There is an air of caution, she notes, before parents start locking up their daughters to protect them from rampant sexual behaviour. Of a sample of the 181 participants of Malacard's study who were aged 18 to 25, many had only one sexual partner after becoming sexually active. And 25 per cent of participants had not engaged in any sexual activity at all.
Malacad says that the media sends mixed messages to teenage girls about sexuality. On the one hand, young women are criticized for being oversexualized, and on the other, they are encouraged to freely express their sexuality. She refers to Kim Catrall's character Samantha in the Sex and the City television series, a woman who was strong, independent, empowered and who very sexually aggressive, as being a role model for women to be accepted as sexual beings.
"I guess, depending on the perspective, young women's sexuality can be seen as a positive, empowering thing for women or a very negative thing," she said.
This mainstreaming of oral sex is a change in the tide of sexual behaviour; it also means that sex educators need to catch up to the trends, noted Malacad. With many young people still ignorant to the fact that sexually transmitted infections can just as easily be passed orally, a whole new topic of discussion needs to appear in the safer sex curriculum delivered to students. The results of her study also show that there is a seemingly untapped market for makers of safe-sex products, too.
"Eighty-two per cent of respondents said that they never used protection when engaging in oral sex, compared to only seven per cent for intercourse; it's almost like it didn't oc
|Contact: Jamie Hanlon|
University of Alberta