September 9, 2015

Thank you, Toronto Star, for ignoring my work


A few weeks ago, at the invitation of several parent organizations, I traveled from New York to Toronto and addressed a crowd of almost one thousand people. It was dinner time and mid-week, but we ran out of chairs. When the topic is graphic sex education for children, people show up.

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March 6, 2015

Carta de uma Psiquiatra aos jovens, sobre “Cinquenta Tons de Cinza”.

Carta de uma Psiquiatra aos jovens, sobre Cinquenta Tons de Cinza.
Por Miriam Grossman, MD. Médica Psiquiatra. Tradução ao português por Daniel Vera Álvarez. letter portugese

February 17, 2015

Carta de Una Psiquiatra a los Jóvenes Acerca de las “Cincuenta Sombras de Grey”

Teenage girl or young woman reading a note, worried expression

Por Miriam Grossman MD. Psiquiatra. Traduccion Silvia Maldonado

Versión original en

{La letra se puede imprimir aquí:Carta de una Psiquiatra a los Jovenes acerca de las Cincuenta Sombras de Grey. Darle a alguien que usted ama – lo puso en su mochila , o en su almohada . Simplemente hazlo.}

No hay nada gris en las 50 Sombras de Grey (Gris, en inglés).

Es todo negro.

Déjenme que les explique. Me dedico a ayudar a la gente que está rota por dentro. Al contrario que los médicos, que usan rayos X, o analíticas de sangre para determinar qué le pasa a alguien, las heridas que a mi me interesan están ocultas. Hago preguntas, y escucho con cuidado las respuestas. Así es como descubro que la persona que tengo delante está “sangrando”

Años de escuchar con cuidado me han enseñado mucho. Una de las cosas que he aprendido es que los jóvenes están totalmente confundidos en el amor – encontrándolo y manteniéndolo. Escogen bastante mal, y acaban perdidos y dolidos.

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February 11, 2015

A Psychiatrist’s Letter to Young People About “Fifty Shades of Grey”

There’s nothing grey about Fifty Shades of Grey. It’s all black.

Let me explain.

I help people who are broken inside. Unlike doctors who use x-rays or blood tests to determine why someone’s in pain, the wounds I’m interested in are hidden. I ask questions, and listen carefully to the answers. That’s how I discover why the person in front of me is “bleeding”.

Years of careful listening have taught me a lot. One thing I’ve learned is that young people are utterly confused about love – finding it and keeping it. They make poor choices, and end up in lots of pain.

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February 3, 2015

Parent Survival Guide to Fifty Shades of Grey: How to Talk to Your Child About Sadomasochism


Mom, who’s Mr. Grey? Dad, what do those handcuffs mean?

Parents, get ready for questions. As the release of Fifty Shades of Grey on February 13th nears, an aggressive marketing campaign is underway that romanticizes sexual violence.

Don’t underestimate the impact of the hard sell on your kids. Even if they don’t see the film, they are absorbing its toxic message, and need your wisdom and guidance.

It’s difficult to overstate the dangers. Fifty Shades of Grey teaches your daughter that pain and humiliation are erotic, and your son, that girls want a guy who controls, intimidates, and threatens.

As a child and adolescent psychiatrist, I consider it my professional responsibility to help parents deal with this difficult issue, so I’ve been blogging about the harm posed by the film.

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January 25, 2015

Parent Survival Guide to Fifty Shades of Grey Part 4: The Danger to Your Son


The purpose of my Parent Survival Guide to Fifty Shades of Grey is to provide the insights and tools parents need to protect their children from the idea that violence and humiliation can be erotic. In Part 1, I gave introductory information. In Part 2 and Part 3, I focused on the harm posed by this concept to young women.

Now I’m turning my attention to young men – teens, young adults, and tweens who hang out with older kids. As the film’s debut approaches, Universal Studio’s massive publicity campaign will reach your son as he stands in line at the grocery store or checks his email. You must speak with him about the movie’s warped ideas, before he starts to associate romance with handcuffs.

