Greetings from Amsterdam! Today is the first day of a class I’m teaching on sex and culture in the Netherlands through the Sexual Health Alliance. Amsterdam is an awesome city—and a fascinating place to learn about cross-cultural differences in sexuality.
For one thing, sex work is legal and government-regulated in the Netherlands. So one of the things we’ll be focusing on in this course is what this means for sex workers.
For instance, compared to places where sex work is criminalized, how are the motivations for becoming a sex worker different in the Netherlands? Also, are there any differences in sex workers’ mental health? What about differences in their risk of sexual assault and STIs? We’ll be digging into what the research says about all of these issues, but we’re also going to get some firsthand insight through a Q&A with a Dutch sex worker at the Prostitution Information Center and a visit to a BDSM dungeon where we’ll chat with a dominatrix.
We’re also going to explore cross-cultural differences in sex education. The Dutch have among the best sexual health outcomes in the world, including amongst the lowest rates of teen pregnancies and STIs in the industrialized world. This is due, in large part, to the fact that—unlike the United States—the Netherlands has mandated comprehensive sex education for all students. We’ll not only be diving into the research on this subject, but speaking with Dutch sex educators for additional perspective.
We’ll also be exploring LGBTQ+ issues in the Netherlands. The Netherlands was one of the first countries in the world to legalize same-sex marriage, so we will be looking at the implications of being a sexual minority in a culture where there is much greater acceptance of sexual diversity. What are the implications for mental health?
Of course, in addition to learning about Dutch sexuality in all of these ways, we’ll be immersing ourselves in the culture through a bike tour of Amsterdam, a boat cruise along the canals, a food tour, visits to some amazing museums, and more.
Best. Course. Ever.
It’ll be a busy couple of weeks for sure! However, I’ll be sure to post some updates about what we’re learning—and if you want to follow our adventures, follow me on Instagram @JustinJLehmiller
Want to travel with me and learn about sex around the world? Stay tuned! More course opportunities are coming, and you don’t have to be a college student to attend!
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