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This study correlates the national means of self-reports of sexual relations in stable couples and the mean percentage of people with extramarital affairs with the climatic, socio-economic and cultural (religion and HofstedeĀ“s dimensions) characteristics of the 25 countries to which the samples belongs. Low uncertainty avoidance, low Catholicism and Protestantism, dominance of Buddhism and high power distance were associated with less sexual permissiveness. Sexual permissiveness was associated more with the religious aspects of culture. Higher mean sexual frequency was associated with social development, individualism, low power distance and low dominance of Animism and Buddhism, to Catholicism and uncertainty avoidance, and cultural femininity. Results confirm the important role of socioeconomic development, raise questions on the negative view of Christianism and the positive view of oriental religions.
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Psicothema
ISSN 0214 - 9915 CODEN PSOTEG
2000. Vol. 12, Supl., pp. 70-82
Copyright © 2000 Psicothema
Culture and sexual behavior
Silvia Ubillos, Darío Paez and José Luis González*
University of the Basque Countr y, * Burgos University
This study correlates the national means of self-reports of sexual relations in stable couples and the me-
an percentage of people with extramarital affairs with the climatic, socio-economic and cultural (reli-
gion and Hofstede´s dimensions) characteristics of the 25 countries to which the samples belongs. Low
uncertainty avoidance, low Catholicism and Protestantism, dominance of Buddhism and high power
distance were associated with less sexual permissiveness. Sexual permissiveness was associated more
with the religious aspects of culture. Higher mean sexual frequency was associated with social deve-
lopment, individualism, low power distance and low dominance of Animism and Buddhism, to Catho-
licism and uncertainty avoidance, and cultural femininity. Results confirm the important role of socio-
economic development, raise questions on the negative view of Christianism and the positive view of
oriental religions.
Cultura y Conducta Sexual. Esta investigación correlaciona las medias nacionales de auto-informes de
relaciones sexuales en parejas estables y el porcentaje de personas con relaciones extramaritales con
las características climáticas, socio-económicas y culturales (religión dominante y dimensiones cultu-
rales de Hofstede) de los 25 países estudiados. La baja Evitación de la Incertidumbre, la poca presen-
cia del Catolicismo y Protestantismo, la predominancia del Budismo y la alta Distancia al Poder se aso-
ciaban a menor permisividad sexual (menor porcentaje de relaciones extramaritales). La permisividad
sexual se asociaba más con los aspectos religiosos de la cultura. Una media alta de frecuencia sexual
se asociaba al desarrollo social, al individualismo, a la poca predominancia del Animismo y Budismo,
a la predominancia del Catolicismo, a la Evitación de la Incertidumbre y a la Femineidad Cultural. Los
resultados confirman el importante rol del desarrollo socio-económico para la calidad de vida sexual,
así como despiertan dudas sobre la visión negativa del Cristianismo y positiva de las religiones orien -
tales en relación a la sexualidad.
In this article we will review cultural differences in sexual be-
the 4 polyandric cultures are at the same time polygenic (Kenrick,
havior concerning two specific aspects: frequency of sexual inter-
1994). 54% of the societies found in the «Human Relations Area
course in stable partners, and percentage of people who have se-
File» archives (HRAF) allow extra-marital masculine sex, and this
xual relationships with more than one person. Frequency is an in-
was practiced in 69% of these societies. In another 11% of socie-
dex of sexual activity, and extra-marital sex (having sexual rela-
ties feminine extra-marital sex was permited, being put into prac-
tionships with one or more people different from one’s normal or
tice in 57% of these cultures (Ember & Ember, 1997). Differences
stable partner) is an index of sexual permissiveness.
among complex societies or nations are very important with regard
Variability in number of partners, extra-marital sex and fre-
to extra-marital sex. A practice which is non-existant among Asian
quency of sexual intercourse have been well documented in anth-
women, scarce among western regions (13% of french males and
ropology for simple societies, and more recently, and by means of
5.7% of french women), some Latinamerican and African coun-
sexual surveys, for complex societies.
tries. While it is important, although by no means affecting a ma-
With r egard to the number of sexual partners in the so called
jority of people, in other African and American countries. For ins-
«simple» societies (without cities and class differences), in most
tance in French Gua yana, the percentage of men who have rela-
of these polygamies (marriage with more than one spouse) is ac-
tions with other people different from one´s spouse is three times
cepted, although most people in the world live in monogamic cul-
higher than in France, for women it is twice as high (Giraud et al.,
tures. Out of the 849 societies studied in Murdock’s ethnographic
1995). In the western world there is a predominance of serial mo-
atlas, 708 are polygenic (one husband for various wives), and only
nogamy over concurrent couples or multipartnership (Wellings et
4 are polyandric (a wife may have various husbands). Moreover,
al., 1994). In a northamerican study (Kolata, 1994), the fidelity in-
dexes were relatively high: 75% of married men, and 85% of ma-
rried women were faithful to their companions during their lifeti-
mes. Similar results have been found in Spain (Usieto & Sastre,
Correspondencia: Silvia Ubillos
1996), France (Spira & Bajos, 1993), and England (Wellingset al.,
Department of Social Psychology
1994). In Africa, certain forms of polygamous relationships are
University of the Basque Country
normative. In some of these cultures polygamy, generally polyge-
20080 San Sebastián (Spain)
E-mail: ubillos@facilnet.es
nia, is a feature in approximately 25-50% of married couples. Mo-

CULTURE AND SEXUAL BEHAVIOR
71
reover, it is informally accepted that a man may have more than
Cultural differences and sexuality
one partner. Stable relationships between married men and semi-
autonomous women, who obtain economic rewards in exchange
We will now analyze how differences in activity and sexual per-
for having sexual relationships with men, is a frequent resource in
misiveness is associated with differences in cultural values’ syn-
those societies in which the relationship man/woman favours the
dromes.
former, and in which sexual activity and the exchange of favours
A culturalist ex p l a n ation of sexuality will stress the import a n c e
is classified within the same area of behavior. Although in some
of norms and values, aims and principals in life, such as hedonism
parts of Asia polygenia is also approved of, only 3-4% of mar ried
and personal autonomy in individualistic societies, and group lo-
couples practice it (Rushing, 1995). In summary, results confirm
yalty and emotional dependence in collectivistic cultures (Pri c e -
that most sexually active adults are faithful, especially in Asia (alt-
Williams, 1985; Triandis, 1994). Defining culture as a cultural pro-
hough on the other hand in some countries, especially Thailand,
gramming of the mind wh i ch diffe re n t i ates one group from another,
visiting prostitutes is socially acceptable), on a medium basis in
Hofstede described 4 cultural dimensions: Power distance, Indiv i-
the western world, and only in Africa and the Caribbean having
d u a l i s m - c o l l e c t ivism, Masculinity-femininity and Uncert a i n t y
more than one sexual partner is an important, although not wides-
avoidance (see Gouveia & Ros and Basabe et al’s art i cl e s ) .
pread, reality.
