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Contraception, sex and abstinence. Any views?

Discussion in 'Alley of Dangerous Angles' started by Vukodlak, Jun 5, 2004.

  1. Vukodlak Gems: 22/31
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    [​IMG] In the recent few topics that dealt primarily with abortion, something that keeps coming up cought my attention. Namely, an opinion that pregnancy is the necessary consequence of sex. It is not - there are numerous methods to stop pregnancy from occuring. The failure rate ranges 1-4%, and the number decreases massively if more than one method is used. Abstinence has a 100% success rate in stoping pregnancy but is also somewhat difficult to achieve - especially among teenagers.

    It appears that there is a raging controversy in the US (although I am not really privy to the facts and I would appreciate insight from US citizens) about the shape that sex education should take in schools. Some are in favour of teaching sexual abstinence while others accentuate the importance of making kids aware of contraceptive methods available.

    On the other hand, the matter does not concern teenagers alone. Married couples or couples living together might not wish to have children - the advent of contraceptive methods allows them to engage in family planning and decide when (or if) they want to have kids.

    Again, contraception allows the implementing of birth control in countries with high rates of birth - thus alleviating some of the economic problems.

    I know that the topic is rather broad but I would love to hear the opinions of good denizens of SP...
     
  2. Grey Magistrate Gems: 14/31
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    From a purely statist perspective, neither contraception nor promiscuity are good - the former decreases the supply of hard-working citizens, the latter increases the supply of unstable, statistically-dangerous kids.

    Morally, although abstinence is best (and 100% successful in preventing pregnancy!), contraception-guarded promiscuity is still better than abortion. Kinda like carjacking - if you're hellbent on stealing someone's car, better to do it in such a way that doesn't kill the driver. (But don't expect any moral kudos for stopping just short of murder.)

    Practically, the "success" of either abstinence-only or contraception-promoting programs are dubious. It really depends on how people measure success. The abstinence side of the equation argues that teenagers may be taught to respect and love themselves and others enough to restrain their impulses. The contraception side has total contempt for teenagers, who are mere slaves of their hormones and can't possibly hope to learn self-restraint. Both tend to be "successful" with those teenagers that best fit their preconceptions. One thing is clear - it's easier to teach teenagers to be careful slaves than to be self-controlled free men.

    Personally, I believe birth control is fine for married couples. It may not be wise, but it isn't immoral. But I suspect my Catholic friends will disagree...
     
  3. Register Gems: 29/31
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    /me brags about the 100% chance he got to not make his girlfriend pregnant, abstinence for everyone!! :D
     
  4. Jschild Gems: 8/31
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    Well, abstinance only programs have to shown to be total failures, while comprehensive programs are shown to have decent but not great results. So i say teach them everything to be responsible so they can be careful when they have sex. I mean WHEN because that is the largest failing of Abstinance only programs. They delay sex by about a year but are far less likely to wear condoms or use protection when they do. Ignorance is not bliss in this case.
     
  5. Stefanina Gems: 18/31
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    I learned about contraception, what it does, how it works, etc in fifth grade Catholic school. Yep, you read that right. Now, there was emphasis on the fact that birth control is not condoned by the Church, but still, the school officials believed it important for the students to know.

    Needless to say, I firmly believe in teaching children about birth control.
     
  6. chevalier

    chevalier Knight of Everfull Chalice ★ SPS Account Holder Veteran

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    - What is the best contraceptive?
    - A glass of cold water.
    - Before or after?
    - Instead.


    I agree with Grey Magistrate when it comes to contraception vs abortion. While abstinence is better still, contraception is better than abortion in that it doesn't actually amount to murder.

    The base of all argument in favour of abstinence is that sex is not oxygen, water or food. It is entirely possible for a human to lead a normal healthy life without any sex altogether.

    However, here is where people will ask Why should I restrain myself?. This approach is very popular nowadays and just about any restriction is viewed as unduly hard.

    But there is a reason why abstinence is favoured over contraception, apart from religious beliefs about illictness of meddling with conception.

