Catching up on catching up: Last week’s column

I briefly posted about my column last week, but never got a chance to talk about it, share reader mail, and I also wanted to share the really malicious email I got, which I feel compelled to because I don’t think women should be quiet about, or afraid of, these things. Yes, the email was forwarded to authorities, and I’ve included it after the jump with all the other mail I got. What’s amusing is that I Googled the sender’s email address and found her profile on this site — amazingly she signed her real name to the email — and ta-da, Cheryl Merrill has a website and blog. She’s even local.

The column wasn’t particularly inflammatory, though obviously it did manage to push a few buttons. I wrote about the newest round of oral sex, cancer and HPV hysteria — recent headlines had been saying that oral sex gives you cancer, which were the same as headlines three years ago. Basically, JAMA released a new study about correlations between cancerous tumors and HPV found in the tumors, and the headlines just ran with it. I felt there needed to be a less hysterical voice out there about it, input from people who work with communities who seek testing, prevention or are infected, and to actually provide information about HPV transmission — none of which was happening in magazines like Time, who were reporting on the story. My intention wasn’t to debunk the JAMA study, only to provide commentary from a practical sex-ed angle (also without MSM’s sex whitewashing). I was delighted to get comments from Yvonne Piper, who is extremely active in Bay Area sex and and is the Clinic Manager at SF’s Women’s Community Clinic. There’s also info on where to find the shot — wouldn’t it be nice if Time had included that? Snip from Skin Flutes, Carcinoma and Chasing the Unicorn: Oral Sex Will Give You Cancer, and Other Mythological Sex Beasts:

(…) What the quoted study was referring to was a link between HPV and oral cancer. But the message being repeated all over Google News like a game of sex-hysteria telephone is that the sex act itself — fellatio, cunnilingus, rimming — is the cause of cancer.

Is it, and is there really a link? Not very likely, explains Women’s Community Clinic Manager Yvonne Piper (who also is training staff, switchboard coordinator, and resources coordinator at San Francisco Sex Information and off-site sex educator for the Center for Sex and Culture): “This new research states that oral sex may not be the actual cause of oropharyngeal cancer. The study states that ‘[o]ral-genital contact was strongly associated with oropharyngeal cancer, but we cannot rule out transmission through direct mouth-to-mouth contact or other means.'”

Direct mouth-to-mouth contact … as in kissing? Oropharyngeal cancer may be caused by kissing! Does this mean that we should all stop kissing, too? This study is posing just a link — a correlation — between HPV and oropharyngeal cancer. If we checked everybody’s throats, we may very well find HPV, since we’ve learned that up to 80 percent of people have genital HPV, and I’m willing to bet that a fair number of those people have engaged in oral sex.


And now for that mail. In order of arrival in my inbox.

* * * * * * *

Dentists are using an FDA-approved “glow-stick” to do a 3-minute,
non-invasive exam that can identify pre-cancer and cancer in the
mouth…. a quick check for those of your readers concerned about oral cancer.

If you’d like a free exam, I can set one up with a local dentist.
[redacted] for Zila Pharmaceuticals, marker of ViziLite Plus


from “” details May 17 (6 days ago)
date May 17, 2007 10:44 AM
subject Your Man’s Cock Stinks

You are a dirty, nasty little cunt whore.

May the honey bees die and you and the bastards who lick your dirty little snatch and pound your cunt endlessly die of starvation for lack of food.

I’d truly enjoy your starvation.

Cheryl Merrill


i cannot buhLIEVE you got away with saying “blowjob”, “sucking cock”,
and (best of all) “MEATSICLE” in your Chron column!!! wheee!!!

(also appreciated the BlowBuddies shoutout … i love that place.)



Hi, as a weekend warrior in the late 70’s and early ’80’s I had a ton of
sex. Mostly gratification, not many relationships. Everyone messed around.
But now…’s different. The jury’s back. There’s so much crap around
it’s not even funny. I forsaw this back in the middle 80’s and stopped cold
turkey. Got married, have children. I tel them it’s a total crap shoot if
they’re going to have sex.

There’s girl’s in jr high around here that have genital and mouth herpes,
HPV, some with warts others without. Their boyfriends have the STD’s too.
And as long as they’re messing around, the more they spread them. Our high
school is the STD of our tri-county area.

Which is why my kids have chosen abstitence. Smart. Not only are they
STD-free but they don’t have to make the hard decisions when it comes to
having sex. Violet, I gotta tell you, the future is going to be like the
past…..people will want disease-free virgens. My son has already turned
down 4-5 girls that are ater him and all of them have STD’s.

Me, a past slut, got lucky and only had a couple of claps. I admire my kids
and their friends who do not have diseases. For those who DO mess around,
they are infected. Who’s going to want to be with them? Marry them? No way.


Dear Violet:

I like reading your material. Thank you for information one likely will not find easily at other sources.

Regarding the new HPV Vacine for certain types of HPV (not all), why have I never seen any ads, publications, doctors, pharm repts, etc., mention the vacine might be good for young men as well? Supposedly, in a good number of the cases, men are the ones who transmit to women. Other ways, obviously: girl-on-girl, boy-on-boy, etc. Since boys are just as much at risk, and do develop cancers from the very viruses we’re talking about (oral, anal, etc), what gives? Isn’t it even worth studying?–even if the cancer rates are lower, I would imagine getting rid of any cancer potential as well as a potential source for infecting young women is a win-win.

Thanks for your considerations.


Share This Post