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J Adolesc Health. 2018 Apr;62(4):402-410. doi: 10.1016/j.jadohealth.2017.08.022. Epub 2017 Nov 22.

Oral Sex and Condom Use in a U.S. National Sample of Adolescents and Young Adults.

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Department of History, Sociology, Geography and Legal Studies, The University of Tampa, Tampa, Florida. Electronic address:
Department of Demography, The University of Texas at San Antonio, San Antonio, Texas.



The objective of this study was to examine correlates associated with condom use at the last oral sex, as well as oral sex behavior, among adolescents and young adults (AYAs) aged 15-24 years in the U.S.


Descriptive statistics, logistic regression, and multinomial logistic regression were conducted using data collected from 3,816 females and 3,520 males in the 2011-2015 National Survey of Family Growth.


More than half of AYAs had engaged in oral sex with an opposite-sex partner. Most youth reported having at least one oral sex partner in the last 12 months, with 16% of females and 24% of males reporting two or more partners. Condom use at the last oral sex was quite low (8% for females and 9% for males). Black males (adjusted odds ratio [AOR] = 3.46), black females (AOR = 2.65), and females of other race/ethnicities (AOR = 2.40) were more likely to use a condom at the last oral sex. Females aged 20-24 years (AOR = .31), females whose mothers had a college education or more (AOR = .43), and males and females who reported no intercourse experience were less likely to use a condom at the last oral sex (AORs = .46 and .20, respectively).


Our study suggests that oral sex with an opposite-sex partner is a normative behavior for AYAs; however, condom use during this sexual activity is uncommon. Interactive workshops and physician-patient discussions focused on the health risk risks associated with oral sex, as well as appropriate methods of protection, may help to increase condom uptake.


Condom use; Oral sex; Youth

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