The Safe Sex Myth

By: James C. Dobson

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 “Safe Sex” message from adults who should know better.

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 this article, please pass it on. They desperately need the truth that is being withheld from them. These are the 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 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!

The following is what was prepared to share on the 90-minute ABC network program “Growing Up in the Age of AIDS,” February 2, 1992, hosted by Peter Jennings, but I was unable to due to lack of time because the program had too much packed into it (I was given a shingle 45-second sound bite), as well as being ignored by the host.

Why, apart from moral considerations, should teenagers 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 month, 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 whom 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 hold. Viruses are 450 times smaller than sperm, and pass easily through even the smallest gaps. Researchers studying surgical gloves made out of 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 his or her 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 rubber sheath 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 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 (U.S.) has spent over $2 billion to promote condom usage and “safe sex.” This year alone, $450 million of your tax dollars will go
do that drain! (Compared with less than $8 million for abstinence programs, which Senator Ted 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 contraceptive 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.

These 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 am saying is that our condom distribution programs do not reduce the number of kids exposed to this 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 the 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 rap, America.

Let me press you further. If you were a parent and knew that your son or daughter was have sex, wouldn’t you take 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 simply recommend they 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 am 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 which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28 KJV). Spiritually death is infinitely 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.