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Casual sex expert says casual sex doesn’t make someone promiscuous

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New Zealand gynecologist Dr. Albert Makary recently created a bit of controversy by saying, in response to a Durex sex survey that found Kiwi women amassing greater numbers of sexual partners than Kiwi men, that lovemaking had been "downgraded to paddock-mating," and that a national anti-promiscuity campaign was called for. Makary told a conference on families that "We have to stigmatize this behavior, the same way we stigmatize littering in the street."

As we know, the free-love ethos of the '70s met its demise with the onset of the AIDS crisis in the early '80s, but the pendulum has slowly swung back to the side of a more permissive sexual climate in recent years, especially in regards to female sexual empowerment in a post-Sex and the City world where men are expected to be more "cliterate" and less vibrator-phobic.

With this in mind, Dr. Pantea Farvid, a casual-sex expert who has studied the casual-sex psychology of both genders for the past six years, took issue with Dr. Makary's comments, as well as those of fourth-year Canterbury psychology student Emily McKenzie. (McKenzie told the New Zealand Herald that the sexually-casual behavior of her peers only had negative consequences. She said, "What I've seen is young girls that are sleeping around to try and find love and boost their self-esteem.")

This line of thinking has been the dominant paradigm in the past, but Farvid wants to dispel this myth, believing that the proverbial double standard is perpetuated by statements such as those of Makary and McKenzie, which insinuate that women, unlike men, cannot seek out sex simply as a pleasurable end in itself. Farvid told the Herald, "Having casual sex doesn't make someone promiscuous," and that women have the right to have casual, non-procreative sex without being labeled "sluts."

Farvid believes that pathologizing others' sexual choices turns back the clock on sexual freedoms. She said, "The women that I interviewed weren't looking for love through casual sex. It was about having fun or having sex when they felt like it — it was never a strategic tool to get a boyfriend."