Demographics and a Historical Perspective
1. Basic Sexological Premises
2. Religious and Ethnic Factors Affecting Sexuality
3. Sexual Knowledge and Education
4. Autoerotic Behaviors and Patterns
5. Interpersonal Heterosexual Behaviors
6. Homoerotic, Homosexual, and Ambisexual Behaviors
7. Gender Conflicted Persons
8. Significant Unconventional Sexual Behaviors
9. Contraception, Abortion, and Population Planning
10. Sexually Transmitted Diseases
12. Sexual Dysfunctions, Counseling, and Therapies
13. Research and Advanced Education
References and Suggested Readings

(Rossiyskaya Federatsiya)

Igor S. Kon, Ph.D.

Demographics and a Historical Perspective

A. Demographics

Russia’s 6.5 million square miles, over three quarters of the total area of the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, makes it the largest country in the world. Russia stretches from Finland, Poland, Norway, Latvia, Estonia, and Ukraine on the west, to the Pacific Ocean in the east, spanning ten time zones. Its southern neighbors include Georgia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, China, Mongolia, and North Korea.

The 1995 population was 150 million, and very socially and culturally heterogeneous, with over a hundred distinct ethnic groups. Seventy-three percent of Russians live in urban areas, with Moscow close to 9 million, St. Petersburg, 5 million, and Samara and Nizhny Novgorod, 1.5 million each.

The rest of the people live in rural areas. In 1995, 22 percent of the population was under age 15, and 11 percent age 65 and older. Male life expectancy in 1995 was 64 and, female, 74. Life expectancy in Russia appears to be descreasing significantly and rapidly because of the deteriorating quality of the country’s infrastructure and economics. The birthrate, according to the World Almanac, was 13 per 1,000 in 1995, and declining rapidly in response to the economic situation; the death rate was 11 per 1,000, for a 0.1 percent annual increase. The infant mortality rate was 26 per 1,000 live births. Statistics from 1993 indicate a literacy rate of 98 percent, with most Russians receiving eleven years of schooling. Russia’s health care system is in decline because of serious economic trouble since the break-up of the Communist system. Russia has one hospital bed per 74 persons and one physician per 225 persons. Many hospitals are poorly equipped and most are poorly supplied with necessary medicines. The 1996 World Almanac gives Russia’s per capita domestic product as $5,190 (U.S.A.).

B. A Brief Historical Perspective

Slavic tribes began migrating into Russia from the west in the fifth century of the Common Era. The first Russian state was founded in the ninth century with centers in Novgorod and Kiev. In the thirteenth century, Mongols overran the country. The grand dukes of Muscovy (Moscow) led the Russians in recovering their land; by 1480, the Mongols were expelled. Ivan the Terrible (1692-1725) was the first to be formally proclaimed Tsar. Peter the Great (1672-1725) extended the domain and founded the Russian Empire in 1721.

Under the aegis of Empress Catherine the Great (1729-1796), European culture was a dominant influence among the Russian aristocracy, particularly in the years prior to the destruction of the monarchy in the French Revolution. In the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Western ideas and the beginnings of modernization spread through the huge Russian empire. Political evolution, however, failed to keep pace.

Military reverses in the war with Japan (1905) and in World War I undermined the Tsarist regime. In 1917, sporadic strikes among factory workers coalesced into a revolution that deposed the Tsar, and established two brief-lived provisional governments in sequence. In brief order, a Communist coup placed Vladimir Ilyich Lenin in power. Lenin’s death in 1924 led to a struggle from which Joseph Stalin emerged as the leader. Purges, mass executions, mass exiles, and even a famine engineered in the Ukraine marked Stalin’s regime and resulted in millions of deaths, according to most estimates.

Although Russia and Germany signed a non-aggression pact in 1939, Germany launched a massive invasion of Russia in June 1941. Counterattacks during the brutal Russian winters of 1941-1942 and 1942-1943, coupled with the Nazi failure to take and hold Stalingrad, started the German retreat and eventual defeat. After Stalin’s death in 1953, the “De-Stalinisation” of Russia began under Nikita Khrushchev. In 1987, Mikhail Gorbachev began a program of reform that included expanded freedoms and democratizing the political process. This openness (glasnost) and restructuring (perestroika) was opposed by some Eastern-bloc countries and hard-line Communists in the U.S.S.R. In August, Gorbachev resigned and recommended dissolution of the Communist Central Committee. By the end of 1991, seventy-four years of Communist government had ended with declarations of freedom from the Russian, Ukraine, and Kazakhstan republics, and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics was dissolved. This opened the door for the many recent changes in the sexual lives of Russians detailed in this chapter.

1. Basic Sexological Premises

A. Character of Gender Roles

Soviet Russian general attitudes to gender roles and sex differences can be defined as a sexless sexism. On the one side, gender/sex differences have been theoretically disregarded and politically underestimated. The notions of sex and gender are conspicuously absent from encyclopedias, social-science and psychology dictionaries, and textbooks. On the other side, both public opinion and social practices have been extremely sexist, all empirical sex differences being taken as given by nature.

B. Sociolegal Status of Males and Females

A paramount slogan of the October 1917 Revolution was the liberation of women and the establishment of full legal and social gender equality. The Soviet regime revoked all forms of legal and political discrimination against women. A host of women was attracted into industrial labor, education, and public activities.

Like all other actions by the Bolsheviks, however, the program was naive and unrealistic. Gender equality was interpreted in a mechanical way, as a complete similarity. All historical, cultural, national, and religious-based gender differences were ignored, or viewed merely as “reactionary vestiges of the past,” which could and had to be removed by political means (Kon 1995, 51-127).

Soviet propaganda boasted of the fact that women, for the first time in history, had been drawn into the country’s sociopolitical and cultural life. By the time Soviet history reached its peak, women comprised 51 percent of the labor force. The percentage of women with university educations was even higher than that of men and, in such professions as teaching and medicine, women absolutely predominated.

Yet, it was not so much an equalization as a feminization of the lower levels of the vocational hierarchy. Women occupy the worst-paid and less- prestigious jobs and they are grossly underrepresented on the higher rungs of labor. Women’s average salary was a third less than that of men. With the transition to a market economy and the overall economic collapse of recent years, the position of women has deteriorated sharply. Entrepreneurs simply do not want to take on pregnant women or mothers with large families.

