So-Called “Safe-Sex”

This article contains the full text of a recent newsletter from Dr. James Dobson, President of Focus on the Family. We do so in support of this fine organization, and as a service to our users. The radio programs of Focus on the Family can be heard several times a day on K-Praise (KPRZ) and K-Wave (KWVE). For broadcast times, please see the program schedules in Bulletins [8] and [9]. If you would like to contact Focus on the Family, you may do so by writing: Focus on the Family, Colorado Springs, CO 80995. Or call, 719/633-6287.

This information can also be downloaded as a text file from File Area 21 under the name DOBSON01.TXT.

February 13, 1992

Some of you may have seen the 90-minute ABC network television show on February 2 entitled “Growing Up in the Age of AIDS,” hosted by Peter Jennings. I was one of nine guests on that live program, including Dr.Antonia Novella, the U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. James Curran, of the Centers for Disease Control, and Dr. Timothy Johnson, ABC News medical editor. Unfortunately, the show’s producers attempted to pack too much into the program, granting each of us less than a minute or two to speak our minds. In my case, a single 45-second sound bite cost me a long journey and two hectic days in New York City.

As you will soon read in the March edition of ‘Focus on the Family’ magazine, I routinely turn down these kinds of network televisions’opportunities.’ In the past few years I’ve declined invitations to appear on “Nightline,” “20/20,” “48 Hours,” “Face to Face with Connie Chung,” “Crossfire,” Bill Buckley’s “Firing Line” and the morning network news programs. I have no desire for that kind of national exposure, and furthermore, the deck is usually stacked against those of us with a Judeo-Christian point of view. There are better things to do with my time.

When, then, did I travel to The Big Apple for such an insignificant role? Well, I had hoped for a few more minutes on camera. But more importantly, I felt a responsibility to express the abstinence position of national television, and I was afraid if I declined no one else would be asked. How long has it been since you’ve heard anyone tell teenagers why it is to their advantage to remain virgins until marriage? How sad that adolescents hear only the dangerous “safe-sex” message from adults who should know better. Maybe, I thought, I could get in a few plugs for abstinence and morality that would redeem the investment of time.

But here I am a few days later, flying home from New York with all the things I wanted to say still bottled up inside. Jennings permitted me one brief comment and then ignored my upraised hand through the remainder of the broadcast. So guess what? YOU get to hear those unspoken words. There is no issue…no social development throughout North America…that concerns me more than adolescent sexuality and what it portends for the future. The AIDS crisis and Magic Johnson’s infection have provided an unprecedented opportunity for Planned Parenthood and the other condom and abortion promoters to lobby virtually every teenager in the land. And believe me, they intend to exploit and indoctrinate the entire generation now in escrow.

We must not sit passively on the sidelines. If you have an adolescent in your family or know of one who will read a letter like this, PLEASE pass it on. They desperately need the truth that is being withheld from them. Yes, I meant to say “withheld”. There are facts that the “safe-sex” gurus will not tell the youngsters in their charge. As a result, teen promiscuity will continue and millions of kids…thinking they are protected…will suffer for the rest of their lives. Many will die of AIDS. Humanity will eventually lumber back around to the traditional understanding of morality, I suppose. Indeed, it MUST do so. Epidemics and pestilence will force a reconsideration, if the Lord tarries that long. But by then the consequences of defying God’s law will have wreaked havoc among us. How tragic!

What follows, then, is what I would have said on television if Peter Jennings had wanted to hear it.

“Why, apart from moral considerations, do you think teenagers should be taught to abstain from sex until marriage?”

No other approach to the epidemic of sexually transmitted diseases will work. The so-called “safe-sex” solution is a disaster in the making. Condoms fail 15.7 percent of the time in preventing pregnancy among married couples. They fail 36.3 percent of the time in preventing pregnancy among young, unmarried minority women. The overall failure rate is as high as 44 percent in preventing pregnancy among unmarried Hispanic women. The ‘British Medical Journal’, reported the failure rate due to slippage and breakage to be 26 percent. Given these findings, it is obvious why we have a word for people who rely on condoms as a means of birth control. We call them…”parents”.

Remembering that a woman can conceive only one or two days per months, we can only guess how high the failure rate for condoms must be in preventing disease, which can be transmitted 365 days per year! If the devices are not used properly, or if they slip just ONCE, viruses, bacteria, yeast and fungi are exchanged and the disease process begins. One mistake after 500 “protected” episodes is all it takes. The damage is done in a single moment when rational thought is overridden by passion. Those who would depend on so insecure a method must use it properly on every occasion, and even then a high failure rate is brought about by factors beyond their control. The young victim who is told by his elders that this little latex device is “safe” may not know he is risking lifelong pain and even death for so brief a window of pleasure. What a burden to place on an immature mind and body!

