Young Adults: Relationships and Health with Drew Pinsky, M.D.
By Drew Pinsky
In this special audiocast event, Dr. Drew Pinsky, co-host of the radio show 'Loveline,' will be discussing how relationships affect the health of young adults.
The opinions expressed herein are the guests' alone and have not been reviewed by a WebMD physician. If you have questions about your health, you should consult your personal physician. This event is meant for informational purposes only.
Moderator: Welcome to WebMD Live. Today we will be discussing Young Adults: Relationships and Health with Drew Pinsky, M.D.
Co-host of the popular late-night radio show "Loveline," Dr. Drew Pinsky attended Amherst College and earned his M.D. from the University of Southern California School of Medicine. Drew completed his residency in Internal Medicine at USC County Hospital and was awarded the position of Chief Resident at Huntington Hospital in Pasadena. As a Board Certified Internist and addictionologist, Drew is the Medical Director for the Department of Chemical Dependency Services at Las Encinas Hospital in Pasadena and the Chief of Service in the Department of Medicine. He also runs a private clinical medicine practice. Dr. Drew and his Loveline partner, Adam Carolla, published their advice on a myriad of subjects in their first book entitled The Dr. Drew and Adam Book: A Survival Guide to Life and Love. For more information go to http://www.drdrew.com.
Dr. Drew: Hi! Glad to be here. You have questions?
Moderator: What are some of the most common issues facing young adults as they begin to explore their sexuality?
Dr. Drew: Well, it's interesting. I was just reviewing a book on how this country has dealt with sex education and how the country heats up at the time of sexual disease crisis. It gains momentum around headlines that are designed to scare young people. I haven't seen it more important until now ... it's about interpersonal conduct, the way we treat each other and intimacy, particularly now when people are in troubled families that set up circumstances for abuse and dysfunction ... the culture doesn't help us ... it supports the pathology that exists in our country today. So, the issue is surviving bad parenting and abuse, and learning to achieve intimacy again. People aren't taught that both men and women create happiness and fulfillment and health. And, they need to get back to that.
Moderator: So what's the most important lesson? Is there a simple answer?
Dr. Drew: I think first of all acknowledging the problem. I've learned that each five years or so, we go through a wave of specific nuances that are of concern to me. A lot of kids are getting involved now in intimate contact that s inappropriate for that age, and older kids are acknowledging that intercourse and such carry with it more important things.
Moderator: Do you feel that young people are exploring their sexuality at a younger age these days?
Dr. Drew: They are. They're using their mouth at a very young age. Whenever I've talked to groups at any socioeconomic area on the scale, particularly 13-16 year olds, they consider petting or oral copulation a part of petting. And the decision for a girl to make out is a decision to do that with a young male. And, they see me flabbergasted and don't understand the big deal. But, by the same token they're holding back and abstaining from going beyond that .. there's a greater awareness of the bond that occurs beyond that. So, that's good. There's an awareness that you could hurt or be using someone ... the level of intimacy that you may not be ready for at that time.
Moderator: Are there inherent risks in that?
Dr. Drew: Well, there's a study about to be published about oral copulation as a risk for HIV, and it's shown that in a group it was the only risk factor and it's obvious to me ... I'm concerned about the young women ... it seems to be demeaning. It's almost diabolical that young women can take the genital contact out of the arena of this ... but also that they are doing it at all. Remember, I'm just the messenger, not judging or condoning, it boils down to the disturbing relationships with primary caretakers and a culture that reinforces the pathology.
Moderator: How important is communication in a relationship?
Dr. Drew: I'm not sure there's anything more. I try to point out empathy, mutuality, respect, they're important so that communcation can go forward ... you have to be able to stop and listen to the other person without interjecting your own issues.
Moderator: Are there timeless concerns young adults face in their relationships?
Dr. Drew: Yeah. The timeless concern is managing the changing biological milieu they find themselves in. Kids enter adolescence with unfinished business of childhood and have to manage it with changing biology, and tend to try to solve them in personal spheres and they're barely if not poorly equipped to do so.