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April 13, 2010

Oral: sex?

Filed under: News,Psychology — posted by Kristine @ 8:02 am

Is it or isn’t it? In an article set to appear in the June 2010 issue of Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, researchers found that oral sex is … not.

Only about 20% of university students participating in a 2007 survey agreed that oral-genital contact constituted sex, yet the majority believed that penile-vaginal and penile-anal intercourse did (98% and 78%, respectively)…

While I agree that demoting oral sex to, say, just “fooling around”  doesn’t quite work either, I am most disturbed by:

a) The 2 % of university students who don’t believe penile-vaginal intercourse constitutes sex, and

b) The 22% of university students who don’t believe penile-anal intercourse also constitutes sex.

Um, then…what does? Sex obviously feels good — and is, arguably, essential — to many humans of all orientations, but if we want to get biological and scientific, it is essentially about reproduction, propagating the species and all that. Therefore, one would think, college kids, who have had at least high school biology — and social lives — would be 100% certain that penile-vaginal intercourse is mostly the way that happens. The fact that even 2% of them don’t know that makes me hope there is some margin of error with the study’s statistics or there are some smart gay students who are subversively protesting the common perception of vaginal penile sex as normal. Most likely, we seriously need to revamp sex education.

Apparently, the authors of the study also suggest that sex education may be to blame for this oral “sex” business as abstinence-only education as well as more comprehensive sex education programs focus on penile-vaginal intercourse. There is indeed danger — sexually transmitted and otherwise — in disassociating oral sex from “SEXsex.” Oral sex can spread disease more easily than, say, a back rub or a hi-five. So, why don’t we, as a society, recognize that education and making facts available to our young people is the best preventative medicine for both teen pregnancy and STDs? Oh wait: because — as at least the grownups known — addressing even the matter of oral sex is, yes, talking about SEX.


  1. It is my understanding that most all diseases that can be contracted via vaginal-penile insertion can also be contracted via oral-genital contact.
    Specifically, penile-vaginal insertion – comonly known as intercourse, can be a reproductive proceedure but it is not limited to only being that

    I think a good definition of sex could be – if genital contact (manual [machines, hands, etc.], oral or, genital-genital) is involved and, it is done specifically to promote sexual excitement then it’s sex.

    I think it’s a really bad idea to “demote” any kind “sexual” contact that isn’t penile-vaginal/anal to being refered to as “not sex”. IE: “But mom, we didn’t have *sex* I just sucked his penis.” says the 10 year old.

    Again, really bad trend.

    Comment by Kelly (male) — April 13, 2010 @ 1:59 pm

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  3. how about the rule “if it goes into a bottom hole, then it should be considered sex?”

    Comment by Karen — April 13, 2010 @ 6:32 pm

  4. […] Breakup Girl » If it's oral, is it sex? […]

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  5. I want to adress the “2 % of university students who don’t believe penile-vaginal intercourse constitutes sex” because I am one of them. And no, I did not skip that day in high school biology. The main reason I don’t think all intercourse is sex is because RAPE IS NOT SEX.

    In general, I’m not sure why its important to define what acts are sex and what are not. If youth (or adults!) are thinking, ‘It was only oral so I’m not emotionally involved’, then yes, they need to think again. But maybe the rise of oral/anal sex may just be about preventing unwanted pregnancy…

    Comment by Tina — April 17, 2010 @ 1:48 pm

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