Sexuality education in Brazil

SIECUS Rep. 1994 Jan;22(2):1-6.


PIP: The development of a comprehensive program of sex education in Brazilian schools is described in the context of Brazil's culture and traditions such as the Carnival. The influence of Catholicism is explored as is the effect of the behavioral restrictions called for by scientists concerned about sexually transmitted diseases. The Brazilian response to homosexuality is described, and the emergence of a public discussion of sexuality in the media is traced. It is noted that improvements in the status of women have been held in check by a public ridicule of feminism and by the strength of the traditional patriarchal structures which dominate the culture. With this picture given of how the issue of sexuality fits into Brazilian life, the 1980s initiative on the part of the Work and Research Group for Sex Education is described. Opposition to this effort has largely taken the form of passive resistance; even the Catholic Church has not officially protested the sex education program. Details are provided about 1) the selection of teachers, teacher training, and weekly supervisory teacher meetings; 2) the way in which parental permission for student participation was gained; 3) the implementation of the program; 4) the successes achieved; and 5) the difficulties encountered. Finally, it is noted that plans were made to expand the sex education project from the Sao Paulo area to 6 additional large cities in 1994. Also planned is the publication of the Brazilian Guidelines for Comprehensive Sexuality which will explain the sex education methodology and be extremely valuable in the establishment of new projects.

MeSH terms

  • Americas
  • Behavior
  • Brazil
  • Catholicism*
  • Christianity
  • Culture*
  • Demography
  • Developing Countries
  • Education
  • Ethnic Groups*
  • Feminism*
  • Homosexuality*
  • Latin America
  • Personality
  • Population
  • Population Characteristics
  • Psychology
  • Religion
  • Sex Education*
  • Sexual Behavior*
  • Sexuality*
  • South America