Monday, September 10, 2007

Aural Sex

Viewer Advisory:

This Blog entry refers to sexual behavior that may be considered objectional or offensive to some people. If you are one of those people, don't read it. But the context of the potentially objectionable references is a health warning against promiscuous and unprotected sex, so you might consider the objectionable parts worth bearing for the more important stuff about health.

Ok, moving on:

I’m not a Scotch drinker, so I was not terribly upset some years ago when researchers told us there was a higher risk of certain kinds of cancer among Scotch drinkers because of the way good Scotch is cured (in charred casks). Not long after that, however, I did get upset at learning there is a higher risk of certain kinds of cancer among people who eat crispy (really brown) bacon, for the crispy part (charred, I suppose) and for the way bacon is usually cured (brine-soaked and smoked a long time).
Medical science is wonderful, because it applies other sciences to the daunting task of healing and discovery of things that make us need healing. Therefore, on one hand, as a person who has gone through cancer surgery twice, I think it is good to know what other potential cancer causes are out there.
But I never thought there would be such grave cancer risks in my favorite indoor sport untilI read a recent report that links oral sex and cancer. I am not making this up. The research on this and similar findings is widely documented, as in the particular report I read in New Scientist (Read it here:
The really scary factor is the strong linkage between oral sex and HPV (human papilloma-virus, which is a cause of cervical cancer.
In other words, before going any further, consider this a warning to both sexes: Ladies who have performed felatio on more than five partners are 250 percent more likely to contract throat cancer than those who don’t do oral sex. And men who have any of the more than 80 forms of HPV are more likely to pass the virus to their sex partners through oral sex than vaginal sex.
And men who have an HPV and who perform vaginal sex are considered extremely high risk for their partners in making them vulnerable to cervical cancer. Two HPV strains in particular, HPV 16 and HPV 18, are the most likely suspects so far, according to the most recent research.
(Learn more about HPV and the research here;
But it’s all another way of saying that fellatio, however much we enjoy it, and its equally pleasurable counterpart cunnilingus, are risky forms of behavior without protection. In this case, there are two kinds of protection. Condoms and vaginal sheaths are one kind. Another kind is common sense, which I wrote about here in an earlier Blog entry.
The common-sense notion I have in mind here is that we all need to be careful about our health, including our sexual health, and we need to make sure that our sex partners are doing the same thing. This is just another application of the Golden Rule: Do unto others, or, in this case, do into others, as you would want them to do unto you. Monogamy, in the sense of being faithful to one partner, rather than promiscuous sex, is one way to apply the Rule. And with that, there is the obligation to have regular health checks, because viruses travel in many ways, and even people who are clean in their daily ablutions can pick up viruses that easily make a new home in our bodies and seek new homes in the bodies of our partners.
The risk of viral infection is especially high in the genitals (penis and vagina) and in the mouth. The mouth has often been referred to as the body’s second set of genitals. The linkage is not just poetic. The physical similarity between mouth and vagina is obvious, and some of us are as sensitive in our mouths as in the genital area, when it comes to pleasureable (or painful) experiences. Unfortunately, it also happens that the mucus membranes that keep both moist are perfect homes for viruses like the HPV group.
So, the main point is that oral sex acts are cancer risks. Guys who consider fellatio a sign that their woman loves them should understand if their woman prefers not to.
Guys should also consider the possibility that tthey may contract an HPV or other STD if heir partner might have been doing blowjobs for previous partners. Yes ladies, I'm sorry to say it, but the guy is not always the guilty partner when it comes to passing on STDs.

But for women in particular, oral sex can be bad news. The Johns Hopkins University studies found that those women who had done oral sex on one to five guys had double the risk of getting oral cancer. The women who had done six or more men increased the oral cancer risk by fivefold. And HPV contracted through oral sex, or even kissing, should be considered high-risk behavior for promiscuous partners, according to Dr. Maura Gillison, one of the researchers.
I thought about this quite a bit before writing about it. First, I though we are being warned that the only safe form of oral sex is the kind where we just sit around and talk about it. But sex is too important in our daily lives to abstain. I’ll blather on about the protection factor in a future Blog. For now, though, I’d point out there are other ways to show your love for your partner. One of those ways is to demonstrate enough respect to use condoms. They come in a variety of flavors, so to speak.

1 comment:

May said...

Thank you for this Ron!. I read this from the link on your Yahoo 360 page and then read the article you referred to and some others about the relationship between oral sex and throat cancer and the HPV threat for both that and cerfical cancer. It's scary. I won't ask why you wrote this, because I have an awful feeling I know why. But regardless of the reason, I hope men and women will read it and heed your advice. I appreciate you are sensitive to the feelings of ladies on oral sex. Partners should talk to each other and make sure they know each other, trust each other and care for each other. As great as sex is, the sad fact of life is that it is more risky than we like to admit. Thank you for the advice!