First let’s get one thing out of the way. Fifty Shades of Grey is pornography. The destructive nature of porn to the mind and heart is well documented. There’s enough information on this phenomenal site for several heart-to-heart conversations with your children.

It’s unlikely, I think, that your son will actually see the film, unless it’s to please his girlfriend. But unless you’ve manged to completely shelter him from our upside down world, he’ll hear about it. The ideas can still have a significant impact.

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January 17, 2015

Parent Survival Guide to Fifty Shades of Grey: More Danger to Your Daughter

In my previous blog I argued that emotional or physical abuse is never ok in an intimate relationship, even with both parties’ consent. Some people contend that if permission to be harmed is freely made, it’s a sound choice, and should not be challenged. I demonstrated how their reasoning is faulty.

What follows are more examples of defective thinking in Fifty Shades of Grey that can harm your daughter. For example, the notion that a good woman can save a man from his inner demons.

Christian has demons alright. Trauma, abandonment, abuse – he’s had them in spades. And all those hours with therapists didn’t help a bit, he claims.

Where doctors failed, young, inexperienced Ana succeeds. With her by his side, Christian grows into a loving husband and father. So by the end, Ana was rewarded for picking a man whose inner life was in ruins. Could it be?

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January 11, 2015

Fifty Shades of Grey: The Danger to Your Daughter


Is this relationship healthy or sick?

Fifty Shades of Grey follows Ana, a college student inexperienced in love, as she enters a dark relationship with a troubled man, rescues him from his inner demons, marries him, and rides with him into the sunset.

Excluding hard pornography, I believe Hollywood has never produced a film so hazardous to young women.

Here’s the first of two central concepts that harm your daughter:

1. Ana consented to being humiliated and abused, so it’s ok.

No, humiliation and abuse are never ok. Consenting to it is a terrible, self destructive decision.

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January 5, 2015

Parent Survival Guide to Fifty Shades of Grey – Part I


As a child and adolescent psychiatrist I’m in a unique position. Young people walk in my office, sit down, and open their hearts. Soon their secrets spill out: I was drugged and raped. I’m sleeping with my best friend’s fiancee. My girlfriend had an abortion. I want to die.

I’ve spent the past thirty years of my professional life listening to these, and many other tales, so I have some expertise about the lives of teens and young adults. Their number one problem? Romance.

There’s a lot for them to figure out, but they’re utterly lost. What do I want, and how do I get it? How do I deal with peer pressure and navigate the hook-up culture? Are there consequences to sex, or is it just about fun? What’s normal? What’s not?

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June 27, 2013

Three Questions for the American Academy of Pediatrics

Regarding your June 24 policy statement on “Sexual Minority Youth”:

1. You state that a teen who questions if he is male or female, or who wants his genitalia removed, is “normal, just different.”

Given the physical differences between male and female are more substantial than between different races, if an African American teen is convinced she is really Caucasian, is she also “normal, just different?” Should her pediatrician affirm her belief, and support her wish for facial surgery and skin bleaching?

2. If my son thinks he’s a girl, you recommend I find a therapist who will respect and affirm his belief.

But if my son is attracted to boys, and his urges feel foreign and distressing, you advise me to find a therapist who will tell him “this is who you are, accept it.”

Honestly, does that make sense?

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June 10, 2013

A Brief History of Sex Ed: How We Reached Today’s Madness – Part III

Based on a talk presented at the 7th World Congress of Families in Sydney, May 2013
The last person I want to tell you about is Dr John Money. In 1955, he introduced the radical concept that maleness and femaleness is a feeling, separate from anatomy and chromosomes.

He was convinced we are born without gender, then conditioned by society to identify either male or female.

Dr Money was a prominent psychologist; he’s well respected to this day. But he was on the same page as Kinsey and the others.

He described pedophilia as “a love affair between an age-discrepant couple.” Dr Money was also part of the incest lobby: “For a child to have a sexual experience with a relative,” he wrote, “was not necessarily a problem.” Like Kinsey, Money had deep emotional wounds. His identity as a man was troubled, and he molested young boys.

