The Economist recently reported about shifts in sexual mores in Britain, but interestingly left out almost all economic interpretation and especially outlook. Let’s make up for it here.
- Both men and women are strongly and increasingly intolerant of marital infidelity. Wonderful. The boundary around the joint marital territory, and around the (property) rights acquired by marriage has just become firmer. In future, you will be more secure in your marriage and can trustfully invest in it. Your Economist predicts (continuation in the) increase in marriage rates, and an increased willingness of spouses to give up things when they get married.
- Sexually transmitted infections do no longer rise among those below 24. The sharpest fall is among teenagers. (Teenage pregnancy has not been so rare since 1969.) The young crowd has gotten an updated message: your responsibility is no longer covered, no pun intended, by using a condom alone. There are a lot of nasty things you can catch in spite of using one. Your Economist predicts a continuation of this trend until teenage pregnancy is virtually unmeasurable.
- STI do increase in all older age groups. Well, the older crowd is still living the old message: use a condom and all is fine. A pity the article does not say which STI’s increase. Your Economist guesses it’s Syphilis, Chlamydia, Herpes and any other little bug that laughs at condoms. Not HIV. Your Economist predicts that the older crowd will eventually either learn from the young crowd or read the news more intently (like this article) and then also embark on a healthier lifestyle.
- Couples have slightly less sex (now than in 2000). The Economist quotes scientists that blame the recession. Your Economist blames the on-going rise in labor productivity. People work harder, whether in the private or public sectors. This is especially true in countries with regressive demographics. My retired uncle complains he can no longer have drinks with his former colleagues because ‘what three people used to do is now being done by one’. I’m sure the same colleagues’ spouses have similar issues of finding time and leisure.
- Tolerance for diversity (especially gay relationships) has increased. Well, knowledge has increased. Most people know gay people, and know when people are gay. There is no longer a need to hide or mislabel the relationship. Openness begets openness in what seems an exponential relationship. And personal evidence is too strong an antidote for myths.