Sex education is a very delicate subject. Our experience is that many parents are uncomfortable with the sex education being offered by their children’s schools. But they have no back-up information with which to discuss these issues with the teachers at school.
Myth 1 : Teenagers need to be taught about safe sex using condoms
False! The impression is given that condoms are effective guards against sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and, in particular, against the AIDS virus. But an authoratative report on condom failure shows that in a 3 month period 52% of users experienced condom bursting or slipping off. The failures were not due to inexperienced users or out of date condom stock.
The other sort of failure comes from small pinholes. Whilst these may not be big enough to allow sperm through, an AIDS virus is 30 times smaller. Which makes it unsurprising that a World Health Organisation study showed that condoms users still had a 40% relative risk of catching an STD.
In other words. If 100 people get AIDS without condoms, 40 people will get AIDS with condoms.
So, ask the teacher: “Given that AIDS is a fatal disease, do you think that reducing the chance of catching it to 40% could be called ‘safe sex’?”
Myth 2 : It is not realistic to teach chastity as a viable option
False! Of course not all teenagers (nor their parents!) will regard chastity as a realistic option. But many of them will – especially when presented with the facts. It is grossly unfair to teenagers to deny them the chance of discussing chastity as a positive option for their future! Here are the facts:
* Teenage sex greatly increases the chance of cervical cancer in later life
* Many STDs are becoming multi-drug resistant and one of them (AIDS) is usually fatal
* Condoms do not provide sufficient protection to ensure ‘safe sex’ (see above)
So, ask the teacher: “Do you think it is right to promote attitudes that are shown to be positively harmful to the health of your pupils?”
Myth 3 : There’s no point in promoting Natural Family Planning in sex education classes
False! Most people reject it because they know nothing about it. But how can you not give pride of place to a method that is:
* Highly effective and scientifically validated, across all social classes and in a wide variety of cultures.
* ‘Green’ (i.e. chemical free) and free from harmful side effects.
* Free! (Or, very low cost if you make a one-off purchase of some of the modern aids to NFP).
* Highly feminine – it tunes the couple in to the natural cycle of fertility
* For the long term. The divorce rate in marriages where the couple uses NFP is much lower than the general divorce rate.
So, ask the teacher: “Is it right that your pupils should be denied knowledge of an effective, green and low cost method.”
Myth 4 : Sex education is proven to be effective
False! There are a wide variety of schemes and many are founded more on hope than on analysis of their real effects. The constant arrival of new schemes shows how dissatisfied people are with the old ones – which, when introduced, were said to be state of the art. We are told that sex education reduces teenage pregnancy rates (they continue to increase), reduces teenage STDs (they continue to increase), promotes responsibility in sex (sex is ever more casual). Faced with the continuing trends, one response is ‘More sex education’, but it’s time to ask ‘What is the evidence that these schemes are doing more good than harm?’
So, ask the teacher: “What evidence do you have that the sex education course you are using does more good than harm?”
We always encourage response to our articles on modern myths. We would be especially interested in any US data relevant to the topic. Feel free to Send your views to NACF