Friday, September 16, 2005

More Than Half of US Teens Have Had Oral Sex

It wasn't like this when I was a kid, says the old man, shaking his head. Here's a story from this morning's Washington Post about a new survey that finds that American teens are ... different ... from how we were:
Slightly more than half of American teenagers, ages 15 to 19, have engaged in oral sex, with females and males reporting similar levels of experience, according to the most comprehensive national survey of sexual behaviors ever released by the federal government.

The report today by the National Center for Health Statistics shows that the figure increases to about 70 percent of 18- and 19-year-olds.

The survey, according to those who work with young people, offers one more sign that young women are more sexually confident than they used to be. A release by the center six months ago, based on the same survey results, showed that slightly more girls than boys have intercourse before they turn 20. In addition, other national data indicate that the same proportion of high school girls and boys have sex only one time with a particular person or have relationships with others that they are not romantically involved with.

"This is a point of major social transition," James Wagoner, president of Advocates for Youth, a reproductive health organization, said yesterday. "The data are now coming out and roiling the idea that boys are the hunters and young girls are the prey. It absolutely defies the stereotype."

The data also underscore the fact that, unlike their parents' generation, many young people -- particularly those from middle- and upper-income white families -- simply do not consider oral sex a big deal. Study: Half of All Teens Have Had Oral Sex

Oh, hey, let's see who will be the first person in our comments section to blame Bill Clinton.

We have seen some surveys recently hinting that this sort of tidal change was going on, but I don't think people realized how much things have changed.

What must it be like for those who just want teen sex to stop altogether?

Interestingly, according to The Post, it seems that maybe some of this is actually the result of the push to teach teenagers not to have sex:
Many teenagers have fully accepted the idea that postponing intercourse is a good thing to do, Brindis said. When they weigh the advantages and disadvantages of intercourse versus other forms of sex, they decide that they are far more at risk with intercourse, both because of pregnancy and the greater risk of disease.

"They're very smart about this issue," said Brindis, "but they may not have been given a strong enough message around the risks of oral sex."

Well, this is getting tricky, isn't it? Let me point out what they do: they take the information they have, about the dangers of sexual intercourse, and make a decision. No authority tells them to have oral sex, but, given what they're been taught in their abstinence courses, it just makes sense. promotes the idea of giving teenagers accurate facts, so they make the right decisions.

The Survey Report itself is fascinating. Don't you wonder what your neighbors do ... really? Well, the National Center for Health Statistics asked them. They're pretty busy, it turns out, and they don't tell you everything.

Some people think adolescents should exercise their willpower, to remain chaste until marriage. If they all did that, then there would be no need for comprehensive sex education. No need to explain about condoms, how to choose them and use them correctly. There'd be no need to discuss STDs if everybody had exactly one sex partner in their life. But, people, that doesn't happen. Oh, sure, your children are angels, but those other kids need the information. They really do need to learn how it all works. Sex is not going to go away just because some people want it to.


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