The Slatest

Trump Official Once Complained That Using Condoms “Robs” Women of the “Remarkable Chemicals” in Semen

A head shot of Patterson wearing a suit.
Robert W. Patterson.

What in God’s name?!? From Media Matters:

Before joining President Donald Trump’s administration, right-wing commentator Robert W. Patterson argued against contraceptives because “condom use robs” women of the “remarkable chemicals” in semen.

It’s true. Patterson, who worked in communications for the second Bush administration, resigned a position under then-Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett in 2012 after the Philadelphia Inquirer revealed that he’d written a blog post for a journal called The Family in America that shoehorned a Scientific American piece about (legitimate) sex/biology research into the thesis that women become shrill and suicidal unless they’re in “contraceptive-free marriages” before they reach their late 20s. From Patterson’s post:

When the three psychologists conducted a preliminary study with 300 coeds in 2002, they discovered that young women who reported that their lover never used condoms showed significantly higher mood levels and fewer depressive symptoms as measured by the Beck Depression Inventory, including thoughts of suicide, than those whose lover “usually” or “always” used condoms. … While the three researchers, as well as Bering, do not explore the relationship of these fascinating findings to marriage—a major oversight—their insights nonetheless suggest that contraceptive-free marriages entered into at a relatively early age serve the interests and health of women far better than the current trend of cohabiting and contracepting couples waiting until their late 20s or early 30s to tie the knot, thinking they can manipulate Mother Nature.

It’s never a good sign for your blog’s hypothesis about marriage when you have to admit that the researchers you’re citing “do not explore” the subject in any way. (For Patterson’s conclusion to have validity he’d need to consider the psychological benefits of, for example, not having unwanted pregnancies in college and/or not locking yourself into an unwanted early marriage.) But kudos to him, from one harried blogger to another, for persisting nonetheless. Deadlines, who needs them!

In any case, Patterson lurked around for a while thinking about semen and then popped up under Trump working in communications for the Social Security Administration, where his job is, I assume, to add handwritten notes about sperm chemicals to the monthly checks.