Russian public life remains dominated and governed by men. Women remain socially dependent. Seventy-three percent of the unemployed population are women, and women receive only about 40 percent of men’s salaries. Women are also underrepresented in political bodies (Kon 1995, 129-157).

In the family, the situation is more contradictory. About 40 percent of all Russian families may be considered largely egalitarian. Russian women, especially urban women, are more socially and financially independent of their husbands than at any time in the past. Very often, women bear the main responsibility for the family budget and for resolving the main issues of domestic life. Russian wives and mothers are frequently strong, dominant, and sure of themselves. On the other hand, their family load considerably exceeds that of the man and is sometimes absolutely unbearable. The length of the work week was the same for women as for men in the 1980s. Yet, women had to spend two or three times more hours than men on household work.

The fair distribution of household duties is a paramount factor in satisfaction with and the stability of marriage. Mutual recrimination and arguments about who is exploiting whom are a typical feature of Russian press comments going back many years. Women passionately and sorrowfully bemoan the lack of “real men,” while men complain about the dying breed of women who show feminine tenderness and affection.

The overall trend in Soviet history has been towards the demasculinization of men. Given all the ethnic, religious, and historical variations, the traditional male lifestyle and stereotyped image has always emphasized such virtues as energy, initiative, and independence. These qualities are extremely important for male self-esteem. Yet, the economic inefficiency of the Soviet system, the political despotism, and bureaucracy left little room for individual initiative and autonomy. At any moment in his life, from the cradle to the grave, the Russian boy, adolescent, man felt socially and sexually dependent and frustrated.

This social dependency was intensified by the global feminization of all institutions and processes of socialization. As a result of the high level of undesired pregnancies and divorces, every fifth child in the U.S.S.R. was brought up without a father or, at least, a stepfather. In the mid-1980s, some 13,500,000 children were being raised in so-called single-mother families. Yet, even where the father was physically present, his influence and authority in the family and his role in bringing up the children were considerably less than those of the mother.

Thus, from the start of his life, the Russian boy is dependent on a loving but dominant mother. In the nursery and at school, the major authority figures are women; male teachers are extremely rare. In official children’s and youth Communist organizations recognized by adults, the Pioneers and the Komsomol, it was also girls who set the tone. Junior and senior boys only found kindred spirits in informal street groups and gangs where the power and the symbols of power were exclusively male. As in the West, many of these male groups exhibit strong antifeminist tendencies.

When a young man marries, he has to deal with a solicitous, but often very dominating wife, much like his mother once was in his youth. The wife knows much better than he how to plan the family budget and what they need for the home and family. The husband ends up merely carrying out her instructions.

Finally, in public life, absolutely everything came under the control of the powerful maternal care of the Communist Party, which knew better than anyone what was best for its citizens and was ever ready to correct a citizen’s mistakes by force if necessary.

This has produced three typical reactions: (1) Psychological compensation and overcompensation through the acquisition of a primitive image of a strong and aggressive male, affirming himself through drunkenness, fighting, and both social and sexual abuse; (2) The combination of humility and subservience in public life, with cruel tyranny in the home and family directed at the wife and children; and (3) Social passivity and learned helplessness, a flight from personal responsibility to the careless, play world of eternal boyhood.

All this is equally bad for both men and women. Aggressive sexism as a means of compensating for social helplessness gives rise to sexual violence. Many Russian women are obligated to withstand patiently the vulgarity, drunkenness, and even physical abuse of their husbands, thinking that it cannot be otherwise. Sometimes, they even see in that the manifestation of love, as it was in Ancient Rus: “A man who doesn’t beat his wife doesn’t love her.” An intelligent and educated women frequently sacrifices her own professional and public career to maintain the family, but also because she is afraid of surpassing and thereby offending her husband.

As a result, opposition to the idea of gender equality has been mounting and widening since the 1970s. Men find it painful to lose their old privileges and accept the uncertainty of their social status. Women feel themselves deceived because they are under a double yoke. As a consequence, there is a mighty wave of conservative opinion dreaming of turning the clock back to times that were not only pre-Soviet, but prior to the industrial revolution and Peter the Great. Of course, a return to the premedieval (Domostroi) household rules is a conservative Utopia. However tough life is for present-day Russian women, the overwhelming majority would never agree to reduce their social roles to being only a wife and mother. Younger and better educated men also have more egalitarian social views and take on a greater domestic, including fatherly, responsibility.

[The collapse of Soviet rule changed everything in Russia, except the relationship between the sexes, which has deteriorated significantly. Expectations in heterosexual relationships have been and are low, but divorce rates remain high, and the number of single mothers, either divorced or never married, keeps growing. In contrast with the United States where single mothers have become the hallmark of the poorest urban areas, Russian women from all walks of life, domestic and factory workers, college graduates, university professors, and professionals alike, have grown inured to raising their families without men, relying on a support network of mothers, sisters, and aunts in a kind of matriarchal society with a downward spiral of poverty and limited horizons. Paternal absence and neglect is a reality widely shared by Russian women, regardless of background, aspirations, or income.

[Even in Communist times, the unhappiness of Russian families was hard to hide. The divorce rate in the 1970s was 40 percent; now it is 51 percent. In the past, sociologists blamed Soviet life, its regimentation, oppression, and lack of individual freedom, for men’s alcoholism and apathy to work and family. Today, the major factor appears to be an economic free fall that humiliates men who cannot provide for their families, to the point where they just walk away with little social censure. An estimated 15 to 20 percent of all Russian families are now headed by a single parent, 94 percent of whom are women. This number is not significantly higher than those in Western and Eastern Europe and far lower than in the United States, where sociologists estimate 27 percent of mothers are single.

[Some Russian sociologists suggest that single mothers are not much worse off than married mothers, because so many single mothers - 31 percent - live with their mothers or relatives. Others point out that single mothers generally do not want to live with relatives, but have no other choice. In a study begun in 1991 comparing Russian single mothers with European single mothers, half of the single mothers in countries like Switzerland were living with boyfriends, whereas only 5 percent in Russia had found a new partner. In addition, Russian divorce law does not allow joint custody, and child-support payments, while required by law, are difficult to collect and increasing. Given the free-market economy, men are better off hiding their real income from tax collectors and ex-wives. Many single mothers in the larger cities do not have residency permits and cannot apply for state welfare help, minimal as that is. While parliament is drafting a new law aimed at providing absent fathers with more-flexible child-support payments, few expect the government to have much impact on this deeply rooted social problem (Stanley 1995). (Editor)]

C. General Concepts of Sexuality and Love

Contrary to an opinion widespread in the U.S.A., Russians are very attached to the ideal of romantic love, which is considered a necessary precondition of marriage and even sex. In a 1992 national public-opinion poll, 53 percent of the men and 49 percent of the women said that they have experienced “real love.” “Sex without love” was approved as normal by only 15 percent of the respondents, while 57 percent strongly disapproved of it (Kon 1995, 19-25,52-53, 158-175).

