Kids and Oral Sex: The Bases Have Changed

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My coworkers and I were laughing the other day about "the bases" of sex. You know, first base, second base, third base, and all that. Suddenly, one of my coworkers stopped laughing. "You know," she said, "the bases have changed."

WHAT?

Apparently, third base is no longer a hand up a skirt. It now means oral sex. And more and more kids are experimenting with it, younger than you'd think. And? It's just part of the mix.

From Slate:

The raw numbers indicate that 50 percent of teenagers aged 15 to 19 have had vaginal sex. Fifty-five percent have had heterosexual oral sex. Are kids substituting oral for vaginal? Nope. Among technical virgins—teens who have never had vaginal sex—23 percent have had oral sex. That number sounds high until you notice that among nonvirgins, the oral-sex figure is 87 percent. If your teenager has had "basic" sex without somebody's mouth being involved, congratulations. You're probably the only such household on your block.

Sound scary? There's more. From WebMD:

"Young adolescents are perceiving that oral sex is less risky than vaginal sex in terms of health risks -- STDs, pregnancy, and HIV," Halpern-Felsher says. "They also see oral sex as having fewer social and emotional risks. They think they are less likely to feely guilty, to get in trouble, to have a bad reputation, or to have a relationship problem. They also felt oral sex is more acceptable. They think more teens are having it, and that it is OK in the context of both a dating and nondating relationship -- a one-night stand in our terms."

As the parent of a four-year-old, I hadn't really given oral sex a thought, but hearing that the bases have changed gave me pause. Are kids having more sex than they did when we were kids? Are they having it younger? Are they having more oral sex than we did? Will it affect their adult relationships? BUT WILL YOU LOVE ME FOREVER?

What seems to be worrying researchers is not so much the oral sex, but the fact that it's catapulted ahead of regular intercourse in the casual-to-intimate timeline. They worry kids are likely to misinterpret what's "normal" in a casual relationship. And, all this oral sex might be a way to both have some fun and stay within the bounds of "virginity."

From USA Today:

Although governmental and educational campaigns urge teens to delay sex, some suggest teens have replaced sexual intercourse with oral sex.

"If you say to teenagers 'no sex before marriage,' they may interpret that in a variety of ways," says Fisher.

So what's a parent to do? What should you say? Here are some resources for parents with adolescent kids. Maybe better read them before you catch your kid rounding third and heading for home.

The Site

Teen Wire

The Centers for Disease Control

Teen Advice from About.com

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