What Parents Need to Know about Sex Ed
The Condom Nation tour is currently rolling across the United States to stop in forty cities to hand out ten million free condoms. The founders of the tour want to promote condoms as a method of reducing sexually transmitted disease.
Many well-intentioned parents believe: the risk of sexually transmitted infections is so great that we have no choice but to give them condoms. Parents and mentors are in effect saying, “We hope you don’t have sex, but if you do use a condom!” What a double-message. In truth, I’m not offended at the thought of teaching teenagers about contraception, any more than I’d be offended about factually presenting other issues in an anatomy and physiology class. Teenagers—even your Christian teenager— needs to know the truth about sexuality. I’m just offended that we often water-down our resolve to encourage them to live a live of purity and abstinence in the process.
Let’s make sure that every teenager knows that “safe sex” is one of the most dangerous activities that exists on earth. Chlamydia is the most common sexually transmitted disease circulating today.[ii] If a teen gets it, it’s unlikely that they’ll ever even know they have it. Only a minority ever experience tell-tale symptoms…until it is too late. At that point, many girls will go on to experience pelvic inflammatory disease, which leads to infertility. No babies. Ever.
A condom will help to prevent chlamydia, but not all the time. Hope this isn’t TMI, but there are thirteen steps to using one of the things correctly. The end result is that they have a controversial failure rate in preventing any sexually transmitted infection. You can research it yourself on the Internet to see how varied the estimates are, but they range from 18-30%. Those just aren’t good odds when you’re talking about the risk of never having babies.
The human papilloma virus (HPV) is another common viral STI. It is so common that at least 50% of sexually active people get HPV[iii]. HPV is incurable and can be uncomfortable and embarrassing—it sometimes causes genital warts—but more important it is recognized that HPV is the only cause of cervical cancer.[iv] While other factors may make the risk of cervical cancer greater, HPV is considered “necessary” to acquire this type of cancer. Guess how much protection a condom provides against HPV? None. HPV is not spread by bodily fluids but by intimate skin-to-skin contact. How safe is that? It simply isn’t safe at all.
When and if the Condom Nation Tour makes its way through your town, or if your teen comes home from his or her sex ed class in public school, make sure you take time to help them understand the failure rate. And remember, abstinence shouldn’t be an after thought in your child’s sex education. It should be the primary objective. Because their future could be drastically altered by a sexually transmitted disease.
-Adapted from And the Bride Wore White: Seven Secrets To Sexual Purity, Chapter 2, Revised Edition, 2012
[ii] Chlamydia, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0002321/, updated June 2010, retrieved October 12, 2011
[iv] Kumar, Vinay; Abbas, Abul K.; Fausto, Nelson; & Mithcell, Richard N. (2007). Robbins Basic Pathology ((8th ed.0 ed.). Saunders Elsevier. Pp. 718-721, retrieved October 12, 2011