“Unprotected” Author Comes to UVA

November 8, 2008 | NeW Staff

Last Wednesday, the NeW chapter at UVA and the Inter-Sorority Council hosted speaker Miriam Grossman, author of the book Unprotected. I was unable to attend the actual event because of a schedule conflict, so I went to a class where Dr. Grossman spoke earlier that day. It was quite interesting. She addressed the many biological differences young women have which makes sexual activity different for them than for young men. This speaks directly to the “hook-up culture” we see on our college campuses today, and so, although all the information is simple science, it can be hard for college kids to hear. 

After Dr. Grossman gave her speech to the class, one young man asked: “It seems like you are asking a lot of women. You say the safest option is to hold off from sexual activity till until the body has matured and the relationship is permanent. But you also say that the fertility window starts closing quickly at 35, so it can be unrealistic to start a family after 40. Do you think this is actually possible for women?” I wanted to get up and slap the sexist boy, I’m not going to lie (I felt quite the feminist). The young man underestimates women! We expect ourselves to reach difficult goals all the time. Whether it be running a 5 minute mile, getting into a top school or being elected to Congress, if we want it, we achieve it. I think if a woman really wanted a family and to stay free of STDs, she could make it happen. 

Given that disease is generally avoided by humans, and most young people say they would like to start a family someday, do you think Dr. Grossman’s research would have a big impact? 
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