Oral Sex and Oral Cancer

Bill Weintraub

Bill Weintraub

Oral Sex and Oral Cancer


News article:

Human Papillomavirus Tied to Oral Cancer

Human papillomavirus (HPV), a sexually transmitted virus associated with cervical and anal cancer, also appears to be involved in cancer of the mouth and oropharynx (the part of the throat that includes the lower part of the tongue and the tonsils), research suggests.

The study included 1415 patients with cancer of the mouth, 255 with cancer of the oropharynx, and 1732 cancer-free controls.

HPV DNA was found in tissue samples of close to 4 percent of cancers of the mouth and 18 percent of cancers of the oropharynx. Such findings were more common in subjects who reported having more than one sexual partner or who practiced oral sex. HPV can be sexually transmitted.

Overall, DNA for HPV 16, the most common HPV in genital tumors, was found in roughly 94 percent of HPV DNA-positive cancer patients.

The presence of antibodies against HPV 16 L1, E6, or E7 was associated with a significant increased risk of cancers of the mouth and the oropharynx.

These findings suggest to the researchers that HPV appears to play a role in the development of many cancers of the oropharynx and possibly a small subgroup of cancers of the mouth. The study appears in the December 3rd issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

[Journal of the National Cancer Institute December 3, 2003; Reuters Health, 12/10/03]

Bill Weintraub:

From time to time people ask me why we don't talk more about oral sex -- that is oral sex as an alternative to anal -- on this site.

The short answer is that this is a site for men into Frot, not men into oral; and that while Frot receives almost no attention in the various gay media, oral sex is depicted in virtually every gay porn vid, and is otherwise much discussed in gay male life.

But there's a longer answer -- which is that oral is not as safe as Frot, because in oral there's a mucosal vector -- the lining of the mouth -- which is vulnerable to pathogens in both pre-cum and ejaculate.

What we've called for very consistently and from the beginning are "realistic assessments of pleasure and risk" in the various sex acts available to men who have sex with men.

And I think if we make those assessments, what we conclude is that Frot is the most pleasurable, because it's mutually genital and because the genitals are the actual generators of erotic energy; and the lowest risk, because ejaculate is shot into the air and onto the skin, rather than into the confines and onto the mucosal linings of the anus, rectum, or mouth.

And that really matters.

Even when we're talking about STIs which can allegedly be transmitted by skin-on-skin contact alone, it's clear to me that among "men who have sex with men" -- MSM -- they're far more easily transmitted where there's a mucosal vector, that is anally and orally.

That explains why so many men into Frot have never had an STD.

And it also explains why, for example, the prevalence of HPV in men who are anally receptive is 30 times greater than in the general population.

And now there's a concern about oral sex, oral cancer and HPV.

So I don't think the taking of ejaculate is wise, even if one believes it's HIV safe, which I don't.

As I wrote in an article on promiscuity for, I knew one of the men in the SF study who claimed to have been infected orally, and I believe him.

Brad simply had no reason to lie about it -- it's not as though anal sex is denigrated in SF.

And I also knew, via my physician, who was one of SF's leading HIV clinicians, of a case of seroconversion through precum in the mouth alone.

Now admittedly, that doctor, Bill Owen, thought the chances of that happening were remote.

But he was also convinced that it had happened -- and again I believe him -- like Brad, he had no reason to fabricate the story and he would not have -- Bill Owen was the straightest arrow I've ever known.

And of course there are a host of other diseases you can get through oral sex.

That's just not true of Frot.

So again, I think this question of "accurate assessments of pleasure and risk" is one that's crucial.

From the beginning, we've had analists saying to us, "Everything's risky."

The implication is that it doesn't matter what you do.

In The Anal Sex Debate at GayToday it's an analist named Teddy Snyder who sets out that argument.

And it's simply not true.

There are big differences in risk -- huge actually -- and it matters a great deal what you do.

I had a skin-on-skin frot relationship with my lover who was poz and then developed AIDS and eventually died, for 12 years we had sex daily, he came on me and I came on him, and I didn't get infected.

Nor did my other poz partners, all of whom are now dead, infect me.

And there are many men on this site who tell the same story.

Similarly, we're now getting the same thing from the religious right -- they're telling us that everything's equally dangerous, and so your only option is to be abstinent or heterosexually monogamous.

Both sides it seems to me are playing fast and loose with the facts.

The analist left says that everything's risky and the best you can do is reduce risk by using a condom.

The religious right says that everything's risky and the best you can do is be abstinent or heterosexually monogamous.

Neither is correct -- there's a vast difference in risk between frot and anal -- of which I and, I suspect, not thousands but millions of other men, are living proof.

And while I support Fidelity and am in a monogamous relationship, it's not necessary to be monogamous to avoid HIV.

It's a good idea to be prudent -- but you needn't be monogamous.

And I won't support a lie.

As Chuck Tarver can confirm, I was offered a large financial inducement to come over to the abstinence camp -- and I refused.

So regarding oral:

I think it's very well known in the community.

I think that when men 69 oral can be mutual in a way that anal cannot, and I think that's fine.

But I think that oral sex is a far more significant vector for STIs than Frot is now or, hopefully, will ever be.

And I think that we need to move the community away from activities that transmit disease.

That doesn't mean we should denigrate oral.

But I think we should point out that Frot's safer -- because it is.

And that Frot, and only Frot, among the choices available to MSM, is genital-genital sex.

And for most of humanity, that's what sex is about: genitals.

Certainly not anuses, and while mouths can feel good, oral sex is not the equivalent in power or pleasure of genital-genital sex.

Don Frazer says "we need to emphasize the sensory feedback loop achieved through anatomical coupling, stimulating each other's genitals naturally so both buddies feel the same sensations at the same time."

To which I would add that what's key in Frot is that it's the genitals stimulating the genitals, and there's no substitute for that in sex, there's nothing anatomically that can ever be as powerful as direct genital-genital stimulation.

Cock on Cock, Dick on Dick, Bone on Bone -- that's the power of FROT -- and there's nothing else in the M2M universe that comes close.



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