Teens and twentysomethings are having lots of oral sex, it seems, partly because they think it's safer than the other kind, according to a new Centers for Disease Control study.
It's not true that oral is safer, of course, and this might explain why American kids are coming up with increasing rates of STDs even as the number of them having regular sex is, um, going down.
Add to all that the fact that California has seen a bump in STDs:
Chlamydia was up more than 5 percent year-to-year in 2011, gonorrhea jumped 1.5 percent and syphilis was up a whopping 18 percent, according to new state stats.
The CDC, meanwhile, looked at 3,242 women and girls and 3,104 men and boys ages 15 to 24 and found that nearly two-thirds of both have had oral sex.
About one in four of the females had oral before intercourse; same for guys.
While young people engaging in regular sex continued to decline among this age group, from about one in two youths in 1988 to 43 percent today, the new oral findings are bad news on the sexual health tip.
Research suggests that adolescents perceive fewer health-related risks for oral sex compared with vaginal intercourse ... Given the higher rates of STIs [sexually transmitted infections] among some groups of young people, it is important to understand the prevalence and correlates of various types of sexual behaviors, coital and noncoital, in this age group.
So, kids: Be safe out there.