And that's why I get a perverse thrill out of American sex studies. They have a way of ripping off the veil for everyone to see how we actually feel about sex and not just the company line we mouth when the children are around.
My favorite all time favorite study was released by the Guttmacher Institute in 2007. It was entitled "Trends in Premarital Sex in the United States, 1954–2003". The title alone makes me giddy with excitement. The most important part of the study says this:
Of those interviewed in 2002, 95% reported they had had premarital sex; 93% said they did so by age 30. Among women born in the 1940s, nearly nine in 10 did. At the same time, people are waiting longer to marry; 2005 data show median age at first marriage is just over 25 for women and 27 for men.
That's right. All of us are horny hypocrites. It is almost a guarantee that every single abstinence-only educator and pontificating preacher had sex before they were married. (Hell, your grandparents most likely had sex before marriage. Wrap your head around that!) The same people saying that sex before marriage will leave you a sad husk that no one will love anymore and that you will get every single STD simultaneously did the horizontal mambo before marriage and turned out just fine.
This is one of the reasons I've been against abstinence only education for a long time. It's not just that is scientifically proven to not work and in many instances increases the number of teen pregnancies and STD rates. It is unrealistic model of how the world works. It's an outright lie. And if you lie to kids you'll have to face the D.A.R.E. effect where kids can no longer tell the truth from the propaganda and end up making bad decisions.
And I said all that to talk about a new study by Guttmacher that came out today called "Religion and Contraceptive Use". Another great title. The key findings of this study were:
- Among all women who have had sex, 99% have ever used a contraceptive method other than natural family planning. This figure is virtually the same among Catholic women (98%).
- Among sexually active women of all denominations who do not want to become pregnant, 69% are using a highly effective method (i.e., sterilization, the pill or another hormonal method, or the IUD).
- Some 68% of Catholic women use a highly effective method, compared with 73% of Mainline Protestants and 74% of Evangelicals.
- Only 2% of Catholic women rely on natural family planning; this is true even among Catholic women who attend church once a month or more.
The big things I want to point out are that 98% of Catholic women use contraception and only 2% use the "rhythm method". 98%! Try to wrap your head around that because I can't. For those not up on Roman Catholic dogma, contraception is considered a mortal sin. Pope Paul VI called it "seriously evil". The current pope, Benedict XV, said that handing out condoms "aggravates the problems" when it comes to AIDs.
And 98% of American Catholic women are collectively saying, "Fuck the motherfucking pope". They would rather risk the fate of their soul than be told how to control their bodies. To that I say, "You go, girl!" (Do people still say that?) But I also say, "Why the hell do you put up with this shit?" Obviously a bunch of old men in dresses who've (allegedly) never had sex shouldn't be giving other people marriage advice. People need to stand up and tell them to be more realistic.
Oh, that's right! Women aren't allowed to have leadership positions in the Catholic Church. Silly me. Maybe several centuries from now they'll change their minds about the whole thing. There might not be anyone left to care at that point.