We live in an age of oral sex. Young people are apparently having more sex with more partners than ever before. Very often that means that they are having oral sex.
What could be safer?
Besides, NPR reports, most young people do not consider oral sex to be sex. You can have all the oral (and even anal) sex you like and still be a virgin.
And oral sex is foolproof contraception. It feels risk free. In our new egalitarian age it is almost as likely to be performed by men on women as vice versa.
Now comes the bad news. Oral sex has just surpassed tobacco as the leading cause of mouth cancer.
You thought tobacco juice was bad. It turns out, oral sex is worse.
It seems self-evident, but the more partners a person has had the higher the risk of getting cancer.
Our source is unimpeachable. NPR reports:
If you're keeping score, here's even more evidence that HPV causes oral, head and neck cancers and that vaccines may be able to prevent it.
Researchers studying the human papillomavirus say that in the United States HPV causes 64 percent of oropharynxl cancers. In the rest of the world, tobacco remains the leading cause of oral cancer, Dr. Maura Gillison of Ohio State University told a meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science this past weekend.
And the more oral sex someone has had — and the more partners they've had — the greater their risk of getting these cancers, which grow in the middle part of the throat. "An individual who has six or more lifetime partners — on whom they've performed oral sex – has an eightfold increase in risk compared to someone who has never performed oral sex," she said.
The recent rise in oropharnx cancer is predominantly among young, white men, she noted, though she says no one has figured out why yet. About 37,000 people in the United States were diagnosed with oral cancer in 2010, according to the Oral Cancer Foundation.
Why has no one has figured out why young white men, a group of enlightened, liberated males, a group that has now mastered the art of performing oral sex is most afflicted by the new cases of mouth cancer?
Perhaps, some people are not thinking very clearly.
NPR does not want young people to panic. This cancer, it explains, is preventable. A vaccine is now available:
Over the past five years, health officials have been urging parents to make sure their daughters are vaccinated against HPV to help prevent cervical cancer. But these new results suggest that young men could also benefit from vaccination, though the costs would be substantial.
While none of the researchers could say definitively that the vaccines against HPV, Gardasil and Cervarix, would prevent throat cancer, they thought it could was reasonable to think the vaccine could reduce risks as well.
It’s not definitive, but still it’s news you can use… I guess.