Hofstede´s (1991) dimensions and scores were obtained with
Anthropological research has found a variability in frequency
an underrepresentation of african and asian cultures. For this rea-
and acceptance of sexual activity is simple societies. We find so-
son, many of these countries were assigned global or regional sco-
cieties in which sexual intercourse is practiced at least once per
res. On the other hand, there are currently available statistics
night (Crow, Lepcha in the Himalaya), at least three times per
which allow us to have a somewhat rough, although valid, view of
night (Australian Aranda and the Chaga from Tanzania), or cultu-
the type of dominant religion, which will serve to complete Hofs-
res in which sexual intercourse only takes place once per week,
tede´s results.
with periods in which for years after a birth there is no sexual in-
It is important to note that in our re s e a rch, we will study not only
tercourse (i.e. the Keraki in New Guinea, Danis, Cheyennes) (Kat-
dominant cultural values, but also re l i gion as a cultural determ i n a n t
chadurian & Linde, 1979; Nieto, 1989).
of sex u a l i t y. Religions are re l evant for our study for 2 main re a s o n s :
B e fo re there we re ex t e n s ive sexual surveys, the dominant
1. They are one of the most important sources of norms and va-
p e rs p e c t ive was that the medium ave rage of sexual re l at i o n s h i p s
lues in a g iven society.
was between two and two and a half times per week. Comfo rt ´ s
2. Religions are historically and sociologically associated with
well known sex manual states that an ave rage of less than twice
cultural dimensions: Protestantism with individualism, Muslim re-
per week indicated that there was some kind of sexual pro bl e m
ligion and Confuncianism-Buddhism with collectivism, and Cat-
(cited in Sandfo rt et al., 1998, p. 111). For instance it was stat e d
holicism with uncertainty avoidance.
t h at the lowest fre q u e n cy was once a week, in for example the
Ke raki in Southafrica (Gerbhard, 1987). Recent nort h a m e ri c a n
Power distance, cultural masculinity, uncertainty avoidance and
and european surveys stress that the we s t e rn population is less se-
sexual behavior
x u a l ly active than wh at was thought until now. The nort h a m e ri-
can study suggests that the medium ave rage of sexual re l at i o n s-
Hofstede’s research has shown that subjects from high power
hips is one per week. Only 8% of men and 7% of women stat e
distance cultures value conformity and women’s obedience to-
t h at they have four or more sexual interc o u rses per week (Ko l a-
wards their spouses, and children´s obedience to parents. They al -
ta, 1994). In England, the median of hetero s exual re l at i o n s h i p s ,
so support authocratic and authoritarian attitudes. In cultures in
d u ring the last month, was never higher than 5. Similar results ha-
which high power distance and respect towards authorities is va-
ve been found in France (Spira & Bajos, 1993). When ex a m i n i n g
lued, self-control rules against extreme exhibition of emotions will
we s t e rn sexual activ i t y, We at h e r fo rd stated that the European and
be more salient (Smith & Bond, 1993). In these cultures subjects
A m e rican societies are like the Dani or Cheyenne due to their
feel and express less emotions, both positive and negative, becau-
major interest in violence and war in comparison to sex. Since
se the social expression of excessive positive affect could mean
men must dedicate an important part of their youth towa rd mili-
lack of deference (Basabe et al., 1999). In this sense, erotic acti-
t a ry prep a ration they have little time for erotic prep a ration. On
vation and sexual contact could be lower in these cultures. Nevert-
the other hand, although they do not avoid fighting when is ne-
heless the fact that in these societies a man has more power than a
c e s s a ry, men in Po lynesia, parts of Africa and gre at portions of
women could also be associated with a higher frequency of sexual
the Amazon, devote considerably more time towa rds learning se-
intercourse due to men´s imposition. For example, masculine do-
xual techniques. The more time and energy a society or indiv i-
minance is very strong in indian, asian and african cultures, and fe-
dual devotes to violence and fighting the less time and energy
minine obedience is normative, in particular in relation to sexual
t h e re is for sex and erotism (We at h e r for cited in Nieto, 1989).
activity and procreation. The view of women as a sexual object is
N eve rtheless, this low sexual activity is not only typical of we s-
explicit (Fainzang & Journet, 1991; Rushing, 1995). Masculine
t e rn societies. Recent surveys carried out in developing countri e s
cultures value competition and economic success, are less permis-
s h ow sexual behavior frequencies similar to those found in the
sive and reinforce gender differences (Hofstede, 1991; 1998). Sin-
West and in societies labelled as of lower sexual activ i t y. Pro-
ce these cultures value performance and being competitive, cou -
b ably this reality includes all complex societies and not only we s-
pled with a more classic masculine image, cultural masculinity
t e rn societies. Fre q u e n cy of sexual interc o u rse in married or sta-
could be associated with more masculine sexual activity due to the
ble couples in 14 developing countries ra n ged from less than on-
fact that men must show their «excellence» in sexual performance
ce a week to two per week. (Cleland & Fe rry, 1995; Hubert, Ba-
(Gilmore, 1994). Reviewing surveys on sexual behavior in Euro-
jos & Sandfo rt, 1998).
pe, results showed that the difference in favor of men in sexual in-

72
SILVIA UBILLOS, DARÍO PAEZ AND JOSÉ LUIS GONZÁLEZ
tercourse was higher in those countries in which gender differen-
such as those found in Latinamerica, Asia, India and Africa, value
ces were stronger (Sandfort et al., 1998). These results suggest that
interdependence and group objectives. Feelings and the search for
in masculine cultures men tend to engage in more sexual activity
individual pleasure are important elements in individualistic cultu-
or that they overestimate it more than women. On the other hand
res´ well-being, whilst in collectivistic cultures fulfilling one´s so-
feminine cultures are more permissive, value more quality of life
cial duties is important. In individualistic cultures love and the per-
and accept the complementarity of sexes. Men suffer less anxiety
sonal decision taken by two people seems the natural way of for -
when performing their role, they may act more modest, and com-
ming a stable couple (Triandis, 1995). Western culture which emp-
municate more with women. Emotional well-being is higher in de-
hasizes expressive and instrumental individualism also has a Ch-
veloped feminine cultures (Arrindell et al., 1997). Due to these
ristian tradition. In the western individualistic culture we find a co-
facts sexual frequency could be higher in feminine cultures with a
existence of norms which stress monogamous-fidelity-marriage
better emotional climate in which there is less normative pressure,
sexuality aimed towards procreation which is linked to the Catho-
less restrictions and more affective complementariness between
lic and Protestant conception of love, coupled with the exploration
sexes. Men from masculine cultures (mexicans in the USA) show
of sexuality, obtaining the utmost pleasure and personal self-fulfil-
more negative attitudes towards sexuality and state lower levels of
ment, factors which are linked to individualism. Bellah et al.
