Michael Douglas Gives The Guide to Going Down an Update+comment
Earlier this week, Michael Douglas discussed his recent bout with throat cancer while promoting his amazing performance in Behind the Candelabra (seriously, you should watch this, it was awesome). While normally few would care that much about an older actor talking about his health, Douglas caused a frenzy by discussing oral sex. Yep, an actor known for playing some seriously sexy, explicit, boundary-pushing roles was discussing how his specific type of cancer was caused by HPV and how it is commonly transmitted by cunnilingus. I’m not so sure Catherine Zeta-Jones approved this conversation but people lost their shit.
Douglas explained that, “without wanting to get too specific, this particular cancer is caused by HPV [human papillomavirus], which actually comes about from cunnilingus.” Personally, I think it’s great to draw attention to an incredibly prevalent sexually transmitted disease, and especially one that a lot of men think they can’t even get. Shockingly, lots of people are acting like this is the first time they’ve heard that throat cancer has been linked to oral sex. We were talking about this two years ago. Back in 2011, we discussed the rising cases of throat and neck cancers linked to oral sex, especially in younger Americans. You’re welcome.
I don’t mean to make light of it, but it does worry me that adults are completely unaware of rising health risks until Michael Douglas talks about it. According to the American Cancer Association, HPV is so common that they estimate almost all sexually active adults will get it at some point in their lives. How’s that for scary stats? While HPV is very common, it’s riskier side effects are not. It often goes away (or at least can become no longer detectable in your system), and not all of the strains of the virus are STDs and very few strains have the possibility to cause cancer. Maybe it’s a good thing that Michael Douglas has people learning about HPV! While people are talking about oral sex and cancer, they should know it goes both ways and blowjobs can cause cancer too. For too long, HPV has been treated as a woman’s problem, and obviously it’s not. According to an article in the the NYTimes, “men are three times more likely to be diagnosed than women with HPV-related throat cancer… and in recent years scientists have documented a steep rise in throat cancers caused by a strain of HPV that can be transmitted through oral sex. The virus, human papillomavirus Type 16, also causes many cases of cervical cancer in women.” But you don’t have to freak out too much, drinking and smoking still cause the majority of throat cancers and no one’s stopping doing that.
It’s Friday and I’m not trying to be debbie-downer, but I do think more attention to our health, especially sexual health which everyone is still afraid to talk about, is a good thing. I just find it ironic that the guy who has played a ton of sleazy characters, has screwed Glenn Close against dirty dishes and in that elevator, who stared at Sharon Stone’s vag during interrogations, and most of us believed to be a sex addict before he married CZJ might be doing more for women and men’s health than all those virgins:)