Culture and Safer Sex Behaviors
The issues involved in sexuality are important in defining the individual, and the relationships with others. But the sexual practices of the individual occur within a culture context that supports and defines the practices. Many cultures would view sexual practices as an inherent and important part of any definition of the identity of the person. This chapter considers the issues of sexuality and culture as those considerations play a role in the understanding of HIV education and prevention efforts. The development of a script for sexual interaction reflects not only personal desires and values but must take place within a cultural setting (Metts & Spitzberg, 1996; Whittier & Simon, 2001). The appropriateness of various behaviors and the understood or believed suitability of various actions must be contained within a cultural framework that permits persons to understand and manage human interaction. This chapter provides a consideration of alternative ethnic groups and the importance that culture, as measured by ethnic origins, plays in dealing with HIV education and prevention.
This chapter considers the intersection of what amounts to scripts or issues dealing with sequences or expectations of behavior and the definition or practices of a culture. Sequences or expectations arise from issues imbedded or imparted by a sense of cultural identity. The defining elements of identity may involves the enactment of such rituals with specified practices to reinforce fundamental values of the culture as well as create a shared identity. Given the importance of sexuality to individuals and the stress placed on sexuality within the United States, all individuals, regardless of initial cultural position, face decisions about behavior that reflect important identity considerations. What constitutes coercive or inappropriate sexual actions become evaluated within the context of the values for sexual actions (Burt, 1980; Emmers-Sommer & Allen, 1999). Culture serves the basis of identification and knowing or believing that the behavior engaged in is appropriate.