Sexuality and reproduction: uses and values related to the desire for children among middle-class couples in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

This study analyzes aspects comprising the modern conjugal dynamics of heterosexual couples as part of the results of an ethnographic study of "infertile couples" in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (2004-2005). The target group can be defined culturally by its immersion in the configuration of individualist values. We analyze certain aspects reported by the couples based on their investments in medical resources for conception. The notions of "privacy" and "spontaneity" stood out as obligatory expressions in the exercise of sexuality and reproduction. The premise was that reproductive and sexual experience emphasizes the primacy of the representation of a supposed freedom of choice. The central methodological strategy was the couple's life trajectory, using semi-structured interviews and observation within the context of the interviews. The findings show divergent or even contradictory forms of experiencing parenthood: on the one hand, the child as the "natural" result of the conjugal relationship, and on the other, as the result of a rational choice.

Sexuality; Reproduction; Family Planing (Public Health)


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