News that increasing numbers of Australians practice oral sex brought a warning from The New Zealand Herpes Foundation about mouth-to-genital transmission. Research conducted in New Zealand has established that one in every three cases of genital herpes is caused by the Type-1 virus, commonly associated with cold sores.
According to sexual health professor Basil Donovan of the University of New South Wales, Australia, 90 percent of people under the age of 30 try oral sex. "Among teenagers it's the new abstinence in a Clintonesque sense, because it's a way of having sex without having sex and there are contraceptive advantages too," Donovan said.
Dr. Juliet Richters, author of the book Doing it Down Under, sees feminism as the engine of change. Richters says that women are more confident than ever before about saying what they want from a sexual relationship. Professor Donovan says that oral sex is now far more commonplace with heterosexual couples in long-term relationships. Partly, he attributes this to an increased interest in keeping the relationship interesting and partly, he says, it's down to hygiene. "I can't prove it but my theory is that when people only had a bath on a Saturday night oral sex was a less attractive prospect. The aesthetics changed when people started washing more often."
While the New Zealand Herpes Foundation concede that oral sex does prevent unwanted pregnancies they also want to stress that it isn't a safe sex option. Claire Hurst, manager of the Foundation, states that it isn't properly understood that people can get genital herpes from a person who has facial herpes.
Published On: October 01, 2008