Youth and Sexuality” aims at understanding how students, parents and the technical and pedagogical staff of schools perceive the issues related to juvenile sexuality, such as the sexual initiation of young people, teenage pregnancy, contraceptives, abortion, violence, prejudices and discrimination. The study was conducted in 14 Brazilian capital-cities, targeting public and private schools, both elementary and secondary. Quantitative and qualitative methods were used, applying questionnaire, individual and focal group interviews techniques. The different actors agree in regard to several of those issues, but there is significant diversity as to representations, that are expressed mainly in relation to gender, age cycles and region, emphasis being given to differences between generations and among the young people themselves. In some of these issues, teachers and students tend to express similar opinions, while parents are more likely to reproduce traditional values. The research points out that, in spite of all the concern and emphasis given to sexual education and STD/AIDS prevention in schools, some head-teachers report that there is no consistent work to deal with sexuality, and in the schools where such work does exist, it is neither continuous nor innovative. The impasses, such as teaching the different issues related to sexuality, still represent a challenge to the technical and pedagogical staff of schools and also to the families. The school should be a privileged space for building knowledge, for acquiring social values and for living together in a positive atmosphere of mutual respect, and it should also be a point of reference for young people. However, this objective, as well that of disseminating integral knowledge – including health, the body and sexuality – is not always attained, and this study documents the advances and the obstacles found. Policies and actions are recommended, so as to bring students, parents and teachers closer together, in order to promote alternatives to reducing the vulnerability young people face when experiencing their sexuality, and also to foster more symmetrical and enriching gender relations. In particular, the role of the school is emphasized.
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