”When in Rome, act like the Romans”, often Finns say to me when I try to bring out some of the issues that bother me as an expat in Finland. I found their response inadequate because it doesn`t leave any room for critical assessment of the local host culture. In the 21st century, anyway, cultural assimilation is considered passé. The ”melting pot” metaphor is replaced by the notion of multiculturism that asserts that cultural differences within society are valuable and should be preserved.
Even though I have willingly chosen to live in Finland, I shall still stay true to my roots and personality as it has been formulated by my culture, the environment and family I was raised in and my personal values. But if foreigners were forced to ”do as the Finns” in order to adapt to the way of living and acclimatize to their new host culture, would that mean that we should engage vigorously in short-term, casual sex to catch up with the Finns?
According to an international research, Finland ranks first in promiscuity among 48 countries. Finnish men and women are the most promiscuous in the Western world. This global research – led by professor David Schmitt at Bradley University, Illinois and Founding Director of the International Sexuality Description Project – showed that when it comes to one-night stands, numbers of partners and attitudes to casual sex, Finland is leading the way.
Finland ranks at the top of this international research ahead of other progressive nations like the Netherlands and some infamously €˜passionate` ones like the Greeks, Italians and the French. I`m not sure that this is an achievement to be proud of, similar to Finland being ranked as the best place to live in, but it definitely speaks volumes about the dating etiquette and the duration of the courtship in the dating game in Finland. Contrary to an image of Finns being quiet and shy, Finns seems to be quite amorous. What could explain this profound amorality?
In an abundance of global surveys and research made on cultural differences on various issues, I distinguish another one that made headlines all over the world. Finns score low on the number of sexual encounters per year and the quality of sexual satisfaction. This outcome might explain why short-term mating solutions are a trend. No wonder the divorce rates are sky high. The total divorce rate in Finland is about 0.5.
Is there really a connection between these rankings? Sociologists argue that in developed urban societies religious scruples on issues of ethics are declining along with the fading away of a strict moralistic approach towards sexuality are to blame for this trend. Promiscuity fuels the spread of HIV/AIDS and other sexual transmitted diseases. And since December 1st, the World AIDS day, is approaching awareness of the perils of irresponsible behaviour is paramount.