As someone who grew up all over the world, with a European cultural background, I can only say that my experience after 28 years in the USA is that I’m profoundly glad my son is studying for his degree elsewhere. My first exposure to US culture had me thinking, “this is 1870 with some modern tech sprinkled around” and I’ve had no reason to change that assessment in the years that followed. There is a complex interplay between hardwired behavioral defaults based on the fundamental economics of reproduction (sperm cheap, gestation & post-partum rearing very very expensive) and cultural norms. The “gotcha” for the USA is such a sting because most of US culture is based on the norms of uneducated immigrants who came seeking a better life — and brought with them their peasant attitudes towards, among other things, sex. It’s always been the educated who have been the most liberal (in the proper sense of the word) and enlightened and whose attitudes to sexuality have been the most egalitarian and non-judgmental. But those were the people who remained in their home countries because they were doing well enough; it was only those near the bottom who had nothing to lose by moving halfway across the world to start new lives in the New World. That’s why the USA has been, until recently, far more entrepreneurial and can-do than the Old World. But it’s also why attitudes towards sex, and especially those so deeply ingrained that people don’t even notice them, are so backward and harmful. Sadly I don’t think there’s much chance of the USA changing within anyone’s lifetime, and thanks to Hollywood the cultural norms of the USA are spreading around the globe. Which is definitely Not A Good Thing. In the final analysis a healthy attitude towards sex requires a healthy attitude towards life in general, which is tough in a fear-driven nation obsessed with gods and guns. Ever thought of spending a year or two in one of the Scandinavian countries? You might be pleasantly surprised.

Anyone who enjoys my articles here on Medium may be interested in my books Why Democracy Failed and The Praying Ape, both available from Amazon.