Monday, October 29, 2007
How far is your teen going?
Every week I call my grandma and fill her in on what I've been working on. At 87, she is quite Internet savvy and reads most of what I post online. Last week, I was in Southern California covering the devastating wildfires. She knew before I even told her.

But today I am really praying that Grandma and the gals at the retirement community are caught up in a wild game of "hand and foot," because I'm reporting on oral sex and teens. Don't think I will be mentioning that during our next conversation.

We've been asked to look into the sex lives of teens for a special "Out in the Open" tonight at 8 ET. Rick Sanchez is interviewing Genarlow Wilson, who was released from prison on Friday. In 2005, Wilson, a high school honor student and football star, was found guilty of aggravated child molestation after having consensual oral sex with a female classmate at a motel-room party. Wilson was incarcerated for more than two years. On Friday, the Georgia Supreme Court overturned the conviction. (Full Story)

Teens and oral sex. It's amazing how the topic can turn even the most mature group of adults into a gaggle of giggling sixth-graders. When I was a kid, only the "slutty" girls did that (or at least admitted it.) In my small Ohio town, what we knew about oral sex came from watching "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" at slumber parties while our parents slept upstairs.

But things seem to have changed. According to a 2005 report from the National Center for Health Statistics, slightly more than half of American teenagers ages 15 to 19 have engaged in oral sex. Boys and girls report having similar levels of experience. It appears more teens are doing it now than 20 years ago. In the 1980s, a study found roughly one-fifth of 13- to 18-year-olds surveyed said they had ever had oral sex.

So what do you think? Do you think kids are engaging in oral sex at higher rates than they did in previous generations? Do you think oral sex is the same as intercourse? Do you talk to your kids about it?
I would most certainly agree that today's teens are engaging in oral sex at higher rates than previous generations. It has become an almost 'right of passage' for both boys and girls to engage in this practice, though we still demand the double-standards when it comes to who is allowed to engage in sex and who isn't.

I don't believe that oral sex is the same as intercourse, but it isn't something to be taken lightly either. Although I do not have children myself, I intend to teach them about the different types of sexual acts and make sure they are educated and - hopefully - too grossed out to engage in them until they are much older.
Yes, kids are out here having sex more often. I'm 28 years old. When I was in middle school, kids were having oral sex. Parents, listen up: I don't care if your child is in private school, parochial school, public school, home schooled, etc. I guarantee you they have at least one "experienced" friend. Parents need to begin having honest conversations with their kids and quit thinking, "Not my child."
I was a teen in the 90s, and I never considered oral sex to be anywhere close to intercourse. My husband was a teen in the 80s and early 90s, and he feels the same way. We married as "virgins" but we had each had oral sex, and never considered it a big deal. On the other hand, I plan to teach our daughters that oral sex IS a big deal and is *almost* like intercourse, in that you can get the same diseases.
Absolutely! More kids today involve themselves in risky behavior. Considering the media's pushing of teen sex, can you really blame them?
Unfortunately, I think the whole Bill Clinton-Monica Lewinsky oral sex scandal had a significant influence on young people. My kids were young teens then, and to my dismay they discussed the Clinton-Lewinsky liason in school. The teacher had to explain what oral sex was. After that time, I was much more aware of teens having oral sex. (President Clinton said it wasn't real sex and kids believed him.) I learned, to my continued dismay, that girls were wearing "rainbow bracelets" which represented each time they had done oral sex. I also learned that teen girls thought that they "owed" boys an oral sex job as a thank you when the boys took them out to dinner. Many parents are clueless about teaching their daughters that they do not owe the boys anything, and they are clueless about the influence Hollywood movies and TV have on these young teens. I believe the general tone of our society is seriously letting our kids down. One 15-year-old told me that kids do not feel that they have any good role models today. That is very sad.
Whenever sex is not practised with loyalness and faith, STIs(sexually transmitted infections)make their grand entrance. As the number of sexual parners increase, the risk of STIs also increases. It's the lack of knowledge(both medical and sexual aspect)that leads to STI.
In US, 1 in 5 is infected with genital herpes. One should know how HPV and HSV are spread and follow safe sexual practices. Condoms don't give 100% guarantee and when it doesn't cover the infected part, the chances are high in passing it onto the partner.

Why put the blame on media? What do parents do? They should set an example and they should be informed first. Only then can they talk openly to their kids without any inhibitions. I am not married yet but I will be a sex counselor to my kids. As I come from a very liberal family background, I will definitely say that knowledge in any field helps us shape our life(and also those who are involved with us)better.
I think children are engaging in as much if not more oral sex as intercourse. We've tried to teach them abstinence as if intercourse was the only way to have sex so now they engage in oral as an alternative.

