Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Myth of the Super Sperm

Over the past week, I went skiing with a group of adult friends.  Everyone there was part of a couple, some married, and others, like myself, in a long term, committed relationship, and no one with children above the age of six.  We went out and had a wonderful time on the slopes, speeding down steep hills, one turn away from a total wipe-out, going until our legs wobbled on the skis.

Back at the cabin for dinner, the conversations covered many funny and incredibly awkward topics, as you would expect with a mostly MALE group.  One of my fellow skiers started to tell a story about how his nephew came to be…that even though his sister was on birth control and she and her partner had used a condom, she had still gotten pregnant.  “That can only mean one thing” he said,  “the guy has Super Sperm”.  Ummm-What? I had to stop him right there. 

I explained about user error and failure rates of birth control and condoms, as the group looked at me with a mixture of confusion and nervousness (“OMG-you don’t think she’s gonna do a condom demo, do you?”)  Come to find out, his sister took her birth control pills like you and I take Tic-Tacs.  And they were using condoms that he had in his car…which, in South Carolina, is sure to get above the recommended temperature for condoms.  “But wait,” I told him, “you didn’t admit all of this in your original story.  I had to dig for it.  What if you had been telling this to a teen that was thinking about becoming sexually active.  They would think that birth control and condoms can fail without warning, for no reason, so why use them.”  Admittedly, he said that when he told this story, he didn’t “ID” people, but he had never thought about it like that. That’s the thing, we young adults, in our committed relationships, without teenagers…we don’t think about how our funny stories can affect those young people who might be listening. 

I know I was the ski party pooper that night (“Right, so now that that’s done, who wants another plate of spaghetti…”), but I hope that all of my friends realized how they should be talking positively about condoms and contraceptives, which they continue to use in their lives, so that teens around them can learn about the truth, instead of myths about the “Super Sperm”.

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