Study shows oral sex ‘gateway’ for teens

A new study’s out about teenagers and activities that put them on the fast track to some very grown up behavior.

The study shows most teens who engage in oral sex for the first time will have vaginal intercourse within six months.

“I think it’s 100% true,” says 19-year old Ray Poythress.

The study was conducted by California professors who surveyed high school students every six months for about three years.

“You say the word sex and they think it must mean vaginal intercourse,” says Wilmington Pediatrician Karen Harum. “But actually I know through patients reports that they are even confused about anal sex, and the difference between that and vaginal intercourse, and that and oral sex.”

Freshman and sophomore years seem to be the most critical time. “It’s probably to draw them in to think that if they do this for them, they’ll be with them for the rest of their life,” says Poythress.

The study indicates kids typically engage in oral sex because they think it’s “low risk.” But doctors say oral sex often serves as a “gateway” to intercourse. “Today, as I understand it, oral sex is just friends with benefits to a lot of these teenagers,” says Dr. Harum. “That’s their vernacular. That’s how lightly and trivially they seem to really understand that.”

Dr. Harum says communication is key. Julia Blackburn, a mother of five teenagers agrees. “We try to teach our kids that it’s something serious to be handled by adults within marriage and it’s not something to joke about and mess around with,” says Blackburn.

Parents says parents, teachers, and teens should not be embarrassed to talk about it. They say it is just too important.

Doctor Harum says oral sex can cause sexually-transmitted diseases, like herpes, hepatitis, and chlamydia.