There’s this study by UCSF on teens and sex, focusing not on pregnancy and STDs and stuff, but on teenagers’ emotional reactions to sex. Specifically, it focuses on how teenagers react differently to intercourse and oral sex.
A lot of things about this study are interesting — including the fact (overlooked or minimized by several news sources) that overall, teens report positive consequences from sex of all kinds. But more relevantly to my rant, the study found that teens’ reactions to sex, both positive and negative, varied depending on whether they were having intercourse or oral sex. And most relevantly to my rant of all, girls who had oral sex were twice as likely as boys to feel bad about themselves, and three times as likely to feel used.
Why is this important?
Which is a pretty big issue, don’t you think?
I don’t know if this is bad reporting by the media, or bad science by UCSF. But whichever it is, it’s bad.
See, I’d bet dollars to donuts that the “oral sex” we’re talking about is fellatio. A lot of blowjobs for the boys, not much muffdiving for the girls. And if I’m right — if girls are giving oral sex to boys and not getting it in return — then it’s no fucking wonder that girls feel more used than boys. They are being used.
A lot of how the news media is running with this story is “all teen sex is bad” (not what the study shows at all, really), and “parents need to warn their kids that oral sex can be as bad as intercourse” (also not what the study shows). But I’d bet you many dollars to many donuts indeed that, if you did another study comparing teenagers who had fellatio only, cunnilingus only, or both, the girls would be a lot less likely to feel used and/or bad about themselves if their oral sex lives were reciprocal.
In which case, the lesson we need to be teaching teenage girls isn’t “Sex is bad,” but “Your sexual pleasure matters as much as your partners’.”