BMJ 2001; 323 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.323.7319.1012 (Published 27 October 2001) Cite this as: BMJ 2001;323:1012

When patients are advised to visit the local genitourinary medicine clinic, it often doesn't go down well. A qualitative study of young women in Glasgow found that attending a genitourinary medicine clinic was a stressful event, but not as bad as they had expected. Family planning clinics were perceived as benign compared with genitourinary medicine clinics, which are still associated with people who hold unacceptable social and moral traits (Sexually Transmitted Infections 2001;77:340-3).

The contraceptive pill hits the headlines again. This time it's being linked with reduced bone density (Canadian Medical Association Journal 2001;165:1023-9). Data taken from a sample of 524 women enrolled in the Canadian multicentre osteoporosis study showed that premenopausal “ever been users” of the oral contraceptive pill have lower bone densities than “never users.” The reduction in bone density could mean increased fracture risks of 20-30%.

Biologists have found another good reason for having sex. Beneficial genetic mutations are passed on in sexual reproduction, leaving behind poor genetic environments. With asexual reproduction, mutations are passed on with all the old genetic baggage still intact, thus effectively holding back the spread of any advantageous mutations. In this particular set of experiments, fruit flies provided the evidence rather than humans (Science …

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