Monday, November 20, 2006

Coming Soon to Health and Human Services: Looney Tunes PowerPoints

Thanks to Andrew Sullivan (, for this powerpoint ( by newly-appointed HHS Deputy Secretary for Family Planning Eric Keroack that is called, and I am not making this up, "The Neuroendocrine and chemical Basics of Human Sexuality: The Results of Non-Marital Sexual Activity." In this presentation, he calls premaritial sex our generation's "Germ Warfare." He suggests that sex, because of its neurochemical processes, causes addiction to pleasure chemicals in a way that mimics drug abuse. The slides explaining this process are artfully illustrated with drawings that look like his 9-year old kid got a hold of a biology textbook and some markers. (see slide 19) Keroack suggests that the stress caused by non/pre/extramarital sexual activity acts as an opiate in the brain, increasing tolerance to oxytocin, the "bonding" brain chemical highly touted by conservatives as the chemical that proves women shouldn't have promiscuous sex lest they bond with every frat guy in sight. Besides Keroack disturbing overuse of Looney Tunes characters to illustrate his slides, his argument fails because it is basically this: the effects of oxytocin include an "airbrushing" of memory: for example, because of the oxytocin released during labor and delivery, women "forget" how painful childbirth really is and are usually willing to go through it again. So oxytocin in sex helps "airbrush" women's memories of fights or other upsets in relationships, which is apparently a reason why sex should be saved for marriage. So it lasts longer. Or something.

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