I like Dr. Miriam Grossman. I’ve heard her speak and she’s quite no-nonsense, unemotional and smart. She’s the author of Unprotected which highlights the many myriad ways women (girls) are suffering on campus the result of the hook-up culture. She has a new pamphlet coming out called Sense and Sexuality. “It’s not a guide to ‘safer sex'”–she says, which is good, since “safe sex” doesn’t really exist and said “guides” exist by the hundreds already and yet are failing our women on campus right, left and centre. I don’t know what the complete pamphlet will say–here’s a link to a teaser.
I’m aware that saying there is no such thing as “safe sex” will be controversial to many. What are you saying, Andrea–that sex is dangerous in and of itself? Pretty much–I believe it to be emotionally risky even where made physically safe. The only sex that is made something close to safe occurs in marriage, I think, where the risk or fear of betrayal and abandonment goes down–you can be sure your partner knows your name, is unlikely to mix you up with someone else, and will be there in the morning, and the following evening, even…
More to the point, even in serial monogamy, it is very, very hard to make sex physically safe. This makes all these agencies working toward “safe sex” into something of a charade. And given that women react differently to casual sex than men, generally more negatively, once again, women are harmed by these groups that pretend to help.
Dr. Grossman takes steps to eradicate some of the misinformation. And thank God–or Mother Earth or whoever–she does so, especially because she’s not a radical, right-wing Christian. (Those people are very, very scary.)
Andrea updates: Oh dear, oh dear. That last line was sarcastic. I don’t find right-wing Christians scary. I write everyday, and some days one can have more success, other days less, in conveying tone. Given the comments I have already received, I’ll assume today is a day for less success in conveying sarcasm. Radical right-wingers of the Christian persuasion, your views are welcome here! (I thought that to be quite obvious. What might be less obvious is that radical left-wingers who are pro-life–or want to be– are equally welcome here.)
Rebecca adds: This reminds me of something I read a few years ago, the title and author of which, of course, elude me. The point was that by permitting and even encouraging teens and young adults to have serious relationships that involve sex, varying levels of less-than-marital commitment, and even cohabitation, we are creating adults who have been through the collapse of a major relationship several times by their late 20s. The scars of breaking up with a high school lover, a university boyfriend or girlfriend with whom you set up housekeeping, or a partner you dated for years to no particular end may not be as bad as the scars caused by divorce, but they’re still damaging. The net effect of this is a legion of men and women in their late 20s or 30s who very much want to make a marriage, but must contend with the emotional and spiritual damage of a series of failed relationships of their own, and of their potential partners.
Building a solid marriage is a task of Herculean difficulty under the best of circumstances. Saddling a budding relationship that might be headed for marriage with baggage of past pseudomarriages doesn’t make a happy, lifelong union more likely.