Oral sex – also known as "what's for pudding?", "testing the pepper" or just "squish the mouth" – apparently raises the risk of head and mouth cancers by 22 times.
Woah, what's that sound? It… it sort of sounds like grey storm clouds suddenly assembling, lightning crackling down next to you, a rush of wind and creaking, and you turn around and he's there: Michael Douglas, illuminated from the neck up by a single torch beam, croaking "Eating… pussy… is… evvvvviilllllllll."
But, for now, let's get to the hard science of it, because that's you want, discerning VICE reader, isn't it? You're not here for fun or dick jokes: you want cold, hard scientific study, distilled into a bitesize piece of consumable content to read on your lunch hour or while you pretend you're working when your boss looks at you.
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Anyway, a large-scale study published in the journal JAMA Oncology was the first to find conclusive proof that the strain of human papilloma virus (HPV, the same group of viruses that leads to genny warts) HPV-16 leads to the development of oropharyngeal cancers in the soft part of the throat. Essentially: you lick HPV-16 off some junk, get it in your mouth and sometimes – not always – it leads to changes in the cells of the throat, which leads to those cells becoming cancerous. Oropharyngeal cancer is twice as common in men as in women and is more common in hetero dudes due to the weird virus-transferring properties of a vulva compared to a penis. Essentially: if you want to be safe, suck a dick.
HPV-16 has long been associated with oropharyngeal cancers, but this study was the first to prove conclusively that its presence in the mouth can lead to tumours. The Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York carried out a four-year study involving 97,000 participants, who were all cancer-free at the start (and provided mouthwash samples to prove it). Over the course of those four years, 132 developed head and neck cancers. The mouthwash samples of these participants were analysed, and findings showed that those with the presence of HPV-16 in their mouths were 22 times more likely to develop a tumour. So: that's the bad one. There are over 100 HPVs – leading to oral, anal and cervical cancers – but 16 is one of the baddies. Avoid.
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Is this going to stop people chowing down on genitals, just going to town on those things, just stuffing genitals in their mouth like the last dying seconds of an all-you-can-eat Harvester buffet? Unlikely. Are people going to start using dental dams and condoms for their orals? The chances are slim, because dental dams are a tiny rubber blanket for your bits. Are some drydick dudes going to use this as an excuse not to reciprocate oral sex? Haha: oh absolutely.
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