Sex Laws in the Netherlands

Sex Laws in the Netherlands

I've been researching sex laws in the Netherlands as part of the study abroad course on sex and culture that I'm teaching. One of the ways sex laws in the Netherlands are unique compared to the US is that prostitution and brothels are legal and regulated by the government--but you probably already knew that. So here are a few other legal differences that might be new to you. 

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What Sex Laws Look Like in the Netherlands

What Sex Laws Look Like in the Netherlands

As part of the study abroad course I’m currently teaching on Sex and Culture in the Netherlands, I’ve done some research into what sex laws look like over here. As I wrote in previous posts about this class, two of the ways that laws in the Netherlands are unique compared to the United States are that prostitution is legal and comprehensive sex education is mandated. However, those are just a couple of the most interesting differences. Here are a few more:

1.) Sex and the disabled. The Netherlands doesn’t just have legal prostitution—they also have government-subsidized prostitution for certain segments of the population. Specifically, disabled citizens are eligible to receive government assistance to hire sex workers. Why? Because sex is seen as a right—something that everyone who wants to participate in should be able to enjoy. Also, it’s something that’s seen as good for people’s mental and physical health.

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Is Public Masturbation Acceptable In Sweden?

Is Public Masturbation Acceptable In Sweden?

Compared to the United States, European nations tend to have more relaxed attitudes toward public nudity. Certainly, there’s a lot of variability across individual countries in terms of the type and amount of nudity that is acceptable, but it is pretty clear that Europeans generally don’t have as many hangups about seeing the human body a naturel. For example, just consider that sunbathing in the nude is permitted in many public parks and beaches across Europe (something that is very rare to find in the U.S.). I don't think anyone is particularly surprised to hear this; however, if you're anything like me, you were probably shocked to see all of the recent news reports claiming that Sweden has taken things to a whole other level by declaring that public masturbation is also acceptable. But is this really true?

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Tearoom Trade And The Study Of Sex In Public Places

In the not too distant past, scientists could get away with almost anything because ethics boards did not yet exist and it was up to the researchers themselves to determine what types of risks were acceptable. This resulted in the publication of a number of studies that we look back on today as being ethically dubious.

For example, a 1938 study published in the Journal of Social Psychology involved two psychologists surreptitiously hiding under college students’ dorm room beds in order to eavesdrop on their conversations [1]. I’m quite sure that if a similar study were attempted today, the researchers would be thrown in jail. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the history of questionable research ethics. In this article, I’m going to share one of the most fascinating and ethically ambiguous studies ever conducted in the history of sex research.

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