It's a "blow job" because it's work: How guys push women to make oral sex as common as shaking hands

How oral sex became a teen's workaround, a path to popularity -- but rarely the road to reciprocated pleasure

By Peggy Orenstein
Published April 2, 2016 6:00PM (EDT)
 (<a href='http://www.shutterstock.com/gallery-52959p1.html'>Piotr Marcinski</a> via <a href='http://www.shutterstock.com/'>Shutterstock</a>)
(Piotr Marcinski via Shutterstock)

Excerpted from "Girls & Sex: Navigating the Complicated New Landscape"

Why Do You Think They Call It a Blow “Job”?

There has been a lot of anxiety over the past couple of decades about teens and oral sex. Much of it can be traced back to the late 1990s, to a New York Times report that among middle-class teens, oral sex—and by “oral sex,” it meant fellatio—not only was becoming ubiquitous, but that they were engaging in it far earlier and more casually than teens’ busy (read: neglectful) working parents realized. One health educator was quoted as saying, “‘Do you spit or do you swallow?’ is a typical seventh-grade question.”

Two years later, the Washington Post covered a parent meeting called by middle school counselors in Arlington, Virginia, a town of “elegant brick homes, leafy sycamores and stone walls”— again, code for white and middle class—to discuss the fellatio craze among thirteen-year-old girls. The reporter linked that incident to a wider regional trend, based largely on “student grapevine”–generated claims of girls who had dropped to their knees during study hall or at the bac...

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Peggy Orenstein

Peggy Orenstein is a frequent contributor to the New York Times Magazine and author of "Schoolgirls: Young Women, Self-Esteem, and the Confidence Gap" (Anchor Books).

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