Study: “Oral sex is associated with less endometritis”

A new study speaks of, or at rather hints at, a possible benefit of the practice known as oral sex:

Stimulating an Immune Response? Oral Sex is Associated with Less Endometritis,” Rudiger Pittrof, E. Sully, D. C. Bass, S. F. Kelsey, R. B. Ness [pictured here], and C. L. Haggerty, International Journal of STD & AIDS, vol. 23, no. 11, 2012, pp. 775-80.  The authors, at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, London, UK,  Princeton University, USA, The University of Pittsburgh, USA, The University of Texas School of Public Health, Houston, Texas, USA, report:

“To determine whether oral sex could be a protective factor for PID [Pelvic Inflammatory Disease] the relationship between self-reported oral sex and endometritis was analysed among 619 women with clinically suspected PID who participated in the PEACH [PID Evaluation and Clinical Health] study. Nearly one quarter of participants reported oral sex in the past four weeks. These women also reported a higher number of sexual partners, a new partner within the past four weeks and a higher frequency of sexual intercourse (all P < 0.03). They were more likely to smoke (P < 0.0001), drink alcohol (P < 0.004) and use recreational drugs (P < 0.02). Participants reporting oral sex were significantly less likely to be black or to have a positive test for Neisseria gonorrhoeae (7.8% versus 21.6%, P = 0.001). Women who disclosed oral sex were significantly less likely to have endometritis after adjusting for race, number of partners, recent new partner, smoking, alcohol use and drug use (adjusted OR 0.5 [0.3–0.8]). This is the first paper showing a negative association between oral sex and endometritis…. This hypothesis needs to be tested in further studies.”

The report hints at one area of inquiry for those future studies:

“We did not provide any definition of ‘oral sex’ and the question did not differentiate between fellatio and cunnilingus.”

(Thanks to investigator John White, Co-Editor-in-Chief of the journal, for bringing this to our attention.)