Wednesday, November 01, 2006

An interesting study on sex

This study has a few surprises and is an interesting read:

School-based sexual education delays and does not hasten onset of sexual activity.
Apparently I was well educated. I also found this interesting:
Monogamy is the dominant pattern in most parts of the world. Men report more multiple partnerships than do women. Such men are more likely to live in developed nations.
This implies one or more of the following:
  • Men have more bisexual experiences than women.
  • Men lie to inflate their numbers, women lie to deflate theirs.
  • There are a small number of very, very promiscuous women.
On that last point, I recall reading a paper discussing how legalization of prostitution can actually help reduce the rate of disease transmittal. The article was interesting in its dry approach to a subject that usually makes people... agitated. I'll try to find it. The premise was that in modeling disease control, a pattern emerges when assuming a fixed degree of male promiscuity whereby an increase in promiscuous women (for example, with increasing numbers of prostitutes) actually reduces STD transmittal by reducing the risk from any single encounter. If I recall correctly, the model had a few points of optimally reduced risk; it amuses me that prostitution can be defined and optimized mathematically.

Legalized prostitution is an interesting topic to discuss with feminists (myself included) because you never know how they may respond. My broad take is that above all else I wish to trust people with their own decisions, and that these personal decisions should only be restricted as it impacts the health and well being of others as it becomes a gateway to increased STDs, crime, etc. This pretty much mirrors my beliefs about illegal drugs (and why dangerous alcohol abuse should be prosecuted more aggressively than simple possession of marijuana).

The article concludes with a "controversial" assertion by the authors of the study that deserves broader attention:
"The greatest challenge to sexual-health promotion in almost all countries comes from opposition from conservative forces to harm-reduction strategies." [Wellings et al.]

The researchers call for providing sexual health services to unmarried young women, supplying condoms, decriminalizing commercial sex and homosexual sex, and prosecuting the perpetrators of sexual violence.
On a final note, I find it oddly serendipitous that as I type this, I'm listening to Underworld's "Moaner".

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