September 21, 2006

A little reminder that oral sex is sex, too

Oral sex can cause cancer. (Via Majikthise)

How's that? HPV. You see, the viruses that cause warts (including genital warts) and cervical cancer can cause tonsil cancer.

So what to do? Basically, the same things you do to keep from getting genital warts: condoms and dental dams can help (but don't work as well as they do against the transmission of HIV), and of course avoiding hooking up with someone who has genital warts in the first place is a good idea. As the HPV vaccine becomes more widely available, immunization is also a good idea.

So why am I blogging about it? Because teenagers in abstinence-only sex ed probably won't hear about any of this, and an overwhelming majority of high school students have had oral sex, even if they've taken a virginity pledge and believe they're sticking to it. Abstinence-only sex ed isn't just a problem because it doesn't tell kids how to have safe vaginal intercourse; it systematically ignores the existence of oral sex, and thereby actively encourages unsafe behaviour that puts kids at risk for STDs, and thus cancer.


Jason said...

I make it a point to teach a day or two of sex ed each year because these kids are absolutely clueless when it comes to sex. I was amazed because they sure talk about it a lot, but when it comes down to it they know nothing. They believe every rumor that they hear from their friends or on TV. 75% of my kids were convinced that they could get pregnant through oral or anal sex. It is shocking. When the class is done they walk by and say how much they learned and how good it was.

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