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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

You Gonna Eat That?

posted by on April 29 at 9:53 AM

The abortion rate in the United States keeps falling—24% between 1990 and 2004—but access to abortion services doesn’t seem to be the reason. If access were the issue, birth rates would be rising. But birth rate are falling too, although not by nearly as much; birth rates fell 6% in the same time frame. (So access may be playing a role.) So what do experts think is going on?

Well, it’s a complicated issue, multi-factored, with lots of variables….

The answers are probably many: more contraceptive choices, state laws requiring parental notification where minors are concerned, fewer unintended pregnancies and some surprising trends among teenagers…. [And much] has been written about a teen “hookup culture” in which casual sex has become more commonplace than ever. Demographer Joyce Abma of the National Center for Health Statistics said that might be true for oral sex but not for intercourse.

Let’s hear it for oral sex—seriously. For young and inexperienced straight kids that want to be sexually intimate, oral sex is great, low-stakes option, a way for them to enjoy each other without risking pregnancy. Oral sex, frottage, and mutual masturbation should be recommended to all young people, gay and straight, as a good ways to gain experience, minimize risks, and build confidence before they move on to vaginal or anal intercourse.

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"Frottage" will always sound like a dairy product to me, no matter the sexy implications.

The only time I've heard that word used is in reference to morbidly obese couples who find sex difficult and therefore just rub up against eachother instead. It was probably size-ist of me not to realize that smaller people might do that as well, and call it the same thing.

Posted by Aislinn | April 29, 2008 10:01 AM

to gain experience, minimize risks, and build confidence before they move on to vaginal or anal intercourse

And don't forget getting off! There are few better ways to come than geting blown...

Posted by Mike in MO | April 29, 2008 10:01 AM


Now I can't shake the vision of "frottage cheese curds" from my head.

Posted by NapoleonXIV | April 29, 2008 10:09 AM

@1: It's also sometimes called Greek style.

Posted by Greg | April 29, 2008 10:09 AM

For young and inexperienced straight kids that want to be sexually intimate, oral sex is great, low-stakes option

Never mind the young, can the past and future 30-something-year-olds that have been/will be my girlfriend get this memo?

Posted by JMR | April 29, 2008 10:09 AM


Or maybe teen I.Q.'s are on an upswing.

I'll say it again, only a serious dumbass gets pregnant when they are a teen.

Posted by KeeKee | April 29, 2008 10:15 AM

Maybe it has something to do with the fact that- due to terrorism, hostile laws, poor public health funding, etc-- it's extremely difficult to get legal abortions in many states in the US.

Posted by Trevor | April 29, 2008 10:19 AM

Birth rates are down? I thought abstinence education wasn't working?

Posted by wha? | April 29, 2008 10:24 AM

@7: Did you read the article, or Dan's analysis? If the problem were that it's too difficult to get an abortion, birth rates would rise.

@3: You're welcome.

@4: You mean... feta?

Posted by Aislinn | April 29, 2008 10:24 AM

@9: Also called interfemoral. That help?

Posted by Greg | April 29, 2008 10:31 AM

@10: Yes, yes. That doesn't lend itself to a cheese joke, though, so I'm less interested.

Posted by Aislinn | April 29, 2008 10:35 AM

So in terms of the decline in abortions we can actually thank Bill Clinton's lawyers for redefining sex as not including oral sex. I guess there is a silver lining after all.

Posted by LMSW | April 29, 2008 10:35 AM

Back in Ye Goode Olde 90s, when I was a teen, we called frottage "dry humping". Not exactly melodic-sounding, but, that didn't take away from how fun it was....

Posted by Julie | April 29, 2008 10:37 AM

@13: Fun, yes, but can be oh so chafing if one gets lost in the moment with it. Yowch.

Posted by tomasyalba | April 29, 2008 10:49 AM

Nice try Stranger. Oral sex is a logical way for young people to enjoy intimacy without fear of STDs or disownment from their moral majority parents.

Luckily, logic and sex are about as compatible as nitro and glycerine.

And thus the orifice-based-sex of Red Blooded Americans with its subsequent, fear, guilt, disease and unwanted babies will be preserved.

Posted by Bully | April 29, 2008 11:06 AM

@7 i'm not sure what you mean? are you saying terrorism, hostile laws and poor public funding drive the birth rate down? and how would the fact that abortions are difficult to get drive the birth rate down?

@8 good question. but usually abstinence includes oral sex, etc. so, first, std's still might be increasing even if pregnancy is down. and oral sex might be replacing it.

the fear of pregnancy may finally be kicking in enough, mixed with relaxed mores regarding oral sex, to allow for increased sexuality but decreased intercourse.

or maybe the human fertility rate is finally dropping because of all the plastic, and all the medications, and what not.

