Take for example a clinical study in Atlanta, Georgia reported in the Jan. '09 edition of Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine. Girls who had sex in the previous 14 days, while using condoms 100% of the time, were tested for the presence of sperm in their vaginal fluid.
The clinic saw 1,585 girls between March 1 and August 31, 2004. Of those 1,585 fifteen-to-twenty-one year olds, 847 (53%) reported they were sexually active. Of the 847 who were sexually active, 715 agreed to participate in the study. The sexually active females were asked how frequently they had used condoms in the last 14 days. There were 186 girls who claimed they used condoms consistently. Vaginal swabs were then taken from those girls.
The swab was then tested for the presence of sperm.
Of the 186 who claimed they had used condoms consistently, 34% (63 of the girls) had evidence of sperm in their vaginal fluid.
The authors of the study didn’t try to explain why these girls had sperm in their vaginal samples, but they suggested possible reasons could be: misreporting condom use because its more socially acceptable (in my world we call that "lying") or incorrect use (did you know there are 27 steps to using a condom correctly?)
[Note: Twenty-seven could be an exaggeration. I heard a medical professional use this illustration at a conference on sexually transmitted infections... still it's not "just like putting on a sock" as the ads say]
Please think this through very thoughtfully. You start with 715 sexually active girls. Only 26%, or 186 girls, said they were using condoms consistently. That means the other 529 girls were NOT using condoms consistently.
Doesn't anyone understand condoms are pass or fail?
If your son or daughter had sex with their sweetheart twice in one weekend, but they only used condoms ONE time, they're not 50% at risk of getting pregnant or infected, they're 100% at risk!
And even if they did use condoms, 34% of those girls STILL had sperm in their vaginas after 2 weeks! So if she used a condom on Saturday, but ovulated on Monday, she might still get pregnant!
It is highly unlikely that 100% of sexually teens will ever use condoms 100% correctly 100% of the time. To truly eliminate the risk of pregnancy/infection that is what is necessary. But nothing ever shakes the confidence the anti-abstinence crowd has in the Almighty Condom.
Every few days or weeks there's another news item about how abstinence is "unrealistic" (thank you Bristol Palin.) But if most teens don't use condoms correctly and if sperm is still present up to 14 days later, am I'm the only one who gets that relying on condoms to prevent teen pregnancy is even MORE unrealistic than sexual self-control?
It's also worth pointing out that sperm is not nearly as hearty as many sexually transmitted viruses. So if sperm can still be around after 14 days, you have to wonder, what else might be swimming around?
Think about the teens you love.
Think about the results you have seen when they say they have "cleaned" their room.
Think about the SAME STANDARD being applied to condom use.
Be afraid. Be very afraid.