Marcia Segelstein - Guest Columnist -
Thanks to medical science, we now know that smoking cigarettes is unhealthy. It can lead to diseases like emphysema and lung cancer, and increase the risks of heart disease and stroke. So we have acted swiftly on that information. In one generation, our attitude about smoking has undergone a remarkable transformation. Where smoking was once commonplace, and homes everywhere had ashtrays, even if only for visiting smokers, today it's almost shocking to see someone light up. Banned from airplanes, offices and many restaurants, smoking – and smokers – are viewed with a kind of disdain at worst, pity at best. TV shows and movies rarely show people smoking, except when they're villains. The dangers of smoking are taught to young people with almost religious zeal. Most modern parents who found evidence that their teenagers were smoking would haul them down to the nearest cancer ward for a close up look at the consequences of smoking, or at least to their doctor, who would undoubtedly back up parental warnings that smoking is dangerous to their health.
Now substitute the words "casual sex" for "smoking." Thanks to medical science, we now know that casual sex is unhealthy. Not just because of the myriad of sexually transmitted diseases it can cause, to say nothing of the unwanted pregnancies it can create, but because of what it does to the human brain. Two doctors, Joe McIlhaney and Freda McKissic Bush, explain what we now know about sex and the human brain in their book, Hooked: New Science on How Casual Sex Is Affecting Our Children.