sexual activity than those subjects belonging to cultures which
(1985) have stressed this tension which exists between a relational
emphasize less gender differences (Padilla & O´Grady, 1983, cited
compromise and agreement with christian marital norms on the
in Baron & Byrne, 1994). Women from these cultures which emp-
one hand, and on the other the value attached to seeking the most
hasize dependence, obedience and feminine virginity also show
out of personal pleasure. The relational compromise values and
more sexual inhibition (Bergos, Díaz & Voland, 1988, cited in Ba-
norms would be linked to monogomous behavior and marriage for
ron & Byrne, 1994).
the rest of one´s life, while the norms and values of happiness and
The uncertainty avoidance dimension refers to the degree in
self-fulfilment would be associated to sexual exploration and infi-
which members of a culture feel threatened by unknown situa-
delity behaviors.
tions. Cultures with strong uncertainty avoidance emphasize for-
The Christian-Jew tradition has been traditionally perceived of
mal roles and social control. These cultures have a strong need for
as a repressive sexuality, with its aims directed mainly towards
predictability. They frequently (i.e. Greece) tend to be more an-
procreation. The Protestant reform criticized the clergy´s chastity,
xious and expressive, it is socially acceptable to raise one´s voice
having a more favourable attitude towards sex within marriage.
and express emotions non verbally. Emotions are externalized. In
Puritanism strictly regulated behavior which could threaten the fa-
cultures with low uncertainty avoidance anxiety is relatively low,
mily´s stability and continuity (behaviors such as adultery and ille-
people do not need to worry too much about avoiding ambiguie-
gitimate children). Although puritan protestanism imposed strict
ties. Agression, and emotions in general, are not supposed to be
anti-erotic codes with regard to clothes and behaviors, sexual acti-
expressed. Emotions are internalized (i.e Great Britain). Previous
vity within marriage was not regulated (Katchadourian & Linde,
studies have confirmed that uncertainty avoidance is related with
1979). On an individual basis, and with european samples, it has
more anxiety, and with less well-being or with unpleasant emotio-
been confirmed that more christian religious practice, be it Greek
nal experiences (Arrindell et al., 1997; Hofstede, 1991).
Orthodox, Catholic or Protestant, is linked to less variability in se-
In developed countries high uncertainty avoidance correlated
xual activities, confirming the restrictive nature of sexuality in
with anxiety, low trust in institutions and the society´s degree of
western religions (Sandfort et al., 1988, p. 159). Muslim, Taoist,
catholicism. High uncertainty avoidance cultures see danger and
Hindu and Buddhist attitudes towards sexuality are generally jud -
pollution which they try to avoid be means of explicit rules. The
ged as more positive, although this judgement is made more on the
quest for security prevales in these societies. Confessing one´s
basis of ideological texts than on culture in itself (Gerbhard,
sins, rejection of sex outside of marriage, double standards and
1987).
acceptance of masculine sexuality characterize the developed cat-
Islamic cultures are collectivistic and with high power distan-
holic countries from southern Europe (Brandes, 1991). Moreover,
ce. In these cultures the theocratic organization of social relations-
high uncertainty avoidance societies are stressing societies, but
hips is associated with obedience to the will of God who defines
who also accept emotional expression and intense emotional vi-
one´s destiny. An individual´s responsability is embedded in parti-
vidness, at least in some continents (Hofstede, 1991; Basabe et al.,
cipating in a group, subordination towards a collective, and any in-
1999). Due to its normative nature, high uncertainty avoidance
dividualizing behavior is suspicious of being a transgression (Cha-
cultures could be linked to a lower frequency of extramarital se-
moun, 1989). Islam has a more liberal attitude towards marital sex
xual relationships, and with less sexual variety, at least among wo-
than Christianism. It rests less emphasis on guilt and holds a non-
men. On the other hand, sexuality could be lived intensively due to
problematic view of masculine sexuality. This is due to the fact
the emotional nature of these cultures. Moreover, in these stressing
that it is a women´s obligation to fulfill the wishes of the man she
societies sex could be more frequently a mechanism by which to
is married to. Nevertheless Islamic cultures also emphasize sexual
decrease anxiety. Some studies have shown that people who be-
segregation, and strongly punish adultery. Moreover some Muslim
long to cultures which emphasize effort and performance show
cultures (i.e. Sudan, Senegal, Somalia) perform rites which muti-
higher levels of sexual activity, at least of an autoerotic nature (La-
late a women´s sexual capacity, although it should be noted that
grange & Lhomond, 1997).
these rites are pre-muslim (Gerbhard, 1987). Excision is perfor-
med to avoid a women´s sexual desires, and preserve her virginity
Individualism-collectivism, religion and sexuality
for marriage because the main marital duty of a woman is to bear
children (Aranguren, 1991; Fainzang & Journet, 1991).
Individualistic cultures, such as those in Western Europe or the
Another example of collectivistic and high power distance so -
USA value autonomy and personal goals. Collectivistic cultures
cieties are the Asian societies with a confuncianist-buddhist and

CULTURE AND SEXUAL BEHAVIOR
73
hindu orientation. In these societies the family, clan and caste are
rences. These studies rest only on the analyses of means or central
stressed. Respect and obedience to one´s forefathers, parents and
tendencies. Class differences with respect to norms and sexual be-
superiors in general is highly valued. Sex is viewed as part of the
haviors is an important facet in any culture. For example sexual
duties implied in having a relationship and a high masculine se-
initation is earlier and the number of partners is higher in the black
xual activity is not so well valued as it is in the Western world (Gil-
subculture in the USA, and in the urban poor subculture in Lati-
more, 1994). Although, at least in theory, we find in Buddhism and
namerica.
Hinduism a less restrictive orientation towards sex, there is also a
C u l t u ralist explanantions with their empahsis on values and
tradition of emotional self-control, lack of communication with
t raditional norms also tend to ignore the gap that may exist bet-
one´s parents on issues concerning sex and strong control over wo-
ween wh at is norm at ive and real life pra c t i c e. For example in
men. Rushton (1999) has mentioned that Asians (both recently im-
Chile there is no divo rce law and the dominant catholic culture
migrated to Canada, or already living there for years) were signi-
c ri t i c i zes divo rc e. Neve rtheless, by means of legal art i facts there
ficantly more restrained than non Asians in issues concerning sex.
