I riff off the following:
Imagine two rowboats, both adrift at sea. The first rowboat has no oars. They can see an island in the distance. Somebody calculates the distance to it, and the rate at which they're drifting, and concludes that they have only half the food and water they'll need for everybody to reach the island. The conclusion is obvious*: at least half of them have to be thrown overboard. And the sooner it happens, the fewer of them will have to die.
Now imagine the other rowboat. It has plenty of food and water, and it has oars, but it has a different problem: it's leaking, and fast. Somebody does the math, and they conclude that they can all make it to the island in the distance. But they can only make it if everybody who can row, rows, and if everybody else bails water as fast as they can, and if they cooperate in sharing the rowing, bailing, and resting cycles; if anybody is selfish, if anybody doesn't cooperate, nobody will make it.
Call the first rowboat "America." Call the second rowboat "the Netherlands."
That's the metaphor that came to my mind after spending a couple of days deciding how to explain Not Under My Roof: Parents, Teens, and the Culture of Sex, by Amy Schalet (University of Chicago Press, 2011). Even though the book has nothing to do with rowboats, and only indirectly to do with the overall differences between Americans and the Dutch. What the book is really about is the regulation of teenage sex by their parents. You see, as someone who grew up in both the Netherlands and the US, baffled by the differences between the two, and who went on to do her Ph.D. research in the sociology of adolescent/parent relationships, Schalet has dedicated an entire book to trying to explain a major difference between two different cultures that were substantially identical as late as the late 1950s: democratic capitalist republics who won their independence from colonial imperial masters around the same era, dominated by conservative Protestants, who went through the same Great Depression and two World Wars, and the same sexual revolution when contraception and antibiotics were made widely available, and the same economic shock after the OPEC crisis. But in the years after that, huge social differences appear, and Schalet concentrates, as her academic speciality, on one of them.
I generally don't like to compare America with little Scandinavian countries because I believe the the matter of scale requires that every sociological subject have a different class of solution. But...
It's easy for me to see that the concept of a 'proper family' is what's guiding parents. Speaking as an American with three teens living at home, my answer has been to stress abstinence before adulthood. I do not see any benefit whatsoever in allowing people who are not consenting adults to act as if they were. In other words, I use the term 'statutory rape'. In the same way, I don't particularly expect that the experience of a babysitting job adequately prepares anyone for being in the workforce. In short, my attitude about teen sex is that more people are talking about it than are actually doing it, and those who are doing it are doing it all wrong. The idea that taking all of the risk out of the consequences that might lead to a shotgun wedding or herpes via a safety net sounds Orwellian to me. I like the idea that sex is complicated and dirty - that getting naked is not easy and casual.
I expect at long last that the results of the sexual revolution in the West will turn out to show a skew in our societies as much as the One Child policy in China. It is inconceivable to me that the historical norm has been so out of touch with reality and that the benefits of feminism are simple but have been overweighted. In short, I don't believe in social liberation through sexual freedom, but rather through the evolution of property rights. Women and children are not property and freeing them from those traditional constraints were necessary and sufficient to greater liberty - however to assert the additional demands of radical feminism (ie to properly have men 'deal with their female side', or question the roles of men & women in family life) was a gross error with significant detrimental consequences for the concept of family. And I think it is becoming more clear that having women think of sex outside of marriage as a liberating thing has worked primarily to the advantage of polygamous men.
So the very idea that this is a lifeboat kind of situation begs the question of the centrality of sexuality in our humanity and exactly what sort of benefits we have gained by focusing on upending our attitudes and trying new practices. It is my opinion that focus on sexuality tends to be dysfunctionally individualistic, and so it is not surprising that it brings into question those sacrifices necessary for family stability. Why is teen sex so important? I think it has to do with the improper way many Westerners conceive of freedom.