Wednesday, 12 July 2006

Born-again virgin

As of today I'm up to one month without penetrative sex. Unless you count oral sex, obviously. Oh let's not get into the whole Clinton / Monica thing, pls.

True Love Waits... but not for more than three weeks, surely??
More about the effect of virginity pledges
My friend pointed out to me yesterday that I only have two weeks to go before I am officially a born-again virgin.

"It's like a muscle that doesn't get used; it becomes a lot tighter," she said.

I reminded her that the vagina is not like a muscle that doesn't get used, it is a muscle that doesn't get used.

And it certainly does get tighter. Which is of course nice. But so not worth the wait.

My friend, coincidentally, has a clinically depressed husband (although this is not the only reason for our close bond), and dismissed my complaints of having to go without for a month as "a regular occurrence" for her.

In which case, how do you cope, I ask?? They're married and everything!

Which brings me on to the real topic of this post.

The Silver Ring Thing.

And all other similar chastity-promoting, abstinence only-programmes.

As you might remember, an English schoolgirl was recently banned from wearing her Silver Ring to school, as it broke the school's no jewellery policy.

Which I'm sure it did, but I suspect that the head shared my view of chastity programmes.

Now my math isn't the strongest here, but I know that although chastity programme kids on average postpone their sexual debut by six months (which is actually a lot when you're 16 with a perpetual hard-on / moist virginal), they are also much more likely to have unprotected sex once they take the plunge.

Simply because they don't know any better.

The chastity programme which visited my high school (I don't know why they were allowed in, but then again the school was dominated by strictly Baptist Texans who took their kids out of English lit because there was too much talk about sex), for instance.

They did this exercise where they gave every kid a card with either of the letters A, B, C, D or E on it.

As we were all sitting in the auditorium, they asked the "A" person (there was only one) to stand up.

"You have HIV from a blood transfusion," they said.

Then they asked the "B" people to stand up. There were about four of them.

"You had sex with "A". You're infected."

Then the C's, who had sex with the B's, had to stand up, and so on. You get the picture. Until the whole auditorium was "infected".

Which is of course terrifying, and a very strong image, but also completely wrong.

In heterosexual vaginal intercourse, as far as I know the transmission rate is about 1/100.

In other words, if those four who had sex with A were all one-night-stands, the chance that they would all be infected is a lot smaller than 4/4.

They also gave the old adage about condoms having holes in them that HIV viruses can jump through.

And yes, occasionally a condom fails, or is faulty. But very rarely.

And then, of course, there is the chance of getting pregnant.

Because the chastity-only people are also invariably 110 per cent anti-abortion, this is as horrible of a prospect as HIV.

I therefore wonder, if any of my readers are more mathematically apt than me:

Is a 'pledging' couple, owing to their less frequent use of contraception, not more likely to get pregnant or spread infections than a 'non-pledging' one? Since, oddly, when they do have sex (which they almost inevitably do), they are of course much less likely to use contraception.

They are also much less likely to see a doctor if they suspect they have an STD.

Not to mention the mental trauma of a 15-year old 'virgin' engaging in anal sex because that is perceived as 'allowed'.

I don't know why it is that conservative religious people always have to resort to scaremongering in order to get their point across, be it threatening with hell, HIV or pregnancy.

Surely Christianity's central tenets are tolerance and love, and what is love if not informing your kids so they can make their own informed decisions about sex.

Rant over.

Meanwhile, I'll enjoy the re-growth of my hymen for the next few weeks. Sob.

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9 comments:

  1. I think a Hymen HNT would be nice :-)

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  2. Well, here's my thing:

    Condoms are, on average, 80% effective in preventing pregnancy if used correctly. Now. You can only get pregnant 3 days per month (ovulation). There's not that kind of limitation on disease transmission.

    Also, risk of transmitting HIV has a lot to do with the infected partner's viral load. The longer he/she has had it, the more concentrated the viral load is and the more likely transmission will occur.

    It has also been proven that the cervical cells of young adult women (generally under 25) are more susceptible to receiving the virus. I don't know why, exactly.

    Any potential portal of entry, presence of another STD, microscopic vaginal tears, irritation, etc also greatly increase the risk of transmission.

