Sexual Risk Behavior, Sexism, and Prejudices Towards Sexual Openness, Homosexuality, and Trans Individuals Among Young People in Spain and the UK

Laura Alonso-Martínez*, Simon Forrest, Davinia Heras-Sevilla, Johannes Hönekopp, María Fernández-Hawrylak

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Introduction: Sexism, lack of sexual freedom, and negative attitudes towards minorities are related to risky and discriminatory sexual behaviors. To date, no cross-cultural comparisons have been made regarding these sexual behaviors and attitudes. The study also explores the sexuality competencies of young adults undertaking vocational courses in higher education before their transition to professional practice. Methods: The sample comprised 1235 university students (670 Spanish and 565 British) aged between 18 and 52 years (M = 22.06, SD = 4.38). During the years 2020 and 2021, respondents completed a survey structured in six standardized scales (HPSC, DSS, SOS, HATH, EANT, and TIBS). Results: Results report that British students show less gender adherence (DSS) while the Spanish ones show more positive attitudes towards trans individuals (EANT) and pleasure (SOS). These findings indicate that students in this research engage in more sexual risk behaviors (HPSC), display similar rigid gender adherences (DSS), and more positive erotophilic (SOS), homophilic (HATH), and trans-friendly attitudes (EANT and TIBS) than those in previous studies. There were, however, significant differences by gender, religion, and program of study. Conclusions: The research demonstrates the relevance of measuring cultural factors related to sexual behaviors and attitudes in youth and reflects a lack of attention to these issues in educational and healthcare settings. This is despite its broad impact on people’s health, as young people are more likely to display increased risky sexual behaviors. Policy Implications: These findings emphasize the importance of the development of updated strategies in sex education among young people. The added importance of doing so with students in higher education who are likely to enter professions where they will educate or influence others on these matters is identified.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages15
JournalSexuality Research and Social Policy
Early online date28 Dec 2022
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 28 Dec 2022

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