What’s so astonishing is these men, these very disturbed men, using fraudulent data and theories that have been discredited, succeeded in transforming much of society. Today’s sexuality education is based their teachings.

Once I understood who the founders were — Kinsey, Calderone, Pomeroy, Money, and others — I understood how we got to today’s “comprehensive sexuality education.” I knew how we reached today’s madness.

It came from disturbed individuals with dangerous ideas – radical activists who wanted to create a society that would not only accept their pathology, it would celebrate it!

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June 6, 2013

A Brief History of Sex Ed: How We Reached Today’s Madness – Part II

Based on a talk presented at the 7th World Congress of Families in Sydney, May 2013
Alfred Kinsey had a dream. He would prove to the world – and himself – that his lifestyle was normal. Average. Typical.

It was society that was at fault, with its religions, moral codes, and restrictions. Society made people feel guilty for following their natural urges, and that was unhealthy.

Kinsey’s dream was to free people from those destructive institutions — to free the “human animal”.

He did thousands of interviews, crunched the numbers, and concluded that most people practiced forbidden sexual behaviors: the average mom and dad were living a double life, just like he was.

His conclusions were widely questioned by leading scientists, but the criticism didn’t seem to matter. The popular press accepted Kinsey’s reports and his books were best-sellers. A revolution was spawned and western culture transformed.

The problem is, his research was fundamentally flawed. His samples were too small and the demography was badly skewed. He excluded some populations and focused on others — most notably, imprisoned felons. His subjects were preselected, since he relied on volunteers for his data.

The whole nefarious scheme has been exposed in a number of books and videos by Dr Judith Reisman. I urge you to check out her work at for yourself, if you’ve got a strong stomach.

Kinsey died in 1956. This was a time in America that, thanks to antibiotics, venereal diseases were being obliterated. With one shot, syphilis and gonorrhea were cured. It was believed this was the end of STDs, the end of all infections.

Can you imagine?

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June 4, 2013

A Brief History of Sex Ed – Part I

Based on a talk presented at the 7th World Congress of Families in Sydney, May 2013

Once upon a time, sex education was a simple biology lesson.

Students learned the facts of life, and with those facts, that sex is part of something bigger, called marriage. Teachers explained this was the moral and healthy way to live.

In those days, people understood that men and women are different, and that their union is unique, unlike any other relationship.

It went without saying that boys grew up to become men, and girls, women.
There were only two sexually transmitted diseases, and having one was a serious matter.

Certain behaviors were not normal; individuals who practiced them needed help, and a child’s innocence was precious.

Things have changed.

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April 7, 2013

When A Judge Has Poor Judgement

Regarding Friday’s ruling by Judge Edward Korman on Plan B, is it farfetched to imagine the following conversation, between, say, a high school senior and his younger brother?

I don’t think so.

Hey, dude, listen to this. There’s this thing called “Plan B”. A girl takes it after sex, and she won’t get pregnant.

After sex, not before?

Yup, and she only has to take it once!


So this judge in New York ruled that it should be really easy for girls to get, no matter how young they are.

Isn’t there already a pill that does that?

No, man, you’re thinking of “the pill”, which is a whole different thing. It’s a real hassle. She has to go to a clinic, get a prescription, and fill it at a pharmacy. That’s the place at the back of the drug store, where all those old people line up to pick up their heart medicines.

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March 18, 2013

Shame on you, United Nations

The UN’s annual Commission on the Status of Women just came to an end. I spoke there last week, and urged other nations to protect their youth from the onslaught of US-made “comprehensive” sexuality education (CSE).

Why? Because the priority of CSE is sexual rights and sexual freedom, not sexual health. And in societies where sexual freedom reigns, women pay the highest price.

Here in the US, I said, sex education has been based on individual rights and freedom, and the results have been catastrophic, especially for girls. In this country, another young person is infected with an STI every three seconds.

With the conference focused on the status of women, you might think its organizers would welcome an event highlighting unique elements of female biology, and calling for measures to protect girls’ health and well being.

