"Safe Sex"

I’m arguing with some non-Catholic Christians and humanists on another board about the promotion of “safe sex” to prevent the spread of teen pregnancy.

It appears that they have a lot of evidence that sex ed which includes contraceptive education does reduce teen pregnancies.

They say it also reduces the spread of STDs.

I of course believe and testify that contraception and fornication are both seriously wrong and destructive pschologically and should never be encouraged in any way, but I can’t provide the kind of scientific evidence they are providing.

One of them is extremely smart and well-spoken and I just don’t know how to respond adequately.

They claim the numbers of teens having sex, getting pregnant, getting STDs, are all down, compared to years past, of course they are saying the safe sex classes that have been taught for many years now, as the reason for this. Im not sure about this, how could this be true, when it clashes with catholic belief?

We were always taught the only safe sex was NO sex, I know the secular world doesnt see it this way, but we are supposed to have God on our side…how can all the safe sex classes be succeeding, when its clearly wrong? Maybe they are just fudging the numbers, making it seem like its successful, when it is not?

The problem in my generations case, was they started teaching us about sex much too late, myself, and many other classmates at a catholic school, were beginning to have their first sexual experiences in the 6th and 7th grade, by the time my parents gave me ‘the talk’, I had already been with a neighborhood girl, of course I didnt tell my parents that! I wish my parents had talked to me sooner, as most of the myths I had believed about sex were totally wrong ( I wont go into them, but lets just say I was WAY off!), most of us learned about this stuff thru other friends, and this was back in the mid 1980s…cant imagine how young kids are starting in todays world!!!

OK, what is the Catholic idea of sex? Monogamous sexual relation within marriage. My wife and I have each had exactly one sexual partner (each other). I’m 50 years old, and I’ve never been with another woman.

Has ANYONE ever contracted an STD (by intercourse) in such a relationship? Is it even possible? Yeah, you can get STDs with dirty needles or such, but “safe sex” won’t protect anyone from dirty needles.

What is the Catholic idea of “birth control?” Natural Family Planning.

According to the World Health Institutes, NFP is twenty TIMES more effective than “perfect use” of condoms, and NINETY TIMES more effective than “typical use” of condoms (which fail 18% of the time - which is almost the same conception rate as if nothing is used). NFP is twice as effective as “perfect use” of birth control pills. NFP is the most effective form of “birth control” known (short of sterilization).

Surely any “smart guy” can see that the Catholic plan is a whole lot “safer” and more effective than the secular plan.

Yes, “safe sex” is better physiologically. That’s a statistical fact, and many Catholic apologists would do worse trying to explain it away rather than simply accepting it. But the Church neither knows or cares about statistics. It’s about what’s healthy for your soul, which is far more important then your mortal body. “safe sex” kills the soul, and makes it a temple of lust, not the Holy Spirit. It contradicts the natural order of creation which God founded. It results in the dehumanizing of sacred life, and the sacred image of God which he has bestowed upon our mortal bodies. Being better in statistics does not make one right in morals. We see atheism rise in the most developed countries. Does that mean that there’s a correlation of atheism and being highly developed? No, it’s a causation. People take what they already have for granted, and that applies to the spiritual aspect of life just as much as it does the physical. With sex becoming something so “normal” and mediatized, it’s easy for people to get lost and realize the sacred nature of sexual union. And that gives further rise to abominations like abortion and homosexuality. It’s just not the way the spiritual life works.

We’re talking about teens, though, and even if they accept the data you are giving, they will say that teens simply don’t respond well to abstinence only

They say that states which teach abstinence only have the highest rates of teen pregnancy (and STDs?)

Great post. That is affirming and helpful. I will read and re-read what you are saying.

Young people have been misinformed for decades.





Then maybe we shouldn’t have “sex education” at all. Maybe that’s not the answer.

The Catholic plan is the BEST possible plan. If everyone implemented the Catholic plan, there would be NO SUCH THING as STDs or teen pregnancy. “Unwanted” pregnancy would be extremely rare. NOTHING is safer or more effective than the Catholic plan. That’s not an opinion or a religious doctrine - it is scientifically established fact.

So why shouldn’t that be the goal? It CAN be done. It HAS been done for most of human history. It is BEING DONE in many parts of the world today. And this was accomplished (and is being accomplished) without any “sex education” whatsoever.

If we have a plan that is safer and more effective than ANY OTHER PLAN, why do we say, “oh well, that won’t work, so let’s try to figure out how to make dangerous behavior less dangerous?”

