1 Flesh claims that its members want to reclaim "sexy" by seeking out "awesome marriages and mind-blowing sex lives." The website claims that it wants to see women and men treated with respect, and sex to free of fear and exploitation.
The 1 Flesh website criticizes older generations because "they lost it," succumbing to divorce, STDs, abortion, pornography, sexual objectification, and sexual assault. Seeing social ills such as STDs and sexual violence lumped together with morally neutral acts such as divorce and abortion is revealing, as it says volumes about 1 Flesh's worldview. All of these problems, 1 Flesh insists, are rooted in contraception, which the group blames for everything from unhappy marriages to environmental harm.
"[Contraception] is a dangerous idea. It’s dangerous because artificial contraception is heavily promoted by big pharmaceutical companies — like Bayer Corp. — and contraception providers — like Planned Parenthood. It’s dangerous because it’s not an idea supported by those in power. But most of all, it’s dangerous because it’s true.To back up its claims, 1 Flesh makes specious arguments. For example, the website claims that the U.S. divorce rate doubled between 1965 and 1976, the same time that birth control pills became available. Therefore, it concludes, contraception contributed to higher divorce rates, using the correlation-equals-causation fallacy. The fact that social attitudes toward sex, marriage, and reproduction as a whole were changing during that era was not considered. (Post hoc ergo propter hoc, anyone?) Furthermore, the website assumes that divorce is always a negative event, which is not necessarily true.
We found, by looking at the best available analysis from sociology, medicine, philosophy and economics, that the widespread use of artificial contraception has failed to decrease STD prevalence, increased the global rate of HIV, seriously harmed the environment, screwed up relationships, and is strongly correlated with increased divorces, abortions, and unplanned pregnancies. We found that hormonal contraception significantly increases a woman’s risk of breast cancer, cervical cancer, heart disease, and may very well be lowering her sex drive. We found that the safety and effectiveness artificial contraception is often falsely advertised by pharmaceutical companies, and that the health benefits of hormonal contraception are totally exaggerated."
In another section, 1 Flesh claims that condoms spoil sexual pleasure for couples (all of whom are assumed to be opposite sex). Condoms, they argue, detract from the biological nurturing that takes place during the sex act. Hilariously, 1 Flesh defends condomless sex by claiming that semen provides women with vitamins and nutrients!
"Likewise, condoms prevent the natural, beneficial effect a man has on his partner’s reproductive system. A major cause of female infertility is zinc deficiency. A man’s semen supplies this vital nutrient to his wife, as well as ascorbic acid, blood-group antigens, calcium, chlorine, cholesterol, choline, citric acid, creatine, fructose, glutathione, lactic acid, magnesium, nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium, sodium, sorbitol, and vitamin B12 — all important to a woman’s reproductive health."The absurdity doesn't stop there. In a 1 Flesh blog post entitled "9 Reasons Ovulation is Pretty Much Witchcraft," the group claims that women should let their bodies ovulate because it supposedly makes them more beautiful, improves the way they smell, increases their brain matter, and strengthens their gaydar.
Okay, I'm starting to wonder if this is a Poe, I thought.
Unfortunately, 1 Flesh's rhetoric could have devastating consequences for those who have been inundated with misinformation about sexual health. In a commentary piece at Alternet, Amanda Marcotte points out that discouraging women from using contraceptives can have negative consequences in the absence of sexual health knowledge.
"In reality, a sexually active woman who uses no contraception has an 85% chance of getting pregnant within a year. Anti-contraception activists go out of their way to conceal this fact, hoping women feel that their risks of skipping contraception are much lower than they are. It would be laughable if the only audience for this anti-contraception propaganda were folks with good sex education and a solid knowledge of how effective contraception really is. Unfortunately, they’re speaking to a larger audience already rife with misinformation about contraception and fertility; an audience that might not like the anti-sex message, but could be influenced by the anti-contraception one."In its rush to demonize contraception, 1 Flesh fails to make convincing arguments as to how contraception allegedly leads to sexual objectification, divorce, and a host of unrelated problems. In their rush to generalize all contraception as unhealthy, they ignore the fact that many kinds of contraception exist, each with their own side effects and benefits. To boot, the alternative to using contraception -- repeated unwanted pregnancies and STD transmission -- can lead to far more health problems and psychological stress for women and couples. In their rush to blame contraceptives for environmental harm, they ignore the devastating environmental impact that explosive population growth could (and is) having on the planet. In short, by turning birth control into a bogeyman, 1 Flesh ignores the profound importance for individuals and society as a whole to be able to prevent unwanted pregnancy and disease transmission.
1 Flesh needs a reality check. Despite their promises, abstaining from contraception will not magically make sex and relationships better. That tasks falls to open communication, mutual respect, trust, consent, self-knowledge, sensuality, and creativity. By telling young people that abstaining from contraception leads to stellar sex and romance, I fear that 1 Flesh is setting them up for disappointment ... not to mention unpleasant surprises in the form of unwanted pregnancies and disease.
To learn more, visit the 1 Flesh website.