Theses defended

Diálogos com adolescentes sobre relações amorosas, cidadania sexual e democracia íntima: proposições para uma Educação em Saúde Emancipatória!

Helena Maria Campos

Public Defence date
September 12, 2017
Doctoral Programme
Human Rights in Contemporary Societies
Ana Cristina Santos
PhD with a joint-supervision from the Universidade de Coimbra

The sexual health of adolescents constitutes a field of practice and research in Collective Health, due to unprotected sexual initiation, low use of methods of protection, reduced use of condoms in all sexual relations, teenage pregnancy, STIs / AIDS, iniquities of gender, among other diseases. Sexual health has been defined as a field of practice and research that focuses on the understanding of sexuality and has been studied from various points of view because of its complexity and the multifactors that affect people's sexual experiences. This research aimed to understand the meanings of the affective-sexual experiences and knowledge about sexual rights among adolescents in contemporaneity to subsidize educational emancipatory proposals that promote sexual health. This qualitative study seeks to understand the meanings that the subjects attribute to the phenomena, the relationships they establish, correlating them to the socio-historical context in which they are inserted and to the theories that underlie the interpretations. The theoretical-methodological framework that bases this study is the social representations, understood as modalities of practical knowledge or common sense. Fieldwork was carried out with adolescents aged between 14 and 18 years, high school students from a public school in Belo Horizonte. In the data collection we used in-depth, semi-structured and individual interviews, we opted for content analysis to the interpretation of the information. The results indicate that sexual rights are advocated in national and international laws as human rights, essential for the healthy and safe living of sexuality, but are not being implemented in practice. It has been shown that precariousness of life, gender inequities, silencing, denial of sexual rights, insufficient qualified information affect the sexual health of adolescents, and that there is no way to guarantee sexual health without the full exercise of sexual citizenship without a broad knowledge of sexual rights. Sexual initiation has been occurring earlier and has been a concern for health and education professionals. Data analysis has shown that for most adolescents interviewed the meanings attributed to safe sex are reduced to the fear of disease and pregnancy, associated with prevention and biomedical knowledge. However, for some adolescents the concept of safe sex should be broadened to include greater equality among partners, critical awareness of sexuality, gender equity, consensual sex, freedom from coercion and intimate violence. There are contradictions in the love relationships between adolescents in the contemporary world that need to be understood and explained to favour conscious and responsible choices. We conclude that there are psychological, cultural, social and political factors associated with sexual health, but love relationships, sexual rights and safe sex are motivating and priority themes in the promotion of adolescent sexual health. It is essential to promote love and prevent dating violence. Sexual rights, human rights and sexual health will only be guaranteed to the extent that adolescents are recognized as holders of knowledge and rights. There are challenges that need to be addressed such as the implementation of sexual health in primary care and sexual education in schools for all adolescents. The Emancipatory Health Education based on the theoretical reference of Education for the Critical Consciousness of Paulo Freire and on the Cognitive Justice of Boaventura de Sousa Santos provide creative dialogues between scientific knowledge and non-scientific knowledge, broadens the understanding of the phenomena and potentiates collective actions of struggle for intimate democracy and sexual health.

Keywords: Adolescent, Sexual Health, Sexuality, Sexual Rights, Health Education