Amanda Brennan, Intern
When did sex become dangerous? That’s the question my theology professor, Fr. Dan Pattee, posed in class last semester about the well-known slogan, “safe sex.” Since when did the act intended to preserve the human race and to unite married couples into deeper union become unsafe? The answer is simple: when it was taken out of its original context and manipulated by man’s sensual appetites.
Now, the world faces an AIDS and STD epidemic along with a culture rampant with premarital sex, pornography, adultery, divorce, abortion, teenage pregnancy, single-parenthood, and more. Many believe the solution to sexually active adolescents comes with the launching of “safe sex” programs, while others think abstinence programs to be effective. This difference of opinion can be seen by the recent controversy behind the release of the “National Survey of Adolescents and Their Parents: Attitudes and Opinions about Sex and Abstinence.” Back in August of 2010 the study performed by an entity of HHS was only partially released until enough people complained and some even filed the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Debate came after the survey, which reviewed 1,000 adolescents between the ages of 12 and 18 and their parents, found that 60% of teens believed only married people should have sex and 70% of adults believed their children should wait until marriage to have sex. Furthermore, 68.3% of teens responded that they would like a family member to educate them on sex, and 92.3% of parents agreed, wishing that they or someone in their family would teach their teens about sex. As Catherine Snow of Citizen Link explains, the study “does not support the administration’s objective – or that of vocal “safe sex” activists – of eliminating all abstinence-education funding.” So, what kind of sexual programs should be advocated, “safe sex” or abstinence?
In a perfect world, neither. But that really isn’t an option today. There is a disconnect between parent and child on issues of sex. For various reasons kids are not receiving sex education at home like once before, and as a result it has to be taught at school. MARRI research shows over and over the importance of an intact married family. A home where a mother and father are living out human sexual love is where healthy sex education is fostered. The breakdown can be seen in the following MARRI study: for women under the age of 18, first sexual intercourse occurs at 52% in an intact married family, while with single-parenthood it is above 70%.
The battle continues to decide which education approach will prevail, “safe sex” or abstinence, but the recent survey must not be overlooked. Sex is sacred and it should be explained in a sacred environment. That environment is within an intact married family. As demonstrated above, both parents and teens desire that sex education be nurtured in the family. Sex is not dangerous; it is blessed and beautiful within the marriage of a man and a woman.