The reporter linked that incident to a wider regional trend, based largely on “student grapevine”–generated claims of girls who had dropped to their knees during study hall or at the back of a school those early blow job scandals surfaced just as oral sex was making front-page news for another reason: the country was gripped by an obsession with a certain blue Gap frock and a cigar that was by no means just a cigar.President Bill Clinton’s alleged dalliance with Monica Lewinsky, a White House intern less than half his age, dominated the headlines, sending mortified parents leaping from the couch to twist the radio dial or grab the TV remote when the latest reports aired.Most famously, in January 1998, Clinton testified under oath that “I did not have sex with that woman, Miss Lewinsky.” A few months later, when DNA from his semen was discovered on the fabled dress that she had squirreled away as a memento of their tryst—and, might I say, sex.Suddenly, people across the nation were hotly debating whether mouth-to-genital contact was, indeed, “sex.” If it wasn’t, what exactly was it?The girl whose color hit farthest down was declared the “winner.”Well, what parent wouldn’t freak out? No one, least of all Oprah, seemed to question the actual logistics of any of this.Children were having indiscriminate sex (or indiscriminate not-sex) everywhere! Exactly were girls managing to complete multiple, random sex acts during the school day without an adult’s notice?
Pinning that change on Bill Clinton or the sexual revolution or parental permissiveness, however, would be simplistic—and incorrect.One health educator was quoted as saying, “‘Do you spit or do you swallow?’ is a typical seventh-grade question.”covered a parent meeting called by middle school counselors in Arlington, Virginia, a town of “elegant brick homes, leafy sycamores and stone walls”— again, code for white and middle class—to discuss the fellatio craze among thirteen-year-old girls.(Most men, whatever their age, said they had been both providers and recipients of oral sex.) The rise in going down among straight couples, the authors wrote, was the biggest sexual change of the twentieth century.By 2014, oral sex was so common as to be unremarkable: as one researcher But the notion that the practice was aging downward, that among teens it was becoming more common and less meaningful than intercourse, was most definitely a new phenomenon, one that caught not only parents but also researchers off-guard.