Then we must recognize, as implied above, that condoms cannot even be accurately tested for AIDS protection, since the virus is one-tenth the size of the smallest detectable hole. Viruses are 450 times smaller than sperm, and pass easily through even the smallest gaps. Researchers studying surgical gloves made of our latex, the same material in condoms, found “channels of 5 microns that penetrated the entire thickness of the glove.” The HIV virus measures between .1 and .3 microns. Given these findings, tell me what rational, informed person would trust her or her very life to such flimsy armor?

I’m sure this explains why not one of 800 sexologists at a recent conference raised a hand when asked if they would trust a thin rubbers heath to protect them during intercourse with a known HIV-infected person. I don’t blame them. They’re not crazy, after all. And yet they’re perfectly willing to tell our kids that “safe sex” is within reach and that they can sleep around with impunity.

There is only one way to protect ourselves from the deadly diseases that lie in wait. It is abstinence before marriage, then marriage and mutual fidelity for life to an uninfected partner. Anything less is potentially suicidal.

“That position is simply not realistic today. It’s an unworkable solution: Kids will NOT implement it.”

Some will. Some won’t. It’s still the only answer. But let’s talk about an “unworkable solution” of the first order. Since 1970, the federal government has spent over $2 billion to promote condom usage and “safe sex.” This year alone, $450 million of your tax dollars will go down that drain! (Compared with less than $8 million for abstinence programs, which Sen. Teddy Kennedy and company have sought repeatedly to eliminate altogether.) Is it time we ask what we’ve gotten for our money? After 22 years and $2 billion, some 57 percent of sexually active teens still never use contraceptives during intercourse! Of the remaining 43 percent many use condoms improperly or only occasionally. That is the success ratio of the experts who call abstinence “unrealistic” and “unworkable.”

Even if we spent another $50 billion to promote condom usage, most teenagers would still not use them consistently and properly. The nature of human beings and the passion of the act simply do not lend themselves to a disciplined response in young romantics.

“But if you knew a teenager was going to have intercourse, wouldn’t you rather he would use a condom?”

No, because that approach has an unintended consequence. The process of recommending condom usage to teenagers inevitably conveys five dangerous ideas: (1) that “safe sex” is achievable; (2) that everybody is doing it; (3) that responsible adults EXPECT them to do it; (4) that it’s a good thing; and (5) that their peers KNOW they KNOW these things, breeding promiscuity. Those are very destructive messages to give our kids.

Furthermore, Planned Parenthood’s own data show that the number one reason teenagers engage in intercourse is ‘peer pressure’! Therefore, anything we do to imply that “everybody is doing it” results in more…not fewer…people who give the game a try. What I’m saying is that our condom distribution programs do not reduce the number of kids exposed to disease…they radically increase it!

Want proof of that fact? Since the Planned Parenthood-type programs began in 1970, unwed pregnancies have increased 87 percent among 18- and 19-year-olds. Likewise, abortions among teens rose to 346,900 in 1988; unplanned births went up 61 percent. And venereal disease has infected a generation of young people. Nice job, Planned Parenthood. Good thinking, senators and congressmen. Nice nap, America.

Having made a blunder that now threatens the human family, the same people who got us into this mess are continuing to establish our approach to teen sexuality. When will we recognize that they ARE they problem, not the solution to it!

“Let me press you further. If you were a parent an know that your son or daughter was having sex, wouldn’t you talk to him or her about proper condom usage?”

Having said that the failure rate of condom usage is incredibly high, perhaps 50 percent or greater in disease prevention, why would I recommend this “solution” to my son or daughter? Suppose they were sky divers whose parachutes had a 50 percent failure rate. Would I recommend that they simply buckle the chutes tighter? Certainly not. I would say, “Please don’t jump. Your life is at stake!” How could I, as a loving father, do less?

But there is another reason for talking to our kids about abstinence rather than “safe sex.” It is even more important than the life-and-death issue cited above. I’m referring to rebellion against God and His promise to punish sin. Jesus said, “Fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28 KJV). Spiritual death is definitely worse than physical disability or death, and our kids deserve to know about this divine reality from the days of childhood.

Never! Never! Never would I withhold that vital information in favor of a “safe-sex” distortion.

“Again I say, kids won’t listen to the abstinence message. You’re just wasting your breath to try to see them a notion like that.

It is a popular myth that teenagers are incapable of understanding that it is in their best interest to save themselves until marriage. Almost 50 percent of all high school students are virgins today, even though hardly anybody has told them it is a good thing. (Even many churches preach the “safe-sex” message. I noticed while in New York City that Faye Wattleton, the former president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, was scheduled to speak at the famous Marble Collegiate Church!)

