Let’s play a game. I’ll list some problems with their proposed solutions, and you decide if any of them are real:
- In response to rising car crash fatalities, drivers are encouraged to stop using seat-belts.
- In response to lagging literacy rates, parents are asked to remove their children from school.
- In response to a spike in crime rates, the police are asked to reduce their presence in a city.
- In response to rising STD rates, people are asked to stop using condoms.
Incredibly, even though all of these statements use essentially the same messed-up logic, the one about giving up condoms to solve the STD problem is a real recommendation that was just made by a real group in response to a real problem.
Well, to be fair, the argument says that, in response to rising STD rates, people should not use condoms and also not have sex… which is like telling people that seat belts don’t work and you really shouldn’t use the car (other than to drive to church).
We’ve discussed the folks at 1Flesh before. They want to convince as many people as possible that condoms (and other forms of contraception) don’t work and can actually harm you, so it’s really better if you don’t use them at all. Their arguments are the same ones that have led to record teen pregnancy rates amongst the victims of abstinence-only “education,” wrapped in a few layers of hip graphics and slang (i.e: we’re not conservative retrogrades, we know how to use LOL and even ROFL!)
Their latest salvo comes in response to the honestly-worrying issue of drug-resistant gonorrhea. Gonorrhea is caused by the bacteria Neisseria gonorrhoeae. People in industrialized nations are not accustomed to fearing bacteria, because we usually have antibiotics that reduce the threat of bacterial infections from “terrifying killer” to “manageable annoyance.” However, decades of antibiotic use, including overuse and misuse, have led to the emergence of bacterial strains that are resistant to the most common antibiotic treatments.
Emerging antibiotic resistance is a real problem that requires multiple fronts of action to contain. These include: Doing a better job of educating the public on safe sexual practices, using current antibiotics in the proper way, and investing in research to discover new antibiotics.
The folks at 1Flesh link to U.S.News & World Report for their story on gonorrhea. They could have instead linked to the Center for Disease Control factsheet on the disease. (Maybe they chose not to because you can’t get through a CDC post without them begging you to use condoms “consistently and correctly.”)
1Flesh doesn’t think increasing “consistent and correct” use of condoms will help you. Their argument is usually some form of the following:
- People use condoms more than they used to.
- More people have STDs than before.
- Therefore, using condoms doesn’t prevent the spread of STDs.
Much like Creationist “evidence,” this argument can lead to brain freeze because you hardly know where to begin rebutting it.
People certainly use condoms more than they used to. They are also much more sexually active than in years past. It is also true that STD rates have risen. However, in many cases, this is due more to higher reporting rates and better screening methods than to actual increases in the rates themselves. Such is the case with chlamydia, for instance. Also, the undisputed king of the STDs, HIV, has seen a rapid decline in transmission rates over the years. Oddly enough, this is not because mass numbers of American citizens heeded the call of the Catholic Church to not have sex, not use condoms, and remain virgins until marriage (though, to be fair, this would be a very effective, if utterly unrealistic, way of avoiding HIV). Instead, HIV transmission rates have declined due to mass education and expanding use of condoms. The CDC recommendations actually do include abstinence and mutual monogamy as a way of avoiding HIV but, inconveniently for 1Flesh, they also include condoms — which are effective, no matter what 1Flesh would have you believe.
When the 1Flesh article quotes the CDC, it says this:
… on a personal, human level, we need to take the CDC seriously. “The most reliable ways to avoid transmission of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), including human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), are to abstain from sexual activity or to be in a long-term mutually monogamous relationship with an uninfected partner.”
What they ignored were the sentences appearing a few lines before the quoted section:
To achieve the maximum protective effect, condoms must be used both consistently and correctly. Inconsistent use can lead to STD acquisition because transmission can occur with a single act of intercourse with an infected partner. Similarly, if condoms are not used correctly, the protective effect may be diminished even when they are used consistently.
I’m sure that if 1Flesh had their way, STD rates would plummet. However 1Flesh’s method would involve all of us going into marriage as virgins and then never ever straying. And, obviously, your husband or wife will be of opposite gender to you, since we all know that gay people are “intrinsically disordered.”
This land of sexually-repressed paradise does not, and will not, exist. It completely ignores the reality of the world in which we live.
When you tell people that condoms won’t work, you don’t make them more likely to stay virgins until holy matrimony. You make them less likely to use condoms while having sex, making them more likely to get the STDs you claim to want to prevent.
Saying condoms don’t work is a lie… which you would think the 1Flesh people would consider a sin. Maybe not a grave and terrible sin, like marrying your same-sex partner of 35 years, but still a no-no. Right, guys?