Sex Education Fail: Contraception Misconceptions

By Casey Lynn
Contributing Writer, [GAS]

Just when you thought it was disturbing enough that 75% of high school students in Oklahoma can’t name the first U.S. president (and less than half can name the two U.S. political parties), it seems like there is always some new study lurking around the corner to show the widespread problem of obliviousness and/or stupidity.

The study in question was conducted in the U.K., and concerns myths about contraception. Approximately 20% of women had heard of common kitchen items being used for as forms of contraception, whether as alternative barriers, or perhaps even more befuddling, as forms of oral birth control. Here are some of these alternatives that were cited:

  • bread
  • cling film (i.e., saran wrap)
  • chicken skin
  • kebabs
  • crisps (i.e., potato chips)
  • soda

So apparently there is someone somewhere who has constructed a condom out of chicken skin. The BBC article citing this study pointed out that there are of course ancient methods of contraception – stewed beaver’s testicles was a particularly interesting example – but noted that this study was conducted in “modern” Britain. Not knowing the details of the study, I can’t say for sure, but I’m assuming that the results do not stem from any sort of cultural practices.

On the contrary, it seems to be misinformation. One in ten women surveyed thought that it takes years for a woman to regain fertility after going off of birth control – or even more dangerous, that oral contraceptives can protect against HIV.

I imagine that there are similar studies with perhaps similar results about the United States, where there is still a war waging over “abstinence education.” But issues of “promoting sexual activity” aside, at some point we’re just talking about basic science. I’m pretty sure that if you think that eating potato chips can keep someone from getting pregnant, then there has been some basic knowledge/education deficiency on par with not knowing the first president of your country.

[Image Source: anqa (CC)]

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