While flipping past the Real Life section in the local newspaper to get to the daily comic section, the above title sparked my interest. According to the new book, Hooked: How Casual Sex is Affecting our Children, teenage sex is bad for the brain. The book suggests that teens should wait to have sex until their mid-20s so that their "brains are fully developed" and they are in "lifelong relationships". The reason for this, apparently, is that neurochemicals released during sexual activity may cause problems later in life. According to them, young people are "susceptible to pattern-forming behaviours" which could "set them up for a lifetime of seeking the thrill and reward from sex, and make it harde for them to attach themselves long-term to a partner later in life."
Just wondering what other people think of this? Honestly, I think it's a bunch of hooey. Wouldn't a young person get the same "reward" of a rush of dopamine from masturbation?
(Also, as a nit picky thing.. they say in the article that oxytocin "cause the sexes to bond with each other". I was under the impression from twelth grade biology that oxytocin caused uterine contractions...? And what does sexes bonding with each other mean anyways?!)
Posts: 206 | From: Canada | Registered: Mar 2008
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I'm with you on the hooey factor here. This sort of thing just strikes me as fear-mongering. It also seems out of alignment with reality, since the vast, vast majority of people -- in modern times and for most of human history -- have not waited on partnered sex until after their twenties. As well, even infants masturbate: it's not like people tend to be taught masturbation. It's something intuitive people do and have always done, usually only ceasing after being shamed or punished for it, or being scared off of it by someone.
FYI, all this business about people having oxytocin increases with sex with one partner and then bonding to them (as if bonding were nothing more than chemical, anyway, or was something that only occurred with sex) and being less and less able to bond to others has been more than debunked over the years.
It's particularly easy to see the flaw when you see who usually talks about it, then remember that where we KNOW oxytocin is massively produced is via breastfeeding. And yet, we don't hear these same folks suggesting then that mothers can't love any children they have after their first child any less. There's just no evidence to suggest we "run out" of oxytocin, that having surges with one person make us bond less to others (in fact, in recent years, it's been suggested and studied as a possible therapy for social phobias or autism), or that social/emotional bonding is just about oxytocin. I mean, I know I'm bound to a couple of my best friends for life, but I've never had sex with or even near them nor have I breastfed either of them. My father and I are more like a married couple than any partnership I've ever been in, and again, same deal: no sex, no breastfeeding. My mother DID breastfeed me, and yet we have really never been able to strongly bond. If oxytocin is all there is to it, what gives?
Too, it's helpful with all this talk of lifelong relationships to bear in mind that very few people have but one lifelong relationship (often including the people pushing that). People die. Even for those who stay with their first partner for decades will, later in life, date again. We know that elderly people now, for instance, who have been widowed after decades of marriage do often still have other romantic/sexual relationships.
-------------------- Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen About Me • Get our book! Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead Posts: 67143 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000
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