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June 25, 2008

What the comprehensive sex educators don’t want you to know

From Ryan T. Anderson of the Witherspoon Institute, in First Things:

We know that when contraception is used “consistently and correctly,” it can be remarkably effective—only 0.3 percent of women using the pill and 2 percent of women relying on condoms become pregnant during the first year of a sexual relationship. Most teens, however, don’t use contraception consistently and correctly—and it has proven difficult for comprehensive sex-ed programs to eradicate teenage laziness, forgetfulness, lack of discipline, and poor judgment in the heat of the moment. Studies show that only 28 percent of females and 47 percent of males use condoms consistently—as Wilcox notes in A Scientific Review of Abstinence and Abstinence Programs, his report for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

This might account for what scholars call the “typical use” of contraception. So, for instance, we know from the National Survey of Family Growth that 11.8 percent of sexually active women who use contraception nevertheless become pregnant within a year. The rates are even higher among teens: 14.6 percent of non-cohabiting and 30.6 percent of cohabiting teens become pregnant during their first year of contraceptive use.

And they say abstinence-only programs are ineffective.

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"only 28 percent of females and 47 percent of males use condoms consistently"? I'm just a geeky math guy, not a sophisticated and worldly sociologist, but I would think those two percentages would be identical. In fact, I'm surprised there's a female percentage at all.

And I thank God I'm so old I'm not a part of today's youth sexual milieu. Back to my not-so-squicky programming...

Gina Dalfonzo

You'd think so, wouldn't you? I'm not sure how that works, unless one group was under- or overreporting. Maybe we have some sociological minds reading this who could explain it?

Chris Clukey

Actually, Lee, there is such a thing as a female condom. If you need further details, there's an article at Wikipedia.

Steve (SBK)

Also, I think, to be the same, the partners would have to be 1-to-1 monogamous ratios.
mA y fB
mA n fB
mC n fB
mD n fB
mD y fE

male A has about a 50 % use rate with female B in this sample. female B has a 25% use ratio. males C & D have 0% with female B (male D has 50% with B & E) but the sample rate is not complete for them.
Just as a possibility... I think.

Jason Taylor

How much of this sort of thing gets skewed? One must assume people lie a lot about that sort of thing just like they always have. Even in our more-then-I-wanted-to-know age.


It's true that the data might be skewed- but I would think it would be skewed toward more use, since most "educated" teens know they should use condoms, and so report using them even if they don't.


Don't forget - there are also medications for contraceptive use too, nearly all of which are targeted at women. So the female percentage makes perfect sense - women using medication or a female condom; while the only solution (at present) for men (who wish to later have children) is to use a condom.

Steve (SBK)

TemporalBeing (interesting name), you make a good point.
To add to it, as we all know, abortion is only available to women, and is also pushed as a benefit to indulge the senses with no "consequences" (read: "baby").


Chris wrote: "If you need further details".

Chris, my definition of fogey-dom (as an aside to Gina) is when you have more old data you would rather forget than new data you want to absorb. And I'm definitely there.

But I still think that doesn't account for the statistical discrepancy - as others have commented.

Grizzly Bear Mom

The research I've seen shows that the less powerful and younger the woman, the greater the chances (I believe it was the same type of) contraception doesn't work. Married, white 40 year olds have a lower instance of unplanned pregnancy than single, darker, poorest, and shaking up for example. Yikes! It’s like the women least capable of self support risk impregnation in exchange for immediate food, shelter, “love”, etc.; which results in pregnancy that makes them less above to obtain these commodities in the long term.
As the least capable of parenting reproduce, creating a large dysfunctional population demonstrated by our increasing large illegitimate birth rate, they demand support from government programs funded by the functional. What can we do about it?

Gina Dalfonzo

That's a good question, Grizzly Bear Mom. For a start, to get back to Anderson's original article, I think we need far better teaching on sex -- from parents, the church, and educators -- than kids are getting now.

If I ever finish writing up the interview I did a while back with Dr. Meg Meeker, author of several books on teens and their relationships, you'll see some excellent thoughts from her on the subject.


Grizzly Bear Mom, you said: "single, darker, poorest, and shaking up for example"

What did you mean by "darker"?


When I was a kid (in the 60's early 70's) the women's movement focused a lot on getting women chances at better JOBS...What happened to this empowerment emphasis?

NOW the women's movement mainly focuses on getting bills thru Congress (see the THOMAS congressional site on proposed bulls) that give more and more ways to abort the children of women - and underage girls ).

And I hear Planned Parenthood is trying to "cut into" the mid to upper level "market" to attract the higher economic woman (underage girl)...(I have seen their billboard ads appear regularly in middle class Northwest Indiana!!!)

It's like the extreme part of the women's movement "gets off" on death i.e. they've backed off lots of their good work which would have better EMPOWERED young women and now
...they're part of the PROCESS that crushes girls, young women.

And those who are poor and non-white suffer the most.

(I would ask Mr. Obama - what about the HALF of unborn black children that are aborted? The highest percentage of any racial ethnic group?)

It was a big tragedy that the jobs equality push hit the SAME TIME as the late 1960's sexual revolution.

Grizzly Bear Mom

To me darker was shorthand for being people of color or those who are non white. The Black illegitimate birth rate is 71%, Hispanic is 51%, and White is 38%. If you add in abortion rates the demographics are even more startling. And these are the groups that are supposed to be Christian! I've never seen any statistics on Asian illegitimacy. What are they doing that they don’t have statistics like this?

When I teach my “children” about sex, I give them a hug and ask wouldn’t that feel better if I were a opposite sex person you were attracted to? and explain that God designed sex to bond a man and a woman together for life and to increase the probability of their children thriving so it’s a precious gift. I’ve found that teaching why we do something as opposed to not doing it resonates with children. I can see that the kids get it, and they even bring me their parents so they can learn it too. Any additional suggestions out there?

Peter S. Chamberlain

According to survey data on risky and life-threatening behaviors by the local school district, and the state and national survey data the district superintendent showed our local Ministerial Alliance while asking for help, 53% of local students twelve (12) years old and up used some form of contraception in some way the first and later times they had sex. The figure did not break this data down by sex but, like some others here, I'm confused how contraception could be used by different percentages of the parties to the same sex acts. Since I do know parents who have their girls on medical birth control, maybe the boys don't know. The percentages for condom use should be equal.

What teens I knew in privileged and confidential relationships, who had supposedly received some sex ed, including abstinence-only, did not know abot sex was mind-blowing. It fell to me to answer "You can't get pregnant the first time . . . can you?" from one nice, Christian girl. Yes, she was pregnant. Teen trainee employees asked me for advice on whether or not to "put out." Some were convinced that they had no choice.

Is there anything in "separation of church and state" that would prohibit schools from teaching teenagers how not to be conned ? The figures did not include whether they had been conned and seduced.

The sample was supposed and presumed to be representative of the district's student body as to race, ethnicity, and other factors, but nothing I have seen brtoke it down along those lines.

Another omission: Knowing from my law practice and other privileged and confidential relationships that far above the usually accepted national percentages had suffered incestuous rape as children, I wonder how many of those who answered the survey question had sex voluntarily and how many involuntarily with (a) a fellow student (b) an adult in a position of authority.

Ads I have read for other forms of contraception in women's magazines listed condom failure rates much higher than the overall number cited here, probably because of teens carrying them in wallets for months, improper use, etc.

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