Blowjobs, Sex, and Teens: Relax, it's a Scientific Study

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Yeah, we remember high school...
A comprehensive U.C. San Francisco study claims that teen sexuality resembles a porn movie in at least one manner -- and it has nothing to do with a pizza deliveryman bringing his pepperoni to a houseful of amorous sorority girls. No, it's "first oral sex, then sex."

Per the study, a joint effort from both UCSF and U.C. Merced, the majority of kids who begin dabbling in oral sex in ninth grade will go all the way by 11th grade. Also, most teenagers who start having oral sex will have sexual intercourse within six months. That's the money shot from the report, published in The Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine and christened Predictive Relationship Between Adolescent Oral and Vaginal Sex: Results From a Prospective, Longitudinal Study.

The study's authors monitored 627 ninth grade students from a pair of Northern California high schools. The participants filled out surveys every six months between 2002 and 2005. Not only does it sound like an interesting longitudinal study -- it has the makings of killer reality television. Interestingly, race, ethnicity, and wealth did not factor in to participants' sexual behavior.

In addition to finding that "adolescents who initiated oral sex at the end of ninth grade had a 50 percent chance of initiating vaginal sex by the end of 11th grade," the researchers also found that kids who did not engage in oral sex until the end of 11th grade had only a 16 percent chance of having sex before senior year.

Whether this is a good thing or a bad thing depends, it would seem, on whether you're a teacher, health counselor, parent, or young person pining to have sex.

The upshot of this study? It's time to start talking to kids about oral sex.

"Health care providers, health educators, and parents need to not be shy about discussing oral sex with teens," said Bonnie Halpern-Felsher, senior author of the study and a professor of pediatrics at UCSF. "I see most of the health policies out there and guidelines for preventive services talking about sex generally, but they do not specify oral sex. That is an important distinction because teens don't consider oral sex to be sex, and many are not aware of the risks involved."

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