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This Month in Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine
March 7, 2011

This Month in Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2011;165(3):194. doi:10.1001/archpediatrics.2011.8

The most common form of sexual behavior among adolescents is oral sex. It has been suggested that there is a temporal order in the relationship between oral sex and vaginal sex, but the data are inconclusive. This prospective study of students from 2 California high schools found that among adolescents who initiated either oral or vaginal sex during the study, most initiated oral sex before or within the same 6-month period of their first report of vaginal sex. Adolescents who initiated oral sex at the end of ninth grade represented the group with the highest risk of vaginal sex initiation during high school. These adolescents had a 25% chance of initiating vaginal sex at the end of ninth grade and a 50% chance by the end of 11th grade. Adolescents at lowest risk of initiating vaginal sex were adolescents who never engaged in oral sex. Most interventions aimed toward reducing sexual risk need to expand traditional messages about abstinence or safer sex methods, which typically ignore the role oral sex plays in adolescent sexual behavior.

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