Love & Sex

Michael Douglas Was Right, Oral Sex Can Lead to Cancer

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And white men are in the line of fire.

In 2011, studies confirmed that oral sex had replaced tobacco as one of the leading causes of throat cancer. Then, early last summer, Michael Douglas layed down a PR-doozy when he claimed his throat cancer was not from years of drugs and alcohol abuse but, in fact "it actually comes about from cunnilingus." Apart from conjuring sultry images of Catherine Zeta-Jones sprawled out on a bed, Douglas' claim also had our heads spinning with questions about oral sex and its link to life-threatening illnesses. Michael Douglas spoke the truth. If you, like many sexually active adults, partake in a blowjob or cunnilingus here and there, you might be putting yourself at an increased risk.

A recently released study from Johns Hopkins University looked into the relationship between oral sex, contracting HPV, and resultant throat cancer based upon the analysis of 4,000 men and women. First: who's most likely to be going down on their lovers? Both men and women are fans of kneeling at the altar, as 85.4 percent of men and 83.2 of women eventually have oral sex over their lifetime, but men overall perform more oral sex with more frequency and with more partners in their lifetime. Across gender, age, and race, white males are hands-down the most likely to be diving muff or playing the flesh flute. In fact, black males are three times more likely to have never given head compared to white males.

If you're unfamiliar, we go from playing in the sandbox to throat cancer because of the dreaded, and scarily prevalent HPV infection. Even if men and women both give head in equal numbers, according to studies, men are almost seven times more likely than women to be infected with HPV as a result of oral sex. A huge factor in this could be the fact that less than 10 percent of men in target groups are vaccinated against HPV, whereas many more young women are getting the shot.

The tl;dr is that the more head you give, the more likely you'll end up with throat cancer, but it doesn't "hit" one race or gender or preferred type of tongue technique above the other. It just seems that, statistically, mouth-happy white males, most likely to grace the sides of currency and get the highest salary, are also in the line of HPV fire. You know that means that throat cancer is going to be cured in about three years. Michael Douglas is probably putting the finishing touches on his guest list for a throat cancer benefit right now.

Please note that this study should by no means deter people from licking and sucking people as they please at the frequency they desire, just be aware of the risks involved and take proper precautions. In other words, let Michael Douglas be your cunnilingus spirit guide.

[h/t Vocativ]

Image via Flickr.