Religion, Culture, Sexual Behaviour, and Breast Cancer.

Indian Express had this news on religious affiliations and sexual behaviour titled: Hindus and Muslims least likely to engage in premarital sex. The report was about the findings by ^^Amy Adamczyk, Associate Professor of Sociology at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, and Brittany Hayes, Ph.D. student in John Jay’s Criminal Justice program, the study, Religion and Sexual Behaviors: Understanding the Influence of Islamic Cultures and Religious Affiliation for Explaining Sex Outside of Marriage^^. As I glanced through the report I felt there were reporting glitches, which made some of the assertions suspect. Therefore, I tried to look at some more authentic source to see what was reported there. John Jay’s Website had a more sober title: New Study By John Jay College Professor Amy Adamczyk Finds That Religious Affiliation Influences Sexual Behavior. Though the title is sober, the contents there too bore out that IE  editor had done a faithful job of reporting from the original. What prompted the current enquiry of the researchers was a very significant finding about ^^observed differences in HIV/AIDS infection rates between Christian- and Muslim-majority nations in which residents in Muslim-majority nations had lower infection rates than residents of Christian nations^^.
The major finding of the study is that religious affiliations do influence sexual behaviour. The research found that ^^Hindus and Muslims are less likely than Christians and Jews to have premarital sex and Muslims are less likely to have extramarital sex. Muslims’ lower likelihood of premarital and extramarital sex is related to their commitment to, and community support for, strict religious tenants (sic) that only permit sex within marriage. The researchers also found that national Islamic cultures influence the sexual behaviors of all residents, even people who do not identify themselves as Muslim. The religion tends to have a more powerful effect than restrictions on women’s movement in many Muslim countries^^. In absence of more information, nothing definite can be said, but some questions do agitate the curiosity. Since strict religious tenets eschew sex outside marriage often under threat of severe punishment to offenders, especially women, both Muslims and non-Muslims are likely to lie about their infidelity. The under reporting in these countries therefore cannot be construed to mean lesser incidence of sex outside of marriage. How this reasonable possibility was accounted for by researchers in their study is the first unknown. Second unknown is the assertion that voluntary surrender to sex-restrictive religious tenets had a more dominant effect than lack of opportunity. Many Muslim countries put not only restrictions on the movements of women, but have strict rules about which male relations can chaperon them around. Such curbs naturally reduces significantly the opportunity for lascivious behaviour. It would be interesting to know what are the study’s findings, if any, about comparisons in sexual behaviours between Arabic and North African Countries on one hand and other African countries with Muslim majorities on the other. Such information on south east Asian Muslim countries would be of interest too. When cultures that accept sexual promiscuity are stronger than the religious influences, which frown upon it, then sexual outcomes are likely to be different.
The earlier quote about study’s findings fly into difficulties with the following reported statement of study’s author. ^^One of the most surprising findings was that religious affiliations has a real influence on people’s sexual behaviors. Specifically, Muslim and Hindus are significantly less likely to report having had premarital sex than Christians and Jews.  One of the novelties of our study is our analysis of behaviors, rather than attitudes^^. Here the professor says that Muslims and Hindus are *significantly less likely to report*, which is not the same thing as *less likely to have*. Another mystery is why the author calls it *surprising findings*? Wasn’t the significantly less HIV infection rates in Muslim countries set her on the path enquiry in the first place? She must have anticipated that religion had a role to play here. I tried to get the report or at least an abstract, but couldn’t succeed. It may have answered these observed oddities.
In another totally unrelated development, but something to do with *creative use* of bra for promoting cancer awareness had ^^Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC) denying permission to set up hoardings promoting breast cancer awareness, a decision that drew flak from not only women but was slammed by the Bombay Municipal Corporation (BMC)^^. The advertisements are definitely sticky and seem to do a good job of conveying the critical message.
Only women can and should say if they find anything derogatory or superfluous about these advertisements. Some women at least do not think the campaign is in bad taste or in fact hold it is effective, since they have slammed the decision of the TMC, who acted prudishly in the matter. May be TMC was scared of moral policing – albeit of informal rowdy variety, not like the official المطوعين، مطوعجية Mutaween of Saudi Arabia, but equally zealous when it came to upholding the *culture*. The only real objection, which can be sustained against these advertisements is that they are elitist. As if cancer affects only English speaking breasts. Unless of course Women’s Cancer Initiative is running a vernacular version as well. 
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