Unfortunately, the young women described in “Unprotected” have fallen victim to one of the few personal troubles that our caring professions refuse to treat or even acknowledge: They have been made miserable by their “sexual choices.” […]
Thus the danger of sexually transmitted diseases is too often overlooked in the lifestyle choices of the young women at the unnamed college where the author works. But the dangers go far beyond the biological. […]
The author meets patients who cannot sleep, who mutilate themselves, who exhibit every symptom of psychic distress. Often they don’t even know why they feel the way they do. As these girls see it, they are acting like sensible, responsible adults: They practice “safe sex” and limit their partners to a mere two or three per year.
They are following the best advice that modern psychology can offer. They are enjoying their sexual freedom, experimenting, discovering themselves. They can’t understand what might be wrong. And yet something is wrong. […]
“Look at how different health decisions are valued, ” the author advises. “When Stacey avoids fatty foods she is being health conscious…When she stays away from alcohol, she is being responsible and resisting her impulses. For all these she is endorsed for keeping long-term goals in mind instead of giving in to peer pressure and immediate gratification. But if she makes a conscious decision to delay sexual activity, she’s simply ‘not sexually active’–given no praise or endorsement.”
If anything, the more “transgressive” the behavior, the greater the reluctance to judge. On a University of Michigan Web site, “‘external water sports’ is described as a type of ‘safer sex.'” (The phrase has nothing to do with a swimming pool.)…The sexual advice blog “Go Ask Alice, ” sponsored by Columbia University, provides helpful hints to students on menages a trois (“Nothing wrong with giving it a try, so long as you’re all practicing safer sex”), swing-club etiquette and phone sex (“Getting Started”).
I was in my early 20’s at the height of the Sex and the City craze and saw this sort of thing play out over and over again: girl meets guy she doesn’t know very well –> girl sleeps with guy she doesn’t know very well –> girl tells herself and everyone else that she’s totally cool with this –> girl is actually conflicted and unhappy about it.
Having a lot of female friends and hearing the intimate details of their lives actually convinced me early on, even before I had any sort of belief in God, that we’d been sold a bill of goods on this whole so-called sexual freedom thing. Whether it’s just evolution or something given to us by God or both, for whatever reason, it’s just not good for women’s mental health to have no-strings-attached sex. (Not that it’s good for men either, of course, but it seems to be disproportionately detrimental to women.)
I’m glad to see this article in the WSJ, that people are starting to point out the painfully obvious, age-old truth that having casual sex and/or lots of sexual partners makes women miserable. As the article points out, women in secular culture hear one-sided information. For fear of sounding sexist or judgmental, nobody wants to tell women that they, in particular, should treat sex as a serious matter and aim for chastity; even abstinence education programs tend to make vague, blanket statements applied to both genders equally. Hopefully this message will get out there more and more before yet another generation of women is led down this path that leads to emptiness and depression.
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