    Sex should not be reduced to a simple releasing of tension like, pardon the comparison, going to the toilet if the dinner presses on your intestines. Am I being vulgar? No more than life itself. For young people contraception is, after all, for a great part a means of making sure five minutes of purely physiological sex in disco club toilet won't bring kids about.

    Relationships, from acquaintances to intimate sexual relations should be built on mutual respect. Mutual consent doesn't really make it. The other person isn't an item, it's a living human being, with dignity and rights, not only biological drives. There is more to sex than releasing tension or experiencing a moment of pleasure.

    Rejecting abstinence altogether leads to situations where people simply have to have sex the moment they feel the urge. Like animals, they won't think a second even. Look at this conversation:

    She: Do you really believe that betrayal is so bad in all circumstances?
    Chev: Yes, I do. Circumstances may reduce moral guilt, but they don't make betrayal any less bad.
    She: What if my guy is away?
    Chev: You need to wait until he comes back.
    She: What if he's away for, like, two weeks?

    That's what you get when you teach in schools that abstinence is just sick babble of a couple of old priests.

    The result is people addicted to sex who don't really mind who's on the receiving end so long as they're getting sex. Some doctors see it as a kind of masturbation.

    Another convo:

    Chev: Haven't you ever thought about sticking to one man who would stick to you as well?
    She: Maybe one day...
    Chev: You don't have anyone you love? Well... more than the other people?
    She: I love many men.
    Chev: Wouldn't it be better to have someone who would actually care for you, instead of trading pleasure for pleasure?
    She: But... just one man... What if I feel I need to have sex and there's someone handsome about?
    Chev: What about restraining yourself?
    She: How?

    Or, yet another one:

    Chev: Why are you with him if you date other men and have sex with them?
    She: I want to be with him.
    Chev: Why?
    She: I don't know. I want to be with him. May'be I'll love him one day. I want to be with him, but I don't want to restrict myself.

    As a result, you have a generation of people who don't understand the word "fidelity". The world of promiscuity, cheating, begging for sex, demanding sex, unwanted pregnancy, unhappy marriages, single parents and stigmatised, neglected children.

    Humans have drives, but they have will to control them and reason to guide will. Abandoning control over drives leads to losing it. Losing control makes people slaves of their drives. So much of freedom.
     
  7. Vukodlak Gems: 22/31
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    Sorry, I'm not quite sure I follow. As a result of what?

    Oh, is that what teaching teenagers about contraception is? That statement seems to me slightly more inflammatory than the situation merits. As far as I am aware abstinence is covered in sex ed classes like it deserves to be: the only 100% effective method of contraception.

    Well, I can see that you have put a lot of serious thought into the subject and came up with that wonderfully even-minded and above all, representative example of young people using contraception. Seriously though, do you really think that somebody who is willing to have sex in a 'disco club toilet' (how very seventies...) will be put off from it by being taught abstinence at school? Even more seriously, do you think that their behaviour will change if they are not aware of contraception???

    [ June 06, 2004, 14:48: Message edited by: Vukodlak ]
     
  8. Grey Magistrate Gems: 14/31
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    It also is the only 100% effective method of maintaining personal honor and integrity. But these seem to carry much less value today than years past.
     
  9. Splunge

    Splunge Bhaal’s financial advisor Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    ...which seems to imply that unmarried people who are sexually active lack honor and integrity. This is a view which I disagree with.

    For the record, I don't have a problem with pre-marital sex. However, I also don't think that it is a matter to be taken lightly, or treated frivilously. IMO, there is a level of commitment implied by having sexual relations, and this commitment should be taken seriously. I also feel that it is essential that safe sex be practised.
     
  10. Grey Magistrate Gems: 14/31
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    It doesn't just seem to imply it, I meant it flat-out. My dictionary defines integrity as "incorruptibilty", "soundness", "completeness", and "honesty", all four of which are incompatible with premarital activity.

    (Sorry, I was having so much fun as the "holier-than-thou" guy in the last thread, I can't resist continuing - please don't get mad, Splunge!)

    I completely agree. The problem is that the commitment is, as you say, implied, so...

    ...well, this is going to sound REALLY religious, so everyone is free to discount it, but...

