Youth and sexuality

A special edition of the Reports in Public Health (v.22 n.7, July 2006) about youth, sexuality and reproduction presents a series of works based on the GRAVAD Research – Teenage pregnancy: A Study on Youth, Sexuality and Reproduction in Brazil, which has among its coordinators French demographer Michel Bozon (INED). The articles focus on several social phenomena that have brought up an intense public debate, such as first sexual relation, AIDS, the low rate of contraception among young people and “teenage pregnancy”. GRAVAD research results from the partnership of three universities: the State University of Rio de Janeiro (UERJ), the Federal University of Bahia (UFBA) and the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS). The online version of these articles is available on the virtual library SciElo.

“The commom sense and the media present youth as people incapable to manage their sexual life and, frequently, irresponsible in their behaviors, with a sexual life with no rules. This image is fed by several kinds of prejudice, which scientific research must help deconstruct”, say the editors of the publication, anthropologists Maria Luiza Heilborn (UERJ), Estela Aquino (UFBA) and Daniela Knauth (UFRGS).

The titles of each article listed below link to the full version of the article.

Sex as body technique: male representations of affective and sexual relationships the article shows that men’s first sexual experience is a process of physical and social learning by which they acquire technical knowledge on the use of their bodies and skill to relate to others, especially women. “These are important milestones in the passage to adulthood. In addition to differences in belonging to various socioeconomic segments, the authors focus on gender relations, especially models of masculinity, demonstrating that a young man’s first sexual intercourse is a socially and symbolically striking moment, not limited to a single event, but an experience that involves different levels of learning as part of the process of becoming a man”, say the authors Andréa Fachel Leal and Daniela Knauth (UFRGS).

Teenagers and condom use: choices by young Brazilians from three Brazilian State capitals in their first and last sexual intercourse 
“Condom use has increased among Brazilian youth, although condoms are not used in all sexual relations; in addition, their use varies over the course of an individual’s affective and sexual history”, observe authors Ana Maria Ferreira Borges Teixeira (Federal University of Pelotas), Daniela Knauth (UFRGS), Jandyra Maria Guimarães Fachel (UFRGS) and Andrea Fachel Leal (UFRGS).

School trajectory and teenage pregnancy in three Brazilian state capitals
This paper describes the relationship between school trajectory and incidence of teenage pregnancy. By Maria da Conceição C. Almeida, Estela Aquino and Antoniel Pinheiro de Barros (UFBA).

Considering and submitting to abortion among young people in the context of legal prohibition: the hidden side of teenage pregnancy 
This article aims to unveil the notion of abortion as an element in young people’s thoughts on teenage pregnancy. Based on information concerning their affective, sexual, and reproductive circumstances, an abortion typology was established with a gradient ranging from considering the act to the attempt to materialize it, actually submitting to abortion, and even ruling out the possibility of interrupting the pregnancy. Written by Simone Ouvinha Peres (Federal University of Rio de Janeiro/UFRJ) and Maria Luiza Heilborn (State University of Rio de Janeiro/UERJ).

Sexualidade e gravidez na adolescência entre jovens de camadas médias do Rio de Janeiro, Brasil 
The subject of this paper is teenage pregnancy among middle-class youth, a topic not sufficiently studied in Brazil. “The phenomenon should be analyzed in a specific historical and cultural context, with changes over the decades in the rules underlying the process of individualization among young people”, say authors Elaine Reis Brandão (UFRJ) and Maria Luiza Heilborn (UERJ).

Induced abortion during youth: social inequalities in the outcome of the first pregnancy 
This study aimed to identify the factors associated with induced abortion in the first pregnancy in young women and in the first time young men got their partners pregnant. By Greice M. S. Menezes, Estela Aquino, Diorlene Oliveira da Silva (UFBA).

Teenage motherhood and fatherhood: observations in three cities of Brazil 
“The existence of children motivates the marital union at a young age, during which the roles of male provider and female caregiver are reaffirmed. Even for young parents who have formed a new family nucleus themselves, their own original families provide a basis of material and affective support”, observe authors Acácia Batista Dias (State University of Feira de Santana) and Estela Aquino (UFBA).

Work, schooling, and reproductive health: an ethno-epidemiological study of adolescent women belonging to a birth cohort 
“Focusing on the contexts and social values (traditional and/or modern), pregnancy was: a positive consequence of an affective relationship with the partner; a way of exposing adolescent sexuality; and a means to achieve a certain social autonomy and other forms of social status within the age group”, observe authors Helen Gonçalves and Denise Gigante, from the Federal University of Pelotas.

Sexual practices in youth: analysis of lifetime sexual trajectory and last sexual intercourse 
This article examines the sexual practices of young Brazilians based on data from the GRAVAD Research Project. The authors compared the young people’s range of lifetime practices and those from last sexual relations in order to discuss the spread and incorporation of practices into life histories. The data point to the hegemony of vaginal sex in both the lifetime repertoire of sexual practices and the last sexual encounters, such that vaginal sex provides the prime definition of heterosexuality. By Maria Luiza Heilborn and Cristiane S. Cabral, from the State University of Rio de Janeiro.

Re-significando a dor e superando a solidão: experiências do parto entre adolescentes de classes populares atendidas em uma maternidade pública de Salvador, Bahia, Brasil 
This article examines childbirth in a public maternity hospital in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil, from the perspective of young and adolescent women, mostly black and working-class. Witten by Cecilia McCallum (School of Social Sciences, University of Manchester, Manchester/U.K) and Ana Paula dos Reis (Federal University of Bahia/Brazil).

Magnitude and characterization of sexual coercion experienced by young adults in three Brazilian state capitals: Porto Alegre, Rio de Janeiro, and Salvador 
The article estimates the magnitude of sexual coercion among young adults in three large Brazilian cities. In addition to evaluating prevalence, the article analyzes the victim’s and perpetrator’s characteristics, identifies the main strategies used in coercion, and explores the social scenarios that favor the occurrence of sexual violence. By Cláudia Leite de Moraes; Cristiane S. Cabral; Maria Luiza Heilborn, from the State University of Rio de Janeiro.