is a ve ry common practice of sep a ration and serial mu l t i p a rt-
This shows that Chinese and India sexual activity is a far cry from
n e rship wh i ch is deep ly rooted among women from urban popu-
the Kamasutra. Sexually letting oneself go too much is an exam-
lar classes. Culturalism also leads to confound sexual pra c t i c e s
ple and source of masculine weakness in India (Jahoda, 1989). In
or behav i o rs with wh at is no more than an erotic ideology, re-
China, although there is not an important development of sexual
flecting cultural ch a n ges by means of norms wh i ch have a distant
guilt, there is also a puritan sexual tradition which is a gainst adul-
re l ationship with erotic pra c t i c e. Among the brasilian midd l e
tery, especially feminine, and toaism condems excessive fornica-
class we find a «tra n gressing» and liberal social discourse ab o u t
tion. Even if traditional Chinese culture views sex as something
s ex u a l i t y. More ove r, in this culture showing affect is more inten-
natural and with no guilt connotations, at the same time it is seen
se and body distance is closer when compared with anglosaxon
as something to be ashamed of to show off and openly talk about
and european cultures (Kottak, 1994). Neve rtheless the fre-
desires and sexual experiences. One third of chinese women have
q u e n cy and va riety of sexual behav i o rs is not mu ch diffe re n t
never experienced an orgasm, nearly 90% make love with their
f rom «colder» countries and the rep e rt o i re of sexual behav i o rs is
clothes on, and the estimated duration of sexual intercourse is less
quite conventional (Pa rke r, cited in Bozon, 1995). Due to this
than a minute. This data has been obtained from the first available
fact, in our empirical study we will re fer to decl a red pra c t i c e s
chinese sexual surveys (Char et al., 1980; Dalin, cited in Smith &
and not attitudes or beliefs.
Young, 1998, p. 387).
Another limitation of the culturalist explanantion is that it ig-
In collectivistic cultures in general, starting a couple is a deci-
n o res that many behav i o rs are responses not dictated by tra d i-
sion taken by the elders. It is based on arrangements which fulfill
tion, but in fact are fo rced adap t ations driven by circ u m s t a n c e s
the families´ desires, and it is a duty for the individuals. Emotio-
or non desired situational constrains. The large number of peo-
nal well-being, love and sexuality are less valued aspects in the li-
ple with more than one partner in Lesotho re flects not only tra-
fe of a couple in collectivistic cultures. Psychological intimacy and
ditional cultural values, but also the fact that many men mu s t
sharing in a couple is a more important source of marital satisfac-
m i grate to South Africa in order to find a job. In this case both
tion and well-being in individualistic in comparison to collectivis-
men and women, due to economic and affe c t ive fa c t o rs, have
tic cultures (Ting-Toomey, 1991). Passionate love and sexuality
m o re than one partner in order to adapt to these situational cons-
which transgress the esta blished hierarchical relations is conside-
t ra i n t s .
red as something which disrupts social functioning in a collecti-
In our case, we will try to take into account the socio-structural
vistic culture such as China. Most chinese words refering to love
and ecological influences by including a predictor of socio-econo-
have a negative connotation: infatuation, grief or sorrow. The most
mic development and another climatic predictor. Although we are
pragmatic attributes of love (income, status…) are considered as
well aware that this is only a partial solution.
desirable characteristics of one´s partner. Parents select the bride
We must state that some of the cultural dimensions are part ly
according to her good nature and the groom on the basis of his sta-
a s s o c i ated to ecological and economic fa c t o rs. A high lat i t u d e
tus (Dion & Dion, 1993). Confirming that there is an association
( i . e. cold cl i m ates) predicts less power distance and strong bu-
between collectivism and the lesser importance assigned to pas-
ying powe r. Individualism is stro n g ly associated both with eco-
sionate love, when comparing student samples from the USA,
nomic development and with high ge ographic latitude (i.e. coun-
Germany and Japan, the Japanese valued much less romantic love
t ries with cold and moderate cl i m ates tend to be indiv i d u a l i s t i c
than did the western sample, they shared more beliefs of masculi-
c u l t u res, while countries with wa rm cl i m ates tend to be collecti-
ne gentelmanship and the dependent role of women (Simmons,
v i s t i c ) . Th e o ries of ge ographic determinism and stereotypes sug-
von Molke & Shimizu, 1986). In sum, hedonic pleasure is better
gest that wa rm cl i m ates make southerner´s more re c ep t ive to-
valued and individual elections and sexuality are a more important
wa rds emotions. Pe n n eb a ker et al. (1996) have confi rmed that in
basis for marriage in individualistic than in collectivistic cultures.
the «old wo rld», and in the nort h e rn hemisphere, people who li-
We may assume that shared sexual pleasure is a more important
ve in the south state that they are more ex p re s s ive emotionally
aspect in individualistic than in collectivistic cultures, and that
than those who live in the north, suggesting that there is a ke rn e l
probably the frequency of sexual activity will also be higher.
of truth in the stereotype wh i ch holds southern e rs’ as more emo-
tional. Fo l l owing a tradition dating back to Montesquieu and the
Economic development, climate and sexuality
Romantic era, recent mediterranean anthro p o l ogy states that
among southern europeans, in comparison to nort h e rn ones, the-
Culturalist explanantions have a series of limitations we must
re is a prevalence of a violent and passionate culture, ch a ra c t e ri-
bear in mind. A culturalist explanation tends to attribute excessive
zed by an ex a c e r b ated masculinity in wh i ch the erotic surge and
homogeneity to the members of a culture, ignoring internal diffe-
the lack of masculine sexual shyness is associated with the con-

74
SILVIA UBILLOS, DARÍO PAEZ AND JOSÉ LUIS GONZÁLEZ
t rol of the fa m i ly wo m e n ’s sexual behavior and the association of
N=990; Norway, in 1992, N=4029; Spain, in 1990, N=859, Spain,
their virginity with fa m i ly honor, as well as with a more ge n e ra l
in 1996, N=8100; Greece (Athens), in 1990, N=1777; Belgium, in
sensuality (Gilmore, 1990; Fe rnández, 1987; Llobera, 1987). Fi-
1993, N=2789; Finland, in 1992, N=1529, and Switzerland, in
n a l ly a more recent rev i ew of the surveys conducted on fre q u e n cy
1992, N=2685.
of sexual interc o u rse in stable couples confi rmed that nort h e rn
The ge n e ral methodology used in these studies is described in
e u ropean countries had lower means than in the south, both fo r
Cleland & Fe rry (1995), Pison Laga rde & Enel (1997); Hubert et
men and women. This seems to «support the cultural stere o t y p e
al. (1998); Laumann, Gag n o n , M i chael, & Michaels (1994), a n d
t h at people in re l at ive ly wa rmer cl i m ates are more passionate and
Wellings et al. (1994). The samples we re composed of men and
e n gage in sexual activity more fre q u e n t ly» (Sandfo rt et al., 1998,
women with ages ra n ging from 15 to 49 ye a rs in deve l o p i n g
p . 1 2 5 ) .
