1Flesh: putting the 'sexy' back in abstinence.

Author:Goodwine, Nina
Position:Up Front

High divorce rates. Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Abortion. The world is in bad shape, and the sorry state of affairs can be traced to one invention: birth control. If we didn't have to fuss with condoms, rings, patches, and pills, our marriages would be healthy and happy. We'd love each other in a way we never have before. And our sex lives would be, in a word, awesome.

That's what one group suggests, anyway. In March, blogger Marc Barnes corralled a fed-up bunch of college students to lead the revolution against artificial contraception, an ill they insist has taken the "sexy" out of married life. Dubbing their mission "1Flesh," they enlisted a designer to give their website hip social media appeal, complete with meme-style graphics similar to the kinds younger folks like to share on Facebook. But while those images look cool, they make some serious claims: Condoms haven't decreased the spread of HIV; oral contraceptives kill sex drive; the pill increases breast cancer risk and hasn't reduced the unplanned pregnancy rate. These are pretty scary "facts" proffered by 1 Flesh. Their goal? To promote abstinence till marriage--which presumably eliminates the risk of STDs--and to endorse a "natural" method of family planning called the rhythm method, or, as they prefer to label it, the Creighton Model FertilityCare System. As radical as they sound, 1Flesh's arguments against birth control aren't entirely without merit. A 2010 German study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine linked hormonal contraception to decreased interest in sex, and that same year researchers at Ohio State University College of Medicine found that a decrease in libido could be a result of long-term oral contraceptive use. But of course, correlation does not equal causation. And while the National Cancer Institute does indicate that oral contraceptives can increase the risk of breast cancer in younger women, that risk level shrinks after ten years or discontinued use of the pill. Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention make it entirely clear that latex condoms, when used correctly and consistently, are highly efficient in inhibiting the spread of HIV. So while 1Flesh is right about some things, they're also spreading dangerous misinformation, the kind many young people aren't equipped to dispute.

What 1Flesh doesn't openly express, at least for those who haven't already caught on, is that it's a religiously based movement, even if there...

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