Does anyone else remember the days when “frenching” simply referred to shoving your tongue down someone else’s throat while making out? A little tonsil licking is pretty tame compared to the more recent adaptation of the term to incorporate the act of oral sex.

From “hummers” and “beejers” to “fur pies” and “tuna tacos,” the slang for oral sex is endless. But humor aside, have you ever considered the more dramatic implications for our continual avoidance of calling oral sex what it really is — a sexual act?

Perhaps this tendency to refer to something so seemingly intimate as putting your head between someone else’s thighs is due to the fact that many teens view oral sex as “not that big of a deal.”

How something involving your mouth and another person’s genitals came to be known as “not a big deal” is a mystery to me.

Though over the years I have come to understand that oral sex is more about the other person and a desire to make him or her happy, the fact still remains that I consider oral sex more intimate than standard vaginal sex due to its proximity to one’s nether regions.

When your nose is that close to someone’s ass, how can you not think that is a “big deal?”

All that aside, the question still remains — is oral sex considered sex? A Gallup Poll conducted in 1998, amid the Clinton scandal, found that roughly 20 percent of adults believed that oral sex did not constitute “sexual relations.” So the question remains — what do students in Madison think?

According to the responses I received from readers, about half believe oral sex is “sex,” half believe it isn’t, and a few were unsure.

One male in particular wrote, “To answer your question, oral sex is a sexual act, yes. However, if you want to get into specifics as to if it can be defined as sex, then we get a little bit complicated. Since making out is a sexual act, it can be defined as sex. Since fondling each other is a sexual act, it can be defined as sex. Since oral sex is a sexual act, it can be defined as sex. Since intercourse is a sexual act, it can be defined as sex.

“They are all sex, merely because they represent a sexual act. If you want to get technical about biological cycle definitions, then I guess it can’t be defined as sex unless orgasm occurs. In that case, there are quite a bit of females on this campus who haven’t had sex but have had sexual intercourse. So, I guess my overall answer is, oral sex is a sexual act, but can’t be defined as sex until orgasm occurs.”

A girl wrote, “I absolutely believe that oral sex is sex. If we draw the lines of sex at sexual intercourse, or more accurately, penetration by the penis into the vagina, we are excluding a large realm of sexual experiences. If penis/vagina penetration is the only ‘type’ of sex, how are homosexuals sexually active?”

Interestingly, it was mostly males that argued oral sex is not sex, such as one male who responded, “Oral sex doesn’t count as ‘sex.’ When I think of sex, I think of vaginal sex only.”

The majority of students who responded agreed that males do in fact expect oral action much more than girls do, though opinion as to why this is so was varied.

One male wrote, “I believe that guys expect more oral action overall. This is mostly because guys usually expect more action and girls are more likely to think such things are ‘dirty.’ Guys are more open about such things, and from what I’ve learned from certain discussions, more likely to be enthusiastic about going down on a girl than vice versa.

“However, once a solid relationship is set and the couple has been sexually active for a while, it seems that women will start to demand it more, seeing as it is probably one of the best ways to get a woman off.”

Reinforcing the opinion that males are less likely to perform oral sex on girls in spite of the greater chance of female orgasm was one girl’s response that, “We have been socialized from a young age to believe that the male receiving oral sex is normal, expected and often a precursor to intercourse, while female reception of oral sex is seldom talked about in a positive way, if at all.

“Girls and women, boys and men are (generally) taught that female genitals are dirty, smelly and off-limits, while boys are expected to masturbate, talk freely about their genitals and their sexual activity and ask for oral sex … generally speaking, we are left out when it comes to oral sex!”

Though I doubt that the debate will ever conclude as to whether or not oral sex is “sex,” I do think it is time for males to quit expecting head so much unless they are completely willing to reciprocate. It is sad that females have been taught by society and their peers that they are “dirty” or “smelly” down below — it’s not like male genitalia are tasty or any more clean than girls’.

Regardless, the fact remains that oral sex is a great alternative to pregnancy scares and birth control, yet the risk of disease is just as high, so always practice safe sex, no matter how you define it.

Where is the absolute weirdest place you’ve ever had sex off-campus? Write me at [email protected] and let me know! (All names will be withheld.)