c o u n t ries, and from 18 to 49 in develed countries (ex c ept Swit-
The aim of this study is to correlate the scores of self-reports of
ze rland in wh i ch the ra n ge was from 18 to 45 ye a rs). Although
sexual relations in stable couples and the mean percentage of peo-
age groups we re diffe rent in developed and developing countri e s ,
ple with extramarital affairs with the climatic, socio-economic and
in both cases they we re a sex u a l ly active population. More ove r,
cultural (religion and Hofstede’s dimensions) characteristics of the
the lower life ex p e c t a n cy and wo rse quality of life of older age d
countries to which the samples belong .
people in developing countries suggests that this fact does not
Although there are dif ficulties and problems involved in diffe-
bias the comparison. We also used a 8100 subject sample of spa-
rentiating culture from social structure, we will try to prove the ef-
nish adult population between 18 and 64 ye a rs of age (Castilla et
fects of ecology (i.e climate), social structure (i.e. socio-economic
al., 1998), two USA samples described by Ko l ata (1994) and
development) and culture (i.e. value syndroms) on declared sexual
Wi e d e rman (1997), and a chilean survey with a sample of people
activity. The capacity for prediction which the national differences
with an age ra n ge of between 18-49 ye a rs conducted in the two
have on the collective sexual experience, or the mean on the basis
most important cities in the country, Santiago and Va l p a ra i s o
of national cultural dimensions and factors such as climate and
(Conasida, 1998). The total number of surveyed people was ove r
economy will be examined with data collected in different studies
150.000. The 25 nations are those included in the ab ove m e n t i o-
in 25 developed and developing countries in Africa, America, Eu-
ned studies. We have also included cultural and socio-economic
rope and Asia. Nations will be treated as units of analysis and na-
i n fo rm ation (see table 1).
tional means as scores, and the declared sexual behavior will be
correlated with sociocultural variables. Following the holocultural
tradition, cultures will be treated as units and collective scores of
Table 1
the variables will be related with the rest (Bond, 1991; Schlegel,
Sexual Behavior Surveys
1994). Our first aim will be to prove the hypothesis (controlling
for climatic and socio-economic variables) that national collective
Continent year
Country question
Frequency sample
type survey
time span
scores in individualism, low power distance, low uncertainty avoi-
dance and femininity will be associated with more permissiveness
Africa — —
Senegal LM
EF
400
and sexual activity, specifically with a higher frequency of sexual
Africa 1989-90 KABP
Kenya SA LM
EF
2.967 National
behavior. For other reasons, masculine and high uncertainty avoi-
Africa 1989 PR
Ivory Coast SR LM
EF
3.001 National
dance cultures could also be related with high sexuality. A second
Africa 1989 KABP
Togo SA LM
EF
2.332 National
Africa 1990 KABP
Burundi SA LM
EF
2.264 National
aim is to examine the relationship between predominance of reli-
Africa 1989 KABP/PR
Lesotho SR LM
EF
1.582 National
gious traditions and sexual behavior in order to contrast the re-
Africa 1989-90 KABP/PR
Tanzania SR LM
EF
4.171 National
pressive view of catholicism in comparison to asian and islamic
Africa 1990 KABP
Zambia SR LM
EF
1.992 Urban (Lusaka)
traditions.
America 1990 PR
Brazil SR LM
EF
1.341 Urban (Rio)
America 1995 SS
Chile
800 Urban (Santiago)
America 1994 SS
USA SA
914
Method
Asia 1990 KABP/PR
Philippines SR LM
EF
1.617 Urban (Manila)
Asia 1989 PR
Singapore SR LM
EF
2.115 Urban
Countries and participants
Asia 1991 PR
Sri Lanka SR LM
EF
3.012 National
Asia 1990 PR
Thailand SR LM
EF
2.081 National
This research re-analyses the results from various cross-cultu-
Europe 1991-92 SS/KABP
France SR LM
EF
3.379 National
Europe 1990 SS
Germany SA LM
EF
2.405 National
ral studies on sexual behavior. All surveys were conducted betwe-
Europe 1991 SS
United Kingdom SA
15.027 National
en 1989 and 1995 by professional financed staff. The lowest sam-
Europe 1989 SS
Netherlands SA/SR TM
C
990 National
ple is composed of at least 400 subjects and the highest sample by
Europe 1992 SS
Norway SR LM
4.029 National
over 15.000. The countries surveyed were: a) in Africa surveys
Europe 1990 SS
Spain SA
C
856 National
were conducted between 1989 and 1990; Kenya, N=2967; Ivory
Europe 1996 KABP
Spain SA LY
EF
8.100 National
Europe 1989-90 KABP/PR
Greece SR LM
EF
1.777 Urban (Athens)
Coast, N=3001; Togo, N= 2332; Burundi, N=2264; Lesotho,
Europe 1993 SS
Belgium SA
C
2.789 National
N=1582; Tanzania, N= 4171; Zambia (Lusaka), N= 1992; Sene-
Europe 1992 SS
Finland SR
EF
1.529 National
gal, N=400; b) Southamerica: Brazil (Rio de Janeiro), during the
Europe 1992 SS
Switzerland NS LW
EF
2.685 National
years 1989-90, N=1341; Chile (Valparaiso and Santia go) conduc-
ted in 1995, N=800; c). Northamerica: USA, in 1994, N=914. d)
Type of survey: KABP = Knowledg e, Attitudes, Beliefs and Practices; PR = Partner Re-
lationship; SS =Sexual Survey.
Asia: Philippines (Manila) in 1990, N=1617; Singapore, in 1989,
Questions on sexual activity: SA - Sexual Activity; SR = Contacts or Sexual Relations;
N=2115; Sri Lanka, in 1991, N=3012; Thailand, in 1990, N=2081;
NS = Non specified «sleeping with».
e) Europe: France, in 1991, N=3379; German y, in 1990, N=2405;
Time: LM = Last Month; TM = Three Months; LW = Last Week; LY = Last Year.
Great Britain, in 1991, N=15027; The Netherlands, in 1989,
Frequency: C = Categories mixing time and frequency; EF = Exact Frequency.