But in the upside-down world of the UN, my talk was considered highly controversial. You can probably figure out why: activists for “sexual rights” have campaigned aggressively there, and have convinced many countries that any other approach to sexuality is discriminatory and a violation of human rights. They demand CSE for all the world’s children.

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March 10,2013

Are You My Mother?

I’m going to makes lots of money.

While I’m no whiz at investing, I do know this: if demand for an item is high and supply is low, its price goes up.

That basic principle of economics occurred to me while I was reading a book to my grandson called Are You My Mother?

As many of you know, this classic opens with a mother bird sitting on an egg. When it’s clear her chick is on the way, she flies off to find him a worm. The egg hatches, and the baby bird asks, “where is my mother?”

He walks around looking for her. He comes across a kitten, a hen, a dog, and a cow. He asks each one, “Are you my mother?” They all say, “No.”

The book asks, “Did he have a mother?”

“I did have a mother”, insists the hatching, looking distraught. “I know I did. I have to find her. I will. I WILL!”

(Note: It was at this point I knew I had a potential collector’s item in my hands.)

The baby bird starts to run. He’s on a mission. He sees a car, then a boat, and a plane. He calls out to the boat, but it does not stop. “Here I am, mother,” he shouts out to the plane. But the plane flies off.

A huge power shovel appears and lifts the baby bird into the sky. He knows the power shovel is not his mother when it lets out a loud snort.

“I want my mother!” the chick wails.

At that moment, the shovel drops the baby bird back in to his nest. Surprise! There’s his mother…he’s absolutely sure about that. They cuddle together in their nest, the story is over, and my grandson is happy as can be.

Have you guessed why I’m buying every copy of Are You My Mother? I can get my hands on?

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March 4,2013

More abortions for the abortion capital of the nation?

Last week I spoke at a press conference in Albany with a group of health professionals. We were there to oppose legislation that would expand access to abortions, especially late ones, in New York State. I’m not against all abortions; I believe there are rare circumstances in which it’s both medically and morally necessary. But with 33% of pregnancies ending that way, New York is already the abortion capital of the country. We need to find ways to have less abortion, not more.

Current NY state law permits abortion until 24 weeks, after that, only if the mother’s life is threatened. I’m told by experts in newborn medicine that it’s not uncommon for a baby born at 24 weeks to survive and do well.

That means it’s legal to terminate a pregnancy at a time when the fetus is fully viable.

How can anyone not be horrified by that? But Governor Cuomo recently said he supports repealing the current law and legalizing abortion at any time for “maternal health reasons”, a phrase that could be interpreted broadly by the courts.

Also speaking at the press conference were Anne Nolte MD, family practitioner; Kyle Beiter MD, Ob/Gyn; and Ali Ko Tsai MD, Ob/Gyn.

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February 21,2013

Gay or Straight? When others decide for you* – Part Two

In not too long, Malik felt better. He decided against therapy of any kind, aside from medication. For a while he came in to see me regularly, but then his name disappeared from my schedule. My calls to him were not returned.

I wondered, though, about people who go against the tide and choose to fight their same sex attraction. They must have some interesting stories to tell. I discovered a support group for men in reparative therapy that met monthly in a Los Angeles home.

The “Circle of Men” welcomed me as a guest one evening. There were about twenty guys, young and not so young, seated comfortably in the living room.

I had one question: what is their message to the mental health profession? They were eager to be heard.

Adam started off: “I am angry that I didn’t know about this therapy for seventeen years. When I discovered it, it was such a liberating sense of relief. In six years I have changed beyond my wildest dreams.”

“Therapists told me for years that this is my identity, and I should embrace it,” a middle-aged man with a wedding band said, “but that never felt right to me. Now I consider it just one part of me — a part I don’t have to accept.

“I have chosen the long, hard way instead of the short, easy way,” a young man named Greg told me, “and that choice is right for me.”

And there was this from Hector: “The old warrior went out and fought battles for land or power. The new warrior fights a bigger battle — the battle within. This is our choice. What gives you the right to take it away?”

