Saturday, September 11, 2010

What is safe sex?

The accepted wisdom of the secular world is that education solves problems. It is evidently not solving the problem of sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

New figures released last week revealed that almost half a million cases of sexually transmitted infections reported last year in the U.K. were an increase of 3% on that of 2008 with young people the worst affected. The Health Protection Agency (HPA) reported 482,696 cases in UK sexual health clinics in 2009, with teenagers and young adults accounting for the majority of the increase.

According to data released by the HPA, young women aged 19 and men aged between 20 and 23 are at the greatest risk of infection and of the 12,000 additional cases reported last year, over two thirds were in women under 25. The figures also revealed that re-infection is a serious issue, with at least 11% of women and 12% of men aged 16 to 19 becoming re-infected with an STI within one year of being treated for a previous one.

The HPA’s Gwenda Hughes said: “These latest figures show that poor sexual health is a serious problem among the UK’s young adults and men who have sex with men.”

She continued: “These figures also highlight the vulnerability of young women. Many studies have shown that young adults are more likely to have unsafe sex and often they lack the skills and confidence to negotiate safer sex.”
What is this ‘safer sex’? It is intercourse with condoms. It is what official government sex education tells us is the way to have intercourse. ‘Safe sex’ is the mantra of sexual health. But it is a questionable message and one evidently not well heeded.
Justin McCracken, chief executive of the HPA, added: “These are all preventable infections and it is a cause of considerable concern that we are still seeing increases across the UK.”

Yes, these infections are among those that no one need have. “If you will diligently listen to the voice of the Lord your God, and do that which is right in his eyes, and give ear to his commandments and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases on you.”

But this message is the one our educators will not give; chastity before marriage and fidelity within it. Why will our sex educators not even use the words chastity and fidelity, only ‘safe sex’? Why is their message on sex so different from that on smoking cessation? With smoking the message is simply, ‘Stop!’ Smokers are not advised to smoke low-tar cigarettes, pipes or cigars. They are to cease. But in sex education, even in Church of England schools, why the message about condoms, which are often not used and are not very effective, especially when used by novices? Why is the message not one of chastity and fidelity? Why is the word ‘marriage’ never mentioned? Why no message about self-control?

The official answer is that people will not listen and take it on board. This is not the real reason. The truth is that there is one thing the sex educators are more afraid of than even STIs. They are afraid of hypocrisy. Most of them have given up smoking but they continue to sleep around. They cannot teach chastity and fidelity because they do not practice them.
One such worker in sexual health when confronted with this argument told me that none of his friends lived with chastity and fidelity. I replied that all my close friends held to these principles.

Many have criticized the former government’s sex education and teenage pregnancy strategy. Last year, a leading academic and former government advisor, Professor David Paton, told a Westminster health forum that the former government’s £250 million teenage pregnancy strategy had been “absolutely disastrous”, commenting that since it began the increase in STIs had continued to rise.

Andrea Minichiello Williams of Christian Concern For Our Nation said: “These figures are yet further evidence that the former government’s sex education programme, which targeted children and young people, has failed drastically. Sex education seems to expect young people to have sex.”

In 1963, we asked our 16 to 18 year old classmates in school, boys and girls, how many had ever had sex. Only one boy out of about 30 students said they had experienced intercourse. Today 80% of girls say they have had sex by the age of 18.
Promiscuity is the problem to be tackled and condoms are not the answer.

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