Sexuality

Sexuality is normally regarded as natural and healthy but, for women especially, is seen to serve the end of reproduction only, in marriage. Men and women cultivate sexual attractiveness, within the norms of modesty and appropriate behavior, at the age of courtship—when they are mozos and mozas. Spaniards of both sexes are deeply concerned with personal appearance. Married people are supposed to appear presentable and attractive without being sexually provocative.

Males are traditionally granted more sexual freedom than women, both before and after marriage. A married woman's extramarital sex is generally seen as the greatest blow to family values. Women's sexuality is stereo-typically seen as dangerously powerful, particularly because it is supposed to be confined to the marriage bed and can thus be more frustrated than men's. In reality, premarital sex is common in many parts of Spain (more in the north than the south) and is becoming more widespread. However, sexual affection between partners is not publicly flaunted—that of husband and wife is no exception. The sexual aspect of human relationships is regarded as best kept private, and so public behavior may conceal actual realities in many cases. In the late 20th century, sexual mores in Spain began to conform with Anglo-American and other European models in which sexual enjoyment can be separated from both marriage and reproduction. There has been a spate of heretofore censored explicit or pornographic publication and a general defiance of traditionally taught values, though the sexual revolution is most evident among urban professionals and the more cosmopolitan classes for whom fashionableness dictates ultramodernity.

Because the public advertisement of one's sexuality is frowned upon, male and female homosexuals are most successful in social life if they, too, keep expressions of their affection private and their public appearances in accord with the mainstream norms for their respective sexes. Most do this, and cross-dressing is generally not approved. The Spanish mainstream is generally demanding of "proper" appearances but also humanely tolerant of differences of character, and homosexual households where they exist, especially of women, are treated with neighborly respect. Male homosexuality seems less well tolerated. Not surprisingly, homosexuals find better niches in the many-layered society of urban centers than in the smaller populations of the countryside.

Pregnancy And Childbirth

Pregnancy And Childbirth

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