But such attitudes may be unrealistic and reflect the contradictions of a classical Russian excessive romanticism that was formulated in Chekhov’s short story “Ariadna” (1895):

We are not satisfied because we are idealists. We want the beings who give us birth and produce our children to be higher than us, higher than anything on earth. When we are young we romanticize and idolize those we fall in love with; love and happiness are synonyms with us. For us in Russia, loveless marriage is scorned, sensuality is mocked and induces revulsion, and those novels and stories where women are beautiful, poetic and elevated enjoy the most success.... But the trouble is as follows. Hardly do we marry or hit it off with a woman than, give or take a couple of years, and we feel we’ve been disappointed, let down; we try other women and again we find disillusion, again horror, and ultimately we convince ourselves that women are liars, petty, vain, unjust, uneducated, cruel - in a word, even immeasurably lower, not simply not higher, than us men.
According to 1990-92 research of Russian university students, they, especially women, have more-pragmatic and less-romantic attitudes about marriage, particularly a readiness to marry without love, than their American, German, and Japanese counterparts. Nevertheless, as everywhere in the world, their real sexual-erotic motivations are mixed, contradictory, and heterogeneous. Also, general developmental trends in Russia are more or less similar to those occurring in Western countries:
· Earlier maturation and sexual initiation of boys and girls;

· Growing, and more or less universal, social and moral acceptance of premarital sex and cohabitation;

· Weakening of the traditional double standard for men and women;

· Growing recognition of the importance of sexual satisfaction for individual happiness and for marital stability;

· Growing public interest in all kinds of erotica and a demand for sexual freedom;

· Growing generational gap in sexual values, attitudes, and behaviors - many things that were considered deviant, unacceptable, and even unmentionable for parents, are normal and desirable for their children (Kon 1995, 158-175).

As in any other large country, sexual values and attitudes are heterogeneous, depending on gender, age cohort, education level, social milieu (whether the person lives in a large city, a small town, or in the countryside, and where he or she spent childhood and adolescence), ethnic identity, and religious affiliation.

Younger and better-educated people are more prone now to accept sex for pleasure only, without relation to love and marriage. On the other hand, as a reaction to this new individualism, normative anomie, and the weakening of family ties, some conservative and religious writers and philosophers criticize not only hedonistic eroticism, but even classical romantic, passionate love, which, they claim, should be subjugated to the quiet, conjugal love and traditional family values.

Because of the economic collapse, the institution of marriage is in a deep crisis. In 1992, there were 20 percent to 30 percent fewer new marriages concluded in Russia than in 1990. In the same period, the number of divorces has risen by 15 percent. About half of all Russian men and women have at least one divorce during their lifetime. About a third of the divorced are young couples who live together less than five years.

2. Religious and Ethnic Factors Affecting Sexuality

A. Source and Character of Religious Values

Despite the seventy-four-year effort of communism to promote atheism, 25 percent of the people still adhere to Russian Orthodox Christianity. While approximately 60 percent of Russians were nonreligious when the communist regime fell, Christianity and Orthodoxy are experiencing a mild revival. Among the non-Russian populations, Islam and Buddhism are widespread.

Ancient Slav paganism was rich with sexual symbols and associations. Sexuality was believed to be a general cosmic force. There were numerous openly sexual rites and orgiastic festivals at which men and women bathed naked together, the men symbolically fertilizing the earth and the women exposing their genitals to heaven in order to invoke the rain. In spite of the Church’s efforts to eradicate certain “devilish” pagan sex rituals, some of these survived among Northern Russia peasants until the end of the nineteenth century (Kon 1995, 11-49).

The Christianization of Russia, beginning in the ninth century, introduced a new philosophy of sexuality, but this influence has been slow and superficial. The Russian Orthodox Church, volens nolens, had to accommodate ancient sexual practices in numerous regional and ethnic diversities. On some issues like clerical celibacy, it was more lenient, or rather, more realistic, than the medieval Catholic Church. While complete abstinence from sexual relations, even in marriage, was officially classified as a “holy deed,” in everyday life, sexual activity in marriage was fully accepted. While celibacy was obligatory for the monks from whom the highest Church leaders were chosen, ordinary priests were obligated to marry and to have children. Unable to eradicate certain ancient pagan customs, the Church concentrated more on matters of social representation and verbalization.

Hence, we have the persistent normative conflict between the naturalistic pagan attitudes to sexuality in the “low” everyday peasant culture and the extreme spiritualism and otherworldly asceticism of the official “high” culture. Everyday life was openly sensual, cruel, and carnal. Debauchery, drunkenness, sexual violence, and rape were quite common. Russian folk tales are filled with polygamous heroes. Various sexual exploits, such as the rape of a sleeping beauty, are sympathetically described. It was permissible and noble, for example, “to dishonor” or rape a virgin girl in just revenge for her refusal to marry the hero. There was no place for modesty and privacy in the lives of peasants, and the nude body was often unwillingly and deliberately (ritually) displayed. Russian communal bathhouses, where men and women often washed together, surprised and shocked more than a few foreign travelers in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.

At the same time, the limits on symbolic, artistic representation of the body were extremely narrow. In Western religious painting since the Renaissance and even in the late Middle Ages, the entire human body was represented as real, living flesh. Only the genitals were veiled. In the Russian icons, only the face is alive. The body is entirely covered or outlined in an emaciated and ascetic manner. Nothing similar to the paintings or sculpture of Michelangelo, da Vinci, or Raphael was permitted. Secular paintings of nudes did not appear until the end of the eighteenth century.

Sexually explicit art emerged in Russia only in the middle of the eighteenth century, under the direct influence of French “libertines.” The Imperial Court of Catherine the Great (1729-1796) was highly eroticized. The first explicitly sexual Russian poetry by Ivan Barkov (1732-1768) was deliberately crude and arrogant. It lacked the elegance of French “libertine” literature and was never published legally. Russian nobility took lovers and read pornographic literature (mostly imported) (Kon 1995, 23-38).

