Letter from Prague

17-04-2004

The results of a study released recently show that Czechs are the most liberal nation when it comes to anything to do with sex. Overseen by one of our leading sex therapists, Petr Weiss, the study suggests that Czechs are among the most liberal nations in the world with regards to issues such as abortion, homosexuality, and infidelity. Only five percent of respondents were against abortions; the overwhelming majority believes that it should be up to the woman to decide whether or not to abort. Five percent also rejected homosexuality; however, a third of respondents considered it to be a natural development of one's sexuality. Much to my surprise, only a third of women and a fifth of men say marital infidelity is immoral. I never used to stop and think how the topic of sex is viewed by the ordinary Czech but lately I've been noticing that it is all around me. I am not talking about prostitution but about things I encounter while going through my day-to-day routine.

Every morning when I get up to go to work, I switch on Czech Radio to get the latest news and then tune into a commercial station for some music, to wake me up. Every week-day in the morning programme of one of the stations, Evropa 2, women who want to test their boyfriends' loyalty, can call in and ask for the 'fidelity test'. Evropa 2's Simona then picks up the phone, calls up the boyfriends and chats them up, hoping they'll take the bait and agree to go on a date. In most cases, the men say yes. Some claim they don't have a girlfriend, others say their relationship is almost over, and only very few reject the anonymous caller. I must admit that I've become addicted to the show and have caught myself many times praying to God that the man would stay faithful.

Then, there is the local newsstand where hard-core pornographic material is on display next to newspapers, magazines, and often even children's books! As I've been noticing, my local newsstand is not an exception. At work, I have a sex-free zone, but when I get home and switch on the TV, it's back and there is no escape. The producers and hosts of most TV programmes seem to think they would not be entertaining if they left out all the sexual jokes.

And I forgot to mention an ad that was once all over Prague's metros and trams. It featured a breast and a man on skis going down, as if it were a ski slope. Guess what the ad was for - a store with winter sports equipment!

17-04-2004