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Busting the "Technical Virgin" Myth

For months now, articles about our "hook-up culture" have touted the fact that teens have been engaging in oral and anal sex instead of vaginal sex so that they can still call themselves virgins. The trouble is, it turns out that so-called fact is actually a myth.

According to a new study by the Guttmacher Institute, a think tank focused on sexual and reproductive health issues, the "technical virgin" thing is a myth Instead, the Guttmacher study of teen sexual behavior found that "Teens said they began vaginal and oral sex at roughly the same time -- by six months after first vaginal intercourse, 82 percent had also engaged in oral sex, according to the study." Only about 10 percent of the teens studied had engaged in anal sex, the vast majority of whom also engaged in vaginal sex.

The Guttmacher's Laura Lindberg, who led the study, called out the Bush administration on its policy to teach mainly abstinence in school programs. This "does not give teens the skills and information they need to be safe." Since CDC figures released in March show 1 in 4 teenage girls has a sexually transmitted disease, she's darn tootin' right that abstinence-only education is failing our girls.

 

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Comments

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the attitude of

the attitude of oral-sex-isn't-sex is scary considering there is a rise in HPV-related oral cancers, mainly due to that very attitude.

I remember having VERY comprehensive sex ed at my public HS in the 90s, complete with the advanced cases of STDs photos and elaborate charts comparing contraceptives. I wonder what my views on sex would be if it had just been up to my (very Catholic) parents to teach me :-\

Let's talk about the sexist double-standards of STDs

Stat's are great for the big picture, but we need more in-depth studies of exactly how STDs are impacting the lives of teenage girls. Having lived with HPV for a while, I can say that it's been far more difficult for me than for the guy who gave it to me. The only author/researcher I've found who does this issue any justice is Dr. Adina Nack -- check out her book Damaged Goods if you want to know what it's really like for females who contract incurable STDs: www.adinanack.com

shy but devoted advocate 4 women's sexual health

heterosexist

Just a note that the myth itself privileges only one kind of sex-- vaginal intercourse--as legitamate, reifying a heterosexist view of sex.

I don't think that oral sex

I don't think that oral sex is just like a super-special kissing. For me it was a kind of super-special sex. I didn't have oral sex until a couple weeks after I had "real" sex.
I just wonder if "technical virgin" phenomenon could be the consequence of abstinence only program? See how teens see it...

oral sex

i think that oral sex is half of sex for both and the anal sex for me is great(i'm a boy) and i like mostally anal sex than vagina and the next is vagina
thanks

I am in college, and I have

I am in college, and I have both given and relieved manual and oral sex. I still consider myself a virgin. Most of my "virgin" friends are in the same boat I'm in, having done everything but vaginal sex. I dont know where these figures come from. I am aware of the risk of sexually transmitted diseases associated with oral sex, and take precautions to make sure both myself and my partner have been tested as well as having conversations with them about our sexual histories. My decision to not have sex is purely because I am not yet ready to take the risk of becoming pregnant. Of course, were I to have sex I would use hormonal contraceptives as well as condoms, but I dont feel I should have sex until I am ready to deal with any possible consequences. I am prepared for the consequences that may come from other forms of sexual activity, though. Every person has a right to define virginity for themselves.