Monday, November 26, 2007

'What's love got to do with it?'

The current edition of the Diocese of Arlington's Catholic Herald features an informative article by Henrietta Gomez on "Modest Proposals," the seminar I co-organized under the auspices of my employer, the Cardinal Newman Society, at Washington, D.C.'s Ethics and Public Policy Center. Some highlights, including some stark observations from Unprotected author Dr. Miriam Grossman:

[UCLA] psychiatrist [Grossman] lamented the "mental health crisis on our campuses." Prozac, she said, is the number one prescribed medication. And Grossman said the rise in prescription anti-depressant use among young women is linked to the rise in the number of women who come to the health center because of sexual relationships.

"We have a problem. We should be alarmed, but we should not be surprised," she said. Young people are influenced by a popular culture that is constantly bombarding them with blatant lies about sex, she said. Grossman said television shows, including Sex and the City and Friends, give a false notion that sex can be divorced from emotions.

It gives the message that sex is "recreational without consequences and that condoms provide good enough protection," she said. Teenagers arrive on college campuses with those ideas and are rudely awakened when they learn that they have been deceived.

"High risk behaviors are being promoted," said Grossman. Because of that, she said, "the number of sexually transmitted diseases has exploded."

The facts are evident, she said, but health care professionals are not responsibly educating young people. Hard science alone proves that bonding hormones are released in a woman’s body during sexual activity. "It cannot be disputed," she said. Grossman said science has shown the release of the hormone oxytocin in a woman’s system during such activity makes her more susceptible to distress, anxiety and depression with a "hooking-up" situation.

"Why have we allowed political correctness to seep into this critical area of health?" she asked. Health care professionals need to set aside political correctness and speak the truth about the biochemistry of sex.

"There are a lot more victims of the hook-up culture than there are of violence," she said.

Young people need to be educated about the real facts. Grossman travels around the country, especially to college campuses, to educate students.

Parental involvement is key, said Dawn Eden, director of the Cardinal Newman Society’s Love and Responsibility Program, which seeks to reestablish chastity on Catholic college campuses.

Many parents and older adults, although they may disagree with the “hook-up” culture, are afraid to speak out because of their own past or to “validate their own poor choices,” she said.

Eden, a former journalist, said she led an immoral life and "experienced the fallout of the sexual revolution," prior to her conversion to Catholicism. However, since her conversion, she has authored the book The Thrill of the Chaste: Finding Fulfillment While Keeping Your Clothes On. ...

Eden, who has given numerous talks around the country and in Ireland and England, seeks to help people "have a deeper understanding of our own human dignity, and realize that there’s a joy that goes far beyond sex."
A couple of video clips of "Modest Proposals" are on the Cardinal Newman Society's Web site, with more to come.