The Catholic plan isn’t designed to operate in an environment where people are sexually promiscuous and it’s OK to be sexually promiscuous and it’s assumed that everyone is gonna be sexually promiscuous.

I think it also depends on what years are being compared. Since the 1960s it has been widely culturally expected for teens to be having sex. Not so before that. They seem to be expected to behave like animals in heat now.
If teens have the vague idea that it’s even embarrassing to be a virgin, and any diseases or pregnancy won’t happen to them and can be “taken care of” if they do–what do you think will and has happened? News flash: teens are frequently flaky and no matter how much Safe Sex info they get, it won’t necessarily mean they hear anything except Have Sex. More sexual intimacy=more pregnancy and more diseases, condoms, etc or not. Human frailty is a given, but making it easy and even encouraging destructive behavior (which it is, physically, psychologically, and spiritually) that looks and feels really good at the time is a recipe for disaster.

Here’s some questions:

  1. How many people know how to use contraception besides swallowing birth control and a condom?

  2. Does contraception get removed during intercourse? How would you know?

  3. No contraception is 100% fool-proof.

  4. There may be some short-term benefits to contraception, but some contraception has been linked to cancer.

The bottom line is no matter what the issue is, natural law and morality win out in the long-run. :yup:

Thank you

where is the Catholic plan “BEING DONE in many parts of the world today”?

Thank you katy

was there less unmarried sex-ual activity and less unmarried pregnancy and less STDs in the 30s, 40s, and 50s?

Ask them how they seek to protect people from the psychological effects of sex. A condom may (usually) shield you from STDs and pregnancy, but it’s useless against the psychological damage it can do to a teen who was just dumped by an intimate partner.

No matter how much some may want to believe otherwise, sex is anything but sterile.

So does abstinence. And abstinence from sex is more effective at preventing pregnancy than contraceptive use. So, if the goal is to prevent/reduce teen pregnancy, why not teach the more effective one?

The answer that I get sometimes is that “we should expect [teens] to have extra-marital sex, and so we should just accept it”. Of course, that a pretty lame excuse. I don’t believe that we should indulge sin just because people will want to do it.

They say it also reduces the spread of STDs.

They think STD rates have dropped since the advent of the popularized contraceptive? Ask them for a chart that shows such a correlation dating from the, say, 1930’s onward. The opposite is true.

Their goal is to prevent the spread of teen pregnancy.

-Teaching contraception has failed, evidenced by the fact that contraception has been taught for decades, and there are still teen pregnancies resulting from teens that use contraceptives.
-Teaching contraception necessarily implies that we expect our teens to engage in sex, and therefore implies encouragement of the very act that leads to pregnancy.

-Abstinence has never led to pregnancy.
-Teaching abstinence necessarily implies that we expect our teens NOT to engage in sex, and that if they do, there is a chance that they will suffer the consequence of engaging in the act that leads to pregnancy.

Conclusion: Abstinence is the more effective option for the goal, not only being more effective, but teaching teens that there are real consequences for their actions, and we expect people to be accountable for their actions.

Safe sex is a code for:

I give up. Parenting is too hard, I can’t stop my kids from having sex. At least condoms will kinda sorta protect against pregnancy (if you can ignore the statistics about broken and leaking condoms) and against HIV and HCV, (if you can fudge the science of microbiology so that retroviruses don’t pass through microtears or even the mesh of condoms.)

People keep telling themselves these fairytales.:banghead:

Thanks, Ed. I’ll try to process that information.

Can you provide a link to those statistics? A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study shows fertility awareness methods as the least effective method of pregnancy prevention save spermicides.

That chart doesn’t include NFP, it only includes fertility-awareness based methods which includes in the statistics of couples who elect to use condoms on the fertile days.

The statistics are based on a variety of sources and they don’t say which ones come from which sources, but one of them is Trussel’s contraceptive text book which does not list specific method effectiveness rates for the different NFP methods.

The only “safe sex” is between two safes on their four metal legs…ok, **YOU **imagine it, and then go to confession:)

Seriously, the safe-sex culture is the problem not the solution, because it encourages the mind frame of sexual activity as a form of recreation without consequence.



See the TABLE in this article. It reports Symptoms based Fertility Awareness to be be quite high on the effectiveness front. Note this is only of marginal
Relevance for unmarried teens, who should not be having sex anyway.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.