CULTURE AND SEXUAL BEHAVIOR
75
Procedure and measures
With regard to frequency evaluation, most surveys (18) asked
about the exact frequency (in 17 cases moreover the time lapsus
Dependent variables
was a month). With regard to number of partners, in the develo-
ping countries’ surveys (with the exception of Chile) the question
Sexual behavior self-reports were used. Participants indicated:
was: «do you currently have one or more spouses or stable part-
1) the frequency of sexual contacts during the last month (Cleland
ners?». If the answer is yes, «how many?». This question did not
& Ferry, 1995), or during the last week (Hubert, Bajos & Stand-
allow to differentiate between formal poligamic matrimonies (fre-
fort, 1998; Conasida, 1998) with one´s stable partner. 2) number
quent in Ivory Coast and Tanzania) from multipartnership infor-
of sexual partners during the last year. The range of ans wers were
mal relationships. In the western surveys, multipartnership was de-
the same in developed and developing countries, although there
fined as having two or more partners in a certain time span (Wie-
were differences. Sexual relationships in developed countries we-
derman, 1997). In all sur veys this time interval was one year.
re infered on the basis of the mean week average of people with
stable relationships as shown in Hubert et al. (1998). For the USA
Predictive variables
and Senegal it is the mean of a sample of the general population
(Kolata, 1994; Pison, Lagarde & Enel, 1997, respectively). There
Climatic factors
are three types of surveys: a) Sexual surveys which refer with gre-
at precision to sexual activity; b) KABP surveys concerning know-
We registered the absolute value latitude as shown in Pc Globe.
ledge, attitudes, beliefs and practices regarding Aids. These inclu-
A lower absolute latitude means warm-hot climates.
de questions refering to sexual activity; c) PR surveys, or partner
relationships surveys, these inquire with precision on sexual acti-
Socio-economic factors
vity during the last month and a half. All surveys used people with
stable partners as target group. The definition of stable partner was
Human Development Index: the measure of national HDI com-
created using three criteria: a) the 13 African, Asian and Brazilian
bines three basic components of human development: longevity (a
surveys used the criterion that «people had a sexual union which
country´s mean life expectancy), education (rate of literacy and
had lasted at least a year»; b) most European and the Chilean sur-
scholarized population); and life level (Gross National Product per
veys used as criterion «have a stable relationship, at present to ha-
person). The HDI is the best development measure, better than
ve a sexual partner»; c) the Norwegian, Spanish and French sur-
other limited measures such as Gross Internal Product, or Rent per
veys used as criterion «living with a partner». As we can see cri-
capita (Cordelier & Didiot, 1997). Each nation´s HDI scores were
teria «a» and «b» are quite similar. The last criterion will possibly
obtained from the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).
be associated with a higher frequency of sexual relationships. In
The Human Development Index scores were obtained from the
all the surveys the mean of sexual frequency in sexually active
State of the World 1994 edition.
couples during the last month was used (Caraël, 1995, p.104). The
definition of sexual act was threesome: a) In the KABP type sur-
Cultural factors
veys in Asia, Africa, France and Greece, the question asked was:
«have you had sex?», b) In the PR type surveys the question was:
Hofstede (1991) stated results from 21 countries in the follo-
«have you ever had sexual intercourse?»; in the European and
wing cultural dimensions: individualism-collectivism; masculi-
Northamerican surveys the question was: «have you had sex or
nity-femininity; power distance and uncertainty avoidance. For a
made love?». In most European surveys the concept of sexual ac-
series of African countries which did not have scores in Hofstede´s
tivity was not explicitly defined. In Belgium, Finland and Great
original research, the score of the African region in which they we-
Britain it was specified that sexual activity was the same as vagi-
re included was assigned. Senegal, Togo and Ivory Coast were as-
nal, anal or oral penetration. Manual stimulation was defined in
signed the score for western Africa (Nigeria, Ghana and Sierra Le-
the Finnish survey as sexual activity. Research conducted in the
ona). Burundi was assigned the eastern African score (Kenya, Et-
USA and Europe suggest that for most people sexual activity is va-
hiopia, Tanzania and Zambia). Lesotho was assigned the South
ginal coital activity, or at least penetration. For example 60% of
African score. These scores are based on the questionnaires ans-
the northamerican students believed that mouth-genital contact did
wered by IBM employees on a world basis during the 1970´s. Sco-
not constitute a sexual relationship (Sandfort, Bos, Haavio-Manni-
res show concurrent validity with current value surveys and cross-
la & Sundet, 1998). From this point of view it seems quite reaso-
cultural studies (Schwartz, 1995; Smith & Bond, 1993). For exam-
nable to believe that most subjects answered in relation to the fr e-
ple, Hofstede and Triandis´scores on individualism correlate
quency of coital activity. With regard to time reference, 18 surveys
(r=.83). Triandis´ results were obtained in 1995 and are described
asked about sexual activity during the last month, the Dutch sur-
in Diener et al. (1995). High scores mean more individualism,
vey during the last three months, the Swiss during the last week.
masculinity, uncertainty avoidance and power distance (see table 2
The Belgium and Spanish lumped together frequency and time of
for the national climate, social and cultural scores of the countries
reference in their questions (i.e. response alternatives: a) some ti-
included in this study).
mes a year; b) 2-3 times per month, etc.). Most surveys use a com-
parable time span, although the type of questions used in the Bel-
Religious factors
gium and Spanish surveys, and the longer Dutch time span could
maybe produce less exact answers. On the other hand, the shorter
A va l u ation of the pre s e n c e / absence of the «large» re l i gions are
Swiss time lapsus could produce more exact recollections, alt-
i n cluded: Christian (Catholic and Protestant), Muslim, Budd h i s t
hough we know that people base themselves on a typical week
and Animist. Th e re was only one country with a partial Hindu tra-
when estimating the monthly frequency (Cleland & Ferry, 1995).
dition (Sri Lanka). In Singap o re there are a 29% of Taoists. Gre e c e

76
SILVIA UBILLOS, DARÍO PAEZ AND JOSÉ LUIS GONZÁLEZ
is Christian Ort h o d ox. The coding was as fo l l ows: re l i gion: 1=non
associated to this factor, and positively with high power distance,
existent; 2=minori t y, less than 25%; 3=important minori t y, 25-
although with a low load. Cultures with a strong intolerance to-
50%; 4=majori t y, 51% or more (source Wo rld Ency clopedia Atlas).
wards ambiguity and normative are of a catholic type, to a lesser
In table 2 we present the Human Development Index, absolute ge-
degree have high power distance and non protestant. The third fac-
ographic lat i t u d e, Hofstede´s cultural scores, and the level in wh i ch
tor was defined by Buddhism, scoring negative weights in dimen-
C h ristian, Muslim, Buddhist and Animist re l i gions are pre s e n t .
sions such as power distance, and positively in predominance of
protestantism, although with less strength than in the first factor.
Results
In other words, high power distance and Buddhism are associated.
Cultural masculinity emerges as a fourth independent factor, repli-
Climatic, geographic, cultural and emotional dimensions: collec -
cating Hofstede´s results.
tive level analysis
Climatic, geographic and cultural dimensions, and the frequency
First of all we will examine the relationships between predicti -
of sexual relationships: collective analysis
ve factors at a collective level. With the country scores, we obtai-
ned the Pearson correlation coefficients at a collective level with
In the first and second column of table 3 we show the mean
the aim of contrasting the relationships between climate-latitude
monthly average of sexual relationships of men and women with
(LAT), Human Development Index (HDI), the country´s religion,
stable partners.
and the cultural dimensions of individualism (IND), masculinity
In the fo u rth and fifth column we find the perc e n t age of men and
(MAS), power distance (PD), and uncertainty avoidance (UAV)
women with more than one sexual partner during the last ye a r.
