Sexual initiation and religion among Brazilian teenagers: the case of high school students in four cities

Raquel Coutinho, Cedeplar, UFMG and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Paula Miranda-Ribeiro, Cedeplar, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais
Carla J. Machado, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais (UFMG)

This study aims at investigating the association among religion, religiosity, and sexual initiation of adolescents, 15-19 years-old, male and female, high school students in public state schools (n=2658). Results indicate strong association between religious affiliation, church attendance, and sexual initiation. Although sexual initiation is more frequent among adolescents who go to church only sporadically, the proportion who report having had sexual intercourse is high, even among the churchgoers. If compared to those who have no religious affiliation, committed Mainline Protestant and Pentecostal, males and females, as well as committed Catholic females are less likely to have had their first sexual intercourse. Results also indicate that the female sexual onset is usually at older ages if compared to that of the male, and there is intense gender representation.

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Presented in Session 10: Norms, attitudes and sexual behaviour