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Carlos Beltramo, Alfonso Osorio de Rebellón Yohn, Jokin de Irala Estévez, , Researchers at Institute for Culture and Society of the University of Navarra
Without losing 99
In analyzing sexual and reproductive health programs, it is striking to note that they are often based on the idea that most adolescents have had, are having, or will soon have sexual intercourse. This premise presents at least two problems. The first is that this idea has little to do with recent scientific programs of study , which indicates that the proportion of 16-year-olds who have already had sex is less than 30%. Therefore, these sexual Education programs leave out of their message up to 70% of young people of that age. These adolescents would benefit from a positive and strong message that reinforces their wise decision not to have sex because they would not be at risk of ending up with relationship problems, pregnancies or sexually transmitted infections. Instead, the message is implicitly conveyed to them that they are on the wrong side of the statistics. These programs do little to make their free decision not to have sex seem like a wise choice and that, by making it, they are not weird people.
The second problem is that these programs focus exclusively on two messages: affirming that it is good to let oneself be carried away by desires, and promote the use of contraceptives, especially condoms. There are even many programs that theoretically accept that the healthiest behavior is not to have sexual relations until the establishment of a stable and permanent couple (such as marriage), but they focus on internship with the greatest energy on condom use training. This contradiction, in which they are told one thing and the opposite in the same program, ends up undermining the message that is necessarily a priority for adolescents: the best thing for them is not to have sex, and the use of condoms can reduce the risk, but in no case eliminate it entirely.
It is important to inform about the effects of having sex and about the difference between having sex with or without contraception. However, informing with the approach described is equivalent to taking care of the lost sheep without ensuring that the remaining 99 are properly cared for and protected.
What happens at internship is that young people who, because they do not have sexual relations are not at risk, are pressured by the environment to have them and therefore end up increasing their risk, even if they use condoms (www.unav.es/eash). In addition, young people are very interested in understanding what love has to do with sexuality and what the relationship is between desire, falling in love and love: these so-called comprehensive programs often ignore this question. Young people are 20 times more interested in the characteristics of love than in the effectiveness of condoms (www.joveneshoy.org).
Let us also remember that not counting on families in the preparation for the love that young people desire is to carry out a sexual Education that has more to do with veterinary medicine than with the integrality proper to the human being (www.educarhoy.org).