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28
December

The Blowjob Generation-It’s all fun and games until someone gets cancer

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As if things in the news aren’t troubling enough, I stumbled upon an article this weekend that completely blew my mind. Apparently an increase in oral sex, particularly in younger Americans, has been linked to an increase in neck and throat cancers. Excuse me? Blowjobs cause cancer? How is this news not EVERYWHERE?Okay, it goes a little something like this. Head and neck cancers used to be primarily tied to smoking and heavy drinking. As people became more aware of the dangers of such behaviors, the rates of head and neck cancer started to decrease. But then they began to rise again, which was strange as the smoking and heavy drinking numbers weren’t going up. What was up? Too many kids going down.A 2007 study done by the The New England Journal of Medicine states that

“widespread oral sex practices among adolescents may be a contributing factor in this increase.”

These increases are linked to the human papillomavirus (HPV), which triggers cancer. HPV sort of stays put, so when a woman has unprotected sex with a man who has HPV, she risks developing cervical cancer. Similarly, if she gives a dude with HPV a BJ, the HPV will stay in her throat and can develop into throat cancer.

So… lots of blowjobs = greater chance of oral cancer. Horrifying. On a positive note, HPV is highly treatable and in most cases our immune system clears HPV infections in under 2 years with almost no symptoms (but HPV itself cannot be cured). So many people will get HPV of the throat, but instead of cancer, they’ll  have the equivalent of throat gonorrhea. Slightly less traumatizing, but still gross.

And while science may be on top of trying to reduce the spread of HPV through education and the relatively new vaccine, it’s interesting that the rate of oral sex, especially among adolescents, is rapidly growing. It seems as though teens today pass out blowjobs like they’re candy canes at Christmastime. Whenever I start to feel sad about getting older, I like to remind myself that I’m glad I wasn’t part of The Blowjob Generation. Though I hate to to think of myself as a total prude, 10th grade was stressful enough without worrying about a) any boy who took me to a dance expecting, instead of a goodnight kiss, a goodnight blowjob and b) that giving these blowjobs would ratchet up my chance for tongue cancer.

Based on the current slate of MTV shows, it isn’t hard to see why many teens feel that a blow job is downright tame. According to recent studies, 38% of female participants and 54% of male participants ages 15–17 “strongly agree” or “somewhat agree” that oral sex is not as a big of a deal as sexual intercourse, and 32% reported that they expected to engage in oral sex within the next six months. When I was in high school, if  even 10% of my classmates thought they were going to give or receive oral sex within a six-month period, I’m fairly confident at least 7 % of them would have been wrong. Things have definitely changed.

Most adults I know are aware of the risks all types of sexual activity (though, perhaps not about this whole blowjob/throat cancer threat), but after a few episodes of 16 & Pregnant, I feel safe thinking that a lot of adolescents don’t have a clue. Of course, I’m just talking about the physical risks, which doesn’t even factor in the potential emotional damage. All of which would be bad enough, but now even younger kids are getting into the sex act. In Oakland, CA  several 2nd graders are being investigated for giving blowjobs in the classroom. There are so many words in that sentence I never thought I’d use together… like 2nd graders, blowjobs, and classroom.  In 2nd grade, I learned the words to “This Land is Your Land, This Land is my Land”. It was years before I really knew what a blowjob was, let alone performed one. And really… in the classroom? Where the hell was the teacher? I know a lot of people who played doctor when they were kids, but none of the ‘doctors’ gave their ‘patient’ mouth to genital resuscitation.

At the risk of sounding like an old man yelling at the kids to get off my lawn (Seriously kids, get off my lawn before you give it HVP) the pervasive lackadaisical attitude towards sex isn’t helping anyone.

Do I have the answers? No.  But the threat of throat cancer may be a not so subtle reminder that science, and our own bodies, are telling us something.

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2 Responses to “The Blowjob Generation-It’s all fun and games until someone gets cancer”

  1. Elisabeth Fitzgerald February 17, 2011 at 5:55 pm

    While the link between throat cancer and blow jobs is more than a little unsettling, I think I’m more disturbed by the fact that kids are becoming so sexually active so early. Maybe it was my Midwestern/Catholic upbringing, but I didn’t even realise that sex was supposed to be fun until I was about 12. I just thought it was, you know, something you did to make babies.

    I’ve never been so glad to be an adult. Good luck, youth of America.

  2. Claudia Maittlen-Harris February 17, 2011 at 5:58 pm

    You and me both Elisabeth. Boys were gross to me for probably longer than needed to be. Maybe if they didn’t smell like wet dogs for most of adolescence I’d have had an easier time. But where is the blowjob-cancer documentary on MTV where it’s really needed??

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