In the West, the Church and clerical forces were a major foe of the erotic art and culture of pleasure. In Russia, the Church was particularly powerful because of its close relations with the state. Russian censorship was stricter and more pervasive than in Western countries.

B. Source and Character of Secular and Ethnic Values

Three facts are important for understanding the specific features of Russian eros.

First, the contrast between the official high culture and the low everyday culture of the common people was considerably greater in Russia than in the West. The official high culture was sanctified by the Church and antisexual by its very nature, while the low culture of the common people accorded sexuality a positive value common to all medieval European Christian cultures.

Second, refined, complex erotic art came into being and gained acceptance much later in Russia than in the West. And it is only through the medium of erotic art that sexuality could be included in high culture at all.

Third, the development of civilized forms of everyday social life was, in Russia, more closely associated with state power that with the civil society. Because new rules of propriety were often introduced by political authorities, there was more pressure towards uniformity of everyday conduct than towards individualization and diversification; and without some established and reasonably diverse subcultures, there can be no basis for normative pluralism, one manifestation of which is sexual tolerance.

These three factors are interconnected both historically and functionally.

In addition to the religious influence, one special factor has powerfully influenced sexuality in Russia: nineteenth-century, left-wing radical revolutionary-democratic literary criticism. Young aristocrats of the early nineteenth century received a good secular home education from early childhood. Whatever their moral and religious convictions, they tried to distance themselves from official bigotry and were not afraid of their own sexual feelings and experiences. The most revered Russian poet, Alexander Pushkin (1799-1837), wrote some elegant and witty erotic poetry.

For the next generation of Russian intellectuals, who came mainly from a clerical background and were often themselves former seminarists, such freedom was impossible. While breaking with some of their parent’s principles and values, they were unable to overcome others. Constant inner battles against their own unconventional sexual practices and feelings, particularly self-pleasuring and homoeroticism, turned into a global moral and aesthetic rejection and denunciation of sexuality and hedonism as something vulgar, dangerous, and unworthy. Only broad social objectives, such as liberation of the poor and oppressed, were morally justified. Everything that was private or personal was considered secondary - and egotistical.

These antisexual, antihedonistic attitudes have become an integral part of a definite ideological trend in Russian culture. As in the West, it was a moral expression of the middle-class, bourgeoisie opposition to aristocratic individualism. In Russia, however, this opposition was more radical. While religious bigots condemned eroticism as godless and amoral, populists rejected it as politically incorrect, vulgar, and nonaesthetic.

Any artist or writer who dared to walk up that “slippery slope” came under immediate attack both from the right and from the left. This seriously hampered the birth and development of a lofty, refined erotic art and language, without which sexual discourse inevitably appears base, dirty, and squalid. Inhibitions against sexuality and sensuous pleasure are generally typical for Russian classical literature. Sex is presented as a tragedy or quasi-religious revelation, very rarely as a pleasure.

On the eve of the twentieth century, the Russian cultural climate began to change. Leo Tolstoy’s Kreutzer Sonata (1891) stimulated a philosophical dispute about the nature and relationship of love, sex, marriage, and erotica, with prominent Russian writers like Anton Chekhov and philosophers like Vladimir Solovjev, Nikolai Berdjaev, and Vassilij Rozanov taking part. While this metaphysics of sexuality tried theoretically to rehabilitate eroticism, it had no place for real, everyday, routine sexual pleasure (Kon 1995,39-49).

While sophisticated erotic art and literature did appear in Russia in the early twentieth century, the artists of that era were seeking more a legitimization of eroticism than portraying sexual enjoyment. Exceptions like the poet Mikhail Kuzmin and the painter Konstantin Somov only confirm this general pattern. Whatever its aesthetical and moral value, early-twentieth-century Russian erotic art was marginal both to the official and popular cultures. It was looked upon as decadent and was equally denounced with vehemence by the right and by the left.

In the early 1900s, the first sexual surveys were conducted among students at Moscow and other universities. Sexual concerns were raised within the disciplines of medicine, history, ethnography, and anthropology. The word “sexology” as a name for a special subdivision of science was suggested by Rosanov in 1909.

The October Revolution of 1917 liberated sexuality from its traditional religious, moral, and institutional restraints. No longer was sex a taboo subject. On the contrary, traditional sexual morality and marriage as a social institution were themselves suspect. Everywhere there were fierce discussions of “free love” and debates over whether the proletariat needed any sexual restrictions whatsoever. The first net result, however, was sexual anarchy, the growth of unwanted pregnancies and births, induced abortions, sexually transmitted diseases, rape, and prostitution (Kon 1995, 39-49).

“The sexual question” being politically important, the Soviet government in the 1920s sponsored some sociological, biomedical, and anthropological sex research, as well as elementary sex education. Yet, the elitist, individualistic, and “decadent” erotic art was absolutely incompatible with the new revolutionary mentality. Sexual pleasure was only a hindrance and distraction from the goals of the Socialist revolution. In the 1920s, a few liberal Communists, like Alexandra Kollontai, suggested “to make way for winged Eros,” but that was against the mainstream.

Already in the 1920s, erotica was treated as morally and socially subversive. The only legitimate function of sexuality was reproduction. According to the influential party educator and sexologist, Aaron Zalkind, “sexual selection should proceed according to the line of a class revolutionary-proletarian consciousness. The elements of flirtation, courtship, and coquetry should not be introduced into love relationships” (1924). In the article on “Sexual Life” in the first edition of the Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1940), the emphasis is exclusively on social control: the dangers of “unhealthy sexual interest” are discussed and the aim of sex education is clearly described as the “rational transmission of sex drive into the sphere of labor and cultural interests.”

Another historical factor that has affected the sexuality of the Russian people is their rather prudish approach to nudity and bodily functions. Thirty years ago, there was controversy about wearing any kind of shorts in public, including at beach resorts. Now walking shorts are no longer prohibited in the western regions. The attitudes of Moslems in the eastern republics are even stricter. Body exposure by Moslem women is still strictly forbidden, and violating the taboo can lead to severe punishment. In these regions, shorts even on men are considered indecent.

Bodily functions are not openly acknowledged in Russian culture. Direct reference to the need for a toilet is considered impolite. Russians will just quietly disappear from a meeting or social gathering, or, at most, will simply refer to their intention to walk in a particular direction. Even young people who are dating and know each other well often make up artificial explanations before excusing themselves to find a toilet.

