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Florida: Teens, Church Hold Different Views of Oral Sex

July 3, 2008

At two religious youth conferences in June, one in Boca Raton and the other in Miramar, the topic of oral sex featured prominently. A 2007 study published in the Journal of Adolescent Health found 70 percent of 14- to 19-year-olds do not consider oral sex to be sex.

According to the University of Miami's Bryan Page, who chairs the anthropology department, teens today see and hear more about sex than in the past, through media, sex education, and even pornography. Teens are turning to oral sex to avoid pregnancy, he said. "Kids with a little high school health education know what's going on in their own bodies, so to engage in oral sex would not be perceived as any risk," he added.

"I know you can still pass on STDs, but there's less of a chance, and no chance of getting pregnant," said a Boca Raton boy, 14.

William Sydnor, who helps create the health curriculum for Broward County schools, said there has been a definite shift in values. Many teens "find oral sex is less intimate than kissing; they see it as less threatening behavior [than intercourse], so it's more casually engaged in." As a result, the county's curriculum now discusses oral sex starting in seventh grade, he said.

Daniel Treiser, an associate rabbi at Plantation's Temple Kol Ami Emanu-El, said his school's curriculum focuses on sexual ethics. "I don't tell kids'Don't perform oral sex,' 'Don't have sex,' because they're not going to listen to that," he said.

"I will say to them there are emotions involved, every physical act has an emotional counterpart, and they need to be as developed emotionally as they are physically before they start," said Treiser.

Back to other news for July 2008

Adapted from:
South Florida Sun-Sentinel
06.30.2008; Annie Greenberg

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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
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