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Revista de Saúde Pública

On-line version ISSN 1518-8787Print version ISSN 0034-8910


PAIVA, Vera; ARANHA, Francisco; BASTOS, Francisco I  and  GRUPO DE ESTUDOS EM POPULACAO, SEXUALIDADE E AIDS. Opinions and attitudes regarding sexuality: Brazilian national research, 2005. Rev. Saúde Pública [online]. 2008, vol.42, suppl.1, pp.54-64. ISSN 1518-8787.

OBJECTIVE: To describe opinions and attitudes concerning sexuality of the Brazilian urban population. METHODS: A population survey was carried out in 2005 on a representative sample of 5,040 interviewees. An analysis of the attitudes regarding sexual initiation and sexual education of teenagers, considering gender, age, schooling, income, marital status, color, geographic region and opinion on fidelity, homosexuality, and masturbation. The results were contrasted with a similar survey carried out in 1998, when possible. RESULTS: Most interviewees selected the "sex is evidence of love" option when describing the meaning of sex. As in 1998, the majority was in favor of sexual initiation after marriage (63.9% for women vs. 52.4% for men initiation); results differed among religions. School teenage education on the use of condoms was supported by 97% of the interviewees across all social groups. The proportion of Brazilians who agreed with having access to condoms in health services (95%) and at school (83.6%) was high. Fidelity remained an almost unanimous value and there was an increase, in 2005, in the proportion of those in favor of sexual initiation after marriage, and in the rate of acceptance of masturbation and homosexuality compared to the 1998 survey. The younger generations tend to be more tolerant and equalitarian. CONCLUSIONS: As observed in other countries, this study confirms the difficulty in establishing a single dimension that guides sexual life ("liberal" vs "conservative"). The study suggests that the normativity concerning sexual activity should be understood in the light of the local culture and social organization of sexuality, considered by the STD/Aids programs. Opinions in favor of free access to preservatives at school clash with the slower results obtained in fighting the stigma and discriminating against homosexual minorities. The design of laical policies on sexuality allow for the dialog across different perspectives.

Keywords : Sexuality; Health Knowledge [Attitudes, Practice]; Educação Sexual; Socioeconomic Factors; Population Studies in Public Health; Brazil; Cross-sectional studies.

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