I personally believe that oral sex is the same as intercourse because it essentially is for the same purpose only using different parts of the body.

Parents need to be more involved in their chldren's lives. My father was firm that I not date until I graduated college and got a job. It's through his teachings that I had goals to focus on so I did not have time to get involved with boys much less sex until I was older.
I am a 21 year old female, so being a teen is still fresh in my memory. When I was in highschool I heard about people having oral sex all the time, it was not uncommon. I believe that the outrage that parents feel when realizing their children may be engaging in oral sex acts might come from a larger societal misconception which dictates that humans become mature adults after their teen years. Anyone who looks in the halls of highschools will find that physical maturation suggests otherwise. 100 years ago we would expect people their age to be looking for a spouse and planning a family.It seems to me that teens are stuck in a paradox when their bodies are mature but our society insists on infantizing them whether it be through the making of laws or the encouragement of strict parenting.
I am not suggesting that oral sex should be excepted but I am suggesting that our society give teens more credit. Sex and oral sex need to be discussed at length and an emphasis needs to be placed on the love that should be present in either act. Teens are going to keep responding to their mature minds and bodies no matter how strict we parent, and we need to make adjustments so that we incorporate morality into these adjustments.
It is sortof expected of teens today as a stereotype for them to engage in any type of sexual encounters. This is a hypersexual society where the media's onslaught is relentless. People want to make money fast and to do that is the depict sex appeal. As a result, this is what society gets, a hypersexual generation where sexual morally, materialism, and superficially is in play. Society is pushing the youth to grow up faster, but not in the good way of accepting responsibility but seeking sexual pleasure. Sure sex feels good, but what happened to the meaning and cultivation of love and what it means to care for a person based on the pleasure of seeing them exist and grow. Also sex must have the consent of mutual attractiveness or at least a social connection. What happens to people who don't meet the criteria? Are they socially introverted and unwanted.
People in my school starting engaging in oral sex around eigth and ninth grade. It was kind of a hip thing to do and everyone talked about it and accepted it. There was never any talk about the reputation it can give you or the diseases that come along with it. I think that because we were young, we assumed that nothing bad could happen - the partner probably did not have many partners before that so the odds weren't against us.

When we talk about this now, many of the girls my age (in college) felt the same. They pretty much had the same attitude going around their schools, although rarely there was a "prude" school talked about.

So we think, "everybody" does it, it is not frowned upon by our peers, and no one is telling us otherwise. There lies the problem. We have a system that allows our government to mandate what schools can and cannot say. These people who make the rules tend to be far removed from the reality of what is going on at junior high parties. The statistics are all there - abstinence-only education is not working. Kids are still having sex. I definately agree that oral sex was not considered sex in junior high and high school, and admittedly, it still isn't today. There is the notion of "doing everything but," implying that by not having sex, we as teenagers can feel like we are in a safe zone in regards to reputation and diseases, even though its known that that is not true in all cases.

Our society sends a conflicting message to young people. We are told "no sex til marriage," but yet in every form of media the message is countered. But they are not to blame. Agreeing with the last comment, history proves that our bodies are pushing young people to engage in activites that are not acceptable by the American society in general. Also, to add the comment about young women "owing" it to the boys who take them out, there has been proof that this dates back to at least the early 1900s. So this is not a new issue.

This is something we should not believe that we as a society can put an end to. Moral reform and parent stress to not have oral sex to their kids won't cut it. It will keep happening. However, if we approach it in a different way, people will listen. I believe the older generations greatly underestimate the maturity of young people. They can handle the truth. Offer comprehensive sexual education by both the schools and parents, not preaching that abstinence is the only way. This will allow young people to make wiser decisions, stay safer, and not feel quilty when they succumb to what their bodies, minds, and media are constantly telling them to do.
Yes, I do believe that kids are engaging in oral sex at an earlier age than we (Adults) did. Peer pressure is much more stronger these days. Also, most homes have both Mom and Dad working outside the homes, so teens have alot of "free" time to themselves, especially after school.
Your report would not be complete if it did not address the middle-school aged kids. This is where kids first experiment with oral sex, so to just refer to "teens" is limited. When I spoke with my kids (one in middle school, one in high school) in the late 90s, they strongly believed that oral sex was not sex and said their friends not only agreed, but participated in the act as a way to make-out without "going all the way." It seems that oral sex today has replaced the "spin the bottle" kissing games of our time.
I don't think Bill and Monica had anything to do with it. I blame parent's for not talking to their kids about sex and also the fact that sex is everwhere! You can't avoid it. This problem is only going to get worse, and there will only be an increase in STDs, pregnancies, etc.
I think raising a child is the most difficult job on earth because you are raising him/her to be a responsible adult someday.
Teaching a child that sex is the most pleasurable thing ever to experience is healthy but it is also important to teach them how to be engaged in it appropraitely. Meaning sex should be experienced as an adult and when one is responsible incase of a child or any disease. Teaching teenagers to engage in sex to me is risky becuase they are not matured to take care of any responsibility that comes with sexual act whether it is oral or intercourse. I am old fashioned believing sex is appropraite if they can handle it which is when they are adults.
I think that in the old days, when "pill" was scars, oral sex came in handy. Now with the oral contraceptives and the "day after pill" it has become more of a choice.

