"These findings suggest that adults should discuss more than one type of sexual practice when they counsel teens," said Bonnie Halpern-Felsher, PhD, associate professor of adolescent medicine at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). She conducted a survey of 580 ethnically diverse Northern California ninth-graders in the first study to investigate adolescents' perceptions of the consequences of having oral sex as opposed to vaginal sex.
The survey showed that these young teens considered oral sex to be significantly less risky to their health than vaginal sex. The adolescents believed that oral sex also was less likely to have negative social and emotional consequences, such as a bad reputation, getting into trouble, feeling bad about themselves, feeling guilty, or having a relationship with a partner become worse.
The study findings also showed that teens considered oral sex less of a threat to their values and beliefs. They thought that oral sex is more acceptable than vaginal sex for adolescents their own age, when the partners are dating each other and also when they are not dating. The teens also expected that more of their peers will have oral sex than vaginal sex in the near future.
Approximately one-fifth (19.6 percent) of these ninth graders reported that they had tried oral sex, compared to 13.5 percent who said they had vaginal sex. Almost one-third (31.5 percent) said they intended to have oral sex within the next six months, compared to 26.2 percent who intended to have vaginal sex.
"The fact that young adolescents around age 14 are having or considering oral sex and consider it safer and more acceptable than v
Contact: Janet Basu
University of California - San Francisco