I was captivated by their strength and integrity. If only Malik could meet these remarkable individuals!

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February 13,2013

Gay or Straight? When others decide for you – Part One

A lawsuit was recently filed in New Jersey against an organization called JONAH -Jews Offering New Alternatives to Healing. I plan to blog about it, but as an introduction to the topic, here’s a true story:

I once saw a college student who, a few hours earlier, nearly jumped from the window of his ninth floor dorm room.

Fortunately he hesitated, and walked to the campus counseling center instead. He was screened by a therapist, then sent over to me for an emergency psychiatric evaluation.

Malik (not his real name) was deeply distressed. “I don’t want to be how I am”, he explained. “I’m attracted to men, but it isn’t me. I know it’s not me.”

It was a dreadful situation. Malik was from Malaysia, where homosexuality is punishable by caning and decades in prison. He had struggled for years, never acting on his urges or sharing his secret. Now he felt hopeless and

The therapist had reassured him that help was available. With therapy, she’d explained, Malik would eventually accept who he is, and understand why he’d come to hate himself: because society did. There was also group therapy. He could meet students like himself and, with their support, perhaps be able to eventually “come out” to his friends and family.

But her advice compounded his distress. “It’s not who I am!” he insisted to me. “I’ll never accept it! Why would G-d do this to me?”

I listened carefully. The help Malik wanted existed, but I was afraid to tell him about it.

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January 31,2013

Say it’s not so: HPV in the Brain

Evidence of the human papilloma virus (HPV) has been found in the brains of children with epilepsy.

Epilepsy is a disorder that causes repeated seizures over time. It has various causes, such as head trauma or brain cancer. The type of epilepsy associated with HPV is caused by a brain malformation that develops before birth.

Peter Crino MD, a professor of Neurology at Temple University, noticed that cells taken from the malformed area had similarities to HPV-infected cells in the cervix. So he decided to look for evidence of HPV in those brain cells, and he found it.

Dr Crino and his team aren’t sure how the virus gets into the brain, but their results suggest that an HPV infection in the placenta could be one possible path.

We know that HPV can cross the placenta and infect the fetus. In one study, this happened in over twelve per cent of women with HPV.

To summarize, there’s evidence suggesting a common STI may cause a serious brain disorder in children born to infected women. Dr Crino speculates it happens like this:

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January 24,2013

Warning: people lie about their sexual histories!

I mentioned in my last blog that a woman who has sex with a bisexual man is at increased risk of getting STIs, including HIV. But how does she know he’s bisexual?

Well, she could ask. That’s what the sex ed industry believes she should do: question potential “partners” about past sexual behavior and STIs. In an ideal world, that would work. But in this world, people lie.

Please raise your hands, anyone reading this, who knows a young person who is naïve, who trusts nearly everyone, and who thinks all people are essentially good and honest.

My hand is up, and I’m sure yours is too.

It’s nice to imagine, a la John Lennon, an ideal world. But our children need to live in this world, and understand difficult truths.

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January 11,2013

Newsflash: Antibiotic-resistant gonorrhea is here

Treatment for gonorrhea takes a few seconds: a needle in the buttocks and you’re cured. At least that’s how it used to be.

Antibiotic-resistant gonorrhea has arrived on our shores. Only a handful of cases have been identified, but the threat of untreatable gonorrhea is very bad news.

My concern is the alarm won’t reach those who most need to be warned: African- Americans, men who have sex with men, and women who have sex with bisexual men.

Am I racist and homophobic? No. I want people to stay healthy: free of pain, disease, and emotional distress. I don’t care who they are.

Why do the three groups mentioned need to be warned more than others about untreatable gonorrhea? Because their risk of getting it is higher, and they need to know that. It’s higher not because of who they are – their racial or sexual identity per se – but because who they are predisposes them to associate with others who are members of the same group.

African-Americans, men who have sex with men, and women who have sex with bisexual men have a higher prevalence of STDs, including gonorrhea. The reasons are related to sexual behaviors, number of partners, access to health care, discrimination, and financial resources.

