What Is Safe Sex?

By Randy Blackaby

From the classroom and television screen today come a barrage of messages to both teenagers and adults advocating “safe sex” in the midst of an epidemic of sexually transmitted diseases. The message is powerful and powerfully needed.

Sadly, the message is distorted by euphemisms and failure to fully understand and teach what real safe sex entails.

As a result, the only real winners in the present campaigns are the condom manufacturers. Safe sex is being equated with getting men to wear “protection.”

Equating condom use with safe sex is ignorant euphemistic nonsense. Malcolm Gladwell, who has covered the AIDS epidemic for the Washing-ton Post, reported in the June 21 issue of The New Republic: “When condoms are used, they aren’t used very well, particularly by those who need protection the most. This fact has been obscured by the repeated and misleading use of the statistic that condoms are 97 to 98 percent effective as a barrier against pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease. The number, however, only refers to those occasions when the condom is used perfectly, every time … Michael Rosenberg, a researcher at the University of North Carolina, recently estimated from available clinical evidence how much condoms in typical use among high-risk groups lowered the risk of acquiring HIV. His conclusion: about 30 percent. This is safe sex?”

So, then, if condoms are not the route to safe sex, what is?

A great first step would be an understanding of the purpose of sex. It is much more than a tool for making babies and being sensually gratified. Both of these results are possible, probable and proper under the right conditions. But sex, as it was de-signed by our Creator, was designed to join and bring into physical, emotional and spiritual unity a man and a woman.

Safe sex will require this unity. Only a monogamous relationship can provide this form of safety. Men and women are designed differently but compatibly. What one lacks physically or emotionally the opposite sex can provide. As a result, safe sex requires a heterosexual relationship.

You see, as terrible as the scourges of venereal disease and AIDS are, they really are the minor and peripheral issues in the overall matter of safe sex.

Many do suffer physical disease because of unsafe sex but more men and women suffer depression, heart-wrenching sadness and sense of failure, guilt, shame and emptiness. Divorce is one of the societal diseases destroying the family underpinnings of society as the result of unsafe sexual attitudes and practices.

So what is the answer? The prophylactic for physical, emotional and spiritual disease comes from our Maker. He commands us to “flee sexual immorality” and to view marriage as honorable and the safest route to safe sexuality.

Sex is more than a satisfying physical act. It is highly complex and gross damage to bodies and psyches can result from uneducated practices like pre-marital, extra-marital, homosexual and incestuous sex.

Safe sex can be achieved only through education. But that education must cover the whole picture of human sexuality, including its moral aspects. To equate safe sex with the use of a little roll of elastic plastic only shows the degree of gross ignorance that our society still has about sex.

Guardian of Truth XXXIX: 8 p. 1
April 20, 1995