Miriam Grossman, M.D.

With the brouhaha over Bristol Palin’s pregnancy, here’s a plus no one’s considered: should this young woman go to college as a married mom, she’ll be spared four years of the campus hook-up culture.

That’s no small thing. I was a campus physician for years, and know firsthand how students suffer from the toxic Sex in the City lifestyle on our campuses. College health and counseling services are packed with casualties of the anything-goes sexual mentality; many are girls who practiced “safer sex.” They did as they were told and used “protection,” but still paid a hefty price: genital warts and blisters, pre-cancerous conditions, worries about slipped condoms and HIV—to say nothing of chaotic, empty relationships and broken hearts.

These young women had been misled, and had a false sense of security. They were led to believe—not only by Hollywood, but by the nation’s leading sex ed organizations and popular health education sites like Columbia University’s GoAskAlice.com—that they are just like men, that sex is easily separated from emotions and procreation, and that with “protection,” casual liaisons can be a natural, positive part of growing up.

That philosophy is a result of social activists of the last century: Alfred Kinsey, Hugh Hefner, Gloria Steinem—figures that Bristol’s generation study in history class. Even the HIV-era notion of “safer sex” was developed years before they were born. While you’d hardly know it from the advice these kids get from sex educators or Columbia’s Alice, the world has changed. In this century, we’re fighting a horde of bugs, and the bugs are winning.

Canonized by the sex ed industry and considered transparent truths, “safer sex” guidelines are out of date. In 2008, it’s not enough to communicate with “partners,” get tested for STI’s, and use condoms. These days, young people—especially girls—who wish to avoid sexually transmitted infections need a different plan.

Miriam Grossman, M.D.

Miriam Grossman, M.D. is a board certified child, adolescent, and adult psychiatrist. She is author of the new book "You're Teaching My Child What?"