While talking to a group of teenagers recently, I heard a term that
was completely new to me. Many of the teens talked about "friends
with benefits". Being a naive father of three teenage daughters
I had to ask what that meant exactly. I was shocked to find out
that many teenagers from 14 to 18 years of age were developing a
new type of sex only relationship. It was explained to me that boys
and girls were "hooking up" for sex, both intercourse
and oral, but did not consider themselves to be dating or in a intimate
monogamous relationship. They considered one another to be "friends
with benefits". The more questions I asked the more concerned
A recent study
published in the Journal of Pediatric Psychology surveyed
a group of 10th graders about their thoughts and perceptions on
sex. The fact that teenagers in the 10th grade were sexually active
was no big surprise. What was surprising was the survey found teenagers
were having oral sex more often than intercourse and with many more
partners. Most disturbing was that a majority of those teens surveyed
said they did not use condoms during oral sex.
Are Teens so Sexually Active?
is a very strong influence in a teenager's life. But that is just
one factor in a teen's decision to engage in sexual behavior. Reasons
Teens want to be popular among their peers. Teens believe
that if they engage in sex, oral or intercourse they will be viewed
as more popular. Studies show just the opposite. While they may
be viewed as "popular" those teens who engage in unsafe
sex are not well liked among their peers.
Teens believe oral sex is the safe alternative to intercourse,
both from pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. The statistics
prove otherwise. Millions of teenagers become infected with STDs
such as chlamydia, gonorrhea,
HIV and herpes each year and oral sex is a route by which teens
are becoming infected. See STD
list for more
Are the Risks of Oral Sex?
Oral to Penis Contact Theoretical Risk: Performing oral sex or "giving a blow job" carries a theoretical
risk of transmission for the receptive partner because infected
pre-ejaculate ("pre-cum") fluid or semen (cum) can get
into the mouth. Any open sores, cold sores, etc. can be a route
by which the virus or bacteria can enter the bloodstream and infect.
For the insertive partner there is a theoretical risk of infection
because infected blood from a partner's bleeding gums or an open
sore could come in contact with a scratch, cut, or sore on the penis.
Documented Risk: Although the risk is many times smaller
than anal or vaginal sex, HIV has been transmitted to receptive
partners through oral sex ("blow jobs"), even in cases
when insertive partners didn't ejaculate (cum).
Oral to Vagina Contact Theoretical Risk: Performing oral sex on a woman carries
a theoretical risk of HIV transmission for the insertive partner
(the person who is licking or sucking the vaginal area) because
infected vaginal fluids and blood can get into the mouth. (This
includes, but is not limited to, menstrual blood). Likewise, there
is a theoretical risk of HIV transmission during oral sex for the
receptive partner (the person who is having her vagina licked or
sucked) if infected blood from oral sores or bleeding gums comes
in contact with vulvar or vaginal cuts or sores.
Documented Risk: The risk of HIV transmission during oral sex
is low compared to vaginal and anal sex. However, there have been
cases of HIV transmission and STDs resulting from oral-vaginal sex.
to Remember For Teens:
Oral sex is a very risky activity for HIV infection as well as other sexually transmitted diseases.
HIV and some STDs are forever meaning they can't be cured.
While you may seem more popular, having unprotected oral
sex does not make you more liked among your peers. In fact, studies
show that people like you and respect you less when you have unprotected
During oral sex, both the boy and girl are at risk for disease.
Getting a reputation for being "promiscuous", "sluty",
or "easy" will stay with you long after high school is
If you can't talk to a parent about oral sex, talk to your
school counselor, a teacher you like or your family doctor.
Parents and Those Counseling Teens:
Stress the risks of oral sex for boys and girls.
Make them aware that being popular does not mean they are
Stress that they can come to you and discuss anything, regardless
of how uncomfortable it may be for you.
Know what your teen is doing, where they are going, and who
they are going to be with.