So were other parents of girls at Williamsburg who took similar calls that evening and showed up for a meeting in the school library a few nights later. The principal, Margaret McCourt-Dirner, told about 25 assembled parents that as many as a dozen girls and two or three boys had been engaging in oral sex through most of the school year. The teens, 13 and 14 years old, were getting together at parties in one another's homes and at local parks.
The news dropped like a bomb just over a year ago in the mostly upper-income community of elegant brick homes, leafy sycamores and stone walls, where wealth is acquired by working long hours at top professional jobs. These parents were unaware of a disturbing pattern of middle-schoolers' adopting an "anything but intercourse" approach to sex. Eager to avoid pregnancy and hold on to virginity, an increasing number of teenagers are engaging in oral sex, according to school and health officials.
"I knew a couple of kids in seventh grade who were doing it," said a boy who just finished ninth grade at a private school in Baltimore. "By eighth grade, there were a lot more. In ninth, it's not like everybody is doing it, but it's much more common." He said he attended two parties at friends' houses this past semester where several couples engaged in oral sex. He also knows a seventh-grade girl who, in an effort to be cool, told her friends this year that she had had oral sex with him, which she had not. "It has become a popularity kind of thing," he said.
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