Chinese are beating us, no doubt.

    August 17, 2012 at 17:31 | Report abuse | Reply
    • MarileeBob


      August 17, 2012 at 17:40 | Report abuse |
  11. Piranha

    This is just too funny. ha ha ha ha ha errp, xcuse me.

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

    That is awful. I hope they are having more sex to compensate for it.

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

    So from this article, I can assume that anal intercourse got left behind? (Pardon the pun...)

    August 17, 2012 at 17:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Dean

    How much did this information cost the taxpayer?

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

      Two headers...

      August 17, 2012 at 19:57 | Report abuse |
  15. crush

    It's because they're dating less because the boys are all addicted to the x-box.

    August 17, 2012 at 17:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. davecu

    Wasn't this the original "Oral Contraceptive"?

    And no prescription required.

    August 17, 2012 at 17:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. SEAL Team Alpha and Omega

    My wife gives me great head! I enjoy giving her tongue down there but her preference is using my fingers to tickle her c—l—i—t—o—r—i—s. Teens should wait until married so that do not have to worry about diseases. Read the Book of Solomon in the Bible. In the Song of Solomon, the King poetically describes going down on his lover where he "dwells among the lilies."

    August 17, 2012 at 18:00 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jeff S

      umm. Marriage doesn't exempt you from disease.

      August 17, 2012 at 18:04 | Report abuse |
    • someGuy

      your post confounds me. Are you a troll? show yourself!

      Wait until marriage, then mention king soloman? Didn't he have like 500 wives and even more concubines?

      August 17, 2012 at 19:04 | Report abuse |
    • SB

      It's true; your wife gives fantastic head.

      August 17, 2012 at 19:19 | Report abuse |
  18. 9Edge1st

    Never, EVER, believe the CDC. They will and do lie to you. Do all your own research and please be safe. If you parents out there do not talk to your children about sex, then you should not be a parent. Don't let the government or any religious group guide you, they have a vested interest in not telling the real truth about anything important.

    August 17, 2012 at 18:01 | Report abuse | Reply
    • mouthWritingChex

      Do all your own research? How do you figure? Give as much head as possible and see if you get a disease?

      What part of this report to you figure is lies. (I know I know...all of it)

      August 17, 2012 at 19:34 | Report abuse |
  19. SEAL Team Alpha and Omega

    I have to have a b–l–o–w job regularly from my wife. It is fun and she is really good at it.

    August 17, 2012 at 18:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. sc

    oral is great... but nothing compares to a girl who possesses an honest to goodness snapper.

    August 17, 2012 at 18:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. lol

    Thats cos everyones too busy being reamed up our asses by our government.

    Operation fast and furious anyone?

    August 17, 2012 at 18:15 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Iceman

      Fast and Furious started by George W. (village idiot) Bush and Dick (head) (should be in prison) Cheney. Don't believe me?? Google it.

      August 17, 2012 at 18:58 | Report abuse |
  22. Anon

    Its a shame...

    August 17, 2012 at 18:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Lars Babaganoosh

    Nothing like getting your lolli pop sucked on with a finger up your bum. BAM!

    August 17, 2012 at 18:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. lroy

    Gross, at any age. Thank God I am still a virgin at 50.

    August 17, 2012 at 18:31 | Report abuse | Reply
    • gman5727

      That can be taken care of and how do you know it is disgusting? Is it because of all the bad things you have heard about it? Maybe you should try it and then give us a full report on it.

      August 17, 2012 at 18:48 | Report abuse |
  25. rob

    How immature... oh yeah right, it's a teen blog.

    August 17, 2012 at 18:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. chris

    marileebob sounds nasty af ew. i bet your fat and 50

    August 17, 2012 at 18:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. aceryder

    Whew! I thought I lost my touch with teen girls, but this is actually a nationwide problem.

    August 17, 2012 at 18:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Patrish

    Well I guess the good old days are really gone...LOL * drifting off into fond memories'...

    August 17, 2012 at 18:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. Paul

    Children are worthless these days. They live behind cell phones and the Internet with very minimal human contact. The only people having sex are poor children who can't afford computers.

    August 17, 2012 at 18:40 | Report abuse | Reply
    • SB

      Be sure to shake your cane while you say that, just to punctuate the rant.

      August 17, 2012 at 19:12 | Report abuse |
  30. Dingle

    Well if there is one thing I stay up worrying about at night, it is teen muff diving. Thanks Dr. Gupta.

    August 17, 2012 at 18:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. SB

    My question is who are these 20% of 24 year-olds who aren't engaging in sex? Poor things. Go, get some. Life is short.

    August 17, 2012 at 19:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Walter

    this is the funniest thread I've read lol

    August 17, 2012 at 19:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Eggs Are Good For You

    What no BJ's?

    August 17, 2012 at 19:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. Dooby Doo

    I blame Obama.

    August 17, 2012 at 19:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. herpderp

    You can get herpes really bad by doing oral

    August 17, 2012 at 19:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. MOacasc

    No surprise there, everybody knows the reputation of the US women, particularly white women who will blow anybody for the right amount of beer or the right amount of cash, it is what it is

    August 17, 2012 at 19:35 | Report abuse | Reply
    • SB

      And which third world, woman-repressing p|$$hole country are you from?

      August 17, 2012 at 19:43 | Report abuse |
  37. Wazzup

    They switched to anal...

    August 17, 2012 at 19:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. squoose

    And, of course, if we actually vaccinated against HPV those cancer cases would go down considerably. But, of course, Republicans, Evangelicals, and conservatives have to fight even the most common sense things if they have anything to do with anyone's no-no parts.

    August 17, 2012 at 19:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. sean

    What they fail to mention is yes, young people are having less oral sex, but anal sex has spiked 10 fold in the past 10 years

    August 17, 2012 at 19:49 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jay

      Cause its fun 🙂

      August 18, 2012 at 19:15 | Report abuse |
  40. Blow it

    Bill Clinton must be disappointed with the new generation.

    August 17, 2012 at 19:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. ug

    I am so glad we need to know this...

    August 17, 2012 at 19:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. makesense

    This story ... really, CNN? And right above it – on the SAME day – you praise a woman who has helped THOUSANDS of teenage moms. Oh Cry!

    August 17, 2012 at 19:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. ikenelson

    Why would anybody want to have oral sex when they could cuddle all night and reminisce about that thing the cat did that one time?

    August 17, 2012 at 19:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. Brenda

    Unless they read a lot of diaries, the margin of error with this study is probably pretty high.

    August 17, 2012 at 19:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. JimK2450

    Am I the only one who finds the statement: "Figures on oral sex are going down" funny?

    August 17, 2012 at 20:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. martyy

    Fewer 55 year olds too, at my house.

    August 17, 2012 at 20:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. Meki60

    what a dumb report, with all the immigrants, who would want to

    August 17, 2012 at 20:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. Meki60

    people from other countries don't even wash their hands, oral sex is out of the question

    August 17, 2012 at 20:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. Oberon

    Why should kids these days have more fu?idn than we d

    August 17, 2012 at 20:20 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Oberon

      ...more fun than we did/do?

      August 17, 2012 at 20:21 | Report abuse |
  50. nk

    That sucks.

    August 17, 2012 at 20:21 | Report abuse | Reply
    • john

      Your comment was simply superb. Well played good sir.

      August 17, 2012 at 20:30 | Report abuse |
    • Kellym

      I think you mean "they suck." 😛

      August 17, 2012 at 21:06 | Report abuse |
    • james

      The comment was good to the last drop.

      August 17, 2012 at 21:43 | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

Leave a Reply to Kerstin Ehrenfeld


CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.