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Education Reporter

Book of the Month
Book of the Month

Sex: What You Don't Know Can Kill You
Sex: What You Don't Know Can Kill You by Joe S. McIlhaney, 1997, Baker Books, 121 pps., $8.99 paper.

Dr. Joe McIlhaney, an eminent gynecologist and president of the Medical Institute for Sexual Health (MISH), describes the dangers of unchecked sexual activity in his most recent book, Sex: What You Don't Know Can Kill You. He wrote the book to help individuals understand more fully their personhood, achieve a balanced perspective on sex, and enjoy freedom from regret and future health problems.

"If we focus only on the sex act and ignore the relationship between two people that makes sex human," says Dr. McIlhaney, "we destroy the fragile side of sex." For human beings, sex is "the deepest form of communication between two people who love each other."

Sex, like fire, is good in the appropriate context. However, it can also destroy when misused. "We cannot indulge in sex binges without paying the price," he writes. "All human activity must follow the rules."

In the first half of the book, McIlhaney explains in detail the symptoms and treatments of sexually-transmitted diseases (STDs). With STDs, McIlhaney warns that it is rarely possible to correct a mistake and return to normal life. What often follows is pain, costly medical treatment, and even death.

McIlhaney dispels the myth often advocated in sex education classes that alternatives to penetrative intercourse prevent the spread of STDs and pregnancy. The educational philosophy that advocates such dangerous practices "ignores the clear, significant risks of both pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases" and only increases the temptation to progress into sexual intercourse.

McIlhaney insists that it "is not right to teach young people to participate in this activity outside of marriage." Those who tell unmarried persons that such activity is healthy and appropriate "are betraying our youth."

In the latter half of the book, McIlhaney addresses sexual behaviors and their risks and helps singles to develop a personal sexual code in harmony with biblical guidelines. Even non-virgins who commit to abstinence until marriage, he says, can enjoy the "freedom from being a slave to sexual entanglement."

Sex: What You Don't Know Can Kill You is available from Baker Book House by calling 800/877-2665.

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