Hooked: New Science on How Casual Sex is Affecting Our Children

Dennis Prager talks to Dr. Freda McKissic Bush, board-certified obstetrician/gynecologist and a partner in private practice in Jackson, Mississippi. Her latest book (co-authored with Joe S. McIlhaney) is Hooked: New Science on How Casual Sex is Affecting Our Children…

Product Description: Society tells us that sex is an act of self-expression, a personal choice for physical pleasure that can be summed up in the ubiquitous phrase: “hooking up.” Millions of American teenagers and young adults are finding that the psychological baggage of such behavior is having a real and lasting impact on their lives. They are discovering that “hooking up” is the easy part, but “unhooking” from the bonds of a sexual relationship can have serious consequences.

A practical look into new scientific research showing how sexual activity causes the release of brain chemicals which then result in emotional bonding and a powerful desire to repeat the activity. This book will help parents and singles understand that “safe sex” isn’t safe at all; that even if they are protected against STD’s and pregnancy, they are still hurting themselves and their partner.

CHICAGO, July 28 /PRNewswire/ — Pop culture tells young people that sex is an act of self-expression, a personal choice for physical pleasure that can be summed up in the ubiquitous phrase, "hooking up." They are told that as long as they use protection and avoid STDs or out-of-wedlock pregnancies, there are no consequences. But what happens when those relationships end? "Hooked: New Science on How Casual Sex is Affecting Our Children" uncovers new research on the impact that sex, even "safe" sex, can have on the adolescent brain. Written by physicians Joe S. McIlhaney, Jr., M.D. and Freda McKissic Bush, M.D., "Hooked" is a journey of exploration into the mind, the most powerful sex organ of all.

Based on studies and data from the Medical Institute for Sexual Health, a nonprofit medical, educational, and research organization, "Hooked" reveals groundbreaking evidence showing that when couples become sexually active, they release a series of brain chemicals that can result in powerful emotional bonding. Once "hooked," the couple has a bond that is not easily broken. When separation does occur, it has a chemical and biological impact on the brain – an impact that affects future behavior and happiness.

"Millions of American teenagers and young adults are finding that the psychological baggage of casual sex is affecting their lives," said Gary Rose, MD, President and CEO of the Medical Institute. "They are discovering that ‘hooking up’ is the easy part, but ‘unhooking’ from a sexual relationship is a lot harder and can have serious consequences."

The risks of unprotected sex and unhealthy sexual behavior are widely known. More than 700,000 unplanned pregnancies and 19 million new Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) occur in the United States each year. But too few young people consider the emotional and psychological risks of casual sex – bonds that are certain to be formed, regardless of precautionary measures. When these bonds are broken, the trauma can create negative patterns in their behavior and thinking that last a lifetime. More than just stern warning about teenage sex, "Hooked" is a journey of discovery into the human brain when we are at our most vulnerable, and speaks to every parent and child who must consider the true consequences of sex.

David Pittman writes:

"If we identify specific demographics or factors that seem to directly contribute to these issues, we will address those as we identify them, even if they are only a slice of the problem," Richardson said. "Hopefully, over time, these interventions will decrease the rates of infection in our community."

About 80 percent of chlamydia cases across the state appear in women, according to the Department of State Health Services. About 75 percent of syphilis cases appear in men.

Gonorrhea incidence is about 50 percent male and 50 percent female, but more than half the total cases are in black the community.

Joe McIlhaney, a gynecologist and founder and chairman of the Austin-based Medical Institute for Sexual Health, said the likelihood someone has an STD generally isn’t related to demographics, gender or race.

"It is related to the number of sexual partners that one has," said McIlhaney, a Lubbock native who recently authored "Hooked: New Science on How Casual Sex is Affecting Our Children."

He said the younger a person begins having sexual intercourse, the more sexual partners they are likely to have and more at risk for contracting an STD.

"Parents have been disempowered, they think they don’t influence their kids behavior," McIlhaney said. "It’s really just telling parents, ‘Look. Just do what’s best for your children.’ "

Last year’s provisional data from the state shows Potter County still has some of the highest rates in the state.

"It doesn’t seem to be improving," Richardson said.

While they search for an answer, workers will continue their current programs which center on awareness, education and advocacy.

"I think behavior change is one of the most difficult things to accomplish for any health-care topic," Richardson said.

Tracy Clark-Flory writes about the raft of chastity books:

But much of the finger-wagging over hooking up neglects those very reasonable concerns. For example, abstinence advocates are fond of the saying: "There is no condom for the heart." But heartbreak isn’t always sexually transmitted. In the New York Times Magazine piece on chastity, prominent Harvard activist Janie Fredell lamented the hurt she’d seen women go through in their pursuit of relationships via hooking up — as though abstaining from sex would have saved them a broken heart. If only.

I learned something from all of the men I dated. Sexually, I learned plenty about what turns me on. More important, by spending time in uncommitted relationships, what I wanted in a committed relationship became clearer — and it wasn’t amorous antagonism but a partnership that didn’t trigger self-protectiveness.

I also discovered that a lot of young men are scared shitless — of women, themselves and their future; that, contrary to our cultural imaginings, they are just as desperate to figure things out as young women. I found that a lot of the pains in the relationships of us 20-somethings can be blamed on cultural prescriptions for masculinity. Yes, there is the stud-slut double standard — but there’s also an expectation that men, unlike women, will not seek safe harbor in a relationship. No, they are supposed to bravely sail their ships beyond the singing sirens and silted waters of their quarter life until they miraculously hit land in the Real Adult World.

As Kathy Dobie wrote in reviewing Stepp’s "Unhooked": "We learn less about intimacy in our youthful sex lives than we do about humanity … Perhaps, this generation, by making sex less precious, less a commodity, will succeed in putting simple humanity back into sex." Indeed, and perhaps young women are putting feminist ideals of equality into sex by refusing shame and claiming the traditionally male side of the stud/slut double standard. Also, the idea that a woman has to test a man by withholding sex — as many abstinence advocates actually argue — relies on a paradigm of inequality in which women are forced to rely on such desperate power plays. It isn’t that feminism has taught women to have sex like men, as the argument commonly goes, but that withholding sex isn’t women’s sole superpower; coitus isn’t women’s kryptonite.

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see Amazon.com). My work has been noted in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (Alexander90210.com).
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