Oral Sex

Fast Facts

Among teenagers between the ages of 15-19:

  • Over half report participating in oral sex.1
  • 10-12% engaged in oral sex but never had vaginal sex.2
  • Less than 1 in 10 use condoms during oral sex.3

Is oral sex sex?

Oral sex refers to the contact of one person’s mouth or tongue with the genitals of another person.  Although this is not sexual intercourse in the normal sense, most dictionaries also define sexual intercourse as: “intercourse involving genital contact between individuals other than penetration of the vagina by the penis.”4 So oral sex definitely qualifies as sex.  I mean, think about it: if oral sex isn’t sex, then why is it called “oral sex?”

Am I still a virgin if I have oral sex?

Most people think of a virgin as someone who hasn’t had sexual intercourse.  But sexual intercourse can include vaginal, anal, or oral sex according to most dictionaries.  Historically, the term “virgin” referred to “an unmarried woman,” and the sign of a woman’s virginity was that her hymen was intact.  (A hymen is a thin piece of skin that partly covers the opening to a girl’s vagina and typically breaks during first intercourse.)

Many young people want to retain the status of “virgin” while playing around with sex, but virgins by definition are not sexually active.  If someone wants to keep the gift of their virginity for their future spouse, abstinence is the way to go.  We describe abstinence as: “the resting place of your sexual activity until marriage.”

What’s the big deal?

Taking your pants down for someone is always a big deal, isn’t it? Oral sex is one of the most intimate things imaginable. It’s a very big deal!

Did you know that almost any STD can be transmitted through oral sex… including HIV, genital warts, herpes, chlamydia, syphilis, and gonorrhea? Check out these pics.


According to a study conducted by the Chicago Department of Public Health, approximately 14% of syphilis cases were attributed to oral sex.4



Type 1 (oral) herpes can be transmitted from a person’s mouth to a person’s genitals. Type 2 (genital) herpes can be transmitted from a person’s genitals to a person’s mouth.5


Genital Warts

The Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) spreads by skin-to-skin contact. Oral sex can transfer the infection from a person’s genitals to a person’s mouth.


Related topics:

Read more about STDs


  1. National Center for Health Statistics, Advance Data from Vital and Health Statistics, Sep. 2005.
  2. National Center for Health Statistics , “Sexual Behavior and Selected Health Measures: Men and Women 15-44 Years of Age,” 2002.
  3. National Center for Health Statistics, The National Survey of Family Growth, 2005.
  4. Merriam-Webster’s Medical Dictionary, 2002.
  5. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 53, 966-968, October 2004.
  6. U.S. National Library of Medicine, “Medical Encyclopedia: Herpes Labialis,” updated 8/15/2006. Retrieved June 2007 from http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000606.htm.