(see table 2).
The association between the national means of sexual fre-
A factor analysis of the collective predictors of sexual behavior
quency among men and women was positive and significant,
obtained four factors. The first one comprised cultural dimensions
r(21)=0,97, p<0.001. This confirms that there is a strong conver-
of individualism and low power distance with cold climates,
gence between sexual behaviors in each country, although men de-
strong socio-economic development, dominance of protestant reli-
clare a significantly higher mean than women in number of coitus.
gions, low predominance or absence of muslim or animist reli-
Men’s mean= 5,79; women= 5,35, t(19)=3,75, p<0.001.
gions. A second factor was defined by uncertainty avoidance and
On the basis that each sex represents 50% of the population a
catholicism. Hofstede had also found that uncertainty avoidance
mean for each country was calculated. We do know that in general
was associated with the predominance of catholicism in christian
women comprise more than 50% of the population, but differen-
countries (Hofstede, 1991; p.132). Protestantism was negatively
ces are not very significant among countries. In the case of Sene-
Table 2
Social development, geographic position, cultural dimensions and religion
COUNTRIES
HDI
LAT
IND
MAS
PD
UAV
CATH
PROT
MUSL
BUDI
ANIMI
Senegal
182
14
20
46
77
54
2
2%
92%
1
6%
Kenya
369
1
27
41
64
52
21%
15%
6%
1
26%
Ivory Coast
286
7
20
46
77
54
22%
1
34%
1
37%
Togo
218
6
20
46
77
54
21%
1
17%
1
4
Burundi
167
3
27
41
64
52
63%
1
1
1
33%
Lesotho
437
29
65
63
49
49
3
79%
1%
1
20%
Tanzania
270
7
27
41
64
52
27%
1
31%
1
42%
Zambia
314
15
27
41
64
52
26%
34%
1
1
27%
Brazil
796
23
38
49
69
76
78%
22%
1
1
1
Chile
882
34
23
28
63
86
89%
11%
1
1
1
USA
940
38
91
62
40
46
28%
56%
1
1
1
Philippines
603
14
32
64
94
44
84%
2
4%
1
1
Singapore
849
1
20
48
74
8
10%
1
16%
27%
1
Sri Lanka
663
7
48
56
77
40
1
1
2
69%
1
Thailand
715
13
20
34
64
64
1
1
1
4
1
France
971
47
71
43
68
86
3
1
4.4%
1
1
Germany
957
50
67
66
35
65
41%
41%
1
1
1
United Kingdom
924
54
89
66
35
35
9%
4
1
1
1
Netherl.
970
52
80
14
38
53
36%
26%
1
1
1
Norway
979
57
61
8
31
50
1
4
1
1
1
Spain
923
37
51
42
57
86
4
1
1
1
1
Greece
902
38
35
57
60
112
2
1
1
1
1
Belgium
952
51
75
54
65
94
4
1
1
1
1
Finland.
954
60
63
26
33
59
1
4
1
1
1
Switzerl.
978
47
68
70
34
58
48%
44%
1
1
1
HDI: Human Development Index; LAT: Climate-Latitude; IND: Individualism-Collectivism; MAS: Masculinity-Femininity; PD: P ower distance; UAV: Uncertainty avoidance; CATH: Catho-
lic; PROT: Protestant; MUSL: Muslim; BUDI: Buddhist; ANIMI: Animist.
Presence of Religion (Level): 1=non existent; 2=minority, less than 25%; 3=important minority, 25-50%; 4=majority, 51% or more (source World Encyclopedia Atlas).

CULTURE AND SEXUAL BEHAVIOR
77
gal and the USA the general mean was included. In the case of the
C u l t u res with more power distance are ch a ra c t e ri zed by less fre-
United Kingdom, the general median of the national survey was
q u e n cy of sexual behav i o rs [r(21)=-0.55, p<0.001 for the nat i o n a l
used. Due to the fact that the median, in general, differs from the
mean; r=0.52, p<0.001 for men, and r=0.57, p<0.001 for wo m e n ] .
mean in sexual behavior surveys, and that the generic means had
The presence of Muslim [r(21)=-0.57, p<0.001 for the national
different weights in men and women, we excluded these countries
mean, r=0.54, p<0.001 for men, and r=-0.60, p<0.001 for women],
from the analysis. The inclusion of the means from Senegal and
and Animist religion [r(21)=-0.60, p<0.001 for the national mean;
the USA, and the median from the United Kingdom did not alter
r=-0.59, p<0.001 for men, and r=-0.60, p<0.001 for women] was
any association. With those countries in which we did have sepa-
associated with a lower frequency of sexual relationships. Muslim
rate data for men and women, we calculated a difference in decla-
and Buddhist religions and high power distance was linked with
red frequency, as an index of overestimation of masculine sexual
more difference in the frequency of declared sexual contacts
activity. Analyses were replicated using only those countries who
among men and women [r(18)=0.33, p<0.09; r=0.37, p<0.007, and
shared a time span, or the type of frequency evaluation, and results
r=0.31, p<0.10 respectively].
in general showed a similar profile to the general one, although the
M o re ove r, cultures with more uncertainty avoidance are asso-
significance and size of the coefficient decreased. This is the rea-
c i ated with more sexual fre q u e n cy [r(21)=0.62, p<0.001 for the na-
son w hy this analysis aimed towards controlling methodological
tional mean; r=0.65, p<0.001 for men, and r=0.59, p<0.001 for wo-
differences is not shown (see ta ble 3).
men]. The predominance of Christian re l i gions is associated with
m o re sexual fre q u e n cy, although corre l ations we re not signifi c a n t .
Economic development, climate, collectivism, power distance,
Finally, cultural masculinity showed a negative association, alt-
muslim and animist religion and frequency of sexual intercourse
hough non significant, (r=-0.23, p<0.15).
