Overall, the Czech Republic is one of the more liberal societies in Europe in regard to sexual matters, though this varies by age, residence, and religiosity. (Older, nonurban, and actively Catholic or Protestant individuals are more likely to approve of sexuality primarily for reproductive purposes within a monogamous heterosexual marriage, and are more likely to have negative attitudes towards premarital, extramarital, or homosexual sex, as well as towards contraception and abortion.) Survey data (Weiss & Zverina, 2001) show the following attitudes of the general population: more than 50% of men and more than 60% of women believe that a woman has the right to decide whether to have an abortion, with only 3-4% absolutely opposed to abortion under any circumstances; more than 40% of men and about one quarter of women endorse the statement that "extramarital sex is natural and normal" and fewer than one in three individuals strongly condemn it; more than two thirds of men and more than 70% of women have favorable attitudes towards contraception, with only 4% of women and 5-7% of men strongly opposed; roughly two thirds of men and women consider masturbation to be natural and normal.

Younger Czechs are behaving in many ways more like Western Europeans with each generation, a trend that is increasing since the end of Communism. Age of first intercourse is decreasing, age difference between partners at first intercourse is decreasing, and use of condoms or other methods of contraception is increasing (Weiss & Zverina, 2001). In addition, an extended period of sexually active life before marriage is now common among young Czechs, and the age of marriage and first childbirth is rising. Among young Czechs, divorce and abortion are both considered undesirable in comparison with a happy marriage and a wanted child, but are considered better than the alternative of an unhappy marriage and an unwanted child (Fialova et al., 2000).

Women are expected to be more modest about showing their bodies than men, but sexual modesty is not emphasized to a great degree for either sex. Modesty about the body in single-sex situations, such as dormitories or changing rooms, or at home among family members, is almost nonexistent. Open displays of affection in public, such as kissing and petting, are common, especially among young adults in their late teens and twenties. Frank depictions of sexuality are common on television, and nudity (especially female nudity) is common in magazines and billboards. Nudity is common at beaches, though usually in a separate section from the nonnude bathing area, and children are sometimes taken to nude beaches with their parents.

Sexual harassment (sexualni haraseni) is a concept recently imported from the West, and is still seen as a foreign word for a foreign concept. It is regarded with a certain amount of amusement by both men and women (cf. Holy, 1996, pp. 172-176). Women are expected to take care of their appearance and to be flattered by sexual attention from men. They are also free to say no, and are expected to be able to handle sexual situations without recourse to legal action.

Homosexuality was illegal under the Austrian criminal code and during most of the Communist period, but the situation became slightly more liberal in the 1980s, and there had been discreet gay establishments in the larger cities since at least the early 1900s (Fanel, 2000). Since 1989, Prague and some other cities have developed relatively large gay and lesbian communities, and same-sex registered partnership has been considered by the Parliament and narrowly defeated three times. Prague has also become a major destination for international gay tourists.

Czech society on the whole is quite tolerant of homosexuality, both male and female, though lesbians are far less visible than are gay men. Czechs living in the larger cities, and younger and more educated individuals, are particularly likely to have more favorable attitudes towards homosexuals, and more information about homosexuality (Janosova, 2000). Cross-sex behavior in one's children is a cause for concern, but most families other than those from strongly religious backgrounds accept homosexual adult children without much comment. Transvestite theater is relatively popular for heterosexual audiences in the cities.

Prostitution is outside the law and therefore effectively legal for both males and females over 18 years of age. Since the end of Communism, the Czech Republic has become a destination for sex tourists, both heterosexual and homosexual, especially from neighboring Germany and Austria. The Czech government has considered fully legalizing prostitution in order to tax and regulate it, but is prevented from doing so by European Union rules.

Pregnancy And Childbirth

Pregnancy And Childbirth

If Pregnancy Is Something That Frightens You, It's Time To Convert Your Fear Into Joy. Ready To Give Birth To A Child? Is The New Status Hitting Your State Of Mind? Are You Still Scared To Undergo All The Pain That Your Best Friend Underwent Just A Few Days Back? Not Convinced With The Answers Given By The Experts?

Get My Free Ebook

Post a comment