Nearly Half Of People Don’t Think Blow Jobs Or “Licking Out” Count As Sex

Human beings have been going down on each other for millennia, and not just because it feels good โ€” oral sex has plenty of health benefits. While putting someone’s genitals in your mouth is an incredibly intimate act, the question of whether or not oral sex counts as sex continues to spark a heated debate. As a result, it’s perhaps unsurprising that nearly half of people insist that giving blow jobs or “licking out” a woman isn’t sex at all.

A survey by YouGov discovered that 40% insist that eating a woman out doesn’t count as sex, while 41% thought giving blow jobs doesn’t either. Plus, handjobs and fingering are even less sexual to many people, with 52% and 48% of people saying neither of those counts as sex, respectively.

LGBTQIA+ people were more likely to think oral sex counts as sex

Further clarifying the data, YouGov revealed that 57% of gay and bisexual men think giving a blow job is sex, compared to 47% of straight guys. Meanwhile, 52% of lesbian and bisexual women count eating a woman out as sex, compared to only 42% of straight women. A whopping 12% more queer women (49%) considered getting fingered to be sex as well than straight women (37%).

Given that oral sex and fingering are two ways that queer people have sex with one another, it makes sense that they’d define “sex” more broadly than straight folks.

The over-50s think a bit differently about sex

The survey discovered that respondents who were over the age of 50 were way more likely to count oral sex and fingering as sex (45%). They were nearly 50% more likely to feel that way compared to those aged 18-49, in which only 23% felt that way. In particular, going down on a woman was considered sex by 54% of over-50s, compared to only 34% of under-50s feeling the same.

This isn’t necessarily a shocking divide. After all, older generations grew up in environments in which sexuality wasn’t talked about as openly. Younger people are far more comfortable with discussing and experimenting with different sexual acts at much younger ages, so it makes sense that they’d define “sex” a bit more liberally. Neither is right or wrong, but the differing views are certainly interesting.

So, is oral sex really sex?

Oral sex definitely falls in the window of sexual activity. However, whether or not it’s actual sex seems to depend on the individual. For many people, only intercourse that involves penetration counts as sex. These people are likely to see fingering, oral sex, dry humping, and other sex acts as foreplay for the main event. Others believe that any sexual contact with another person counts as sex, and that’s okay too. There’s no right or wrong answer here.

In the grand scheme of things, how you define oral sex is down to you. If you feel comfortable with your definition of sex and your partners respect your views and boundaries, that’s all that really matters. That being said, it’s important to note that oral sex, however you define it, still comes with the risk of STDs like gonorrhea, herpes, HIV, HPV, and chlamydia. So, it’s important to use protection and practice honest communication with your partners.

Are you still a virgin if you’ve had oral sex?

The answer to this question comes down to how you define “sex.” If you believe that sex is classed as penis-in-vagina intercourse, then you’d likely still consider yourself a virgin after oral sex. However, if you’re part of the LGBTQIA+ community, P-in-V penetration is likely not part of your sexual practice at all. In that case, you’re likely to consider things like fingering and oral sex to be sex, in which case, you’d no longer be a virgin after the fact.

Of course, it’s important to note that virginity is a social construct. Being a virgin or losing your virginity is not a reflection on your worth or respectability. As long as you’re making the decisions that are right for you, that’s all that really matters.

Jennifer Still is a writer and editor with more than 10 years of experience. The managing editor of Bolde, she has bylines in Vanity Fair, Business Insider, The New York Times, Glamour, Bon Appetit, and many more. You can follow her on Twitter @jenniferlstill
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