Saturday, 31 December 2011

Latex, Sex Education, and the Future Nobel Prize Winner

Recently, I bumped into an old classmate from college who shared somewhat shocking news. According to him, Bacolod City is the 2nd most promiscuous city in the Philippines, next only to Manila.  I was like, no, that can’t be true! But as this old classmate of mine is in the business of selling condoms and pills, and his company sells about 164,000 pieces of rubber in the city every month on average, then there must be some truth in his seemingly controversial statement.  164,000 pieces of condoms sold in the entire city for a month translates to roughly 5,467 condoms a day! I cannot even begin to imagine how large an area this number can occupy, but for sure, that is a lot of rubber finding their way to the city’s garbage dumps indeed!

If condoms and pills can stop our population from ballooning out of control, I am all for it. But I am a bit worried though about the impact of used condoms to the environment. 5,467 condoms a day in Bacolod alone, what about other cities? Manila? Cebu? Davao?  How about the rest of the world?  Those will have to go somewhere! And since latex is non-biodegradable, they will stay for a really long time in the environment.  

I really hope somebody comes up with biodegradable latex that will do the job properly (strong and will not tear) but at the same time, degrade as soon as it comes in contact with the soil. Whoever can invent this will become a very rich man---a biodegradable condom is even worthy of a Nobel Peace Prize, don’t you think?  Its hitting two birds with one stone—keeping the human population down without damaging the earth.  Heck, if there is such a publicly traded company who produces biodegradable condoms now, I would be among the first to buy stocks! 

But until that time comes, then we will have to stick to what we have. Heck, we have to promote it to more people actually. Allow me to do some pencil pushing here.  Based on  2007 stats from the Philippines National Statistical Coordinating Board (NSCB), there  are 499,497 people in Bacolod.   If the average annual population growth is 2%, that figure should be roughly 540,671  in 2011. The average number of condoms used daily in Bacolod  in 2011 is about 10% of the population figure.  Assuming that the condoms bought were used immediately, and that majority of young people prefer to use it over pills, then this figure is really low.  If the number of registered voters (18 years and older) for 2010 is  259,786 (NSCB data), and even if 1/3 of these are single, (and therefore sexually active outside of marriage) then there is still a huge gap in the number of people who should be using condoms.   No wonder there is a lot of teenage pregnancy going on in these parts!

My old college friend also mentioned that most of their programs are targeted towards increased use of condoms among young people, which I think is a worthy thing.  However, I was surprised when he mentioned that they have to go all the way to the top management of multinational BPO companies just so that the sex education program can lift off from the ground, because apparently, the local managers are saying that they are conservative organizations. Oh common!!!! Denial will only worsen the problem, not solve it.  The same comment goes out to our DepEd.  Denying sex education to our young people will not lessen the incidence of teenage pregnancies or pre-marital sex among young people—it will only make them ignorant of the basics and thus make them more vulnerable to the dangers of unprotected sex.
I remember back in high school, we were made to watch a film of a woman giving birth. Literally. Seeing the baby emerge from an  small hole that became impossibly wider and wider.  All of the girls in my class were screaming as silently as we could manage—OMG! OMG! I will never have kids! EWWWWW!!! All of the boys were squirming in their seats as well and  I am quite sure they were shocked too. Giving birth to a baby is not at all romantic—and it is what will happen when you have sex. Our teacher explained everything in a logical, matter of fact way. If you don’t want to get pregnant and go through this, do not have sex. And this is probably why none of my high school classmates ever got pregnant—during high school at least.   Fast forward to 2011, and pregnant high school girls are an everyday thing.  Our teachers then must have been doing something right back then.

So, to my high school teacher who showed us that gross, eye opening video, thank you. Thank you for instilling in our young minds that the ultimate goal of sex is to have a baby.  Thank you for not lecturing to us instead that we should not engage in sex because it is a sin in the eyes of God, even though we are a sectarian school, and we knew that already anyhow. Thank you for logically explaining to us the wonderful ways of how human beings came to be. I would not have been a biologist if not for that. May future educators be as enlightened and as effective as you were. And I hope that in the near future, some bright kid will come up with the formula for biodegradable latex and get that Nobel Prize. Really, it will be one of the best things that humans can ever invent. J

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