Green agenda and sexual health policy

Andrè Vella, secretary general, ADŻ-Green Youth, Balzan

In response to Charlene Valen­tina Giordimaina’s letter (Holistic Sex Education, November 10), I would like to draw her attention to ADŻ-Green Youth’s holistic policy towards sexual policy, which can be found on our blog at https://maltagreenyouth.wordpress.com/ . Once she goes through it, she will realise that our view of a holistic youth sexual health policy goes beyond the simple use of contraceptives. It encompasses an educational campaign to prevent sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and to adopt safer sexual practices.

It is for this reason that we decided to disparage Gozo Bishop Mario Grech’s comments directed at a truly holistic approach to sexual health. For a campaign based solely on the notion of abstinence is not effective. In fact, our view concurs with Philip Carabot’s and others who dismissed Bishop Grech’s comments.

In today’s day and age, we should move away from mediaeval myths about contraception. Although Ms Giordimaina does not seem to think so, holistic teaching incorporates contraception. Does she think that teachers are currently failing or “abusing” students by teaching them also about contraception?

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Condoms …. and a “Culture of Pleasure”

Gozo Bishop Mario Grech has stated that teaching students about contraception encourages them to give in to the “culture of pleasure”. He even goes to say that this is tantamount to abuse. There have been many agreements and disagreements on what the Bishop said and I don’t feel like repeating them once again. I would just like to point out something quite dangerous in the link between the most popular contraceptives – condoms – and the “culture of pleasure”. Something that many seem to be ignoring.

My fear is that many people especially young ones, do not use condoms, not because they don’t know about them or could not afford them, but due to the idea that condoms diminish pleasure. I won’t enter the merits of whether this is true or not (I think it’s something completely subjective). However it is enough to say that one is better safe than sorry. I don’t know of any study confirming this, however I strongly suspect that a substantial number of unwanted pregnancies where condoms were not used at all are the result of this “without a condom it’s more fun” mentality. The amount of STD’s and STI’s transmitted due to this mentality is probably even larger.

Aside from the other arguments on this issue, I would like Mgr Grech and those that agree with him to include this into the equation: Is it possible that the same “culture of pleasure” he is criticizing happens to be the reason why condoms are used even less? If that is the case wouldn’t it be more appropriate to teach our students not only the technicalities related to sex, but how to value their own and their partner’s body without expecting the unrealistic – abstinence? That it is much wiser to diminish slightly the pleasure (if it’s the case) and prevent the undesirable?