Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Teens believe oral sex is safer, more acceptable to peers

05.04.2005


Young adolescents believe that oral sex is less risky to their health and emotions than vaginal sex, more prevalent among teens their age and more acceptable among their peers. They are also more likely to try oral sex, according to a UCSF study published in the April 2005 issue of Pediatrics.



"These findings suggest that adults should discuss more than one type of sexual practice when they counsel teens," said Bonnie Halpern-Felsher, PhD, associate professor of adolescent medicine at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). She conducted a survey of 580 ethnically diverse Northern California ninth-graders in the first study to investigate adolescents’ perceptions of the consequences of having oral sex as opposed to vaginal sex.

The survey showed that these young teens considered oral sex to be significantly less risky to their health than vaginal sex. The adolescents believed that oral sex also was less likely to have negative social and emotional consequences, such as a bad reputation, getting into trouble, feeling bad about themselves, feeling guilty, or having a relationship with a partner become worse.


The study findings also showed that teens considered oral sex less of a threat to their values and beliefs. They thought that oral sex is more acceptable than vaginal sex for adolescents their own age, when the partners are dating each other and also when they are not dating. The teens also expected that more of their peers will have oral sex than vaginal sex in the near future.

Approximately one-fifth (19.6 percent) of these ninth graders reported that they had tried oral sex, compared to 13.5 percent who said they had vaginal sex. Almost one-third (31.5 percent) said they intended to have oral sex within the next six months, compared to 26.2 percent who intended to have vaginal sex.

"The fact that young adolescents around age 14 are having or considering oral sex and consider it safer and more acceptable than vaginal sex is important information for parents, health care providers and others who work with youth," Halpern-Felsher said. "When we counsel adolescents about the risks and benefits associated with sex, we need to understand how they perceive it among themselves."

Guidelines for adolescent health care call for physicians and other health providers to discuss sex and other risky behaviors during regular medical checkups. Those sessions are one opportunity to work with adolescents on the topic of risks and preventive measures with oral sex as well as vaginal and anal sex, Halpern-Felsher said.

"Parents and caregivers also should find opportunities to engage teens in discussions about the emotional and social aspects of all types of sex, to get them thinking about whether their perceptions match their own situations," she said.

One troubling finding of the study was the teens’ perception of the health risks of oral sex. Most of the participants recognized that there is some risk of infection with sexually transmitted diseases such as chlamydia and HIV, and accurately ranked this risk less than with vaginal sex. However, one in seven participants thought that the risk of STDs from oral sex would be zero.

The UCSF researchers noted other studies that show a general misperception that oral sex entails no risk at all or very little risk. When oral sex is more frequent, sexually transmitted infection rates could rise if those who engage in oral sex do not use barrier protection, they pointed out.

"There is not much data about the chances of sexually transmitted infections due to oral sex, but there is a real risk," Halpern-Felsher said. "When teens are engaging in or considering oral sex, they need to know about methods to keep themselves safe from physical as well as emotional risks."

The findings come from a larger longitudinal study on the relationship between adolescents’ perceptions and their actions when behaviors pose health and emotional risks. In previous research, Halpern-Felsher has shown that teenagers are highly aware of risks, and that time and experience lead to changes in their perception of the danger to themselves.

Participants in the study were students at two California high schools, who completed a questionnaire during class after their parents consented to their participation. The mean age of the participants was 14.5 years; 58 percent were girls and 42 percent were boys. Their ethnic diversity was similar to that of their schools: approximately 40 percent White, 24 percent Latino, 17 percent Asian with others describing themselves as Pacific Islander, African American, American Indian/Alaskan Native and mixed or other.

Co-authors on the study were Jodi L. Cornell, MSW, MA and Rhonda Y. Kropp, BScN, MPH, of the UCSF Division of Adolescent Medicine, UCSF Department of Pediatrics, and Jeanne M. Tschann, PhD, of the UCSF Department of Psychiatry. This research was supported in part by grants from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and the William T. Grant Foundation.

Janet Basu | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ucsf.edu

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht New study: How does Europe become a leading player for software and IT services?
03.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für System- und Innovationsforschung (ISI)

nachricht Reusable carbon nanotubes could be the water filter of the future, says RIT study
30.03.2017 | Rochester Institute of Technology

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: A quantum walk of photons

Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.

The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

Im Focus: Using graphene to create quantum bits

In the race to produce a quantum computer, a number of projects are seeking a way to create quantum bits -- or qubits -- that are stable, meaning they are not much affected by changes in their environment. This normally needs highly nonlinear non-dissipative elements capable of functioning at very low temperatures.

In pursuit of this goal, researchers at EPFL's Laboratory of Photonics and Quantum Measurements LPQM (STI/SB), have investigated a nonlinear graphene-based...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Physicists discover mechanism behind granular capillary effect

24.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Measured for the first time: Direction of light waves changed by quantum effect

24.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Marine Conservation: IASS Contributes to UN Ocean Conference in New York on 5-9 June

24.05.2017 | Event News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>