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Sat Apr 14, 2012, 04:25 PM

5 Countries That Do It Better: How Sexual Prudery Makes America a Less Healthy and Happy Place

To extreme social conservatives of the far right, the word “prude” is not an insult — it’s a badge of honor. “Prudes,” they would argue, should be upheld as exemplary role models because a sexually repressive society is also a society with fewer unplanned pregnancies and fewer sexually transmitted diseases. But not only do the facts not bear that out, they also demonstrate that the exact opposite is true. Countries that embrace many of the things social conservatives detest (comprehensive sex education, pro-gay legislation, nude or topless beaches, legal or decriminalized prostitution, adult entertainment) tend to be countries that have less sexual dysfunction than the United States, not more. And when one compares sexual attitudes in the United States to sexual attitudes in Western Europe, it becomes evident that there is a strong correlation between social conservatism and higher rates of teen pregnancy, abortion and sexually transmitted diseases.


The Christian Right would consider the following five European countries to be quite “permissive” when compared to the United States. All of them make a strong case for social liberalism and sexual openness.

1. The Netherlands

The Netherlands has a reputation for being one of the most pro-sex countries in the world, and it isn’t hard to understand why. From comprehensive sex education to legal prostitution (Amsterdam has one of Europe’s most famous red light districts) to nude and topless beaches, the Netherlands is a social conservative’s worst nightmare. On top of that, the Netherlands was the first country in the world to legalize gay marriage (the Netherlands legalized same-sex civil unions in 1998 and gay marriage in 2001). But while Rick Santorum would no doubt view Amsterdam and Rotterdam as a modern-day Sodom and Gomorrah, the reality is that all that sexual openness is having positive results in the Netherlands. Sociologist Amy Schalet (author of “Not Under My Roof: Parents, Teens and the Culture of Sex” and a professor at the University of Massachusetts) has done extensive sex-related research on the United States and the Netherlands, often asserting that Americans would be much better off if they had the sexual openness of the Dutch.

And the data bears that out. The United Nations reported that in 2009, the Netherlands had a teen birth rate of 5.3 per 1,000 compared to 39.1 per 1,000 in the United States that year (teen birth rates provided by the United Nations, the Guttmacher Institute, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Advocates for Youth and other organizations typically look at females in the 15–19 age group). Advocates for Youth has reported that the Netherlands had an abortion rate of 8.8 per 1,000 in 2006 compared to 14.8 per 1,000 in the United States in 2007 (abortion rates, as a rule, are based on the number of abortions per 1,000 women aged 15–44). And Advocates for Youth has also reported that in 2009, the United States had three times as many adults living with HIV or AIDS as the Netherlands (0.2 percent in the Netherlands compared to 0.6 percent in the United States). Also, in 2006, there were roughly 13 cases of gonorrhea per 100,000 Netherlands residents in the 15–19 age group compared to roughly 458 per 100,000 in the United States that year. So when it comes to sexual health, the United States is clearly dropping the ball compared to the Netherlands.


http://www.alternet.org/sex/154970/5_countries_that_do_it_better%3A_how_sexual_prudery_makes_america_a_less_healthy_and_happy_place/

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Reply 5 Countries That Do It Better: How Sexual Prudery Makes America a Less Healthy and Happy Place (Original post)
PA Democrat Apr 2012 OP
jenwilson Apr 2012 #1
niyad Apr 2012 #2
Warpy Apr 2012 #3
izquierdista Apr 2012 #4
muriel_volestrangler Apr 2012 #14
Sarah Ibarruri Apr 2012 #5
xchrom Apr 2012 #6
Rohland Apr 2012 #7
Rohland Apr 2012 #8
n2doc Apr 2012 #9
n2doc Apr 2012 #10
Rohland Apr 2012 #11
Rohland Apr 2012 #12
Rohland Apr 2012 #13
2ndAmForComputers Apr 2012 #15

Response to PA Democrat (Original post)

Sat Apr 14, 2012, 04:32 PM

1. Then there's the ignore it group

 

I still like living in Seattle. As several studies I've seen prove, it is the most asexual city in the country, if not the world. Freedom from sex is liberating. I've lived in the South where just about every other conversation centered around sex. It was either people bragging, pressuring, or denouncing. Here in Seattle it just gets ignored.