As further evidence, I submit the record of an event held in Lexington, KY., several years ago. It featured ex-convict Harold Morris talking about abstinence, among other subject. The coliseum seated 18,000 people, but 26,000 teenagers showed up! Eventually, more than 2,000 stood outside the packed auditorium and listened over a hastily prepared public address system. Who says kids won’t listen to this time-honored message?

“Is AIDS God’s plague sent to punish homosexuals, lesbians and other promiscuous people?”

Let’s put it this way. If I choose to leap of a 10-story building, I will die when my body hits the ground below. It’s inevitable. But gravity was not designed by God to punish my folly. he established physical laws that can be violated only at great peril. So it is with His moral laws. They are as real and predictable as the principles that govern the physical universe. Thus, we knew (and He knew) with the onset of the sexual revolution back in 1968 that this day of disease and promiscuity would come. It is here, and what we do with our situation will determine how much we and our children will suffer in the future.

Well, that is but a small fraction of what I wanted to say on the Jennings television special. I also wanted to make a comment or two, with proper respect, about the hypocrisy of a program of that nature. All four networks and the cable television entities are wringing their hands about this terrible epidemic that has now invaded our bodies. They profess to be very concerned about those who are infected, and perhaps they are sincere. However, TV executives and movie moguls have contributed mightily to the existence of this plague. For decades, they have depicted teens and young adults climbing in and out of each others’ beds like so many sexual robots. Only the nerds were chaste, and they were to stupid or too ugly to find partners.

Of course, the beautiful young fornicators in those steamy dramas never faced any consequences for their sin. No one ever came down with herpes, or syphilis. or chlamydia, or pelvic inflammatory disease, or infertility, or AIDS, or genital warts, or cervical cancer. No patients were ever told by a physician that there was no cure for their disease or that they would have to deal with the pain for the rest of their lives. No one ever heard the human papilloma virus (HPV) kills more woman than AIDS, or that a strain is gonorrhea is not resistant to antibiotics. No, there was no downside. It all looked like so much fun. But what a price we are paying now for the lies we have been told. Pardon us, ABC, if your compassion seems a bit contrived. (By the way, it was on ABC that the young Doogie Howser said, “A man is a lot of things, but he’s not a virgin” Sept. 25, 1991).

Maybe this is why Peter Jennings didn’t ask for a further comment from me. He knew from my only remark that I was definitely not “politically correct.” I also learned since returning to Colorado Springs that Mr. Jennings served on the honorary committee for a homosexual political organization last fall. He shared this honor with Gloria Steinum, Bella Abzug, Phil Donohue and two homosexual members of Congress. That helps explain the philosophy that drives the man.

Before I leave this disturbing project, I want to share with you a brochure I received this morning from the federal Centers for Disease Control and the City of New York. It is entitled, “Teens Have the Right,” and is apparently intended to free adolescents from adult authority. Inside are six declarations that make up a “Teenagers’ Bill of Rights”, as follows:


Under this final item is a list of organizations and phone numbers that readers are encouraged to call. The organizations provide a range of services, including dispensing condoms to counseling “at-risk” teens. The philosophy of these programs reflects the homosexual agenda, which includes recruitment of the young.

Your tax dollars at work!

Ladies and gentlemen, I want to say something to you at this point that has not been written in any of my monthly letters. It is this: I NEED TO HEAR FROM YOU ON THIS SUBJECT. I’ve been airing radio programs, writing books and now, appearing (briefly) as a television guest in a lonely effort to counteract the assault on our kids. Frankly, the silence has been deafening at times. Gary Bauer and I expressed the danger in a book and a video series entitled “Children at Risk”, to which (according to the publisher) many pastors responded, “I don’t want to get involved.” Our inability to rally good people is depressing.

Frankly, I would find it very encouraging to know that YOU recognize the danger as well…that you are concerned about a generation of our best and brightest. No, writing a letter to me won’t change our precarious situation, but it will help us carry on with the struggle. At this moment, it seems like the opposition outnumbers our troops about 10,000 to one. A word or two of support would be welcome, and your prayers would be most appreciated.

I KNOW our cause is just. God bless you all!
signed: James C. Dobson, Ph.D  President

P.S. We are working hard on a television program and a school video onthis important subject. PLEASE pray with us specifically as we attemptto convey these ideas to today’s teenagers.

Note from Abba II:

Please share this information with your pastor, and let him know that Focus on the Family provides two 60-minute films in which Dr. Dobson and Gary Bauer describe ways you and your church can protect the next generation from the anti-family influences threatening your home. Based on the best-selling book, “Children at Risk,” this 16 mm presentation is available on a rental basis. For more information, contact Focus on the Family – Educational Resources at 1-800-932-9123, and ask for the Christian film distributor nearest you.

Also, if you would like to discuss these issues, please visit our Message Area. We look forward to your comments and/or questions.