Dr. Ryan MacPherson: Saved Sex Is the Only Safe Sex
As a teenager, I hear the media telling my peers and me about sex more than any other topic. I have to ask myself two questions:
What are they telling us? And, are we listening? Overwhelmingly, they are telling us about "safe sex." And it seems we are listening. I don't have to cite statistics to prove that teenagers are having premarital sex and getting pregnant. Even in one of our own Wisconsin Synod high schools three recently graduating classes each had one girl who had given birth the summer before her senior year. And for every pregnant teenager, there is one other person who got her pregnant.
But these are only the symptoms. Premarital promiscuity is a visible sign of a much greater, but less obvious, problem: People think that it is safe to sin.
"Safe sin" is what the world really promotes. How many commercials encourage married couples to use condoms as birth control? None. Instead, condoms promise safe sex and safe sin to those who are not even married. These promises are, of course, empty. Even if latex could prevent the spread of venereal disease and the risk of pre-marital pregnancy (and it cannot), it could never prevent the spiritual consequences of sin. Safe sin and safe sex are lies from Satan no different from the first lie he told Eve: "You will not surely die" if you eat the forbidden fruit (Genesis 3:4)
It gets worse: a newer definition of safe sex seems to replace the need for condoms altogether. "Between any two people who are virus-free, all sexual activities are as safe as they ever were," writes Alex Comfort, author of The New Joy of Sex. Again, this "improvement" to God's original plan might create safe sex, but certainly does not create safe sin.
Abstinence is the only realistic alternative, but many consider it unrealistic because "people will do it anyway." Such reasoning gives in too easily. People will only do it anyway if we allow them to do it anyway. Giving out condoms - "just in case" - encourages rather than discourages promiscuity.
Those who have fallen prey to the myths of safe sex and safe sin must understand that no sin is safe except one: a forgiven sin. A sin confessed before the feet of our crucified Savior is the only safe sin. And saved sex - sex saved for marriage - is the only form of safe sex.
Dr. Ryan C. MacPherson received a Ph.D. in History and Philosophy of Science from the University of Notre Dame in 2003. He presently teaches American History, History and Philosophy of Science, and Ethics at Bethany Lutheran College. He and his wife Marie live in Mankato, MN.