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Education Reporter

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Unprotected, Anonymous, M.D./Dr. Miriam Grossman, Sentinel 2006, 200 pp., $23.95

At the modern university health center, this book reveals, "central is the dogma that desires are 'needs,' to be acted upon and satisfied; that behaviors considered aberrant by society and medicine are natural, while self-restraint is not; that regular sexual behavior — with or without a committed relationship — is necessary and healthy; and that any and all these activities can be free of consequences as long as they're 'protected.'"

The author of Unprotected does not agree. She believes such dogma has left students not free to enjoy safe sex, but less protected than ever from the harm that sex in the wrong context, with the wrong person or for the wrong reasons, can do.

Dr. Grossman demonstrates this with real case histories from the UCLA health center where she has treated more than 2,000 patients. From the young woman who blithely assumes her history of chlamydia won't affect her hope of having children in the future, to the young man who would rather not know whether he or his homosexual partner has HIV or AIDS, these students have learned attitudes and so-called "scientific" information about sex that have set them up for disaster.

Students living the promiscuous lifestyle of the sexual revolution are often depressed, lonely, and helpless to cope with the consequences of their choices. Grossman also brings to light the students whom the prevailing ideology overlooks: the young, committed husband who wants help in conquering a pornography addiction. The 20-something who wants help with conception, not contraception. The many women who, after years of fighting fertility, find that they are now too old to have biological children. The college student in anguish after an abortion, when Planned Parenthood told her that "for most women who have had abortions, the procedure represents a maturing experience, a successful coping with a personal crisis experience." The 80% of post-abortion men in one study who thought either "occasionally" or "frequently" about the baby.

The campus medical establishment has completely let all of these students down. Dr. Grossman writes compassionately about students like these who have no place in the prevailing narratives of sexual liberation and consequence-free sex. Her book is an important one for students who have either been fed the lie or are struggling to fight against it, and for anyone concerned about universities' influence on students.

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