Skip to comments.Clueless on STDs, Throat Cancer, and Oral Sex
Posted on 03/04/2008 9:09:25 AM PST by Mrs. Don-o
There's an argument out there that oral sex is not sex. For some grown-ups, it's a way to deny that they're cheating. To some young people, oral sex preserves virginitytechnically speakingand allows for what is perceived as risk-free sexual intimacy.
From a medical perspective, however, this is sexand generally, as practiced, it's unsafe. People seem clueless that sexually transmitted diseases such as herpes, gonorrhea, chlamydia, and human papillomavirus can take hold in parts of the oral cavity during sex with infected partners and that the oral contact can infect the genitals, too. HPV is a particularly scurrilous threat, since it incubates silently in the back of the mouth and is now linked to a dangerous form of throat cancer in both men and women similar to the one that arises in the cervix.
Head and neck cancers, which can attack the mouth, nose, sinuses, and throat, have been diseases of people over 50 with a history of heavy smoking and drinking. Thanks to the decrease in smoking and use of chewing tobacco, these disfiguring cancers are in steady decline.
However, this triumph of prevention is clouded by an unexpected increase in oropharyngeal cancer, which develops in the tonsils and the base of the tongue and is apt to show up in those who don't smoke or drink heavily, and in younger people. Earlier this month, researchers from Johns Hopkins reported in the Journal of Clinical Oncology that between 1973 and 2004 there had been a near doubling of the incidence of these HPV-related oral cancers among people in their 40s.
It doesn't take Sherlock Holmes to figure out that this rise in oropharyngeal cancer is linked to changing sexual practices and, in particular, ones that involve bathing the throat with HPV-infected fluid. Increasingly, scientists are implicating HPV-16, and in some cases 18, the same ones that causes cervical cancer.
In 2006, a Swedish study of preserved surgical specimens from excised oropharyngeal cancers going back over 30 years identified HPV-16 in less than a quarter of specimens removed in the 1970s. By the 1990s, the proportion was 57 percent. After 2000, it was 68 percent. In 2007, a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found HPV-16 in 72 percent of oropharyngeal cancers in the United States. Not proof, but based on correlations with sexual behavior, and an abundance of similar findings both here and around the world over the past few years, there is credible if not alarming medical concern that the infection is being acquired through unprotected oral sex.
That our children might be at growing risk for this deadly cancer is particularly unnerving. Health surveys indicate that well over half of American teens now engage in oral sex, with about 10 to 20 percent claiming "technical virginity." Pediatricians will tell you that this behavior is fueled by the adolescents' belief that oral sex is risk-free play, making it more common and acceptable. But few practice it safely. Some of this is anecdotal. But British researchers determined that more than 80 percent of university students ages 16 to 21 failed to protect themselves with condoms during oral sex. This is an age group well known for diligently using them during vaginal sex.
Granted, the major risk for STDs comes with vaginal sex, but the relative ease and growing frequency of oral sex among those engaging in casual "hookups" is a virtual epidemic in the making. Providing our young people with graphic medical information and stern parental and medical guidance is long overdue. As with all sex education, the abstinence message should be foremost and explicit. But it's not enough. They must also know that safe sex applies to sex by mouth, too. And, that's a message for all ages, unless one has a single faithful partner.
Concern about the growing risk of oropharyngeal cancer also bears on the use of the new HPV vaccine, Gardasil, which protects against HPV-16 and 18. Currently it's approved for young women only. Yet men contract, carry, and transmit HPV and develop HPV-related genital cancers, though far less commonly than do women. But, when it comes to HPV-related tonsil and tongue cancer, men are at greater risk than women. This should provide strong impetus for an HPV vaccine that works for men, tooan effort that's taking an inexplicably long time. Before anyone thinks, however, that a cancer vaccine will deliver a free pass on risky behavior, just imagine for a moment what a rip roaring case of pharyngeal gonorrhea might look like. It's not pretty.
But Billy BJ Clinton said.....
I know. I would call it SODOMY if not calling it sex. Which means perverted sex act. There are so many incurable STDs now. We need to get the word out.
“Tell your kids. And your grandkids. Be brave enough to be thought an old turkey or an embarrassing oldster. Just tell them.”
Don’t forget to also tell these two:
Another Clinton gift.
My 16 year old daughter was mortified when I talked to her about oral sex since the age of 13 1/2 and about every 5-6 months since. She was/is very naive. We are proud because she is a virgin and has yet to be kissed. She is very pretty and cannot keep a boy interested since after the 3rd-5th date they figure out she’s not giving it up and move on. Kind of disappoints me in a selfish kind of way since I do not get a chance to play mean dad. :)
And just when Monica thought the worst of her affair was over......
The Clintons: The Gift That Keeps On Giving!
Don't forget to tell them that soon they will pay for the irresponsible behavior of their peers, through nationalized health care.
I'm a college student, and these sort of findings make me slightly happy that I haven't jumped into the hookup scene at my school.
My son,who was in High School during the late 90s,told me about the epidemic of “Lewinskis” going on campus wide.
“It ain’t sex,and if it’s cool for the president,why not me?” Was the standard line.
It is hard sitting your teenage daughters down and explaining this to them, the birds and bees got a whole lot more involved than when our parents had to do it I think.
This is the Bill Clinton legacy to our children. The MSM & the RAT party made light of oral sex & the kids learned that it was ok.
Having the slimes back in the White House will re-enforce the idea that it was ok because we would never elect 'them' again if what they did was bad.
We have to teach by example too - so this election is crucial for our future & the future of our children.
Important article, and great advice!
In an age where disease transmission is much better understood, there should be MORE focus on keeping people safe from sTDs than there was in the past.
But society’s condemnation is now heaped on those warning about casual sex, not those practicing it. How needlessly destructive, and sad.
I know from various sources that it is a very dangerous scene for young women (and men!) in our schools. Glad you are keeping your children safe from these diseases. We need more parents like you.
I remember Newt justifying his own conduct with an employee with the rationalization that it's not sex so it doesn't violate biblical proscription. Certainly, though, Clinton gets the credit for making it cool to a generation of youngsters.
Freepmail wagglebee to subscribe or unsubscribe from the moral absolutes ping list.
The crux of this article is in the last paragraph. Does Gardasil advertise in US News & World Report??????????????
I know of several old guys (all smokers or had been smokers) who’ve had throat cancer in the last few years. But that’s it. No one else. Where’s the “virtual epidemic”? Should we quarantine folks who are HPV+??? Or just give ‘em a shot?