More often referred to as 'Making
Out' or 'Rounding The Bases' (you know, getting to First Base,
Second Base, Third Base...), and sometimes called 'Heavy Petting'.
Petting is actually a term that covers
a broad range of sexual behaviors, including giving/getting a
hickey, deep kissing, and sexual touching of one's partner. The
touching, caressing, massaging and kissing of another person's
body can take place through the clothing or under the clothing,
and 'heavy petting' usually involves removing some clothing and
touching BELOW the waist.
Getting caught is often time of
a negative consequence most teens experience at some time or another
during adolescence - sometimes they get in trouble, sometimes
its just embarrassing. On a more serious note, it only makes sense
that since petting is progressively more sexual, that it carries
greater risks and consequences. This is the first sexual behavior
discussed so far that carries the risk of pregnancy or infection
of a serious STD (Sexually Transmitted Disease), though this is
not common. Still, it is a risk.
We've already talked about the
risks of deep kissing, and there are no consequences to touching
above the waist, or touching below the waist on the outside of
clothing (some might argue that the risk to light petting is that
it leads to heavy petting and that teens just cannot control themselves
and will end up having intercourse - we disagree that teens have
no control and believe that better and earlier, constant sex education
will help teens remain in control of their hormones).
The greater risk is with 'heavy
petting', petting below the waist and inside the pants and underwear,
and then only if the same hand touches both person's genitals
(meaning that when touching yourself and then your partner, you
can transfer body fluids, including sperm, to your partner's genitals).
This same risk is true when two people share the same sex toys
in the same way. Even a tiny amount of fluid or sperm is enough
to transfer a disease or get a girl pregnant (yes, sperm can live
outside the body, though not for very long).
One additional risk in petting
that is rarely discussed is that it can be dangerous to suck on
the breasts of a lactating female, as she can pass a Sexually
Transmitted Disease in her milk. A 'lactating female' is a
female who is producing milk, usually due to pregnancy.
In addition to being very pleasant
and exciting, petting is a natural progression in becoming a sexually
mature adult, allowing you to enjoy and learn intimacy between
two people. One may have learned what the opposite sex looked
like when younger, but in adolescence, petting lets you learn
what the opposite sex FEELS like. It allows one to explore and
learn what touches and caresses are pleasing to your partner,
and to learn more about your partner's body. Many adults, if they
search their memories, recall their first sexual touch quite fondly,
many remembering the first time they touched a breast or penis
all of their life.
Transferring body fluids, including
sperm, from one partner's genitals to the other person's genitals,
can result in pregnancy
(when male to female), or the passing of a serious sexually
transmitted disease like Gonorrhea, Syphilis, Chlamydia, Herpes,
HPV, Hepatitis, Trichomoniasis, Pubic Lice (crabs), or Scabies.
The best protection is knowing your partner, knowing their sexual
history, being tested for STD's before petting, not sharing sex
toys (like vibrators, dildos, etc.) without washing them first
(or not sharing them at all), and making sure that no semen is
on your fingers or hand when it contacts the vulva and/or vagina.
Heavy petting with many different partners dramatically increases
the risk of STD's.
Sex & Love
Sex & Peer Pressure
What Is Intercourse
Are You Ready
Oral Sex On a Male
Oral Sex On a Female