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Lifestyles That Are Taboo In The US, But Are Okay In Other Countries

We like to believe America is a free country, but there are some instances where what is illegal and taboo in the USA is perfectly legal and allowed other countries. Check out a few of the lifestyles we frown upon even though other places don't, and catch the new season of "Taboo," which looks closer at things that we look away from, Sundays at 10PM on the National Geographic Channel.

Being A Polygamist

George Frey / Getty Images / Via

Most of us frown upon the idea of polygamy, but it's considered an acceptable lifestyle in many other places around the world. For instance in Africa, children are considered to be symbolic of wealth, so polygamy is an appealing lifestyle because of how quickly it allows families to grow.

Being Or Using A Prostitute

Patrick Standish / CC BY http://2.0 / Flickr: patrickstandish / Via

Prostitution has some terrible connotations in America, but in places like Germany, it's just like any other respectable profession. For instance, if you are unemployed for a year and refuse to take an available job (like being a prostitute), the government reserves the right to slash your unemployment benefits.

Using And Possessing Illegal Drugs

ukhomeoffice / CC BY http://2.0 / Flickr: 49956354@N04 / Via

People in this country spend their whole lives in jail for messing around with and distributing illegal substances. But we don't see that happening in Portugal because in 2001, it became the first European country to completely decriminalize the possession of marijuana, cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine. The government now recommends therapy to addicts instead of sentencing them to incarceration.

Being Sexually Attracted To Children

Jennifer Donley / CC BY http://2.0 / Flickr: ceanandjen / Via

Pedophiles are the scum of society here, but in Greece, being sexually attracted to children is recognized as an ailment. Earlier this year, The Labor Ministry added pedophilia and kleptomania to the list of state-wide disabilities, and now gives people who "suffer" from such disorders more government assistance than people who have received organ transplants.

Having An Arranged Marriage

rajkumar1220 / CC BY http://2.0 / Flickr: ahinsajain / Via

Western civilizations believe individuals have a right to choose for themselves who they marry. But there are other places in the world (most notably in India) that support the idea of parents choosing a partner for their child. Americans in particular are against the idea of arranged marriages, but studies show that people in arranged marriages had more love for each other after 30 years of marriage than people who married who they wanted.

Drinking While Pregnant

exercism / CC BY http://2.0 / Flickr: popkenb / Via

American women generally avoid alcohol once they learn they're pregnant because they know how dangerous it can be for their babies. But as recently as 2008, 52% of French women admitted to having at least one drink during their pregnancies. Experts who analyzed the study concluded this was because there wasn't enough information about Fetal Alcohol Syndrome in France, and that some French women believe that regularly drinking small amounts of alcohol wouldn't affect their babies in any way.

Driving Drunk

valkrye131 / CC BY-ND http://2.0 / Flickr: valkrye131 / Via

Most countries have laws in place to punish anyone who drives drunk. But in Barbados, there are no laws against driving under the influence. What they do have, however, are laws against driving without "care" and "attention."

Cheating On A Spouse

Steven Depolo / CC BY http://2.0 / Flickr: stevendepolo / Via

Infidelity is a big no-no in the USA (most of the time), but it's no biggie in Russia. In 1998, a study showed that Russian men and women were the most willing to engage in and approve of extramarital affairs. Additionally, women in relationships seem to "expect" to be cheated on. In an anonymous interview with Slate Magazine, a woman said infidelity has become a "way of life," and that it's both accepted and expected.