Monday, August 23, 2010

If this is a perfect world...

If this is a perfect world, everyone will only engage in sexual intercourse after they are of legal age, are married and are ready in all aspects, emotionally and otherwise, for it.

If this is a perfect world, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) will not exist.

If this is a perfect world, engaging in unprotected sex will not result in unwanted pregnancies.

However, a perfect world this is not. Instead, this is a world in which the availability and accessibility of sexually stimulating information, images and pornography is widespread, if not rampant. This, combined with the young's innate curiosity and desire for sex, will most likely result in an increased likelihood of more young people engaging in pre-marital sex with all its possible negative consequences. It will be foolish to pretend otherwise.

The pertinent question will thus be: how do we manage such a phenomenon?

One possible way would evidently be to have a total ban and suppression of all materials that may stimulate sexual desire in individuals. This however is evidently most unrealistic and impractical.

Another suggested solution would be to educate and warn young people about the dangers of engaging in unprotected pre-marital sex in the hope that this will deter them from doing so.

Recognising the insufficiency of this solution (in that there may be those who remain undeterred from engaging in unprotected pre-marital sex despite knowing the possible dangers), it has been argued that this solution should be complemented with educating young people about how to use contraceptives such as condoms.

There is however perhaps a significant degree of opposition against teaching young people how to use contraceptives, especially condoms. Opponents of this argue that teaching young people how to use condoms is equivalent to sending the "moral" message that it is okay to engage in pre-marital sex just as long one uses "protection" while doing so. Also, some have argued that contraceptives, specifically condoms, do not offer total effective protection against STDs or unwanted pregnancies. Hence, as these people would argue, emphasis should only be put promoting sexual abstinence amongst the young and not on teaching them how to use contraceptives.

While I am no advocate of pre-marital sex, I am however of the opinion that it is perhaps virtually impossible to prevent it totally through educating the young about sexual abstinence. Despite our best efforts, there will most likely still be a significant number of young couples who will be engaging in pre-marital sex. Thus, in light of this and the possible dangers that may arise from unprotected sex, I think I would prefer young couples to be using "protection" during sex.

As for the objections about the wrong "moral" message being sent out by teaching the young how to use contraceptives and the supposed incomplete effectiveness of contraceptives, I will, if I may, answer them with the following analogy.

As you all would evidently know, there are safety features, such as seat belts and air bags, built into cars. Thus, if we follow the logic of the opponents of teaching the young how to use contraceptives, such safety features are sending the "moral" message that it is okay to drive recklessly and hence, we should not have them in cars. Also, despite having such safety features, traffic accidents do still occur and people are hurt, if not killed, by these accidents. Hence, instead of having these safety features in cars, we should focus only on educating drivers about the dangers of reckless driving and about the need for them to abstain from reckless driving (in fact, it will perhaps be best if they abstain totally from driving).

I hope you all understood what I was attempting to say with the above analogy.

In the end, I suppose if we look at it pragmatically and dispassionately, the best way forward will be to teach young people both about sexual abstinence and how to properly use contraceptives.

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