You’ve probably heard it a dozen times: “sex between consenting adults is nobody else’s business.” You may (and should) object to this statement on moral grounds. But recent evidence suggests that you should also object to this statement on economic grounds.
Last year Mr Brandon, author of the book Just Sex: is it Ever Just Sex?, used quantitative cost-analysis to disprove the mantra that “sex between consenting adults is no one else’s business.”
By using the category of ‘moral hazard’, he showed that British society has created a system that incentivizes promiscuity. Much of his research applies equally to American society.
“‘Moral Hazard’, he explains, “occurs when a contract or financial arrangement creates incentives for the parties involved to behave against the interest of others’ – typically because one party is insulated from risk.”
One of the ways British society does this is through a system in which the financial consequences of promiscuity are not carried by the people directly involved but diffused throughout society collectively.
The British Government has also created a moral hazard when it began to allow the welfare safety net to be exploited in ways which incentivise family breakdown. “At present,” Brandon writes, “the tax and benefits system makes it economically more favourable for some parents to live apart – the so-called couple penalty. Ending this must be a priority.”
Why Free Sex is Never Free
The Jubilee Centre article, titled ‘Free sex: Who pays?: Moral hazard and sexual ethics’, suggests that while “the costs of sexual freedom and relationship breakdown to the taxpayer and wider economy are complex and difficult to calculate… £100 billion annually is probably a reasonable starting point: about twice as much as alcohol abuse, smoking and obesity combined.”
The following are some the areas where the costs of sexual licence are felt the strongest in our economy:
- Promiscuity often leads to STI’s, which cost the British taxpayer more than £1 billion per year.
- Promiscuity often leads to HIV. The estimated 83,000 cases of HIV in the UK at the end of 2008 represent a total lifetime cost of £26 billion.
- Promiscuity leads to teenage pregnancy which cost the NHS £63 million per year, and a further £29 million for infertility and other complications arising from chlamydia alone.
- Promiscuity often leads to abortions, and 96% of abortions are carried out on the NHS at a cost of £650 each, or £118 million.
- Promiscuity often contributes to separation from marriage and cohabiting relationships (including promiscuity prior to entering such relationships), which entails huge increases in tax credit payments, lone parent benefits, housing benefits, in addition to the health, crime and educational impact of relationship breakdown. Altogether this totals about £42 billion a year.
- In contributing to relationship breakdown, promiscuity leads to Absenteeism. The loss of working hours following relationship breakdown costs the economy at least £20 billion a year.
- In contributing to relationship breakdown, promiscuity can lead to domestic violence which costs the British taxpayer around £3.4 billion a year, and around £21 billion today in ‘human and emotional costs.’
- The effect of relationship breakdown on children leads to educational underachievement which results in an estimated £40,000 for each child, reducing GDP by £6 billion. Much of this cost can be directly attributable to the promiscuous activity which contributed to the relationship breakdown.
These facts, all of which Brandon meticulously documents, help to undermine the common narrative that sex is a choice made only by the couple most directly involved with only limited consequences beyond the two of them. This narrative has found expression in phrases such as ‘recreational sex’ and ‘casual sex’, which obscure the reality that the entire society picks up the bill for promiscuity.
Some of the material for this post was originally published by Christian Voice, a UK ministry whose website is http://www.christianvoice.org.uk/. The article is published here with permission of Christian Voice.