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[ Recorded presentation ] Recorded presentation

Heads up: Oral sex among high-risk teens more common than we think

Marlena Kuruvilla, MPH/MSW, Lauren Ralph, BS, Shelly R. Koenemann, MPH, Claire Brindis, DrPH, and Michelle Barenbaum, MPH. Bixby Center for Reproductive Health Research and Policy, University of California, San Francisco, 3333 California Street, Suite 265, San Francisco, CA 94143, 415-502-4043, marlena.kuruvilla@ucsf.edu

Research on adolescent sexual behavior has focused primarily on vaginal intercourse, despite a rise in oral sex among teens. Recent studies suggest teens consider oral sex to be more socially acceptable and less risky than vaginal intercourse. Therefore, it is important to better understand oral sex behaviors, as they may be placing teens at risk of STIs/HIV.

This study examines oral sex behaviors among adolescents, ages 15-19, using baseline results from California's Teen Pregnancy Prevention program evaluation (n=3330).

Overall, 40% of respondents reported having oral sex, including 30% females and 49% males. African American teens were significantly less likely to have oral sex than other ethnic groups (33% vs. 41%). The majority of respondents (59%) reported having oral sex before age 15, with males initiating significantly younger than females (67% vs. 33%). Younger teens were significantly more likely to report only having oral sex (6% for 15 year olds; 3% for 19 year olds), but as they aged they were more likely to also have vaginal sex. Furthermore, using protection during oral sex was significantly less common than during vaginal intercourse. While 57% of respondents having vaginal intercourse used protection more than half the time in the past month, only 28% used protection for oral sex.

These findings highlight the large proportion of teens having oral sex and the importance of educating youth on STI risks. Data on sexual behaviors other than vaginal intercourse are needed to close gaps in knowledge about adolescent sexual behaviors and to inform prevention efforts.

Learning Objectives:

  • At the conclusion of this session, the participant will be able to

    Keywords: Oral/Anal Sex, Adolescents

    Presenting author's disclosure statement:

    Any relevant financial relationships? No

    [ Recorded presentation ] Recorded presentation

    The Circumstances of Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health

    The 134th Annual Meeting & Exposition (November 4-8, 2006) of APHA