I personally think that oral sex is perceived as more intimate then sexual intercourse.

About statistical number, I am still figuring out how these figures have been obtained. I just don't trust surveys.
The last statistics cited are misleading. The first statistic uses a group that spans high school sophomores to college sophomores. The statistic you compare it to deals with 8th graders to high school seniors/college freshman. It has been shown that many teens have their first sexual experiences (oral or intercourse) during their first years of college.

Secondly, I grew up in a family where drugs and alcohol were not tolerated while I was growing up. But, at the same time, my parents let me have my serious girlfriend sleepover with me in the same bed and shut the door. Of course my parents knew what was going on, but they believed that mutual, protected and safe intercourse was probably less damaging to my future than drug and alcohol abuse.

Some parents drink with their kids in high school, or even knowingly allow them to continue their drug addictions, but refuse to even have a discussion about sex. Americans need to get their values straight.
As a 17 year old "teenager" , I can confirm that these statistics are most likely true. But what I don't understand is why people are making such a big fuss over it. Yes, todays teens are more sexually active than yesterdays teens, but that's only normal. I believe that adults fail to understand that teenagers are sexual beings too. We have the same needs and desires as adults, and in today's world, enacting in pre-marital sexual acts is more and more common. As long as parents are teaching kids about sexuality and how to stay safe, there shouldn't be a problem.
It's still shocking to me the lack of common sense when it comes to oral sex, regular sex, or anything to do with any biological function. Last time I checked, human beings have been having all kinds of sex before we even had a working language above grunting. If not, we wouldn't be here discussing it like we just figured it all out a few decades ago, now would we?

I grew up on a farm. When I was in public school in the 80's, and our "Life Skills" class was going to show a film on "sex education" when I was 12, just before they launched the movie after separating the boys and girls to different films in different rooms, I asked 1 question. I asked why they thought we were all dumber than rabbits.

I got asked why I needed to ask such a question. I explained, "On my farm, a male rabbit and a female rabbit get put into a cage, and they have sex and make babies. Nobody had to show them a film or teach them how. You're saying we don't know what we're doing unless were shown how. According to you, we're dumber than rabbits."

I got excused to the library, but it never left my mind, nor the minds of my friends. We knew all ready by instinct what needs to be done. It's by instinct alone we seek the gratification of sex the moment we're capable. The rest is all in your head.
ok i`m a hight schooler and alot of kids are doing it it`s the way things are
but go turn on your t.v and try to find something that dosent have any thing to do with sex, we hear about celeberties about how they jump from one person to another, think aout how you were in high school 'i dont think you should put all the blame on these kid
and if you judging me thinking i`ve had sex well i havent i`m waiting till i get marrird
Oral sex is definitely not thought of as the same as regular intercourse by most teens. References to sex and slang for oral sex run pretty rampant in popular media today, and most kids can find out anything they want about sexuality by looking it up online. I don't think this is bad, but it can often be a reason for parents to shirk their responsibilities to discuss sexuality with their children. If society wants to change the face that lots of younger children are having oral sex, then parents eed to emphasize the intimacy, as well as the risks of multiple partners, for oral sex and/or standard intercourse.
My daughter is 13, and she knows of fellow classmates who engage in oral sex, and a former friend who is considering having sex with her boyfriend.

This girls mothers reaction? "As long as I dont' get a grandchild, I don't care what you do".

I am floored.

I think we are more aware of sex at a younger age in this society because it permiates everything. Ads, movies, television. Many kids DON"T think oral sex isn't sex, but for me, of my generation, oral sex is more intimate than penetration.
I think more young teens are engaging in oral sex because they think it is safer than "real sex". This tells me we need to focus on the dangers of oral sex in health classes in schools. It also doesn't help that the media glorifies aspects of oral sex and gives kids the hint that it's okay, it's totally safe, and it's a great idea... so not the case!
I am a teenager now, I'm 16 and I can tell you for a fact that more teens are engaging in oral sex. No, I don't talk about with my mom but I am very into current events so I looked it up. I am an honors student and more than 75% of the kids I know have done at least that. Seriously, talk to your kids, even after they take their first health class.
Oral sex is sex. It's not called oral friendship or oral relationship. It's oral SEX.

