Friday, December 7, 2007

Kathleen Parker on women's need for more than latex 'protection'

"Speaking to a packed room of mostly women, Grossman noted that while some in the audience had attended college during the free-love days, the world is far more dangerous now. Today there are more than two-dozen sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) -- 15 million new cases each year -- some of which are incurable.

"The consequences are worse for young women, says Grossman. In her psychiatric practice, she has come to believe that women suffer more from sexual hook-ups than men do and wonders whether the hormone oxytocin is a factor. Oxytocin is released during childbirth and nursing to stimulate milk production and promote maternal attachment. It is also released during sexual activity for both men and women, hence the nickname 'love potion.'

"Feminists don't much like the oxytocin factor, given the explicit suggestion that men and women might be physically and emotionally different. But wouldn't a more truly feminist position seek to recognize those hormonal differences and promote protection for women from the kind of ignorance that causes them harm?"

— From "Dying to Date," Washington Post Writers Group syndicated columnist Kathleen Parker's article on "Modest Proposals," the seminar I co-organized last month (see video clips) at the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, D.C.