Imagine a classroom of high school pupils and a teacher warning them about the dangers of smoking. Instead of explicitly instructing the children not to smoke cigarettes and stressing how smoking causes lung cancer, she gives the students packets of cigarettes that are low in nicotine and tar content.
According to the teacher, the children are going to smoke anyway, because it is unreasonable -- impossible even -- for children who are oriented to smoke to resist doing so. Furthermore, it would be an infringement on their right to freedom of smoking to stop them, and hateful and "smokophobic" to discourage them to engage in that activity. Is this safe?
Curiously, this is the same approach being adopted and promoted during Safe Sex Week. Instead of following the conventional health strategy of promoting risk avoidance, most health institutions have instead opted for a lower level of health protection: risk reduction. Despite current propaganda, extramarital and promiscuous sexual activity can never be safe, and the effects can never be fully mitigated with condoms or other contraceptive methods.
First, in terms of protecting physical health, condoms fall miserably short. According to Centre for Disease Control (CDC) They are only 98% per cent effective at preventing pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections (STIs). 2% might not seem like a big deal until you realise the fatal implications of some STIs, such as HIV/AIDS.
Even this statistic needs to be taken with a grain of salt. Condom pregnancy prevention rates are usually measured using sexual intercourse on any given day although a woman above the age of 25 years is, on average, fertile for only 3 days per cycle (approximately one tenth of the time of her menstrual cycle).
Furthermore, there is always the risk that persons will not use them properly, or not use them every time they have sex, even though the occasional usage of condoms gives the illusion of safety.These errors reduce the average effectiveness rate of condom usage to approximately 85% (CDC, 2013).
Second, condoms do not protect against the psychological effects of sex. Sex releases hormones that bond individuals to each other (oxytocin in women, vasopressin in men). Therefore, persons who have sex - even with a condom - get powerfully attached to sexual partners, which may result in psychological trauma once a change in relationship occurs.
It is also important to note that this attachment occurs irrespective of the participant’s factual knowledge of how unhealthy, dangerous or immoral the relationship is. For instance, a husband having an affair with a prostitute and a woman having sex with a physically abusive boyfriend will still release vasopressin and oxytocin. Having sex with multiple partners, however, signals to the brain that bonding is not important to survival, so over time, one's neurological ability to bond to a sexual partner in the future erodes.
Moreover, dopamine (another hormone) creates a feeling of euphoria after sex or any thrilling activity, neurologically creates an addiction to sex. Promiscuous sexual activity (even with the use of contraception) has the double effect of making one more addicted to the thrill of sex and less attached to the sexual partner, a formula that leads to increased risk of emotional instability and possible STI transmissions. Advising persons to simply wear a condom, as opposed to limiting the number of partners they have, is self-defeating.
Social and philosophical risk
Third, promiscuous sexual activity also poses a social and philosophical risk to all persons, even those who remain chaste and abstinent. When sex is practiced wantonly and pursued primarily (or even exclusively) for the purpose of pleasure, it eventually becomes more esteemed that the persons with whom it is practiced. The more widespread the notion that sex is exclusively for pleasure (instead of in addition to bonding and procreation), the more potential mates will be reduced in each other’s eyes as just a means to an end, an object or tool to be used to get an orgasm.
Taken to its logical end, this line of thinking easily leads to the commodification of people as objects of pleasure, which is clearly demonstrated in the (regrettably) thriving industries of prostitution and sex trafficking witnessed today. The inherent dignity of a human being is undermined as priorities and values shift in this direction.
Sex cannot logically be seen as exclusively a physical act since its most profound impact cannot be seen with the naked eye (pun intended). Focusing exclusively on preventing negative physical outcomes (such as an unwanted pregnancy or an STI) is narrow-minded and dangerous.
The world has gotten it wrong, and the science is finally catching up with the timeless wisdom that the Bible has touted all along. For sex to truly it must be seen for what it is: a sacred union that should only be enjoyed between one man and one woman in a lifelong commitment i.e. the biblical definition of marriage.
Kacy Garvey is a Christian poet and activist. In 2011, she launched "Rahab", an outreach to prostitutes in Geneva, Switzerland. She is a certified HIV Testing and Counselling Provider and has also successfully completed training in Human Trafficking Awareness.
Kacy Garvey is a Christian poet, speaker and activist. In 2011, she launched "Rahab", an outreach to prostitutes in Geneva, Switzerland. She is a USAID certified HIV Testing and Counselling Provider and has also successfully completed training in Trafficking in Persons conducted by the International Organisation on Migration (IOM). She performs original pieces of spoken word poetry to various audiences, and in 2014 and 2018, she launched “Undone” and “Water Jar”, the first and only Christian poetry albums published in Jamaica thus far. As a founding member of the Love March Movement (since 2012) and #MarriageMattersJA (since 2018), she is a regular presenter on the science, politics and biblical worldviews on sex and sexuality. In January 2021, Kacy launched Caribbean Christian Response, an online movement that reviews the news from a biblical worldview and gathers millennials across the region to pray together and seek God’s heart on these issues.