Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Young people and sex

Yahoo news on "unprotected" sex

This week there was a report from the "BareAll" campaign on sexual behaviour in young people. This project was promoted by the BBC and MTV, as well as presumably funded by Durex, as you can see from this link to the BBC site.

On the Yahoo article, a spokesman from Durex says:

...a condom is the only method of stopping the spread of sexually transmitted infection and preventing unplanned pregnancy.

It's understandable why people say things like this in our politically sensitive times; the option of sexual abstinence until marriage is seen as an imposition. But from a moral, practical and psychological point of view, this can't be an acceptable view.

Abstinence from sexual intercourse is the only 100% effective contraceptive, and the only "safe" way to avoid STD's. A condom is not 100% effective at what it does - it could break, or it could be misused, especially if the people using it are immature, possibly intoxicated (as mentioned in the BareAll survey) and quite possibly furtively hiding their behaviour from the adult world.

On the other hand, if our society clearly recommended that "safe sex" = marriage, in other words, a life-long personal committment to one person only, entered into after preparation, and with the support of one's family and wider community, it would be acting responsibly and in keeping with basic science and common sense philosophical principles. Even marriage has its risks, but on balance it is the most stable and supportive option, as long as we accept that it is not a "private" affair, it happens in a wider social context .

In no way is a gamble with your own and another person's health, relationships and possibly a new human life to be called "safe", from a purely scientific and philosophical point of view.

Due to a sad cultural collapse in all Western countries, it's not possible to frame the discussion in terms of the fundamentals of society - person, family, friendship and community, association and finally business and government. Financial costs seem to dominate.

It's possibly more profitable in the short term (in purely financial terms) to mass-produce chemical and physical gambling devices than to properly educate and train midwives, social workers, counsellors and teachers. However, we need to learn to invest in people as a society and get back behind the secondary interests that drive our policies. Isn't that the meaning of the finding that most of the young people surveyed said their biggest fear was pregnancy? A normal young person should see pregnancy as part of married life, which should appear to be an attractive and demanding, but eminently possible and well-supported option.

As the Pope said in a recent interview, "it's not a Catholic invention that man and woman are made for each other, so that humanity can go on living: All cultures know this."

We don't even follow what I presume is the guidance of the Anglican Church (can anyone verify this?) that contraception should only be allowed to stable married couples, and only with consideration and support. That's a compromise, of course, but closer to the reality of the matter than contraception for all.

More than ever, we need to "form communities of faith" ( as Pope Benedict exhorted us at World Youth day 2005 ) where this realism can exist with the optimism of faith, hope for a better future (because we are offering a realistic proposal!) and charity towards all our human frailty.


Blogger antonia said...


Thank you, 1DAYIN7, for the lovely words you left on my blog for my wedding!

How fantastic to see another Catholic blog from the UK!! Thanks also for adding me to your side-bar! I will do the same (as soon as I get internet access set up at home!)

God Bless!


Wednesday, August 16, 2006 8:52:00 AM  
Blogger Thomas Shawn said...

The condom is a highly effective way to spread genital warts.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006 3:42:00 PM  

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