The results, which are based on interviews with 6, people, are published today Aug. Teens watching a movie via Shutterstock About two-thirds of older teens and young adults in the United States have had oral sex, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, the teenagers underestimated the risk of contracting chlamydia or HIV through oral sex. Similar percentages reported having vaginal intercourse, with 67 percent of young women saying they had ever had sex, and 63 percent of young men saying the same. They also thought that their friends were likely to engage in oral sex, thus making it more acceptable to them.
The findings are important for parents, public health workers, and healthcare providers, they say. Research suggests teens view oral sex as less risky than vaginal sex. The authors write that, although low, the risk is not zero, as some adolescents believe. They felt that more teenagers will have oral sex and wait to have vaginal sex until they are married. Her report was part of a two and half year longitudinal study that involved ethnically diverse adolescents at two California high schools in middle class city suburbs. Oral sex, the teenagers said, was less risky than vaginal sex, considering the health, social, and emotional consequences. The results, which are based on interviews with 6, people, are published today Aug. The picture was similar for males: The likelihood that participants had either type of sexual contact increased with age. According to the report, those who had had oral sex but not vaginal intercourse were more likely to be younger, live with both biological parents at age 14, and have more educated mothers, compared with those who had had both oral sex and vaginal intercourse. They also thought that their friends were likely to engage in oral sex, thus making it more acceptable to them. With the permission of their parents, the teenagers anonymously answered a questionnaire. Because adolescents are having oral sex at such young ages, sex education should begin before high school—in the United States before the age of about 13, the authors say. A study of nearly young California teenagers indicates that, having been told to be abstinent and warned of dangers of sex such as pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, they have decided that oral sex is the safest choice Pediatrics ; Teens watching a movie via Shutterstock About two-thirds of older teens and young adults in the United States have had oral sex, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. About two-thirds of U. Sex education for teenagers should be broadened to cover what teenagers are actually doing, with screening, counselling, and education about oral sex. Between and , 66 percent of women and 65 percent of men ages 15 to 24 reported they had either given or received oral sex with a partner of the opposite sex, the report found. The new report was one of the first to gather information on whether teens and young adults tend to have oral sex before or after they first have vaginal intercourse. However, teenagers think oral sex is safer than it is. Although oral sex eliminates the risk of pregnancy, and lowers the risk of HIV transmission, studies show oral sex can transmit chlamydia, genital herpes, gonorrhea and syphilis, the CDC says. The study looked at young teenagers' perceptions of risks and benefits and sexual decision making relating to oral sex and vaginal sex. The report found that, among teen girls and young women, about 26 percent had oral sex before they ever had vaginal intercourse, while 27 percent had vaginal intercourse before they ever had oral sex. Previous studies indicated that many young people choose to have oral sex and don't consider it "real sex. They also thought oral sex was more acceptable than vaginal sex for people of their age and was less of a threat to their values and beliefs. Some teens may delay intercourse to maintain their virginity or avoid the risk of pregnancy , while others may move rapidly from oral sex to first intercourse, the CDC says. The lead author, Bonnie Halpern-Felsher, associate professor of paediatrics and adolescent medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, said that parents and health providers who work with young people should be aware that young adolescents are having oral sex or considering it as more acceptable than vaginal sex.
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