An additional contributor to the avoidance of overt discussion of bodily functions may be the sorry state of the country’s plumbing. Part of the general breakdown of material goods and services in Russian society following the 1991 revolution includes the public restroom facilities, which are no longer free and often broken or dirty. Wash basins may stand idle, or may yield only a dribble of cold water. Toilet tissue is scarce; its substitutes include newspaper, magazine pages, used office papers, and even cardboard.

Despite the attention to cleanliness paid by many citizens, the combination of bodily inhibitions and inadequate material resources have combined to threaten their overall health, making personal hygiene difficult. Even the interest in improving physical fitness through better diet and exercise is only beginning, despite a long history of purported government commitment.

The Russian ambivalence toward nakedness, bodily functions, intimate hygiene, and sexuality combined with a history of heavy censorship and the contemporary lack of material resources to make the impact of these factors on everyday life and sexuality even greater.

Sexual enjoyment and freedom have been incompatible with totalitarian state control over personality. As George Orwell put it in 1984:

It was not merely that the sex instinct created a world of its own that was outside the Party’s control and which therefore had to be destroyed if possible. What was more important was that sexual [de] privation induced hysteria, which was desirable because it could be transformed into war-fever and leader-worship.... For how could the fear, the hatred, and the lunatic credulity which the Party needed in its members be kept at the right pitch, except by bottling up some powerful instinct and using it as a driving force? The sex impulse was dangerous to the Party, and the Party had turned it to account.
The history of the Soviet regime was one of sexual repression. Only the means of legitimation and phraseology of this suppression was changeable. In the 1920s, sexuality had to be suppressed in the name of the higher interests of the working class and Socialist revolution. In the 1930s, self-discipline was advocated for the sake of the Soviet state and Communist Party. In the 1950s, state-administrative control was gradually transformed into moral-administrative regulations, this time for the sake of stability of marriage and the family. But with all these ideological differences, the practical message regarding sex remained the same: DON’T DO IT! The Communist image of sexuality was always negative, and the need for strict external social control was always emphasized. The elimination of sexuality was beyond the abilities of the Soviet regime. But the net result of this sexophobia was an extermination of all sorts of erotic culture and the prohibition of sexual discourse, whether in the area of sex research, erotic art, or medical information. No wonder that the breakdown of the Soviet regime in 1991, and ever earlier with the advent of glasnost, sexuality became one of the most important symbols of social and cultural liberation.

3. Sexual Knowledge and Education

A. Government Policies and Programs for Sex Education

As in the former U.S.S.R., Russia today still has virtually no systematic sex education, although some efforts have been made to develop school-based programs since the early 1980s. Table 1 shows the responses in a late-1989 national public-opinion poll to the question, “What channels of information on sexual life do you believe are the most acceptable and efficient?”

Table 1
Preferred Sources of Sexual Information (in Percentages)

Source of Information


Special school course


Special educational literature


Special educational films or TV


Conversation with a physician


Conversation with parents


Personal experience


Discussion with peers


No need for sex education


Clearly, a majority of the Russian people favor organized sex education. But the Communist Soviet government did not want it, and the present Russian government has no money for anything. However, an experimental 12-hour sex-education course for adolescents, based on a program from the Netherlands, was to have begun in eight schools in 1995 (Kon 1995, 75-76, 95-100, 108-110, 117-118, 192-193).

B. Informal Sources of Sexual Knowledge

According to a 1992 national survey, only 13 percent of Russian parents talk with their children about sexuality. The main sources of sexual information for teenagers, therefore, are their peers and the mass media. For adults, some medical and psychological information services are available in the larger cities. Several popular Western books have been translated, and a few have been written by Russian authors, after 1987. Sexual issues are now often discussed on television and in the newspapers. But there is neither strategy nor money to do this effectively. The main source of sexual knowledge for many people are pornographic magazines and erotic newspapers. The monthly newspaper SPID-info (AIDS-information) has the second largest print run in the country, 4.5 million. It says little about AIDS, but gives popular information about sexuality and erotic topics.

4. Autoerotic Behaviors and Patterns

Children and adolescents normally have their first sexual experience through self-pleasuring. Boys generally start to engage in self-pleasuring at the age of 12 or 13, reaching a peak at age 15 to 16. Girls begin to self-pleasure at a later age and do it less frequently. According to a 1982 survey by V. V. Danilov, 22.5 percent of the girls had engaged in self-pleasuring by age 13.5, 37.4 percent by age 15.5, 50.2 percent by age 17.5, and 65.8 percent by age 18.5.

Until the late 1970s, official attitudes to self-pleasuring were completely negative. Children were told that it results in impotence, deterioration of the memory, and similar harmful consequences. As an antidote, there was a clandestine teen ditty: “Sun, fresh air, and onanism reinforce the organism.” Nevertheless, many Russian teens and adults still have strong anxieties regarding it. Many sexual dysfunctions are attributed to self-pleasuring experiences, and adults are terribly ashamed of it (Kon 1995, 43-44, 189-199).

5. Interpersonal Heterosexual Behaviors

A/B. Children and Adolescents


The overall trends in the psychosexual development of Russian children and adolescents are the same as in Western countries. Above all, there has been a substantial acceleration of sexual maturation. The average menarche age fell from 15.1 years to 13 among Muscovite girls over a period of thirty-five years, from 1935 to 1970. Similar trends are also typical for the boys.

Sexual maturation confronts the teenager with a host of bodily and psychosexual problems. Many boys are worried about delay in emergence of their secondary sexual attributes in relation to their peers - shortness of height or of the penis, gynecomastia (transitory female-breast development), etc. Girls are concerned about hirsuteness, being overweight, the shape of their breasts, etc. (Kon 1995, 194-209).

Premarital Sexual Activities and Relationships

There is clear evidence that sexual activity is beginning earlier for today’s Russian adolescents than in past generations. The mean age for first coitus dropped in the last ten years from 19.2 to 18.4 for males, and from 21.8 to 20.6 for females. According to the only survey of teenagers ages 12 to 17 (Chervyakov, Kon, and Shapiro 1993), sexual experience was reported by 15 percent of the girls and by 22 percent of the boys. Among 16- to 17-year-olds 36 percent were sexually experienced; among 14- to 15-year-olds, 13 percent; and under 14 years, only 2 percent. Boys are generally more sexually experienced than girls, but the difference gradually disappears with age. Just as it was in the West in the late 1960s, early sexual experience is related to some form of deviant or counter-normative behavior: drinking, smoking, drug use, lower academic grades, poor school discipline, and closer association with peer group. Psychologically, sexually active 16-year-olds are more prone to be involved in different sorts of risky behavior, and some of them are from socially underprivileged families (Kon 1995, 62-63, 166-169).