Posted by infrequent | April 29, 2008 11:18 AM

@6: Teenagers aren't the only dumbasses. Shit happens no matter what the age.

Posted by Dave Coffman | April 29, 2008 11:19 AM

@16: Ooooo, fertility rate dropping, I hadn't thought of that. Republic of Gilead, here we come!

Posted by Aislinn | April 29, 2008 11:26 AM

Actually while total births may be down, teen pregnancy is up. So we can thank the young and stupid (and without access to abortions) for keeping our birthrate from dropping like a stone.

And maybe many older, less stupid people are not having children because the economy is down and they can't afford it...

Posted by Cinders | April 29, 2008 11:35 AM

Oh shit, never mind... hah, I guess I don't know what I'm talking about! That'll teach me to write a response before I read the article.

I had heard somewhere that teen pregnancy was going up, but I gues not. I don't know where that puts my theory, but I would still say that it is expensive to have children these days, which dissuades a lot of people.

Posted by Cinders | April 29, 2008 11:40 AM

don't forget, by oral sex, they just mean girls giving boys bjs with very little reciprocation.

Posted by d | April 29, 2008 11:52 AM

@21: you beat me to the point.
I was the only girl I knew in high school who got more than she gave. Smart teen boys learn how to give head early and often to girls. Unfortunately, most teen boys aren't smart. I'd feel better about the idea of teenagers experimenting more with oral if I didn't know it just means "girls giving more BJs to dumbass guys who refuse to go down on girls because they smell like fish, regardless of if they've ever gotten their faces close enough to a vagina to realize that's a fucking lie."

I am SO GLAD I'm not a teenager.

Posted by Jessica | April 29, 2008 12:00 PM


Yeah, I'm finding it hard to imagine adolescent and teenage boys showing much interest in cunnilingus, or any kind of reciprocity.

Posted by keshmeshi | April 29, 2008 12:00 PM

Remember, if you want lots of married underage teen pregnancies, you can always rely on splinter groups from the Mormons in Texas and Utah and nearby states to fulfill that need ...

Personally, I'd rather have teens not getting preggers ...

Posted by Will in Seattle | April 29, 2008 12:21 PM

@23 - Then you're not really using your imagination.

Posted by kid icarus | April 29, 2008 12:23 PM

@21, 22, 23: My first boyfriend went down on me. He wasn't awesome at it, but I'm sure I wasn't awesome at bj's the first time, either. It takes practice.

I think the type of teenage boyfriend who isn't willing to attempt to get the girl off through other means is unlikely to make her orgasm through intercourse anyway, unless she's one of those special (aka lucky) girls who come really quickly and easily. I don't think teens experimenting more with oral sex will have any bearing on the teen girl orgasm rate, though that's something we're unlikely to get solid figures on any time soon.

Posted by Aislinn | April 29, 2008 12:24 PM

@23 - think again.

Slightly more than half of American teenagers ages 15 to 19 have engaged in oral sex, with females and males reporting similar levels of experience, according to the most comprehensive national survey of sexual behaviors ever released by the federal government.
Posted by tsm | April 29, 2008 12:26 PM

That whole onion article popped into my head. Where teenage male said that although, national teenage sex is on the rise, he has yet to experience any of it .... despite the moral outrage.

Ah priceless!

Posted by OR Matt | April 29, 2008 1:33 PM

#27- just because they both experienced oral sex doesn't tell us who was performing it on whom

Posted by hillpagan | April 29, 2008 1:42 PM

@29: Read the article, please.

Several leaders of organizations that study or work with youth expressed surprise at the level of girls' participation. "You assume that females are more likely to give, males more likely to receive," said Jennifer Manlove, who directs fertility research for the organization Child Trends. "We were surprised that the percentages were similar."

Posted by Aislinn | April 29, 2008 2:00 PM

Unprotected oral sex isn't exactly safe--though it's safer than anal/vaginal penetration, there's still a risk of contracting STDs. (Most of them can be treated with antibiotics, though herpes is an exception.)

Posted by Lauren | April 29, 2008 2:45 PM

@30 How could you not trust someone named Jennifer Manlove?

Posted by Josh | April 29, 2008 3:37 PM

God, reading these comments are like reading submissions for the wrong answers to an assessment on sex education awareness.


And I don't think it was just hipsters being uberironic. I think it was teh dumb.

I particularly enjoyed Dan's attempt to make sexual acts linear and formulaic, as though handjobs would ever override the instinctual and reflexive physiological drive to fuck to make babies. Too funny. Abortions are down and fertility rates are UP because we're at war. Last time fertility rates were this high was during Nam. It's a sociobiological imperative to replace the dead ones.

Thanks for the laughs though.

Posted by Bob | April 29, 2008 8:50 PM

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