The frequency of coital sexual relationships with one´s partner
S p e c i fic association between sociocultural fa c t o rs and sex u a l
was associated with more socioeconomic development [r(21)=
b e h av i o r
0.71, p<0.001 for the national mean; r= 0.69, p<0.001 for men,
and r=0.71, p<0.001 for women]. A cold climate or high latitude
A multiple regression using factor scores in order to decrease
was also linked to a higher frequency of monthly coitus
the number of predictors and avoid multicolineality problems was
[r(21)=0.71, p<0.001 for the national mean; r=0.69, p<0.001 for
significant [F(4,16)=23.47, p<0.001] and explained 69% of the va-
men, and r=0.72, p<0.001 for women]. Individualism was linked
riance.
to higher coital frequency both for men and women [r=0.46,
We found that more sexual frequency was associated with the
p<0.001 in general; r=0.43, p<0.001 for men, and r=0.43, p<0.001
first factor of social development, individualism, low power dis-
for women].
tance, and low presence of Animism and Buddhism (Beta=0.66,
Table 3
Sexual Behaviour by Countries and Gender
COUNTRIES
Men´s sexual relations
Women´s sexual relations
Monthly average of
Men with more than one
Women with more than
with stable partner
with stable partner
sexual relations
sexual partner during
one sexual partner
last year
during last year
SENEGAL
4.00
33%
KENYA
13%
IVORY COAST
2.90
2.00
2.45
36%
TOGO
2.90
1.50
2.20
BURUNDI
5.50
5.70
5.60
LESOTHO
3.00
1.90
2.45
55%
39%
TANZANIA
4.90
4.40
4.65
18%
9%
ZAMBIA
3.40
3.70
3.55
22%
11%
BRAZIL
8.70
7.60
8.15
7%
0.4%
CHILE
17.1%
3%
USA
4.00
5 %
2.4 %
PHILIPPINES
2.90
2.50
2.70
3%
3%
SINGAPORE
3.60
3.40
3.50
2%
0.2%
SRI LANKA
4.10
4.10
4.10
2%
1%
THAILAND
5.70
4.30
5.00
3%
0.4%
FRANCE
8.00
7.00
7.50
17%
7.4%
GERMANY
7.80
7.80
7.80
12%
5.20%
UNITED KINGDOM
5.00*
17%
7.70%
NETHERLANDS
7.20
7.30
7.25
19%
7.50%
NORWAY
7.50
7.30
7.40
21%
12.70%
SPAIN
7.80
7.50
7.65
10%
2.0%
GREECE
8.00
7.70
7.85
11%
1.50%
BELGIUM
6.90
6.80
6.85
16%
5.90%
FINLAND
7.30
7.10
7.20
29%
17.60%
SWITZERLAND
7.80
7.50
7.65
16%
6.30%
* Median

78
SILVIA UBILLOS, DARÍO PAEZ AND JOSÉ LUIS GONZÁLEZ
p<0.001), with the second factor of Catholicism and uncertainty
S p e c i fic association between sociocultural fa c t o rs and ex t ra m a ri t a l
avoidance (Beta=0.51, p<0.001), and cultural femininity (Beta=-
s ex
0.29, p<0.03).
Due to the fact that we have a small number of cases and many
A multiple r egression on the frequency of masculine extrama-
predictors, it is necessary to reduce the number of these, as we ha-
rital relationships using factor scores in order to decrease the num-
ve already stated before. Another form of doing so is with a step
ber of predictors and avoid multicolineality problems was signifi-
by step regression which deletes those predictors which explain
cant F(4,17)=3.01, p<0.05, and explained 28% of the variance. We
less percentage of the dependent variable. A stepwise analysis
found that the frequency of sexual relations with more than one
with all the significantly associated social, cultural and geographic
person was associated with factor number three (Beta=0.60,
predictors confirms that high socioeconomic development (Be-
p<0.03). Let us recall that Buddhism and power distance were ne-
ta=0.43, p<0.001), and strong uncertainty avoidance (Beta=0.48,
gatively weighted in this factor and that Protestant religion weigh-
p<0.001) predict more sexual activity. A cold climate and indivi-
ted positively. In other words, the cultural syndrome of low Pro-
dualism which was bivariately associated with high sexual fre-
testantism, dominance of Buddhism and high power distance, pro-
quency, did not show a specific association due to the fact that
duced less sexual permissiveness. A stepwise regression showed
strong socioeconomic development, linked to these factors, is a di-
that Buddhism was specifically associated with less sexual per-
mension which shows a specific influence.
missiveness in the case of men (Beta=-0.44, p<0.01) and Animism
The same could be said of high power distance which is asso-
was near significantly related to more masculine sexual permissi-
ciated with a lower frequency of sexual contact, and with warm
veness (Beta=0.32, p<0.10). A regression on the percentage of wo-
climate, collectivism and low economic development. Finally,
men with extramarital relationships was near significant
Catholic cultures, with great expressiveness and ansiogenic, are
F(4,15)=2.69, p<0.08, and explained 26% of the variance. We
associated with more coital frequency, although the cultural, and
found that the frequency of sexual relationships with more than
not the religious, dimension was the most influential one. The
one person was associated with factor number three, negatively
analyses of the frequency of sexual relationships among men and
defined by Buddhism and power distance, and positively by Pro-
women separately reproduce the same pattern of results.
testantism (Beta=0.51, p<0.03), and factor two which was negati-
vely defined by Catholicism and uncertainty avoidance (Beta=-
Cultural, social, geographic and religious factors on the frequency
0.41, p<0.06). In other words, a low frequency of extramarital sex
of extramarital sexual behavior
in women is associated to Buddhism, high power distance, low
presence of Protestantism, low uncertainty avoidance and low Cat-
I n d ividualism is associated with more ex t ra m a rital sexual ex p e-
holicism. A stepwise regression showed that Protestantism was
rience in women [r(20)=0.40, p<0.05]. The prevalence of Pro t e s t a n t
specifically associated with more sexual permissiveness in the ca-
re l i gion is associated with larger perc e n t ages in people who have
se of women (Beta=-0.44, p<0.01).
s exual re l ationships with more than one person [r(22)=0.34, p<0.06
A multiple regression on the differences in relationships with
for men, r(20)=0.46, p<0.22 for women]. Neve rtheless, it was also
more than one partner between men and women was significant
a s s o c i ated with a higher distance between men and wo m e n
F(4,15)=6.58, p<0.002, and explained 54% of the variance. We
[r(20)=0.32, p<0.09]. Cultures with more power distance we re ch a-
found that the strongest difference in extramarital relationships
ra c t e ri zed by a lower fre q u e n cy of ex t ra m a rital sexual re l at i o n s h i p s
between men and women was associated with factor number three:
[r(22)=-0.36, p<0.05 for men, and r(20)=-0.42 for women]. Wi t h
low power distance and Buddhism, strong Protestantism (Be-
m o re power distance, lower was the diffe rence between men and
ta=0.66, p<0.001), coupled with cultural femininity or factor num-
women [r(20)=0.48, p<0.02]. A stro n ger presence of Muslim cultu-
ber four (Beta=-0.32, p<0.07). This suggests that with less Protes-
re, also linked to power distance, was associated to a lower diffe-
tantism, more power distance, and more Buddhism, there are less
rence between men and women in ex t ra m a rital re l ationships (r=-
differences between men and women, and that sexual permissive-
0.46, p<0.02). The prevalence of Animist re l i gions is close to sig-
ness is lower for both sexes. A stepwise regression showed that
n i fi c a n t ly re l ated to a large pro p o rtion of men (r=0.33, p<0.07) and
Buddhism was specifically associated with a lower difference in
women (r=0.30, p<0.10) with more than one sexual part n e r.
extramarital relationships among men and women (Beta=-0.51,
p<0.02) and the presence of Muslim religion, although only near

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