A Timaru gynaecologist wants a campaign against promiscuity after encountering a shocking number of pregnant patients who cannot remember whom they had sex with.
Dr Albert Makary, who has been in Timaru for 20 years, called on national leaders, sports stars, schools and the media at a Forum on the Family in Auckland yesterday to "stigmatise" both promiscuity and the binge drinking that usually preceded it.
He cited a survey by a condom maker that said New Zealand women were the most promiscuous in the world, with 20.3 sexual partners on average. The world average was 7.3.
Kiwi men were also above average with 16.8 partners. New Zealand was the only country where women had more sexual partners than men.
Dr Makary, a 52-year-old Christian originally from Egypt, said he was "an eyewitness of the pain" that promiscuity causes.
He is one of only three gynaecologists in Timaru and sees scans of the town's pregnant women because there is no other radiology service.
"I get women coming in and saying, 'Doctor, I can't remember who I slept with yesterday.'
"It is very, very frequent. I'm not talking about one or two or three or 1000 cases. I'm talking about thousands and thousands of cases a year [nationally]."
What's more, they're proud of it.
"Here is a culture which says if you can remember what happened yesterday you haven't had enough fun," Dr Makary said.
"There's a lot of pressure on the kids. This culture doesn't only affect those subscribing to it. It affects those who don't subscribe by being marginalised and ostracised."
He said Kiwi society "normalised" drunkenness and promiscuity. Even drink driving campaigns implied that it was okay to get drunk as long as you didn't drive. Sex education focused on safe sex implied that sleeping around was okay "as long as you're wearing the right gear".
Young women wore their sexual popularity as a badge of honour. One young student boasted that she slept with 20 men in orientation week.
"If you want a new word - 'stud-ess' - you are removing another word: 'mum'," Dr Makary said.
He said such promiscuity undermined stable life-long relationships.
The symptoms were increasing violence, sexual assault, alcohol-
and drug-fuelled car accidents, a growing incidence of depression
and the world's highest rates of both chlamydia and youth suicide.
He called on all parts of society to end the normalisation and glamorisation of promiscuity.