Monday, July 19, 2010

Sexual Revolution in reverse

A team of North American scientists suggest that the Sexual Revolution of the 1960s and 1970s may have been kickstarted by the medical improvements of the previous generation.

Thornhill et al. (2009) noted that the predictions of the parasite-stress model are consistent with the marked increase in the liberalization of social values that began to occur in the West in the 1960s and 1970s (e.g., civil rights, women’s rights, gay and lesbian rights, anti-authoritarianism, etc.). In the West, but not outside of it, infectious-disease prevalence was reduced dramatically a generation or two earlier as a result of widespread availability of antibiotics, child vaccination programs, food- and water-safety practices, increased sanitation and vector control...

The researchers point to the role of disease prevalence in shaping culture. When the risk of infectious disease is high, cultures tend to be insular, xenophobic and sexually conservative, these traits reducing the risk of infection. When the risk collapses, as it did after the development of 20th century drugs and sanitation, cultures tend to become more liberal and permissive.

So what if the risk comes back? The AIDS disaster in Africa is an example of just that, and:

...In a report, UNAids says the incidence of HIV has decreased by up to 25% as young people between the ages of 15 and 24 change their sexual behaviour....

The Outlook report says young people in 16 of the world's 25 worst-affected countries with HIV are becoming sexually active later and having fewer sexual partners.

In countries such as Botswana, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi and Zimbabwe the reduction in new HIV infections, measured among young pregnant women presenting for antenatal check-ups, indicates that these nations will achieve UN targets for reducing HIV rates among the young this year.

It's the Sexual Revolution in reverse: as risk increases sexual promiscuity declines.

1 comment:

  1. If a horrid disease is the only thing that can return sex to the one place where it is holy (in marriage, between a man and a woman), then that is the cost society must pay.

    God have mercy on us all, that death and HIV/AIDS is the only thing that can reverse what should never have happened in the first place!

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