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Response to PA Democrat (Original post)

Sat Apr 14, 2012, 04:32 PM

2. bookmarked for later, thank you

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Response to PA Democrat (Original post)

Sat Apr 14, 2012, 04:38 PM

3. I know I got chapter and verse on birth control from my mother

when I finally got my period just shy of my fifteenth birthday. It all sounded like one hell of a mess and a whole bunch of bother and I'm sure that delayed my fooling around by a few years.

The problem with the US is that sex and punishment are inextricably linked in the cultural mindset. Interfering with that is seen as interfering with the word of gawd, although it's unclear why that kind of gawd would be seen fit to worship, at all.

This article links social conservatism with more unwanted pregnancies, teen births, and abortions. What it doesn't point out is that those things are obvious in this country by region; the areas with the most conservative mindsets have the most appalling statistics for women and children.

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Response to PA Democrat (Original post)

Sat Apr 14, 2012, 04:40 PM

4. You don't need to restrict it to Western Europe

 

Attitudes in Eastern Europe are much closer to Western Europe than they are to the U.S.

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Response to izquierdista (Reply #4)

Sat Apr 14, 2012, 08:31 PM

14. But the results aren't so good

Adolescent fertility rate (births per 1,000 women ages 15-19) 2009:

http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SP.ADO.TFRT

Belarus 22
Bulgaria 40
Estonia 21
Hungary 15
Latvia 16
Lithuania 18
Moldova 32
Poland 14
Romania 31
Ukraine 29

All higher than all of the 5 the article used (the highest was Spain, at 12).

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Response to PA Democrat (Original post)

Sat Apr 14, 2012, 04:44 PM

5. Good article. Thank you. I think our problem in the U.S. is the religion fetish. Not all

Americans are religion fetishists, but a huge proportion of them are. What's worse is that the prominent and loudest American religions (Protestant evangelicals) have a base of propaganda, proselytizing, and run are like corporations. They taint our American landscape with ideas that lend nothing, and take freedoms from women (and men, though less so).

I have a theory as to why Americans go along with it, but I won't go into that here.

What I do know is that none of the countries mentioned have to live under the weight of religious fanaticism and propaganda we do, so they are free to promote programs that help women, and people can live in a social freedom we are not allowed.

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Response to PA Democrat (Original post)

Sat Apr 14, 2012, 05:01 PM

6. Du rec. Nt

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Response to PA Democrat (Original post)

Sat Apr 14, 2012, 05:08 PM

7. Relevant factors

I'm from the Netherlands and hear this type of argument quite often.And only recently there was a debate in parliament about our drug policy that used much of the same sort of arguments as are used in this article.But what they found was that while the Netherlands had a lower percentage of drug users then countries such as the US,UK,or France that have a more restrictive drug policy.It has a higher percentage of drug users then a country such as Sweden that has a more restrictive drug policy.Which suggests that the link between less restrictive/more restrictive might be much more limited in it's actual effects then one might think at first.And I think much the same is true of prude vs (so called) non prude.What I believe is the real driver between a low percentage of drug users or a low percentage of the things you mentioned is actually the level of wealth distribution and income equality and the level of education.The Netherlands and even more so Sweden have a very low wealth inequality and one of the highest standards of living in the world.That makes a huge difference because it's usually the less well off, less educated classes that have problems with teenage pregnancy STD's or drug/alcohol abuse.

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Response to PA Democrat (Original post)

Sat Apr 14, 2012, 05:26 PM

8. Relevant factors

That doesn't mean btw that I don't think the very prude the total banning of all sex from society can't lead to all sorts of sexual problems.You can see it in societies and cultures that make sex and sexuality a taboo they basically create sexual deviants because people can't handle it properly.We see it with our Muslim community where there is no dating and woman go around in hijabs and baggy clothes and the like.What you see is young Muslim boys thinking girls in regular clothes are whores,or girls that are just swimming in a public pool but by just being dressed like that makes them whores.And of course once you downgrade a woman like that mentally you create the conditions where violence,rape and abuse starts occurring, which you also see,The instances of molestation are much higher among the Muslims then among the non-Muslim Dutch.BTW you also see it in the Catholic Church of course which is probably the most famous example of how banning sex from ones life causes sexual deviance.