The largest percentage of young people become sexually active between ages 16 and 18, with the incidence of intercourse reported in various studies ranging from 22 to 38 percent of the boys and 11 to 35 percent of the girls. “Love” is reported by many young people to be the primary motivator for sexual activity, about 30 percent of males and 45 percent of females. “Desire for enjoyment” or “pleasure” are reported by 20 percent of males and 10 percent of females. Many young people separate sexual motives from those involving marriage and engagement.

C. Adults

Premarital Courtship, Dating, and Relationships

The overall trend is towards a reduction in age and a rise in moral toleration of premarital sex and cohabitation. Among the university students surveyed by Golod in the 1978-79 academic year, four out of every five men and every second woman had had sexual experience by the time they were surveyed. A total of 3,741 students from eighteen colleges and universities were asked why they thought young men and women entered into sexual relations nowadays. The responses are shown in Table 2 (Golod 1984).

Table 2
Motivations for Sexual Relationships (in Percentages)


Men (N = 1,829)

Women (N = 1,892)

Mutual love



Enjoyable pursuit



Desire to obtain pleasure



Desire for emotional contact



Intended marriage






Prestige, fashion






Extending sense of freedom, independence



It is clear from these data that certain gender differences still persist in sexual behavior and motivation; men are more likely than women to justify sex merely for pleasure and to engage in premarital sex, not only with the beloved one, but also with some occasional partners. And, in fact, the men do have more sexual partners than the women (Kon 1995, 158-177).

Marriage and the Family

As in the West, individualization and intimization of the marital relationship have been taking place in Russia over recent decades. Sexual harmony is playing an increasingly important role here. According to Golod’s (1984) surveys, sexual harmony invariably takes third place among factors contributing to perceived marital success and stability, after spiritual and psychological compatibility, among spouses who have been married for up to ten years, and after spiritual and domestic compatibility for those who have been living together for between ten and fifteen years. Sexual satisfaction and general satisfaction with the marriage are closely interrelated. Practically all couples maximally satisfied with their marriages believed they were sexually compatible, while only 63 percent were sexually compatible among the maritally dissatisfied (Kon 1995, 158-177).

Gender inequality and sexism manifest themselves in the marital bed as well (Kon 1995, 129-157). The natural and widespread disharmony of sexual-erotic needs and desires between wives and husbands, which should be the subject of exploration and discussion, is often seen by Russian spouses and those about them as a manifestation of an ineradicable organic sexual incompatibility; the only way out is divorce. Even in the professional literature, this problem is often discussed not in process terms - how the spouses adapt and grow accustomed to each other - but in essentialist terms - whether spouses and their individual traits are compatible to each other.

The woman is almost always the first to suffer from poor sexual adaptation. The lack of a common language and the sexological ignorance create a mass of communication difficulties among married couples. Instead of exploring their problems together or going to a doctor, the spouses run off to their same-sex friends.

Another major problem is the lack of privacy, the shortage of housing, and poor housing conditions. Millions of Russians spend many years, or their whole lifetime, living in dormitories or communal flats, sometimes several families in one room, where every movement is seen or heard by others. Among 140 Soviet immigrants living in the U.S.A. asked by Mark Popovsky in 1984, “What hindered your sexual life in the Soviet Union?” the absence of a separate apartment was mentioned by 126 (90 percent), the absence of a separate bedroom by 122 (87 percent), and the excessive attention from the neighbors living in the same apartment by 93 respondents (66 percent). The lack of privacy is an even worse problem for nonmarital sex. “Where?” is the desperately important and difficult question to answer. Lack of privacy is detrimental for the quality of sexual experience and produces anxieties and neuroses.

The divorce rate is very high; approximately one marriage of three ends in divorce. More than half of all divorces are initiated by the wife.

Cohabitation is more and more widespread among younger couples. Sometimes it is a first stage of marriage, until children are born, and sometimes an alternative form of marriage. Public opinion, especially among younger people, is gradually becoming more and more tolerant of cohabitation.

Extramarital sex, both casual and long-term, is quite common; according to S. Golod (1984), more than three quarters of the people surveyed had extramarital contacts in 1989, whereas in 1969, the figure was less than half. But public opinion is critical of extramarital sex. In the VCIOM 1992 survey directed by Professor Yurt Levada (Kon 1995, 275), only 23 percent agreed that it is okay to have a lover as well as a husband or wife, while 50 percent disagreed. Extramarital affairs seem to be morally more acceptable for men than for women (Kon 1995, 21, 45, 63, 166-167).

Sexuality and the Physically Disabled and Aged

Because of poverty and poor medical services, the sexuality of the physically disabled and the aged person has not so far attracted professional or public attention. Nothing is done to help these people.

Incidence of Oral and Anal Sex

Younger and better educated Russians often complain about the poverty of their sexual techniques. Anal and oral sex are legal and quite widespread, though some people believe these behaviors are sexual perversions. In some legal documents, both anal and oral sex are referred to as unnatural forms of sexual satisfaction.

6. Homoerotic, Homosexual, and Ambisexual Behaviors

Although the Russian Orthodox Church has always severely condemned sodomy and other forms of male and female homosexuality - especially when it threatened the monasteries - the state tended to turn a blind eye to such things in everyday life. In sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Russia, homosexuality was not an unmentionable subject; it was, in fact, often the subject of very frank discussion and ribald jokes.

The first state laws against muzhelozhstve (male lechery, buggery) appeared in military statutes drawn up on the Swedish model during the eighteenth-century reign of Peter the Great. The initial punishment of burning at the stake was changed to corporal punishment. The criminal code of 1832 based on the German model punished sodomy (buggery) with deprivation of all rights and exile to Siberia for four to five years. New criminal legislation adopted in 1903 reduced punishment to incarceration for no less than three months or, in aggravating circumstances, to three to eight years.

This legislation, however, was employed extremely rarely. Many Russian aristocrats, including members of the imperial family, as well as eminent artistic figures of the turn of the century openly led homosexual or bisexual lifestyles. A few lesbian couples were also quite well known at the time. Homoerotic poetry, literature, and painting began to appear. Same-sex love began to be debated seriously and sympathetically in philosophical, scientific, and artistic literature.

