The New York Times is reporting today a new survey done by researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that undercuts the widely prevalent notion that the kids these days are engaging in oral sex as a substitute for intercourse. As the Times reports:
The popular notion that teenagers who are not ready for intercourse are experimenting with oral sex en masse is being challenged by new data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Teenagers are about as likely to engage in oral sex before intercourse as they are to have intercourse first, according to the National Survey of Family Growth.
While slightly under half of 15- to 19-year-olds have had vaginal sex — 44 percent of boys, 47 percent of girls — only about 16 percent of girls and 15 percent of boys from that age group engaged in oral sex first, according to the data. An additional 7 percent of girls and 10 percent of boys reported having oral sex but never vaginal sex.
Over all, 49 percent of boys and 48 percent of girls ages 15 to 19 have engaged in oral sex, according to the data. Among the younger teenagers in the survey, the ones ages 15 to 17, those numbers drop to 38 percent for boys and 33 percent for girls.
"There's been a perception for many years that there's some kind of epidemic of oral sex among teens," said Leslie Kantor, vice president for education of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, who was not involved in the study. "If nothing else, this data provides a realistic sense of the numbers."
Rates of oral sex among teenagers have been dropping over the past 10 years, as they have been for intercourse too, according to the C.D.C. In 2002, about 55 percent of 15- to 19-year-olds reported having engaged in oral sex. Between 2006 and 2010, that number dropped to 48 percent for boys and 46 percent for girls.
Readers may enjoy perusing a classic Reason debunking of yet another moral panic from back in 2006, "The Great Fellatio Scare."