The Effect of Unprotected Sex
The phrase ‘unprotected sex’ refers to sexual intercourse without the use of condoms or contraceptives. The effects of unprotected sex include pregnancy and exposure to sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). While protective measures are simple and easy to implement, they are often neglected. There seem to be three common reasons that unprotected sex is practiced: religion, illiteracy and cultural expectations.
Firstly, contraceptives such as condoms, diaphragms and birth-control pills are commonly used to avoid unwanted pregnancies. Over the last decade or so, the female condom has also entered the market, but has not found as much success or visibility as has the male condom. While condoms appear to be the most reliable way to avoid conception, no current method of contraception is entirely failsafe. Secondly, condoms may also be used to protect the user from sexually transmitted diseases. STDs such as AIDS may be transmitted via fluids such as semen and vaginal discharge, and are most frequently acquired through unprotected vaginal or anal sexual intercourse.
While unwanted pregnancies and exposure to diseases may be avoided with little effort, not everyone has the means to do so. Catholicism, one of the world’s dominant religions, forbids contraception and abortion. A woman born into a Catholic household that follows the laws of the religion with orthodox adherence may have no choice but to submit to the demands of her family. Such a system severely curtails the individual’s ability to be assertive and independent.
Another reason that unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases may thrive in certain parts of the world is illiteracy. Unsurprisingly, illiteracy rates are high in regions that are overpopulated. Poverty is usually a significant cause of illiteracy in developing regions: children are kept from school or forced to drop out in order to help support their families. Without the benefit of even a high school education, which almost certainly includes sex education in most countries, such children grow up into adults who procreate irresponsibly and without thought.
Finally, cultural expectations are perhaps the worst offender in this regard. Even in highly developed societies, women are constantly exposed to the idea that motherhood is an intrinsic part of being a woman. Same-sex relationships are either not considered ‘legitimate’ enough to be legally allowed, or are subjected to the same pressures of marriage and adoption as are heterosexual partnerships. Until cultural mindsets are thoroughly revised, the problem of unprotected sex and its troubling consequences will persist.