Perth, Sept 16 : The newest 'black' amongst Aussies is oral sex, according to sexual health experts who reckon that improved hygiene standards are turning more couples on to the practice.
"For young people it's an almost universal practice now, with 90 per cent trying it before the age of 30," Perth Now quoted Basil Donovan, a professor of sexual health at the University of New South Wales (NSW), as saying.
Basil added: "Among teenagers it's the new abstinence in the Clintonesque sense, because it's a way of having sex without having sex, and there are obvious contraceptive advantages too."
In fact, many people believe that oral sex is a far better way to avoid the risks of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections.
Donovan claimed that the practice is much more popular among heterosexual couples in long-term relationships, as they were having more sex than their ancestors and were also more experimental "to keep things interesting".
But he claimed that it is the cleanliness that has led oral sex to become so popular.
"I can't prove it but my theory is that when people only had a bath on Saturday night oral sex was a less attractive prospect. The aesthetics changed when people started washing more often," said Donovan.
Another factor behind the increase in oral sex was uncovered by Dr Juliet Richters, author of the book Doing it Down Under.
She said that the rise of feminism is the driving force behind the trend, with women now happier to say what they want.
"Now it's a one-year gap and in many groups the oral intercourse comes first, some times by a few years. That's a major shift from 80 years ago when it was entirely the work of sex workers and men were never going to get it at home," said Donovan. According to Donovan, while there are many advantages to such a trend, there are only a few disadvantages, which include increased risk of gonorrhoea among gay men and the increase in genital herpes caused by type one herpes, which normally causes cold sores.