    Women are much more likely to become infected from a single exposure than men are. Not only is it common sense from an anatomical point of view, but it has also been proven.

    Abstinence isn't such a bad thing. They do make batteries, you know.

    Have fun!

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  3. Babs RN: It's just a pity those batteries aren't much use in Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi and Texas...

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  4. Babs:

    Thanks for your views.

    Let me say that I am fully for people to make their own choices with regards to sex and sexuality.

    However, they should be informed ones.

    First of all, I think you'll find that condoms are a lot more effective than 80%. According to the British National Health Service, male condoms are 98 per cent safe if used correctly. Female ones are just behind with 95 per cent:

    http://www.nhsdirect.nhs.uk/articles/article.aspx?articleId=414&sectionId=8207

    On the same note, condoms obviously work better if the female is well lubricated; ie. if both parties know what they are doing. Which kids can either learn from porn or good sex education. I know which one I prefer (and no, all you guys out there, it's not porn!).

    Secondly, you should of course never have unprotected sex with someone unless / until you have both been screened for STDs. The way to achieve a better screening rate and fewer infections, in my opinion, is to give young people places to go and the confidence to go there. As far as I understand, this is not best done by scare-mongering and telling people that condoms are 80 per cent safe etc.

    I agree about the cervical cell and HIV transmission rates, and you can add to that the HPV, which there is also a higher risk for in early debutantes with several partners.

    The way to combat this, however, is by having condoms to hand and the confidence to use them. Not by being scared into masturbating until you're 24 and get married to someone who says they've been abstinent, but actually hasn't, and then gives you chlamydia.

    I have had all my three long term boyfriends thorougly tested before giving up the condoms. I don't think these three unprotected sex partners means I'm irresponsible or reckless or in danger.

    I have also used a lot more than 100 condoms in my life. Never, not once, has one failed. Which doesn't mean they never do, but if you are careful, they very, very rarely do.

    If you are abstinent for religious reasons, that's completely differnent, of course. The ability to make an informed decision once you get married, however, is still important. What I really detest is people who promote abstinence for religious reasons, then pretend it's for safety.

    You're right, abstinence is not a bad thing. I have personally been absent by choice for longer periods several times. But that has been an informed choice. If kids are raised responsibly, they become responsible teens and adults, not overprotected and gullible overgrown children who believe any scare in vogue on the internet that week.

    And as I'm sure you're aware of, a vibrator can never take the place of a man. For one, it can't do the dishes...

    Hope to have you visiting again :o)

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  5. One month and your bitching. Try four bloody years. Slight exagerration, but pretty much the truth. I was led to believe as a kid that women would die if they weren't made passionate love to at least one hundred times a day. Another slight exagerration. Now I'm disillusioned, and so are all my mates, especially the idiot who has just got hitched to a girl who's not into it anymore now that she feels secure. Ahhhhh. We'd kill for one month, we would.

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  6. Oh I'm all about informed choices too. No argument there. I also believe in responsibility and accountability in those choices, something that is sadly lacking from mainstream society anymore.

    Found you through IT2M, btw.

    And, Feminist, I AM in Georgia, hun. :)

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  7. Oh yeah. One more thing. I even tell my teenage kids this:

    I don't expect them to wait until they're married. Fact is, only an idiot buys a car without test-driving it and that's only a five year financial commitment, not a lifetime physical/emotional/financial/spiritual commitment. It's important to establish compatibility in all aspects of coupled life before choosing to commit to one mate for life. That said, I also tell them that I do expect them to wait until they are with someone they can trust their lives and their hearts with.

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  8. Oooh... what an interesting and intelligent discussion!

    My "muscles" are getting tighter too, not because of abstinence (take that as a given), but because of the furious kegel-ing I have been doing. I could give birth to a baby elephant and my pelvic floor would be intact right now. Yeah.

    WDKY - a hymen HNT? Are you some kind of fucking sicko? Or a gynaecologist? No wait, they're the same thing.

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  9. at 2 am with way too much to drink... I think your post was way hot but then again I may regret it in the morning. Please tell me whom I should send apologies to.

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Thanks for not just lurking..

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