Most of Colombians say that
they have a satisfactory sexual life and a high level of knowledge about sexuality, even if many of them do not had appropriate sexual education,
according to a scientific poll carried out by Centro Nacional de Consultoría — a public opinion research center —
between April and May 2008.
In fact, 67% of the interviewed expressed
they have a good or very good sexual life, and 64% agreed with the
statement that the more older you are the more enjoyable sex could be.
The questionnaire was answered by women and men between 18 to 55 years
old, from the lower level of incomes to the higher, most of them in a long-term relationship (married or partnered), and with acceptable education
level (22% with university studies and 41% with high school).
What Do Colombians Consider a "Good Sex Life?"
Although this question was not part of
the questionnaire, other questions can reveal some factors of Colombians’ definition of good sexual life.
Sex. Abortion. Parenthood. Power.
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Men and women — in similar proportions —
expressed they have regular sexual relations: 33% have sex three or
four times per week and 25% once or twice per week. Asked
about which member of the couple initiates sex, 52%
answered that both of them do. For most of the rest, the initiative to have
sex is primarily men’s (41%). Just 14% of those interviewed said that their partner often avoids having sex.
It seems that love is another factor
of good sexual life for Colombians. For most of those interviewed, sex
and love are attached. To the question "Do you believe in sex without
love?" 66% answered no. However, a higher percentage of young people (between 18 and
24 years old) believe that
good sex is possible without love. Twenty-one percent of young people affirmed they has had sex with someone just after they have met, another suggestion that a generational shift in perceptions and practices around sex is afoot.
The Catholic principle which states that
sex is only permitted within marriages seems to have little traction among Colombian, despite the fact that a majority of Colombians are Catholic. In fact,
40% of Colombians — most of them men — said they have been unfaithful
regarding sex, and 13% recognized that they regularly have more than one
What About Safe Sex?
When questions turn to safer sex, it’s clear that the situation is alarming. Only half
of those interviewed said that they regularly use a contraceptive or STI prevention method. Even if we removed the group of people above 55 years old — 10%
of the total of people interviewed — the percentage still high.
Moreover, among those that use a method, just 49% use condoms.
Unfortunately the poll did not separate
use of STI prevention methods and use of contraceptive methods, so those interviewed
could not chose more than one method.
Despite this, the consequences of the
low use of contraception and protection methods can be seen in the questions
regarding abortion and sexually transmitted diseases. Seven percent of the interviewed
declared have suffered a sexual transmitted disease; among them 10%
were men and 3% women.
As for unintended pregnancies, 13% of
the all respondents, men and women, affirmed that they or their partners had at some point decided to get an abortion, and 11% of the women interviewed
had actually experienced an abortion. It is practically
highly likely that those were clandestine abortions, as abortion
in Colombia was legalized just two years ago and only in three cases —
rape or incest, fetus’ malformation without ability to live out of
uterus, and risks to the mother’s life.
Paradoxically, 54% of the respondents affirmed
they received an appropriate sexual education, and yet 85% said they had a good or very good level of knowledge regarding sexuality. Based
on such answers, can we conclude that Colombians don’t look to formal sexual education to learn about their sexuality? In addition, we can conclude that most of them
do not consider sexual education of others is their responsibility, given that 30% of respondents do not speak with their children about
sex at all, and 43% just a little.
Last but not at least, another social
contradiction is revealed with the question: "Do you consider homosexuality unnatural?" Thirty-eight percent answered yes. Such high percentage
is surprising in Colombia, where in the last 12 months three legal rulings have opened the way to recognize the patrimonial and social security
rights of the homosexual couples comparably to heterosexual