After the February 1917 Revolution and the demise of the old criminal code, the legal persecution of homosexuals ceased. In the Soviet Russian Criminal Codes of 1922 and 1926, homosexuality is not referred to at all, but in those parts of the old Russian Empire where it was most widespread - the Islamic republics of Azerbaijan, Turkmenia, and Uzbekistan, as well as in Christian Georgia - the legislation remained in force. In the 1920s, homosexuality was treated as a sickness rather than a crime.

Up to the 1930s, the situation of Soviet homosexuals, who frequently called themselves “blues,” was reasonably bearable and many played a prominent part in Soviet culture. However, the opportunity for an open, philosophical and artistic discussion of the theme, which began at the turn of the century, gradually diminished.

In 1933, male homosexuality (muzhelozhstve) again became a criminal offense and literally an unmentionable, even in scientific literature, vice in the U.S.S.R. Conviction of this crime was punishable by deprivation of freedom for up to five years, or up to eight years if compulsion, violence, a minor, or abuse of a dependent was involved. This law (Article 121 of the RSFS Criminal Code) was frequently used up till the 1980s against dissidents and to extend terms in labor camps. Application of the law has always been selective. As long as they did not fall foul of the authorities, certain homosexual cultural and artistic celebrities enjoyed relative immunity. If they overstepped the mark, however, the law descended upon them with a vengeance.

Gay men in confinement have to endure absolutely unbearable conditions. A person who ended up in prison or labor camp under Article 121 usually became straightaway a “no-rights odd-bod” and recipient of constant taunts and persecution from other prisoners. Further, the rape of adolescents and young men is widespread in both prisons and labor camps; after such assaults, the victims forfeit all human rights, become “degraded,” and have to act submissively to their violators. The status of the “degraded” is even worse than that of voluntarily passive homosexuals, who, to a certain degree, select their own partners and protectors (who perform an active, “male” sexual role that is not stigmatized and is even encouraged). The “degraded,” on the other hand, are fair game for anyone. (Some Russian medical experts still make a “fundamental” division of homosexuals into “active” and “passive,” depending on preferred sexual positions; moreover, they associate “passive” with “inborn” and “genuine,” and “active” with “acquired” homosexuality.)’

In the 1980s, the AIDS epidemic worsened matters for homosexuals. When AIDS arrived in the U.S.S.R., health officials referred to morality and risk groups, especially gays, portraying them as carriers, not only of the dreaded virus, but of just about every other vice. This hypocritical moralizing and the search for scapegoats instead of a real sociohygienic policy helped to increase HIV infection already at a high level because of contaminated blood transfusions for hemophiliacs.

While the possibility of decriminalization of homosexuality has been debated by lawyers since 1973, these arguments have been secret and did not spill over into the newspapers until 1987. Since 1987, the popular press, particularly youth papers, radio, and TV, have discussed homosexuality: What is it? How should one relate to “blues”? Should they be treated as sick, criminal, or as victims of fate? From journalistic articles and letters from gay men and lesbians and their parents, ordinary Soviet people have, for the first time, come to recognize the scarred destinies, the police cruelty, the legal repression, the sexual violence in prison, labor camps, and armed forces and, finally, the tragic, inescapable loneliness experienced by people living in constant fear and unable to meet any of their own sort. Each publication has provoked a whole stream of contradictory responses that the newspaper editors have just not known how to handle.

After the breakup of the Soviet Union, some republics, beginning with Ukraine, Estonia, Latvia, Moldova, and Armenia, revoked their antihomosexual legislation. On April 29,1993, Russian President Boris Yeltsin signed, and lawmakers approved, a decree repealing Article 121.1 dealing with consenting adult relations. Article 121.2 regarding minors and force remains in effect. The repeal did not address gay women since lesbianism was not acknowledged by previous Soviet governments (Kon 1995, 239-264). A new 1997 criminal code may well restore the former repression of gays.

Nevertheless, homosexuals remain the most hated and stigmatized social minority. In the VCIOM 1992 survey directed by Levada (Kon 1995, 275), the question “How ought we to act with homosexuals?” produced the following spread of answers: 33 percent favored exterminating homosexuals, 30 percent favored isolating them from society, and 10 percent said leave them alone. Only 6 percent favored helping homosexuals.

The Communist, chauvinist, and fascist media methodically and consistently lumps together Zionism, democracy, and homosexuality. With few exceptions, Russian sexopathologists and psychiatrists still regard homosexuality as a disease, and repeat in their writings the negative stereotypes prevalent in the mass consciousness. Thus, parents are likely to be both worried and defensive when they confront behavior in one of their children that might lead to questions about homosexuality. If an adolescent appears to have a “crush” on a classmate or peer of the same gender, his or her parents may consult a physician or psychiatrist who is almost certain to discourage it directly, or attempt to eradicate the feelings and prevent any erotic activity.

Most gay and lesbian adults attempt to keep their orientation a secret from family, friends, and colleagues in the workplace. The risks of public scandal and humiliation, loss of a job, and other complications are too great. Gay men and lesbian women are often physically assaulted in the streets, beaten, and even murdered.

Nevertheless, the situation is rapidly changing. By 1989, after public discussions of homosexuality began in the mass media, on television and radio, sometimes quite sympathetic, gays and lesbians themselves initiated a struggle against discrimination. In 1990, the first openly gay and lesbian organization was formed in Moscow. As of mid-1994, there were several such organizations. In 1993, the National Union of Gays, Lesbians, and Bisexuals was formed. Gay activists take part in the AIDS-prevention work. Gay themes are now represented in the theater and movies. Several legally registered gay and lesbian newspapers (Tema, Risk, 1/10, and others) are published. In Moscow and St. Petersburg, there are gay discos, bars, and restaurants. Special consulting services are being organized. But all these effects suffer from the shortage of both money and professional personnel, as well as the lack of internal cooperation. Political activists quarrel among themselves and have little influence in the mainstream culture and mass media.

7. Gender Conflicted Persons

Among the native populations of Siberia and the Far East regions of Russia, the tradition of the berdach, a spiritual leader who is neither male nor female but a third gender, was widespread in the beginning of the twentieth century as an aspect of shaman behavior. The present situation of this custom is unknown.

