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

Firebird - posted on 04/15/2012 ( 8 moms have responded )

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Sexual attitudes in Europe are the stuff of the Christian Right's nightmares — yet many of those societies are better for having more open attitudes toward sexuality.

April 12, 2012 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.

Read the full article here: http://www.alternet.org/sex/154970/5_Cou...

Thoughts?

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Janice - posted on 04/15/2012

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Very interesting article. Not surprising at all. Too bad it probably wont make any difference in how sexuality is approached in the US. I do believe there are many people who are open about sexuality, but right now the righteous Christian politicians have perfected the art of propaganda and I'm sure they will bury this or find a way to spin it to suite their needs. I mean seriously, the teenage daughter of a politician supporting abstinence only, got pregnant during her campaign and that didnt make much of an impact.

Krista - posted on 04/15/2012

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That really doesn't surprise me. Not in the least. Unfortunately, a lot of sex-ed in the US consists of parents and educators devising new and interesting ways to put their collective head in the sand.

It's funny, I remember when I read "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo", one thing that REALLY struck me was when two characters were having a discussion about their friendship and trust, and at one point, the male said very easily, "“Sex has nothing to do with friendship. Sure, friends can have sex, but if I had to choose between sex and friendship when it comes to you, there’s no doubt which I would pick.”

And it just struck me as so...European, this matter-of-fact, plain-language acceptance that friends can have sex. They didn't cutesy it up by calling it "friends with benefits". It was what it was.

It just seems that in the U.S., the attitude towards sex is that it is either sacred (i.e. within marriage) or prurient (outside of marriage). It's either forbidden or worshiped. It's not seen as a normal, healthy, thing that sexually mature adults can do, without all of this societal song and dance.

An example of how fucked-up this attitude is was shown in a study about online porn habits:

Eight of the top 10 pornography consuming states gave their electoral votes to John McCain in last year's presidential election – Florida and Hawaii were the exceptions. While six out of the lowest 10 favoured Barack Obama. Residents of 27 states that passed laws banning gay marriages boasted 11% more porn subscribers than states that don't explicitly restrict gay marriage.

In Europe, the prevailing theme seems to be "We're all adults here, so why dance around it?" Whereas in the States? There are a lot of people with dirty little secrets.

[deleted account]

I don't know. I think I've made my views on sexuality clear in other posts. I think people have the right ot their own bodies and what they do with them whether that's a need to not engage in sexual activity until marriage or experimenttation to revolving door on the bedroom. I don't think any of it is inherently bad, I think it's the attitude around it.

I read the article and the phrase that comes back to me is correlation is not causation. Maybe I missed something.

Lora - posted on 04/15/2012

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I agree with you wholeheartedly,

I think the USA does put it's head in the sand when it come to sex-ed. The sex-ed core curriculum is usually set up by some Prudish Christian Right wing bunch of folks. I'm Christian and I fully think that sex-ed should be taught a whole different way in this country. But they have to worry about stepping on parents toes that have their head so far in the sand that they can see China. I think that condoms should be handed out in schools. But some people tend to think that if we do that, that will encourage our kids to have sex. Their going to have sex whether we hand out condoms or not. Maybe if we handed condoms out then we could prevent some of the pregnacy that goes on, or the sexually transmitted diseases which in my thinking getting AIDS is much worse than having a child out of wed lock. A life is taken with AIDS and a life is given with pregnancy.

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Tracey - posted on 04/18/2012

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Johnny - Having a roof over my head and an income to keep it there, knowing I can afford to feed and clothe my children makes me happier long term than having sex. My first thought when my husband lost his job was not great more mummy and daddy time it was how long can we afford to pay the mortgage. In that sense money does bring happiness.

Johnny - posted on 04/16/2012

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So money = happiness but sexual satisfaction does not??



Okelie dokelie. Happiness surveys worldwide would disagree but whatever floats your boat.



I find the sexual mores of the extreme right in the US very twisted and perverse. Sex is seen in such an odd way. Instead of an enjoyable physical activtiy that should be engaged in responsibly due to various potential consequences, it is treated as dirty or sacred and assigned all these truly unrelated morals.

Tracey - posted on 04/16/2012

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Topless / nude beaches are more common in the Mediterranean countries which rely on tourism for income and have nothing to do with morality.
The attitude to alcohol also plays a large part in STD / pregnancy / abortion rates. Countries such as France where children are taught to respect alcohol are more responsible in their sexual actions (ie they are sober enough to know what they are doing) whereas in the UK despite have extremely detailed sex ed it is common to go out and get plastered at weekends which leads to sexual encounters with no thought for the after effects.
Sexual openess does not lead to a happier society, at least one of the countries mentioned is facing extreme financial hardship with high unemployment.

Stifler's - posted on 04/15/2012

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I agree with krista there needs to be a balance between being too far out there with sex in everyone's face and being a prude who giggles at the word vagina and promotes abstinence as a form of birth control to teenagers.

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