I believe it is the parents' responsibility (yes, duty) to teach their kids about (oral) sex. When two people engage in physical tenderness (from holding hands, all the way to sexual intercourse), then it is not just the hands, the lips or the genitals that are involved, but the hearts. Intimate encounters are full of emotions and passions. If we don't guard and control our hearts, we will eventually be hurt.

Physical intimacy should be reserved for marriage, when both people have already promised to love and care for each other and be there no matter what. Physical relationships outside of marriage ultimately benefit one person more than the other and someone ends up taken advantage of and hurt.

And yes, having just graduated from college, oral sex seems to be on the same level as kissing. 'Making out' is almost a sport for some coeds.
I am 21 years old and in college. My memories of being a teenager are still fresh in my mind, as are those dealings with intimacy as a teenager. I think it is safe to say that most of my generation doesn't view oral sex as intercourse. While it is still very intimate, it isn't "all the way". I know many people, both males and females that resort to oral sex to stay a virgin. However, I don't think that you can use this to conclude ignorance on their behalfs. Just like adults, teenagers have sexual desires, are in relationships, and look for ways to express their feelings. I think that all teenagers are aware of the dangers of both oral sex and sex. We all know what STD's and AIDS are, however, most still take the risk. I belive rates are increasing from past generations, and I feel that it is mostly attributed to the saturation of lives with sex. We see sex and passion on every aspect of media available. I personally never discussed oral sex with my parents. Like most in my generation, I think we just figured it out.
The question is whether 'kids' are engaging in oral sex at higher rates than previous generations, whether oral sex is the same as intercourse and whether or not we talk to our 'kids' about it. I put the word kids in quotation marks because, biologically speaking, the vast majority of U.S. teenagers are adults, with 97% of them having completed puberty at age 14 years, 7 months for girls and around 16 years for boys . Legally, they are not adults, nor are very many of them fully mature emotionally. But biologically speaking, they are adults, with the ability to create a child and sex drives that rival (or exceed) that of legal adults.

The point I'm trying to make is that most of these teenage, biologic adults are sexual beings with strong sex drives and bodies that are ready to engage in sex. Yet our society asks them to 'just say no' to sex. I believe asking a teenager to refrain from sexual activity is like handing him/her the keys to a Ferrari and telling him/her not to speed.

Therefore, I believe teens are best served when they have access to birth control and frank sex education classes where they can learn all the ramifications of sexual acitivity, from risks of contracting sexually transmitted infections to risks of pregnancy to theemotional consequences. And I believe we do a great disservice to teens when we present them with the Bush administration's naive ABC (Abstinence until marriage, Being faithful thereafter and using Condoms in high risk sexual encounters) plan.

Now, stepping off my soapbox...are teens engaging in oral sex at higher rates than previous generations? Probably. Is oral sex the same as intercourse? No. Do I talk to my kids about it? I don't have kids, but if I did, I would discuss sex with them in a frank, factual and informative manner.
Funny, I guess it must go in cycles. I'm 66 and I don't think kids engage in any more sexual experimentation than the kids my age did. I do think they are more open about. The natural urges are pretty much the same now as then, except that maybe because of diet; kids enter puberty a little younger.
Unfortunately our youth are not getting accurrate information as they think they are. You're thinking why is that, because the youth believe one that oral sex is one not intercourse and second for those who have christian teachings they do not always believe this is a sin. I believe that one it is morally wrong for our youth to experiment in such a dangerous areas that they are not ready for and also the health risk that are available to our youth. Education and teaching our children is vital and hopefully one day they will not want to be so ready for adult lifestyles so soon.
In today's society more and more kids are practicing oral sex. It isnt held to such a higher standard as it once was. Back when my parents were growing up, they taught me that if you had any form of oral sex or intercourse before you were married, you would have a tough time finding a spouse. Kids these days see oral sex and sexual intercourse on TV and they feel thats its not a big deal. They see that if they can do it and get away with it then why not me.

There are some cases, however not all, that some parents keep their kids so sheltered that when there finally out on their own, peer pressure gets a hold of them and they try and do the "hip thing." And the "hip thing" nowadays tends to be sex and oral sex. I'm not saying that sheltering your kids is a bad thing, but you may need to watch how sheltered they become.
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