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ATTITUDES TOWARDS AND PRACTICE OF SEXUALITY AMONG UNIVERSITY STUDENTS IN LEBANON

  • P. Salameh (a1) (a2), R. Zeenny (a2), J. Salamé (a3), M. Waked (a4), B. Barbour (a5), N. Zeidan (a5) and I. Baldi (a6)...

Summary

Sexuality is still a taboo in Middle Eastern countries, and Lebanon is no exception. This study’s objective was to evaluate attitudes towards sexuality and its practice among university students in Lebanon and assess their respective correlates. The cross-sectional study was carried out among students selected from seventeen universities across Lebanon. The participants received a self-administered standardized questionnaire that assessed their attitudes towards sexuality. It included questions on socio-demographic factors, risk-taking, risky behaviours and sexuality-related questions. Among 3384 students, 2700 (79.8%) answered the questions on sexuality. Around 15% had engaged in sexual activity, while 20% were regularly sexually active. Among males, 34.8% had never had sexual activity, 29.9% had tried it and 35.3% were regularly sexually active. Among females the results were respectively 85.1%, 5.3% and 9.6% (p<0.001). Only 36% regularly used condoms during their relationships. A liberal attitude towards sex, male sex, motives for risky behaviours, current cigarette smoking and problematic alcohol consumption were associated with sexual activity. Realizing that risky behaviours are dangerous, health concerns related to sexual relationships and a liberal attitude towards sex were associated with regular condom use. However, being bothered by condoms and female sex were inversely associated with condom use. Finally, participants who had motives for, and those who felt excited about risky behaviours, and those reporting current cigarette and waterpipe smoking and problematic alcohol consumption (β=0.600; p=0.002) embraced a more liberal attitude towards sex. Conversely, females (β=−7.58; p<0.001) and individuals who considered risky behaviours as dangerous reported an unfavourable attitude towards sexuality. A substantial proportion of Lebanese university students have regular sexual activity, but a low percentage use condoms for protection. Interventions are required among males in particular in view of these attitude and behavioural changes towards sexuality.

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Corresponding author

1 Corresponding author. Email: pascale.salameh@lau.edu.lb

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