    ...I would posit (per both Christianity and the historic experience of the past several millennia) that sex is intended (among other things) to bond a man and woman together for life. Period. Y'know how people can say one thing aloud but communicate quite another with their body language? Well, sex is the ultimate body-language for promising a lifetime commitment. And when someone engages in (voluntary) sex beyond their life partner, it always involves fraud at some level - either self-delusion or deliberate deception.

    Because if the two lovebirds really WERE committed for life, they could just get married like, oh, everyone ELSE in the history of the world. The only reason to stop short of absolute marriage is the (perhaps unspoken) assumption that the commitment stops just short of absolute, too. But that non-commitment coexists uneasily with sexual body language that screams commitment. It pits emotions vs. the mind vs. the body vs. the spirit in a psychic civil war - often "won" by throttling our love and sensitivity, so that sex becomes "just" physical or "just" a means to keep the significant other locked in the relationship.

    That's the antithesis of integrity - a means to bond two people together becomes a wedge to divide a person within himself (or herself). What should be the private link between two individuals becomes a tool for men to prey on generic women and women to prey on generic men. And that's what's so disturbing - even revolting - about premarital (and extramarital) activity. It betrays - no, guts - one of the most beautiful and intense aspects of the human experience. And it can be done so carelessly that we hardly realize what we've lost.

    Ugh...I really shouldn't write so close to midnight...OK, rant's over. Back to my lonely single life!
     
  11. Dice

    Dice ★ SPS Account Holder Adored Veteran

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    I think I have to side with Splunge on this one. I don't have a problem with premarital sex either. As long as both participants are a few years older than the age of consent. Old enough to take seriously their actions and also take the necessary precautions.

    I also believe in marriage. The union of marriage means that you will only have sex with your spouse. What happens if you marry someone and then find out that you are sexually incompatible? I know very well that marriage is a lot more than just sex but sex is still very important in a healthy married relationship. Premarital sex with a boyfriend/girlfriend with whom a relationship has already been established can be an important test before the final commitment is made.
     
  12. chevalier

    chevalier Knight of Everfull Chalice ★ SPS Account Holder Veteran

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    One part of the commitment is not to make tests before committing. There are various other ways of checking compatibility and that compatibility relies on the same factor as the compatibility that can be experienced in sex. Whatever traits are displayed by the partner in bed, they aren't taken out of the moon - they are there always, all the time. Perhaps under a thin surface layer, granted, but that's how actually getting to know someone better works. There's no distinct sexual personality.
     
  13. Pac man Gems: 25/31
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    Pfffft.... you wanna have some fun in your life or is talking about commitment this and commitment that all that matters ?

    Sometimes i have a feeling that most people get married just because it's seems interresting to do it. Maybe because of the party that's involved, or the romantic period after the wedding, but the fact remains that in a lot of cases the relationship goes downhill right after all that, ending in millions and millions of divorces worlwide. Wanna know why that is ? Because humans, by nature, aren't monogamous.
     
  14. Splunge

    Splunge Bhaal’s financial advisor Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    Grey, I find it almost impossible to get mad at you (although sometimes, I sure wish I could :p )
    You're right - it does. So I will. :p
    That's odd - my dictionary says nothing about "incorruptibilty", "soundness", "completeness", and "honesty" being incompatible with premarital sexual activity. Yours must be one of them thar religious-type dictionaries.

    [ June 07, 2004, 15:27: Message edited by: Splunge ]
     
  15. ArtEChoke Gems: 17/31
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    You've either never had sex before, or you've taken some really good dumps.
     
  16. Splunge

    Splunge Bhaal’s financial advisor Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    I have got to remember not to drink coffee while reading ArtEChoke's posts.

    /me rushes off to get paper towel to wipe coffee off of desk that I spit out all over.
     
  17. chevalier

    chevalier Knight of Everfull Chalice ★ SPS Account Holder Veteran

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    Well, Pac Man, you raise some important points.

    It's true that many people don't realise the meaning of marriage, let alone the meaning of the word commitment. Yeah, the romantic honey moon, the big party, the dazzling white dress and so on.

    In that's the case, divorce is nearly inevitable result.

