More apocalyptic storm clouds over the publishing industry.
Ice cream made from women's breast milk (gathered from free-range moms according to the press release
But the article that stuck in my craw*...
(* craw - neck, from the Middle Dutch crāghe)
Oral sex can cause cancer. Say it ain't so.
What distressed me was the juxtaposition of oral sex (implying pleasure and wonderful sweetness) against cancer (implying death and all that gruesome ickiness). Yet something else to fret over.
You can dig around for info on the Internet but the news can be distilled that in the U.S., oral sex is claimed to be a leading cause of cancer. The culprit is the Human Papilloma Virus, which is the most common sexually transmitted disease. There are over a hundred strains of HPV, some which seem to do nothing, some which cause genital warts, and the worst of the bunch can cause cervical cancer.
Researchers from Ohio State University found a 225% increase in oral cancer cases from 1974 to 2007 among mainly white men. (Before we clamp on the chastity belts, we need a lot of questions answered. Like, was there a difference between straight and gay men? What about straight women? Lesbians? Different ethnic groups? Vegetarians?) Plus, the more sexual partners you've had, the greater the risk for contracting HPV. The tipping point seems to be five or more sexual partners (I hear a collective gasp from you all) which increases your risk by over 200%.
What a downer. For us westerners, oral sex is a given. The exception is among hardcore evangelicals who insist that since sex is only for procreation, then anything other than vaginal sex is a no-no. Killjoys.
But I wonder. At how much of a risk are we? Though it's anecdotal, I don't know of anyone personally who died of oral cancer. All the men I know who died of cancer were heavy smokers. My sister died of breast cancer and she wasn't sexually active at all. I had a randy grandmother who lived to a ripe old age before succumbing to pneumonia. I have a healthy aunt who's had plenty of paramours and has been married so many times she's the Zsa Zsa Gabor of the family. I'm sure that she is (as my grandmother no doubt was) well acquainted with below-the-belt smooches.
So what can you do? At the most extreme, give up all sexual contact. Including kissing.
As if! Like most cancers, early detection is paramount so protect yourself by getting regular checkups by your doctor and dentist. Eat lots of fruits and vegetables. Be discriminate in your choice of sexual partners. (As I'm sure you already are. We at the Biting-Edge are all about class.) If the option is available, a circumcised penis is less likely to transmit HPV. Take care of your body, keep your head (har, har) screwed on right, and your risk is very low.
We live in a world full of microscopic critters at the ready to munch on us. Sometimes they win. Most of the time we win. Meanwhile, we humans should continue to munch on each other.
Anna Strong leads the way in Jeanne's debut novel, The Becoming, pages 115-116.
He steps out of slacks and boxers and stands naked, looking down on me.
I reach out, smiling, and caress a muscular thigh.
"Aren't you going to invite me in?" he says at last.
But I don't answer, my mouth is otherwise engaged.