Squaring the Culture

"...and I will make justice the plumb line, and righteousness the level;
then hail will sweep away the refuge of lies,
and the waters will overflow the secret place."
Isaiah 28:17

06/10/2008 (7:45 am)

Sexual Insanity Comes Home to New York

The New York Health Department released a study yesterday that found that 1 out of 4 New Yorkers has genital herpes. Of course, the rate for the rest of the nation is not much better; 1 out of 5 Americans has the disease. The study showed differing proportions by gender (women have it more than men), race (blacks more than whites), and sexual orientation (guess.)

One of the most striking characteristics of the Sexual Revolution has been the stubborn refusal of its victims to admit that they’re victims. For some reason, people are willing to suffer all sorts of diseases, relationship mayhem, poverty, and depression associated with the license to screw whomever, whenever, for whatever reason, rather than associate the pain with the behavior and change the behavior. This is insane. The nation relaxed its sexual mores in the 1960s, and since then we’ve generated an epidemic of venereal diseases, most of them unheard of before we started swapping partners so frequently. Worse than that, we’ve practically spawned an entirely new class of poor people, single women with children. The alarming rise in teenage depression and suicide is also related to the rise in sexual behavior among kids, and the majority of suicidal behavior among gays is related to broken relationships as well.

But, hey, sex is required for survival, and only disgusting religious prudes who can’t get any, raise objections to a libertine society. Right?

The article reporting the special New York epidemic introduced it along with America’s favorite Urban Myth:

Now might be the time for New Yorkers to take advantage of the free condom campaign the city promotes. A new study by the city’s Health Department found more than a quarter of adult residents are infected with the herpes virus.

The Urban Myth is that condom use can help prevent the spread of genital herpes. Birth control is not disease control. It’s a fact that the rise in the incidence of genital herpes — now possibly the most common venereal disease in America, or at best a close second behind HPV, human papilloma virus — has occurred during a period when condom use has been at its greatest. A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 2001 reported that condom use protects men somewhat, but does not protect women at all against the spread of herpes simplex virus II (I suppose this explains why more women than men are suffering from genital herpes).(1) According to an NIH survey of research the same year, there is not enough evidence to confirm that condoms prevent the spread of any STDs other than HIV.(2) Our culture’s emphasis on condoms as a means of keeping sex safe is an exercise in wishful thinking, not a sober strategy. It was accepted so readily because so many people are so eager to dismiss any restriction on their sexual appetites that they’ll grasp at whatever lame excuse comes down the pike. This is insane behavior.

Condoms help where body fluids are the transmission mechanism; herpes is spread by skin contact, not by fluids. Plus, the virus is smaller than many of the holes in the latex, so it can pass through on occasion. Of course, the kicker is that condoms only work when people use them, and sexual urges are perhaps the strongest antidote to self-discipline known to humankind. Condom use has tripled among sexually active teenagers — lots of publicity helps — but folks, if you increase the use of condoms by a factor of 3 while you’re increasing the incidence of sexual contact by a factor of 10, the spread of diseases accelerates. Again, this behavior is insane.

The solution is not, and never will be, more condoms. The solution has to be fewer sexual partners; the spread of disease is geometrically proportional to the number of sexual partners we have on average. Reduce the average number of sexual partners to one per person, and venereal disease will be completely eradicated in a single generation. 100% effectiveness may be too much to ask for here, but there was no epidemic of venereal diseases before 1960, so we know — we don’t think, we don’t hope, we know with 100% certainty — that cultural disapproval of sexual permissiveness prevents the sort of epidemic that our current level of permissiveness has produced.

Defending sexual license is simply, utterly insane. Did I say that before?

(1) A. Wald, A.G. M. Langendberg, K.Link, et al., “Effect of Condoms on Reducing the Transmission of Herpes Simplex Virus Type 2 from Men to Women,” Journal of the American Medical Association 285 (2001): 3100-3106.
(2) National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services, Workshop Summary: Scientific Evidence of Condom Effectiveness for Sexually Transmitted Disease Prevention, July 20, 2001.

Sex and the City TV Guide cover from http://www.tvguide.com. Cartoon from http://www.condom.co.nz. Rated NC-17, be forewarned.

Allow me to add a personal note here, for those of you who wonder whether I live what I preach. I am a recovering sex addict. My behavior during the time I was unmarried was far from exemplary. My behavior during my first marriage wasn’t so good, either, although I never had physical, sexual contact outside the marriage (as though flirting and internet contact weren’t bad enough). My position on sexual mores is the result of a lot of very personal, very painful experience. I was fooled, when I was young, into thinking success in sexual conquests would solve my other emotional angst. I was wrong. I see scores of teenagers at the high schools where I teach who are being fooled in the same manner. I spent a large percentage of my life destroying myself and my family with sex. Today, I’m watching my country destroy itself with sex. If drawing attention to it makes me a hypocrite, then I’ll be one, but there’s no way I’m going to stop saying what I’m saying. America’s sexual permissiveness is self-destructive, insane, and immoral.

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June 11, 2008 @ 2:21 pm #

Since I’m still waiting for marriage, my opinion is probably automatically discredited.

However, I would note that the HIV virus is -also- a virus, just like HPV. HPV gets through the pores. So. . .

Of course, HIV can have an up to 15 year incubation period, so drawing connections to condom use would not be feasible with the highly promiscuous behavior of the arsenokoits.

February 25, 2009 @ 11:09 am #

[...] this topic comes up: condoms don’t help. If you wonder what’s my basis for saying this, here’s where I discuss it in detail. The short version is, birth control is not disease control, condoms fail remarkably frequently and [...]

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