People who came of age before the Clinton years can remember when oral sex still seemed edgy, even taboo. Now, we're as likely to hear about oral sex on the evening news as on late-night TV.
National statistics show that most Americans have some experience with oral sex, beginning in the early teen years. Almost half of teens and almost 90% of adults aged 25-44 have ever had oral sex with someone of the opposite sex, according to a CDC survey done between 2006 and 2008.
By Heather Johnson Durocher
An e-mail here, a smile there. Maybe that "innocent" friendship with your guy friend isn't so innocent after all....
I'll call him John.
The first time we met, he actually struck me as a bit arrogant. He irritated me enough that I mentioned him to my husband in a "Can you believe this guy?" kind of way. But I interacted with John only occasionally, always through work and mostly over e-mail, so it wasn't a huge deal. He's just one of those people who gets...
It's not oral sex, per se, that causes cancer, but the human papillomavirus (HPV), which can be passed from person to person during sex, including oral sex.
Researchers have found that some cancers of the oropharynx (the middle of the throat) and tonsils are probably caused by a certain type of human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV is common, but it doesn't always cause cancer. If you aren't exposed to HPV during oral sex, you're not at risk for cancer.
Brawley says that hints of a link between HPV and oropharyngeal cancer came in the late 1980s and early '90s. Researchers noticed an increase in this kind of cancer among people who hadn't been very prone to it before.
It began to affect increasing numbers of people around the age of 40 that didn't smoke or drink, whereas in prior decades these cancers were usually found in older people that smoked cigarettes and heavily drank hard liquor.
In the early 2000s, scientists were able to use advanced DNA testing to find HPV 16 in many of these newer cancers.
Brawley determined that sexual activity must be involved.
A study published in The New England Journal of Medicine in 2007 showed a greater risk for oropharyngeal cancer in people that had had oral sex with at least six different partners. The DNA signature of HPV type 16 was often found more often in the cancers of people who had multiple oral sex partners.