Campus Health Hijacked

Posted: Mar 27, 2007 12:01 AM

When it comes to sexual health, every college student knows the basics: get tested for sexually transmitted diseases and always use condoms. But the things campus health services don't talk about can pose serious risks to students' physical and mental health.

Last Friday, Dr. Miriam Grossman visited the National Press Club in Washington , D.C. to discuss her new book, Unprotected. You probably haven't heard of it. Grossman, a psychiatrist at UCLA's student health clinic, says her profession has been "hijacked" by radical politics. Unprotected reveals how campus health professionals often risk students' well-being in order to promote feminism, androgyny, and "anything goes" liberalism. The consequences can be devastating.

Keep in mind that Grossman is not a political or religious ideologue. She's a psychiatrist whose clinic has treated thousands of patients, many of them self-destructive or even suicidal. And yet, despite the epidemics of eating disorders, self-mutilation, and sexually transmitted diseases among college students, many of Grossman's colleagues refuse to offer advice or treatment that obstructs their personal social agendas.

According to Grossman, many campus health professionals' first priority is to never make moral judgments about students' behavior. There is tacit approval of casual sex: student health services pass out free condoms and instruct students on their use. But they won't mention the psychological health risks of promiscuity -- which Grossman says is a major cause of emotional disturbance among her female patients.

When Dr. Grossman sees a patient reporting depression or excessive self-criticism, she often discovers, with a little prodding, that the cause is a casual relationship that has produced unreciprocated attachment. Her claims are supported by neurobiological research, which reveals that women are hard-wired to attach to sexual partners.

Oxytocin is to blame. Released during both breastfeeding and sex, this hormone creates feelings of trust and attachment. The only problem is that oxytocin is unable to discriminate between a faithful, committed partner and a one-night stand whose last priority is commitment. Thanks to biology, a woman who allows an endless parade of men through her bedroom is putting her mental health at risk.

This fact is largely unknown to college women, who have grown up with the feminist myth that women respond to casual sex the same way men do. Many engage in multiple hook-ups or get involved with a "friend with benefits." Dr. Grossman's office is overflowing with these women, who usually claim to have no idea why they're depressed.

Students' physical health is also put at risk by politically correct--but medically inaccurate--information campaigns about sexually transmitted diseases. HIV is fraudulently presented as an equal-opportunity infection, creating unnecessary panic among low-risk groups. In fact, HIV is spread almost exclusively by anal sex, intravenous drug use, or a partner who does those things. But it seems some health professionals care more about not stigmatizing certain behaviors than saving lives.

And, despite the obsessive focus on "safe sex," most women remain unaware of an easy way to protect themselves from STDs. They aren't told about the cervical transformation zone, a ring of cells that is vulnerable to infection. The transformation zone is large in a teenage girl, but shrinks as she gets older. In addition to condom use, a woman can reduce her risk of contracting an STD simply by waiting a few years to become sexually active.

Grossman's arguments against the campus "hook-up culture" are medical, not moral. She relies on research from organizations like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Guttmacher Institute. And yet many of her colleagues dismiss scientific facts because of their faith-based beliefs that men and women are the same, HIV is an equal-opportunity threat, and discouraging promiscuity is "making moral judgments." Students across the country are paying the price.

Young people deserve comprehensive, agenda-free information from their campus health centers. In addition to providing students with information about condoms, birth control pills and STD screening, why not throw in a few words about oxytocin and the cervical transformation zone? It certainly wouldn't hurt.

In fact, it might help students become better "protected."