Sex & Relationships  
comments_image Comments

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

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.

Continued from previous page

 
 
Share
 
 
 

 

5. Germany

 

Someone who wants to make a strong argument in favor of more sexual liberalism needs only to compare the United States and Germany, a country that has comprehensive sex-ed programs, legal prostitution and same-sex civil unions (Germany still doesn’t have gay marriage, although many German politicians have been coming out in favor of it). Germany also has, according to Advocates for Youth, one-sixth the HIV/AIDS rate of the  United States  (in 2009, 0.1 percent of Germany’s adult population was living with HIV or AIDS compared to 0.6 percent of the American adult population). Germany’s teen birth rate for 2007 was 9.6 per 1,000, and in 2010, Germany had a rate of eight abortions per 1,000 compared to the  United States ’ 19.6 per 1,000 in 2008. And it’s interesting to note that the United Kingdom (which, arguably, tends to be more sexually liberal than the  United States  but more sexually conservative than continental Western Europe) is somewhere between the  United States  and continental Western Europe when it comes to sexual problems. For example, the United Kingdom has the highest teen birth rate in Western Europe (in 2009, it was 24 per 1,000, which is lower than the  United States  but higher than anywhere in continental Western Europe). So when it comes to sexual health, the United Kingdom obviously needs to be more like Germany and less like the United States.

 

Chart Comparing Teen Birth Rates in the United States and Various European Countries

 

 

United States

Netherlands

Switzerland

Spain

France

Germany

United Kingdom

2006

41.9

 

 

12.1

7.8

 

26.7

2007

 

42.5

5.2

4.3

13.2

10.3

9.6

 

2008

41.5

5.3

4.3

12.2

 

9.8

25.0

2009

39.1

5.3

 

12.2

 

 

24.0

2010

34.3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alex Henderson's work has appeared in the L.A. Weekly, Billboard, Spin, Creem, the Pasadena Weekly and many other publications.

 
See more stories tagged with: