Emotional Consequences After Oral Sex Among Teenage Girls

Teenagers' engagement in sexual activity can be a tricky topic to tackle.

During these exploratory years, there's seemingly no avoiding the fact that – at some point – sex will play a role in some teens’ lives.

But that doesn't mean a teenager is ready to partake in sexual acts when they take that critical step in their life. Due to that risk, there can be a significant emotional toll taken on these young individuals when they're engaging in these activities.

There are intricate psychological factors at play. Furthermore, teenaged boys and girls are impacted differently by sexual activity, and the kind of sexual activity they engage in can affect them uniquely as well.

For instance, oral sex negatively impacts teen girls compared to vaginal sex. (See Sonya S. Brady and Bonnie L. Halpern-Felsher. Adolescents' Reported Consequences of Having Oral Sex Versus Vaginal Sex. Pediatrics Vol. 119 No 2 Feb 2007.) Let’s look at the findings in this article that support the purported theory.

Looking at the Research in Question

For some added context, I just want to paint a picture of the sample size for the survey results used in the paper.

618 adolescents from the 9th and 10th grade were recruited from 2 public high schools, divided over the years 2002 and 2004.

Of these teenagers, 275 had engaged in oral and/or vaginal sex, and 56% of them were female with diverse ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds.

This number isn’t massive, but it’s enough to paint a pretty clear picture of the teenaged perspective on sex, both oral and vaginal.

What Were the Results of the Survey?

When only engaging in oral sex, the surveyed adolescents showed they were less likely to report that they caught a sexually-transmitted infection than those who partook in vaginal sex. Naturally, they wouldn’t be subject to pregnancies, either.

These oral sex-exclusive teens felt less guilty and didn’t notice a drop-off in the quality of their relationship. On top of that, these individuals didn't fear discipline from their parents due to sexual activity.

Interestingly, this group was also unlikely to report feeling pleasure or feeling good about themselves. Plus, there was a reduced chance that their relationship with their partner improved due to sex.

While these numbers seem to apply to all teenagers and not just girls, there was another critical finding that speaks to this issue. More specifically, teenaged males, on average, reported improved self-esteem and a boost in popularity after having sex. Comparatively, girls leaned towards negative emotions and feeling used.

It's then reasonable to conclude that since oral sex affects teens negatively, in general, it would wound girls even more.

Why Do Girls Suffer More?

Further research presents some reasoning as to why teenage girls struggle after engaging in sexual activity.

One common outcome is that girls end up feeling used by their boyfriends, and sex is now an expectation the boy has on every date. Making it even more wounding is that after becoming so intimate, ending a relationship is challenging, so teenaged girls frequently feel stuck.

Of course, there are the societal perceptions of sex that teen girls must grapple with. While religion plays less of a role in childhood upbringings in the western world than previous generations, those undertones still exist. The most prevalent religious beliefs, such as Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, honor the sanctity of "love-making."

This outlook is often reflected in movies and overarching narratives in the mainstream media. As a result, when sexual acts don't meet those standards of intimacy, it can be awkward and troubling for a young woman.

As proven by the research cited above, that awkwardness might be okay for young men, who may be validated socially, but teenaged girls don't generally experience that social approval and are often shamed for the very same actions.

Do These Findings Relate to False Accusations?

There are certainly occasions when, in an attempt to avoid the pain of slut-shaming, false accusations of abuse have been made. Teenage girls may be put in an awful position where they're subject to extreme ridicule after engaging in sexual activity, and the emotional weight can lead to them fabricating a story about sexual assault.