Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Having oral sex increases likelihood of intercourse among teens, study finds

Date:
November 1, 2010
Source:
University of California - San Francisco
Summary:
Half of teens who have oral sex during the ninth grade will have intercourse by the end of the 11th grade, and most sexually active teenagers will begin engaging in oral sex and sexual intercourse within the same six-month period, according to findings from a new survey conducted by researchers in California.

Half of teens who have oral sex during the ninth grade will have intercourse by the end of the 11th grade, and most sexually active teenagers will begin engaging in oral sex and sexual intercourse within the same six-month period, according to findings from a new survey conducted by researchers at UCSF and UC Merced.

The study is the first to track teens' sexual behavior over time to determine whether oral sex increases the likelihood of having sexual intercourse or acts as a protective measure delaying the onset of further sexual activity. The data, explain the researchers, yield important information about adolescent sexual development and the need to deliver more comprehensive sex education programs.

"Health care providers, health educators and parents need to not be shy about discussing oral sex with teens," said Bonnie Halpern-Felsher, PhD, 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."

Study results are published online by the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine.

"Our study demonstrates that through its relationship with intercourse, oral sex contributes to the total risk associated with sexual activity among teens, including sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy," said Anna Song, PhD, first author of the study and an assistant professor of psychological sciences at UC Merced. "Understanding teen sexual behavior is so important because incorrect assumptions about how and why teens engage in sex can undermine interventions that aim to curb these negative outcomes."

The researchers followed more than 600 students at two northern California high schools from the ninth grade through the end of 11th grade. All participants received their parents' consent to participate. From 2002 to 2005, the students completed a survey every six months during class time about their sexual experiences. Responses were consistent across different ethnic groups, socioeconomic levels and genders.

Among teens who reported becoming sexually active during the three-year study, most said they had intercourse for the first time after or within the same six-month period of initiating oral sex. According to Halpern-Felsher, this indicates oral sex is influencing the onset of riskier sexual behavior, underscoring the need to encourage open, honest discussion about sexual activity.

"We need to make sure teens know that if they do choose to have oral sex, certainly it does involve less risk than intercourse, but it's not risk-free," Halpern-Felsher said. "We also have to be sure to ask teens if they have any questions. It sounds simple, but it is a very important step that parents and healthcare providers should be taking."

Teens who had engaged in oral sex by the end of ninth grade were at the highest risk of having sexual intercourse during high school. They had a 25 percent chance of having intercourse by the end of ninth grade and a 50 percent chance by the end of 11th grade, with most engaging in both oral sex and intercourse during the same six-month period.

In comparison, adolescents who delayed oral sex until the end of 11th grade had only a 16 percent chance of having intercourse by the end of that school year. The researchers explain that, based on these findings, the first two years of high school appear to be a particularly vulnerable period.

"We don't want parents to hear about these findings and say, 'Thanks for the information. I'm locking up my teen until graduation,'" Song said. "The most effective reaction is to use this knowledge to have an informed conversation with kids that addresses different types of sexual behaviors, including oral sex."

In a previous study of adolescent sexual behavior, Halpern-Felsher found that at least 20 percent of adolescents have oral sex by the end of ninth grade and more than half of teenagers 15 to 19 years old engage in oral sex with members of the opposite sex.

The study was funded by grants from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, the William T. Grant Foundation and the Asian American Center on Disparities Research.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of California - San Francisco. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Anna V. Song; Bonnie L. Halpern-Felsher. Predictive Relationship Between Adolescent Oral and Vaginal Sex: Results From a Prospective, Longitudinal Study. Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, 2010; DOI: 10.1001/archpediatrics.2010.214

Cite This Page:

University of California - San Francisco. "Having oral sex increases likelihood of intercourse among teens, study finds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 November 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/11/101101161903.htm>.
University of California - San Francisco. (2010, November 1). Having oral sex increases likelihood of intercourse among teens, study finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/11/101101161903.htm
University of California - San Francisco. "Having oral sex increases likelihood of intercourse among teens, study finds." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/11/101101161903.htm (accessed July 28, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Monday, July 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

AP (July 28, 2014) Classes are being offered nationwide to encourage African Americans to learn about cooking fresh foods based on traditional African cuisine. The program is trying to combat obesity, heart disease and other ailments often linked to diet. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
West Africa Gripped by Deadly Ebola Outbreak

West Africa Gripped by Deadly Ebola Outbreak

AFP (July 28, 2014) The worst-ever outbreak of the deadly Ebola epidemic grips west Africa, killing hundreds. Duration: 00:48 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A national study conducted by the USDA Forest Service found that trees collectively save more than 850 lives on an annual basis. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Google's Next Frontier: The Human Body

Google's Next Frontier: The Human Body

Newsy (July 27, 2014) Google is collecting genetic and molecular information to paint a picture of the perfectly healthy human. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins