The feminist movement has long championed emancipated sexual lives for women. Alas that lifestyle is looking more unemancipated by the second. Another generation of girls is growing up with the idea that they can choose from a cornucopia of "sexual choices" --and so long as they don't get pregnant or catch an STD, it's fine, it's great!--as healthy as working out at the gym. Medical professionals (and others) are silent about the psychic toll this liberation is wreaking: increased cases of depression, self-mutilation, and suicide among sexually-active young women. They are also silent about the raw deal women get when they enter into this "equal" bargain with men. Since when did learning and performing all the tricks of a concubine (down to the lap-dancing classes being offered at my local gym) count as "female liberation?" Yet that is the kind of behavior young women are increasingly indulging in--without any promise of committment or even reciprocal intimacy from their male partners. The female students call these men "friends with benefits."
In my first book What Our Mothers Didn't Tell Us: Why Happiness Eludes The Modern Woman I chronicled the early stages of female disillusionment with sexual liberation. Now an important and urgent new book, Unprotected: A Campus Psychiatrist Reveals How Political Correctness in Her Profession Endangers Every Student,challenges the myth further. You can read my full review of the book in today's Wall Street Journal. Below is a preview of its contents. But whether you're a feminist or not, I think we can all agree that the urgent situation for young women is and should be a non-partisan one. Let's get past the political rhetoric and deal with the reality facing our daughters:
"My patients were hurting, they looked to me and what could I do?" So confesses an anonymous campus physician in the beginning of her startling memoir. Over the course of 200 pages, she tells story after story about suffering young women. If these women were ailing from eating disorders, or substance abuse, or almost any other medical or psychological problem, their university health departments would spring to their aid. "Cardiologists hound patients about fatty diets and insufficient exercise. Pediatricians encourage healthy snacks, helmets and discussion of drugs and alcohol. Everyone condemns smoking and tanning beds."
Unfortunately, the young women described in "Unprotected" have fallen victim to one of the few personal troubles that our caring professions refuse to treat or even acknowledge: They have been made miserable by their "sexual choices." And on that subject, few modern doctors dare express a word of judgment.