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Is Oral Sex “Sex”? The Original Matryoshka Doll

on Apr 15, 2010 | General Sexual Health | 0 comments

According to an article by Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Healthstudy conducted in 2007 by the Department of Family Studies at the University of Kentucky in Lexington indicates that only about 20% of the participating 477 university students regarded oral-genital contact as “sex.” The article cites similar data collected in 1991 where approximately twice the amount of survey participants regarded oral-sex as sex. Students surveyed in 2007 had a lot more information readily available and more efficient tools to access it than students in 1991. So it can’t be that today’s college students don’t get it… but rather that they just disagree with their predecessors.

If you were to ask me some years ago if I thought oral sex was “sex” I might have thought about it twice before giving you an answer. But today, now that I am a father of two and I know a few more things, I say “you bet! Oral sex is sex!” Is it that when you are younger you see things differently, or is it that when you are older you have more experience and (hopefully) more knowledge? It would be interesting to pose the same question to those students surveyed in 1991. I bet the percentage of survey participants agreeing with me would be higher than in 1991.

But what’s really important here? Personally, I think it is a question of semantics, and as long as you are aware of some of the basic known facts about oral sex, there is no incorrect answer to the question. One known fact is that STIs (sexually transmitted infections) can be transmitted from one partner to the other through oral sex. It is also true that when engaging in it, couples reach a level of intimacy that might make some folks consider oral sex a sexual act and, therefore, sex.  So, the main question is not whether oral sex is sex or not, but what oral sex means to you, and what are the possible consequences in terms of physical and emotional health.

There might be plenty of reasons why someone might choose to engage in oral sex rather than vaginal or anal intercourse. The same reasons might make folks say or believe that oral sex is not sex as well.  Regardless, these questions only generate more questions without ever truly answering the original question. For example, what is virginity? Do you only lose your virginity after engaging in vaginal sex? Is oral-sex an intimate act? How intimate is intimate? Just like a set of Matryoshka dolls where you open a doll only to find another inside, a new question arises when you try to answer a previous one and at the end you find yourself with an overwhelming amount of questions and few answers.

So, let’s stick to the facts  and allow each of us to draw our own conclusions while looking at the facts about oral sex. Is oral sex sex to you? Why? Do you know the facts? Get informed!

–Aner Barriola



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