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CDC: Two-Thirds of America’s Young People Have Had Oral Sex

American youth are having sex less frequently than they were a decade ago, though their particular sexual practices have not seen much change through the years.

Though some had believed that men and women between the ages of 15-24 had turned to oral sex as an alternative to vaginal intercourse, a study released by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Center of Vital Statistics has seemingly rebuffed the theory. The idea was that young people preferred oral sex due to lower rates of sexually transmitted diseases and no risk of pregnancy, but the 6,346 anonymous interviews conducted as a part of the study show that this is not necessarily the case.

Approximately two in every three young American’s between the ages of 15 and 24 have engaged in oral sex, with a similar percentage having experienced vaginal intercourse as well. These rates are slightly lower than figures released in 2002, something the author of the study, Casey Copen, attributed to a “decreasing trend in sexual experience among teens.”

The study also provided in-depth statistics discovered during the interviews, detailing trends based on race, family status and parental education. Young people coming from two parent homes are more likely to engage in oral sex before vaginal, according to the study. In addition, 44 percent of white youth had practiced oral sex first, compared to just 30 percent of black youths. For teens, 44 percent of boys age 15-17 were engaged in some kind sexual activity with a partner of the opposite sex, along with 39 percent of girls the same age.

“A higher percentage of females and males who had oral sex, but not yet had vaginal intercourse, had mothers who had some college education or higher,” the study found.

The study was conducted as a means for the CDC to monitor those who are at risk for STDs, making the oral sex statistics important, even if the young people aren’t at risk for pregnancy.

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