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Promoting sex without condoms
A professor says unsafe sex is good for mental health
U

nsafe sex has been getting a bum rap, said Stephen Adams in Britain's Telegraph, if you buy the results of a study by professor Stuart Brody of the University of the West of Scotland. Brody asked 111 Portuguese men and 99 women about their sex lives, and found that those who used condoms regularly were more likely than those who didn't to suffer from depression, suicidal tendencies, and be emotionally immature.

"I'm not buying it," said Dan Savage in Seattle's The Stranger. For one thing, it was a small sample and Stuart Brody had to take his subjects' word for everything. More importantly, "the straight people likeliest to be having unprotected intercourse—those having sex without condoms—are those in stable, monogamous relationships." So unsafe sex isn't good for you—"being with someone with whom you can safely have sex without using condoms is."

Professor Brody's "conclusions will alarm groups trying to combat the spread of sexual disease," said Andy McSmith in Britain's Independent. But Brody says he's not interested in being "politically correct." He says it's simply good science to recognize that only "evolutionarily relevant" sex—sex that can lead to reproduction—can promote "better physical and mental health."

That's a "dubious" claim, said Amy Benfer in Salon. If humans only cared about "spreading our seed far and wide," the vast majority of our societies would not "have evolved, if you will, in the entirely opposite direction—toward delayed child-rearing, and having fewer children in whom they invest more of their resources."

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