Religious Tolerance logo

Human sexuality:

Resolving conflicting
beliefs about condoms


Sponsored link.


As in so many other topics, there is a division of belief between religious conservatives -- primarily fundamentalist and other evangelical Christians in North America -- and others about the effectiveness of condoms.

As explained in a companion essay:


Many religious conservatives assert that condoms are ineffective or completely useless for the prevention of STD transmission. These beliefs have worked their way into high school abstinence-only sex education classes.


Many mainline Christians, liberal Christians, secularists, human sexuality researchers, public health officials, and physicians believe that condoms are quite effective in the prevention of STD transmission and pregnancy. Of course, they only work if they are properly stored, properly used, and worn during every act of intercourse.

Unfortunately, the stakes are extremely high. Misinformation or disinformation can lead to STD transmission which can lead to death in the case of HIV.

If condoms are effective in the prevention of disease and pregnancy, and are not used, then

Some people will die needlessly,


Some people will become permanently infertile,


Some girls and women will become pregnant. This will result in an increased abortion rate and premature termination of educational careers.


If condoms are ineffective in the prevention of disease and pregnancy, then massive educational programs are needed to promote abstinence and the delay of sexual activity until marriage, and then only after an STD check.


bullet that condoms are useless, and prevent neither pregnancy nor the transmission of the HIV virus. Fortunately, their claims contain little merit:
bullet Condoms on the shelf or in the back pocket, wallet or purse are totally ineffective. They have to be used correctly and every time that sexual intercourse is experienced. A report in the New England Journal of Medicine reported on a lengthy study of 245 heterosexual couples in which one partner was infected with the HIV virus, and the other was initially HIV free. Half (123) of the couples consistently used condoms; none of the partners were infected. The other half (122) never used condoms or used them inconsistently; 12 partners became infected. 3
bullet Some (usually conservative Christian) sources claim that condoms contain holes of up to 5 microns in diameter. This would allow free transmission of the HIV virus. There is an element of truth in these claims. A small percentage of condoms are made from natural membranes (sheep intestines). These do contain holes and are thus not recommended for protection against HIV. However, the vast majority of condoms are made from latex and are free of holes.

Stories about holes in latex condoms are a hoax. Those who spread such stories are acting irresponsibly. They will convince many people that condoms are not reliable; this will cause some individuals to stop using them. Deaths due to HIV infection will result.



  1. "Ask Myrtle," Global Protection Corp., at:
  2. "Abstinence Programs that Work,"
  8. "Workshop Summary: Scientific Evidence on Condom Effectiveness for Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD) Prevention," National Institute of Allergy and Infenctions Diseases, National Institutes of Health, 2000-JUN-12-13,

Copyright 2001 to 2009 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2002-FEB-21
Latest update: 2009-MAR-24
Author: B.A. Robinson

line.gif (538 bytes)

Go to the previous page, or go to the Human sexuality menu, or choose:

To search this website:

Click on one of the links ^^ above at the < < left, or use this search bar:

search engine by freefind

Go to home page  We would really appreciate your help

E-mail us about errors, etc.  Purchase a CD of this web site

FreeFind search, lists of new essays...  Having problems printing our essays?

Twitter link

Facebook icon

GooglePage Translator:

This page translator works on Firefox,
Opera, Chrome, and Safari browsers only

After translating, click on the "show
original" button at the top of this
page to restore page to English.

privacy policy