We need more emphasis on healthy teen relationships: what does respect look and feel like, how do you build intimacy so it doesn’t become this huge unrealistic fantasy that’s very difficult to overcome if it doesn’t work out?
There wasn’t this association between teen sex and danger and lives ruined that we have in this country. Coming out of the sexual revolution, the Dutch really decoupled sex from marriage, but they didn’t decouple sex from love.
If the first piece is that there weren’t these immediate associations of teen sex with danger, the second is that it remained anchored in the concept of steady relationships and young people being in love.
It literally means ‘cozy togetherness.’ Like many words that denote a cultural state, it’s very hard to translate because we don’t have a real equivalent.
It’s like ‘pleasant togetherness’ or ‘conviviality.’ What it refers to is the pleasure people are expected to take in each other’s company, parents and children and also teens together in their peer group. The Dutch celebrate every birthday, whether 8 or 80, and you are expected to show up and enjoy it. They made part-time work easy for mothers and fathers, so there are policies that support family life. When people know something is missing, they look for it.
There isn’t a belief that people are naturally cooperative, which lots of research suggests they are.