NBC’s Katie Couric had a pediatrician and a teen psychologist on the “Today Show” this morning (video link to follow) to discuss the results of a recent study concerning teenage sexual activity. The conclusion of this study by the Centers for Disease Control is that more than 42 percent of teenagers 16 years of age and under have engaged in oral sex.
Couric asked her guests: “Why do you think that is the case? Do you think it is because this notion of being obsessed with technical virginity? In other words, all the lectures about safe sex and STD's may have resulted in this and staying away from intercourse?”
The response by the teen psychologist: “Well, that's part of it. We may have inadvertently created a monster. Because what a lot of the kids think is well, going all the way might not be okay, but oral sex is an acceptable alternative. That is not necessarily the message we'd like them to have, but that is the way a lot of teens view that.”
Sabrina Weil, an editor at Seventeen magazine suggested that America’s focus on virginity and abstinence is largely to blame: “There is so much emphasis right now, so much cultural emphasis on virginity and abstinence, teenagers are looking for other ways to have contact. They perceive that oral sex is not sex, so they see they're saving their virginity by having oral sex..”
Says a teenager that Couric questioned in a report she did on this subject last year: “It is not sex. It is not intercourse, it's not as intimate or anything like that. Everyone just sees it as casual, maybe not as casual as kissing.”
Yet, in the course of an almost eight minute segment, no one questioned or addressed how the Monica Lewinsky affair of the late ‘90s has impacted the sexual views of these teenagers, or how a president claiming that oral sex isn’t sex might be involved in young people today feeling exactly the same way.