Gonorrhea is easily transmitted through a single act of intercourse. It causes infertility, damages the heart and joints, and facilitates the transmission of HIV. Condoms are estimated to decrease the risk of getting gonorrhea by 50%.
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November 28, 2012

Comprehensive sex ed is hardly comprehensive – Part One

Like many parents, those in the town of Princeton, New Jersey are concerned about the sex education in their schools.

They have reason to be worried. The HiTOPS/Teen PEP curriculum used in their district is seriously flawed.

This isn’t just my opinion – it’s also that of an internationally respected expert on STDs and HIV.

Jon Potterat was the director of STD/AIDS programs in Colorado Springs for almost thirty years, and is the author of 203 scholarly publications. I recently had a chance to show Jon some portions of the HiTops curriculum, and ask for his opinion.

One item we discussed was this Q&A:

HiTops Question: Who is at risk for HIV?

HiTops Answer: Anyone who engages in high risk behaviors: unprotected oral, vaginal, or anal intercourse, as well as sharing any kind of needles. Gender and sexual orientation are irrelevant as they relate to HIV infection. It is the specific behavior that may allow infectious body fluids to gain access to the blood supply that puts a person at risk for HIV infection.

Jon’s Perspective: “This is only half the truth”, Jon said. “Theoretically, yes, anyone can be infected with HIV, just like anyone can get lung cancer. But being a heavy smoker for decades increases the risk exponentially. In the same way, gender and sexual orientation correlate strongly with risk of HIV infection”

“They deliberately leave out the numbers, the different magnitudes of risk,” he explained, “and that’s a serious omission. The idea that everyone has the same risk is epidemiologic communism – it’s simply not true”.

To which numbers is Jon referring?

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November 4, 2012

Pure Magic: A Mom and Her Baby

Guess what, moms? Your baby loves how you smell, from the first moment of life.

I don’t mean your soap or perfume. I mean your natural, distinct odor. She recognizes your scent, and she loves it.

If she just arrived in this world, how can she recognize your smell?

This is one of those instances where science makes me smile. The answer is: because she’s been swimming in it for nine months.

It turns out that a woman’s amniotic fluid, which surrounds her developing fetus, smells and tastes like she does. The fetus develops the ability to sense these qualities from early in gestation. So at birth, a mother’s unique scent is well-known to her baby.

Newborns are soothed, when separated from their mothers, by exposure to a cotton pad with the odor of her breast or her amniotic fluid. They cry for significantly shorter periods of time.

We all know how powerful a familiar scent can be; how one whiff can transport us to a different world. A newborn has been jolted into a harsh, new reality of bright lights, loud noises, cold, hunger, and pain. Just imagine: any reminder of the perfect life she left behind must be heavenly. Is it any wonder she cries for her mother day and night?

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November 3, 2012

Chlamydia: What You Haven’t Heard

Chlamydia, the most common bacterial STD, is one nasty bug. While it can cause some problems in men, it’s particularly bad news for girls and women. Chlamydia travels quietly, undetected, from the vagina, through the uterus, and into the fallopian tubes, where it wreaks havoc.

The fallopian tubes carry the egg after it’s released from the ovary. This is the place where sperm meets egg and fertilization occurs.

Chlamydia causes swelling and inflammation in the tubes, which are incredibly narrow. The passageway is only about one millimeter wide – the thickness of a dime. That’s important, because a narrow tube is easily blocked. Even a small infection that goes unnoticed can cause scars that block the fallopian tubes.

A blocked tube has dire effects on female fertility. It can also cause ectopic pregnancy – a life threatening medical emergency.

That said, here’s something that’s bothered me a long time:

Medical authorities and sex educators reassure women that Chlamydia is easily treated. Get tested, take your antibiotics, get retested a few months later, and you’ll be fine. It’s only untreated Chlamydia, they claim, that’s dangerous.

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October 30, 2012

Take it slow, because true love waits.
But will this research reach those who need it most?

