February 1, 2011 Pink Inspires

Is Oral Sex… Sex?

I found myself engaged in a conversation with girlfriends, of different ages, discussing a topic that was sensitive and confusing while others thought nothing of it.  That day not only exposed the generational shift in thinking that has occurred around this topic, but there continues to be a deeply rooted ambivalence in our culture when it comes to talking about sex.

It was interesting to hear one gal’s adamant point of view that “biologically speaking” sex is between a male and female, involving penile and vaginal contact.  So, in her mind oral sex is not sex.  “You can’t get pregnant, you can’t get diseases like HPV or HIV AND you’re still a virgin.” Wow!  Really?

Unfortunately, this point of view is more prevalent than you might believe.  Not only does the definition of sex or what encompasses  “sex” vastly differ amongst people today, but how and why people engage in sex is open for huge interpretation.   Age, maturity, or experience in life certainly do not bring people closer to the right answer or add clarify to this question. Remember back in 1998 when President Bill Clinton claimed he had not perjured himself because he “did not have sexual relations with that woman” (Monica Lewinsky).  He had, in fact, had something else—oral sex.


Clearly there exists an emotional differential between oral and sexual penetration.

Back to the question…

Although you can not get pregnant, oral sex is risky and the most serious of STDs can be transmitted through this act.  Oral sex may seem to be a safer alternative, both physically and emotionally, and does not leave any scars unless you contact a STD.  Are you kidding?  Let’s be honest.  Oral sex is an intimate act.  In fact some people feel this act is more intimate than penetration.  Religion or faith also influences the answer.  A few faiths, like Christianity or Jehovah’s Witnesses, do not approve of oral sex because any action that results in “spilling a seed” other than for procreation is considered sinful.  People of both the Mormon and Jewish faith are encouraged to wait and engage in sexual activity after marriage.  But, in these two faiths oral sex is not considered shameful or sinful if consensual and confined to the married participants.

So is Oral Sex really sex?  Most will agree that what goes on behind closed doors between consenting people is acceptable and the details of sex stops there.  However, whether you are of Generation X, Y, Z or a Baby Boomer, male or female… Oral sex requires giving something of your self to another, with the potential for the same emotional repercussions as sexual intercourse if not carefully considered.  So based on this emotional point of view and the health considerations, oral sex is sex and one should stay mindful of taking all the precautions to avoid getting a disease or cancer.