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Chlamydia helps young men feel more 'manly': Swedish study

David Landes · 22 Aug 2009, 10:03

Published: 22 Aug 2009 10:03 GMT+02:00

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Upon learning they’ve been infected with a sexually transmitted disease, some young people simply see themselves as unlucky, while others undergo a maturation process which leads them to be more careful in their sexual habits, according to midwife and University of Skövde researcher Kina Hammarlund.

But members of a third group – consisting entirely of young men – succeed in transforming their diseases into a sign of their manhood.

With other male friends slapping on the shoulders and offering encouraging comments about “success with the ladies”, young men who contract diseases such as chlamydia or genital warts can come to view their infection as a badge of honour, rather than a serious health problem.

“There are no girls that do this. Girls are still supposed to acquire sexual experiences in the dark,” Hammarlund told the TT news agency.

Hammarlund’s findings are based on a series of interviews with young men and women between the ages of 16- and 30-years-old carried out as a part of her recently published doctoral dissertation.

During the course of the study, entitled Riskfyllda möten (‘Risky Encounters’), Hammarlund noted significant differences between the ways that young men and women felt about discussing their sexual habits.

“It was hard to get guys involved in the study. They were simply not interested in sitting alone with a nearly 50-year-old lady and talking about what they considered failure when it comes to sex,” she said in a statement.

But girls were more used to discussing sexual experiences with other women behind the closed doors.

“They didn’t feel comfortable when it became a larger group. The guys, on the other hand, seemed to not have any problems with the group situation,” she explained.

The study revealed that young men and women remain wrapped up in a game about being chosen by someone else which can result in misunderstandings when it comes to using condoms that could prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases.

The responses gathered by Hammarlund show that a girl fears she will upset a guy if she asks him to use a condom. Meanwhile, the guy doesn’t want to take out a condom first out of fear the action will show that he assumed he would be having sex even before the encounter began.

“Whatever happened to making out? Whatever happened to heavy petting? Sex is no longer a big deal for young people. It’s something girls use to get boyfriends, while guys want to gain experience,” she told TT.

Story continues below…

Hammarlund said she is disappointed in the results of the study, claiming they indicate a lack of progress when it comes to overcoming gender stereotypes.

“Despite all the talk about gender equality, it seems like today’s young people are wrestling with the same prejudices and stereotypical gender roles that existed when I was young in the 1970s,” she said.

Advertisement: Diagnose chlamydia symptoms for an early cure to avoid complications.

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Your comments about this article

13:41 August 22, 2009 by Miss Kitten
Oh, for crying out loud...

Human stupidity truly has no limits. I doubt if these morons would feel the same if they contracted something incurable such as herpes or HIV.
14:02 August 22, 2009 by Jan M
With those attitudes they're a serious public health risk. Chemical castration or equivalent would be an appropriate response under the circumstances.
14:36 August 22, 2009 by Miss Kitten
Indeed, how truly insecure are they if they have to contract a sexually transmitted disease in order to feel like "real men..."

It's nothing more than an affirmation of their own hopeless stupidity.
18:14 August 22, 2009 by Pacey
I wanted your body not your STD!!

Listen to syphilis girl , nelly furtado. Amazing track.

The guys who think Chlamydia is a sign of manhood just do this to satisfy themselves. Imagine you walking and talking on the mobile and drop in an open sewer. You look around if no one has seen you and if someone hasnt then you get back and show everything is back to normal before someone sees it!!
20:30 August 22, 2009 by bocale1
Sexual stereotypes are thousands of years old; it seems to me a little pretentious to think that those can be changed in just a few decades.

Moreover, there are more and more cultures coming to Sweden, in some way, reinforcing old stereotypes as well.

Said that, I would not shoot on the guys that seem proud to have contracted some sexual diseases; maybe it is they way to react from a difficult situation and cover their intended weakness in front of the group. Stupid, true, but in some way human.

Just tell them more and more, until becoming totally boring, that they may be less lucky in the future by contracting much serious infections and do not stop until they are convinced to use precautions next time...
22:16 August 22, 2009 by lingonberrie
A breakdown is needed in the subjects of the study.

Are they immigrants? Are they recent immigrants?

Are they the children of immigrants? How many of them come from the Middle-East? How many of them come from Norway, Denmark, Finland?

Are they poor, middle-class, wealthy?

Are they athletes? Are they the children of athletes?

Sweden is awash in immigrants today. She is citing the 1970s as a comparison of her days to now. There were nowhere near as many immigrants in Sweden in the 1970s compared to today, and I doubt that the 70s had anyone who used an SDT as a badge of manhood.

Her methodoly is flawed.
08:51 August 23, 2009 by Serendipitiz
WTF @Lingonberrie!!!!! When the hell did this study become about immigrants???
09:58 August 23, 2009 by Nemesis
Any man who thinks a sexually transmitted disease is a sign of manhood is retarded.

My opinion of Swedish men is not good anyway, this just lowers my opinion of them even further.

They should be ssent back to school to leanr something.
10:44 August 23, 2009 by Hedley
I am an immigrant and I know that these kind of behavior is completely stupid!

However, I should blame the journalist to not give important data like "how many people is involved in this 'third group'?" they could be a hundred, but also they could be 5.

Also we do not know what other data, like cool numbers: how many immigrants?, are they working? , how many sex contacts per person?

How many is an interesting "Wh" word that have raised chaos among readers unintentionally. I suggest to ask Dr. Hammarlund about this study.
16:51 August 23, 2009 by here for the summer
Funny how the researcher made the end about gender stereo type. This is so typically the Swedish view. As though gender roles will somehow evaporate. Men and women think and act and are different to ignore this is beyond naivety.
10:51 August 24, 2009 by SamQam
Good!Let the stupid ones die out.

The strange thing is that with all these stupid men around I still can't find a girlfriend :-)
19:03 August 25, 2009 by Greg in Canada
Are these guys retards?
20:42 August 25, 2009 by delusion1982
I do not believe that this study is scientifically profound. In social sciences, such experimental research and statistics are almost always biased. As said usually, you always get what you are looking for. And since this new graduate is 50 years old, so she probably made some subconscious assumptions, at least in her interviews with the girls/boys which led in a way to reveal such opinions.

I would imagine that only non-educated first timer boys would only use such feelings to show off in front of their friends as a way to run away from the shame of the disease, but actually they do not subjectively feel the same.

Can we ask The Local on how they built this report? Is it a kind of advertisement from the phd herself about her results, or there is an unbiased researcher who concluded these results for TL?
23:33 August 29, 2009 by yesyou
Are they kidding? A real man doesn't have sex with everything that walks past him. Frankly, I'd never date a guy like that. I don't want him to think I'm disposable, which is exactly what these men are proving to the world. Sick.
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