Reported rates of oral sex were similar to those for vaginal sex among youths ages 15-19, according to new data from CDC’s National Survey of Family Growth for 2007-10. Among these survey respondents, 44 percent of boys and 47 percent of girls said they had engaged in vaginal sex, and 49 percent of boys and 48 percent of girls reported having had oral sex. Among participants ages 15-17, oral sex was reported by 38 percent of boys and 33 percent of girls.
Overall, 16 percent of girls and 15 percent of boys ages 15-19 said they had oral sex first. Just 7 percent of girls and 10 percent of boys reported oral sex but never vaginal sex. The study covered only opposite-sex interactions.
Rates of oral sex and intercourse alike have been declining among teens in the past 10 years, according to CDC. In 2002, some 55 percent of those ages 15-19 reported oral sex.
“I think what kids do is get involved in a relationship, then at some point decide they’re ready to initiate vaginal sex, then probably engage in a whole repertoire of behaviors with that same partner,” said Dr. John Santelli, professor of clinical population and family health at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health.
[PNU editor’s note: The report, “Prevalence and Timing of Oral Sex with Opposite-sex Partners Among Females and Males Aged 15-24 Years: United States, 2007-2010,” was published in National Health Statistics Reports (2012;56) and can be accessed by visiting http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nhsr/nhsr056.pdf.]
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