Postponing sexual activity is smart, especially for girls. Otherwise they’re at higher risk for genital infections, out-of-wedlock pregnancy and birth, abortion, maternal and child poverty, cervical cancer, and depression. That’s nothing new. What is new is that two large, peer-reviewed studies add another item to this long list of woes: dissatisfaction with romantic relationships in adulthood.

Researchers at the University of Texas asked: does timing of sexual debut predict satisfaction with romantic relationships in young adulthood? They classified timing as “early” (before age 15), “on-time” (age 15-19), or “late” (after age 19).

3,320 married or cohabiting people assessed their current relationship satisfaction across multiple dimensions, including levels of trust, emotional support, mutual enjoyment, sexual satisfaction, and resolution of conflict.

Results: “late” timing of first sex was associated with significantly higher levels of current relationship satisfaction.

The other study came out of Cornell University. It also looked at relationship satisfaction across multiple dimensions, but the focus was on when couples first became sexually active with one another: within the first month, during the second to sixth month, or after the sixth month.

Results: women who deferred sexual intimacy until after six months reported significantly higher relationship quality across all dimensions.

Together, these studies suggest that delaying sex until adulthood, and then taking it slow, increase the chance of achieving a highly satisfying relationship, especially for women.

That’s something young people should know, don’t you agree?

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October 28, 2012

Campaigning for Women’s Health

With so much of the campaign focused on women’s health, and the assumption that support for Planned Parenthood translates into support for women, it’s worth taking a look at what PP teaches girls about sexual behavior.

Consider the following:

  1. A You-Tube video with Dr Vanessa Cullins, VP of Medical Affairs at PP: “Expect to have HPV once you become sexually intimate,” she says. “All of us get it.”

Dr Cullins is referring to a sexually transmitted infection called the human papilloma virus. HPV causes genital warts, pre-cancerous cells on the cervix, and rarely cervical cancer. Guys are usually silent carriers; it’s more often girls who need biopsies and painful treatments.

Dr Cullins, an Ob/Gyn, is telling girls they’re going to get this virus, no matter what. There’s nothing they can do to avoid it, short of lifelong celibacy.

So, she urges them, make sure you get vaccinated and go in for regular PAP tests.

While there is a place for the vaccine and for PAP tests, Dr Cullins’ essential message is not true. The risk of getting HPV can be significantly decreased. Many succeed in avoiding it altogether, without a vaccine.

Two people who delay sexual behavior, and then stay in a monogamous relationship, avoid HPV. From a health perspective, that’s the ideal. Not easy, of course, but neither is eating right, getting lots of exercise, avoiding the sun, etc.

Physicians present ideals to patients, telling them: the closer you can get to that ideal, the better.

It seems that PP believes there’s a new normal: intimacy = infection.

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October 26, 2012

When Emergency Contraception is Ill-conceived

I went to a meeting this week at New York City’s Department of Education. All parents and guardians, no matter where they live, should know about it.

I was there with some people from NYC Parents’ Choice Coalition to ask questions about a program in which emergency contraception(EC) is dispensed without parental consent. The point of the meeting was not to debate, but to gather information.

Thirteen high schools in New York City give out EC, also called Plan-B, and the morning-after pill. If taken within three days after intercourse, EC decreases the chance of pregnancy by interfering with ovulation, fertilization, or implantation.

A girl over 17 can buy EC over the counter; younger girls need a prescription.

We gathered lots of facts about the program. Right now, I want to focus on these:

  • Girls in grades 9-12 get EC from the school nurse.
  • The girl doesn’t need to disclose anything about her sexual relationship, if she’s not comfortable doing so.
  • It is up to the student whether or not to tell her parents.
  • Every student can get EC, unless her parents opt out by returning a form that’s sent home in the mail and with the student.
  • The goal of the program is to decrease teen pregnancy, but that can’t be measured. So the program’s success is measured by the number of girls who use it.

There’s a lot here that’s troubling, don’t you think? I’ll be blogging more about this, but for starters:

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