Frankly I am not sure what man in his right mind would even think that contracting an STD would boost his male ego, but a recent study(1) done in Sweden reveals this disturbing fact. Apparently your average Swedish male has attained a degree of worldliness from being around the block a few times, even if his latest girlfriend does not know it. “Success with the ladies” seems to be the macho thing in Scandinavia, even though men are more likely to discuss it with other men and not a woman completing her doctoral thesis at the University of Skovde. Kina Hammarlund did the survey, and was forthright in admitting that the men who took part in the survey were not as willing to discuss their sexual conquests with other women. The women interviewed, on the other hand, were more open with Kina but in private, which is natural for women to do.
Even though Sweden, like other western European nations, has long been more open about sex in their societies, bragging about getting an STD is in fact a dangerous trend. Regardless of the fact that Sweden has a socialist medical system where every citizen can receive a lifetime of free health care from the government if one gets ill from a disease, the casual attitude towards sex versus having a meaningful relationship with another person is quite rare. Sweden has a higher cohabitation rate at 28% compared to the United States(2) On the flipside, fewer Swedish couples marry, but when they do, their marriages tend to last longer and have a much lower divorce rate than that of the United States. Cohabitation is not necessarily a preparation for marriage; in fact, studies have shown that men benefit more from cohabitation that women do, since women usually wind up having to do the housework and even paying the bills and supporting the man, if he is unemployed. Neither does cohabitation guarantee commitment between two people to the exclusion of all others, as the Swedish study reveals. Cohabitation does not equal monogamy, and if one contracts an STD, that can further exacerbate the relationship, if one ever existed to begin with, never mind the health of the parties involved.
Hammarlund reveals a few facts she discovered while doing her research project that most people have known all along: that women use sex in order to get and keep a man, while men have sex just to gain “experience.” Of course, having sex indiscriminately like that will not guarantee keeping a person in a relationship at all; one only needs to look at the rates where men, after getting a woman pregnant, usually dump them and leave town in order to avoid child support payments. Sex is the unwise way to approach a relationship and never guarantees a relationship to last, either. As someone I know would say, “They don’t have relationships, they have sex.” That’s the most succinct way to put it.