Because of what I do, I am definitely pro-sex. But a caveat I should say is that this be done between consenting adults and be done safely. I went to a recent conference where there was a lecture on oral and throat cancers. In the past, oral and throat cancer’s greatest risk is smoking. However, recently there has been a change in the leading cause of this cancer. This was actually brought up in my colleague Dr. Bruce Campbell's blog, Reflections in a Head Mirror
. He writes about the relationship of oral cancer and oral sex.
Some facts about Human Papilloma Virus (HPV):
- HPV – most common cause of cervical cancer, now also in vulvar cancer (50 percent of pre-cancerous lesions now seen in 20-39 years of age)
- HPV – now seen in 72 percent of oral tumors (D’Souza 2007)
- Smokers have a 3x increased risk
- Heavy alcohol use a 2.5x increased risk
- Greater than 6 oral partners an 8.6x increased risk
- HPV 6 and 11 are the strains that cause benign genital warts. HPV 16 and 18 cause 70 percent of cervical cancer
- 1,700 new cases of HPV-associated head and neck cancers are diagnosed in women and nearly 5,700 are diagnosed in men each year in the United States (Ryerson, 2008)
What caught the attention of the room is the statistic of having more than six oral partners increases your risk more than smoking. We do know that it has been reported that oral sex among teens is often viewed so casually that it needn't even occur within the confines of a relationship. A study published in 1999 in the Journal of the American Medical Association examines the definition of sex based on a 1991 random sample of 599 college students from 29 states. Sixty percent said oral-genital contact did not constitute having sex. And ...
- According to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention survey, 28 percent of males age 15-17 reported giving oral sex to a female and 40 percent reported receiving oral sex from a female.
- Among females aged 15-17, 30 percent report giving oral sex to a male, and 38 percent report receiving oral sex from a male.
- Some teens reported having oral sex but not vaginal sex (13 percent of males and 11 percent of females aged 15-17).