The American Cancer Society reported recently that the rate of oral cancer tumors possibly caused by human papillomavirus (HPV) is on an incline.
But don't get go declaring your mouth a no-fun zone just yet. Part those lips, pop a chill pill, and let Gawker break down the evidence for and against oral sex as the cancer culprit.
Let's start on the defensive:
Evidence Oral Sex Might Not Be Killing You
- The American Cancer Society's report analyzed data taken from patients between 1999 and 2008. If you think people didn't have oral sex before 1999, you need to watch Remember The 80's.
- The rate of HPV positive oral cancers did go up quite a bit during this time period, but only in white people. Data from other races showed no major changes, which could suggest that oral sex is but another Great White Secret, but probably does not.
- The spike was especially high in white males: men reported a 4.4% increase per year, while the rate in women was less than half that. Are men really putting their mouths to genitals that much more often as women? C'mon, guys. Equal opportunities, please.
- A doctor in the Atlantic piece reports seeing the same trends play out in the elderly, a group not traditionally known for engaging in rampant oral sex.
- There are lots of risk factors besides HPV associated with the development of oral cancers, and practically all of them are cool things you like to do, like smoking, chewing tobacco, and drinking alcohol. Something's definitely giving you cancer, but it might not be all that oral sex you've been having.
Evidence Oral Sex Might Be Killing You
- Well, the big one is that HPV you contract during oral sex can develop into cancer. It just can. I'm sorry.
- It takes a long time for HPV infection to progress to cancer. The latency period can last decades, in fact, which may explain the spike among the elderly. After all, the nonthreatening, asexual grandparents of today are but the freek-a-leek swinger parents of yesteryear.
- For that matter, who's to say octogenarians don't spend their days engaging in rampant oral sex on the down low? A lot of them are retired and they get up so early.
- You nasty.
So there you have it. Keep having oral sex or maybe don't, you crazy kids. Good luck.