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Response to Rohland (Reply #8)

Sat Apr 14, 2012, 05:45 PM

9. And in both the Catholic and Islamic societies little boys are sexually abused by the patriarchy

I do not think it is a coincidence.

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Response to PA Democrat (Original post)

Sat Apr 14, 2012, 05:47 PM

10. Heck just look at trends within the US

Liberal "blue" states have the lowest teen pregnancy and abortion rates, Conservative 'red' states have the highest rates.

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Response to PA Democrat (Original post)

Sat Apr 14, 2012, 05:49 PM

11. Stereotypes dangerous!

Also the Netherlands is not "liberal paradise" or how it's described in the article as "conservative hell" these are all extreme labels that don't fit the reality.I think it has to do mostly with how polarized the US has become in this regard.We have some extremely conservative Christian/Muslim groups living in the Netherlands,while at the same time having a " liberal" attitude towards many things as well.You can find everything and everyone here we are a country of 17 million people that are generally very diverse and reasonable tolerant of each other.The average Dutch man wears a sweater has a dog is a father of two and goes on holiday in a caravan.They are not prowling the red light district or the coffeeshops (weed bars?) in the evening stereo types are fun but they just don't fit.

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Response to Rohland (Reply #11)

Sat Apr 14, 2012, 06:37 PM

12. Political spectrum

One of the things i would love to see in the US is if they copied our school system. Basically it's that everyone pays taxes for it but each group in society can get together and create a school according to their view of life but at the same time kept to generalized standards.So Catholics have their schools, Protestants have their schools,Muslims have their schools,liberals have their schools,you know it's a wide variety we never had the bitter debates you've had in the US about if people can pray in school or not.It's just not an issue we skirted around it and I think thats why even today you know, you get sort of..middle of the road consensus building laws that give everyone something? You also see it in labor relations.People try and come to some kind of middle ground.It's origins is probably the fact that for centuries large parts of the country could suddenly flood forcing people together on these small elevated mounts called terps http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Artificial_dwelling_hill .In those sort of situations you don't want people fighting over stuff.So they had to learn to compromise and find some mutually acceptable space and get along. Also all our governments are so called coalition governments.Two or more parties forming one government.So you could imagine say in the US, democrats and the greens forming a majority together or conservatives and libertarians forming a government and how that would work out in society.Everyone gets his space and time we try to not saw them off at the knee...well not to harshly anyway..we saw them just slowly and less harsh lol

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Response to Rohland (Reply #12)

Sat Apr 14, 2012, 07:42 PM

13. adverts

I'm sort of making an advertisement for the Netherlands here but I mean why not abuse a topic like this? one other thing I think people will find cool or not depending on which side of the spectrum you are. Is that in the Netherlands we still have something that is called Sunday rest. Basically, all the stores and businesses close.We have actual "Sunday rest" or Christian Sabbath to a degree that would appear weird to the average American.Like imagine New York just shutting down for a day.No commerce, no cinema's you know everyone closes down.Spends time on family/goes to Church.Our public holidays generally correspond with religious days. So Easter..Christmas..asscencion day, err some other Christian holidays.So you see it's a lot less threatening environment for Christians to live in they don't have this apocalyptic end of time theology either like the "rapture" thing is typically American. but like I said i think what your society needs is to tone down the polarization somehow.Like we don't even have the whole are we a Christian nation type discussion either..we just are a Judeo/Christian country culturally.Thats just our heritage.The same is true for the US but for some reason you can't officially say this? That is what annoys people I think why not say you are Judeo/Christian? It's true just look at something like battle hymn of the republic holy Jesus you are very religious and Christian in your origins.European settlers coming over to "save" the souls of the heathen Indians.

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Response to Rohland (Reply #13)

Tue Apr 17, 2012, 09:12 PM

15. I'm a bit ambivalent on the Sunday thing.

What if you forgot to go to the store and are out of food? Is there at least some pizza delivery available?

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