Scientists, who clearly do not want us to be happy, are again reminding us of a link between oral sex and BAD THINGS. This time, cancer. There’s “strong evidence” linking oral sex to cancer, scientists have said, yet again. In fact, in the U.S., oral sex has surpassed tobacco use as a leading cause of oral cancer, thanks to the wily human papillomavirus, or HPV. HPV, not scientists, is really what does not want us to be happy.
These new stats are mostly evidenced in white men, who have until now largely been spared from dealing with the widespread reality of HPV, which is linked, primarily, to cervical cancer in women (as well as genital warts and, less commonly, anal cancer in both sexes, vaginal cancer in women, and penile cancer in men). But now,
Researchers have found a 225 percent increase in oral cancer cases in the United States from 1974 to 2007, mainly among white men, said Maura Gillison of Ohio State University.
As you learned in sex ed, with number of partners comes increased risk. “When you compare people who have an oral infection or not… the single greatest factor is the number of partners on whom the person has performed oral sex,” said Gillison. Other studies suggest that those who’ve “performed oral sex on six or more partners over a lifetime face an eight-fold higher risk of acquiring HPV-related head or neck cancer than those with fewer than six partners.”
Scientist have known about a link between HPV and cervical cancer for a long time now, and while there are two vaccines on the market for women younger than 26 (only a small percentage of whom who have actually gotten the full vaccine), women older than 26 and men have to deal with HPV after-the-fact. The problem with HPV is that most men — and many women — aren’t even aware they have it. (Often the virus is symptomless and only revealed by women’s Pap tests.) Yet, statistically, almost everyone has or will be exposed at some point — some scientists say it’s “as common as the common cold.”
The good news, however, is that with this information we come closer to finding a cure or method of prevention for everyone (condoms are only partially so). Think about it: Are we really going to give up oral sex for fear of cancer, or are we going to do something about it?
At least since women have had to deal with this cervical cancer risk for years now, we’re ahead of the game. According to the scientists, “the oral cancer field may move more quickly by using technology already developed for detecting HPV in cervical cancer patients.”
Godspeed. Because, you know, there’s no “i” in oral sex.