    That's why the Catholic church, for instance, stresses in its teaching that choosing the right partner consciously and responsibly is very important and that acting on a whim when life time commitment is in question is... is not the way. There have been cases of marriages annulled because of a person getting married who lacks a grasp of what commitment or fidelity is and is thus unfit to marry. It may work the same in Protestant Churches, in Judaism and Islam, but they allow divorce, so I'm not sure if they stress the importance of making an informed choice this much.

    Marriage isn't based on exclusive sex, or legalising sexual contacts with a person. It's meant to be based on love. Love isn't sustained by infatuation - infatuations come and go, and they pass quickly in most cases. A loving relationship is sustained by intimacy, closeness and friendship. It goes far beyond the physical. The idea is to think clearly when making decisions, especially ones involving other people or the whole of one's future life. A very emotion-laden moment isn't the right time to form one's views in the matter. It is crucial to value honour over lust. In a way, it means to value a concept more than tangible reality. But that's what humanity relies on.

    Actually, when you forgo sex until a certain stage, you have more time to focus on each other, the values, the dreams that you share... or that make you different. It gives you time and opportunity to develop a lasting friendship, and create a solid base for a loving relationship.

    It isn't gimping yourself. Non-marital sex produces a feeling of insecurity. The relationship is being reduced to sex and pleasing one another in this aspect - demands, demands, demands. The stress and pressure to meet the demands of the other person. To please and be pleased. To be good in bed. Not to appear unexperienced. To develop new techniques. To learn new positions. If it progresses this way (and in most cases it does), at the end of the tunnel there are one night stands and beating records... who's done more girls/boys, who's done the hat-trick, who's in the mile club and so on... Sounds impressive when talking over a couple of beers with friends, but is less impressive when one's on booty call.

    Marriage removes the insecurity and gives a loving, faithful, exclusive and committed relation where things begin to make sense and to give what they're really supposed to give, instead of elusive (and often illusive) momentary pleasure. It removes the problem of lack of trust, of insufficient confidence, of unequality of feelings as well and those are the problems associated with non-marital sex. This, of course, doesn't mean they can't exist in a marriage. As I said, choosing wisely is key. Marriage doesn't free people from having to work on the relationship, still. However, that's the point of it - pursuing perfection.

    The decision to have sex all too often results from low self-esteem in a girl who is afraid of her boyfriend leaving her if she doesn't complain with his sexual wishes. In this respect, she's being reduced to an item. Not like it doesn't apply to boys as well, though to a lesser extent, I believe. The idea of this is securing a long-term and committed relationship, paradoxically. But by what means? By giving or withholding sex, or by ways of playing on the other person's biological drives, perhaps by addicting the partner to oneself sexually? It's not worth it, and doesn't lead to anything good. The end never justifies the means and whatever good end achieved is always tainted by the means. Ultimately, it doesn't bring the intented results about fully, and the less than good means bounce and reflect back as skeletons in one's closet.

    Pain, lack of trust, unequal feelings of love, insecurity, competing with other people for the partner, that's what people remember from past non-marital sexual relationships. Brief experience of elusive pleasure wasn't worth it. It can't compete with giving oneself completely to each other, completely and forever, with perfect consent.

    At any rate, the idea of abstinence, or chastity, isn't to hold it against people who have or have had premarital or extramarital sex. That wouldn't achieve anything. Contrary, it's pursuing an ideal that, though difficult, isn't totally out of reach. Sometimes it saddens me to think how many people have been turned off from moral ideals by way those were used against them rather than in their favour.
     
  18. Pac man Gems: 25/31
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    Premarital sex gives a feeling of insecurity ? I don't know what the heck you're talking about. I don't feel insecure at all, just horny from time to time, and something needs to be done about that. :D
     
  19. Septic Yogurt Gems: 9/31
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    People should just do whatever the hell they want, if they get an STD or if someone gets pregnant, its their own damn stupid fault (unless it was planned).

    As for no contraceptive method being 100% useful, i'm sure using four of them will be enough to curb the existence of another damned little miracle.
     
  20. Ragusa

    Ragusa Eternal Halfling Paladin Veteran

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    I have tried abstinence, and I feel it is vastly overrated.
     
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