In 1960, Professor Aron Belkin began biomedical (psychoendocrinological) research on transgenderists and transsexuals. However, the psychological and social factors of gender dysphoria are largely ignored. An Association of Transsexuals was formed in 1992 in Moscow to work for the human rights of transsexuals.

8. Significant Unconventional Sexual Behaviors

A. Coercive Sex

Child Sexual Abuse, Incest, and Pedophilia

Reports of child sexual abuse were extremely uncommon in the Soviet press. Officially, incest did not exist as a societal problem. Indeed, any kind of child abuse and violence in the family - and it is very widespread - is only beginning to come to the attention of authorities and the professional community (Kon 1995, 215-218).

Some health professionals and others have begun to uncover evidence of various kinds of sexual activity between adults and children, as well as between children of different ages in orphanages, youth camps, and even families. The data on sexual harassment, child abuse, and violence in Moscow and St. Petersburg are largely anecdotal and unreliable, but the problem is serious. In the 1993 adolescent sexuality survey conducted by Vladimir Shapiro and Valery Chervyakov of 1,615 students aged 12 to 17 years in Moscow and St. Petersburg, 24 percent of the teenage girls and 11 percent of the boys said they had experienced some sort of sexual pressure, someone pushing them to go further sexually than they themselves wanted to go. Six percent of those under the age of 14 years reported such pressure, as did more than 27 percent of the 16- to 17-year-olds. Sometimes the perpetrators are older youths, sometimes parents and other adults. Professional medical and psychological help for the victims is at its very beginnings (Kon 1995,276).

[While sexism was admittedly common during the Communist regime, sexual harassment, defined as a boss demanding sexual favors from subordinates, was a crime; it was a seldom-prosecuted offense. The current lack of laws protecting employees from exploitation and harassment, coupled with the heady sense of permissiveness fed by pornographic videos, sexy advertising, nightclubs, casinos, beauty contests (Waters 1993), nude pinups, and open prostitution, have raised the level of sexual harassment to epidemic proportions, according to aggravated feminists. Some male observers counter that women simply view their bodies as a way of furthering their careers, while most Russian men, including husbands, dismiss the issue of sexual harassment as yet another silly Western hang-up. Most employers stress youth and sex appeal in advertizing for office help; some include as a prerequisite bez kompleksov or “without inhibitions” in their advertizements. Despite a few attempts to battle sexual harassment and initiate law suits in 1994, an unemployment rate for women three times higher than for men, and a decline in their wages from 75 percent of male salaries in 1991 to 40 percent in 1991 have provided fertile ground for sexual harassment (Stanley, 1994). (Editor)]


The number of rapes and attempted rapes is growing very fast. Since 1961, the increase in reported assaults has been 60 percent; since 1986, the increase has been 21.3 percent (Kon 1995, 207-222).

Most recorded rapes occur on the street or are gang rapes. Most date and marital rapes are not recorded in criminal statistics and remain unpunished. Of 333 persons who applied in 1992 to the St. Petersburg Helping Center for rape victims, only four also reported the crime to the police. The reasons for this unwillingness have been fear of the psychological trauma of investigation and trial; fear of information being spread in school and among acquaintances; doubts about the possibility of legal help; and fear of personal safety. All of these fears and doubts are quite justified. Even when the victims are children, the police are often unwilling to open a criminal investigation or even to initiate a medical examination.

According to criminal statistics - and these are unreliable - male youths between ages 14 and 17 commit 30 percent of all reported rapes; 37 percent of perpetrators are between ages 18 and 24; 19 percent between 25 and 29, and 15 percent over age 30. Two thirds of rapists are under age 22, with the most dangerous age being 16 to 17. Every fourth reported rape is a group or gang rape. The younger the rapists, the more often their assaults are carried out in a group. Some 40 percent of rapists have previous criminal records, and two thirds had been drinking prior to the attack.

The global socioeconomic, political, and spiritual crisis that Russia is now experiencing invariably causes a rise in violence and crime. Sexual violence is just one of its aspects, closely related also to the sexist psychology and cult of aggressive masculinity.

The psychological profiles of rapists are very similar to those provided by Western researchers. Sixty-one percent of convicted rapists are psychologically normal, but they perceive woman as hostile, aggressive, and dominating figures towards whom they experience an unwanted sense of passivity and dependence. Sexual aggression and rape are often a manifestation of “adolescent rebellion” against women in general.

Much of the male rape that occurs in correctional institutions is carried on to establish and maintain a social hierarchy. Coercive sexual activity is also widespread in the military, at schools, and in the arts.

At this time, Russian society is not equipped materially or attitudinally to confront these problems in a creative manner. Many Russian citizens simply lament the liberalization of traditional morality and blame the influence of “Western capitalism” and pornography. The current state of the Russian economy precludes economic or technical support for remedial services or preventive programs. The very first telephone “hotline” service for rape victims was established in 1992 in St. Petersburg. Specialized professional help focusing on sexuality is largely unavailable for sex offenders. The first registered rape recovery center and a crisis hotline for abused women opened in Moscow in 1994.

B. Prostitution

Until 1987, the existence of prostitution in the U.S.S.R. was often publically denied. Now, it is one of the most popular professions. It is highly stratified, beginning with those working exclusively with foreigners for hard currency, and ending at the very bottom of social life. Some prostitutes are professionals. For others, it means additional income for a family budget. Male prostitution is increasing. Prostitution is closely linked with organized crime. [Entrepreneurs have been quick to take advantage of the economic plight of young women in the former U.S.S.R., recruiting them to service the sexual needs and fantasies of middle- and upper-class males in some of the relatively affluent Middle Eastern countries. See parallel discussion in the chapter on Ukraine. (Editor)]

The legal status of prostitutes is unclear. Attempts to fight it with administrative measures have failed, but at least now, the issue can be discussed (Kon 1995, 42-43, 62-64, 222-229).

C. Pornography and Erotica

Stalinist sexophobia had practically exterminated all Russian erotic art. Now there are two trends: (1) the revival of genuine erotic art and literature, including translations of classical novels of D. H. Lawrence, Vladimir Nabokov, Henry Miller, and others, old Chinese and Hindu treatises, and erotic Films from the West, and (2) a torrent of pornographic and semipornographic books, films, and videos. All of this is very new and unusual for the Russian people (Kon 1995, 113-116).

In the spring of 1991, the Communist Party tried to use this situation for its own political purposes, initiating a big antipornography crusade. In whipping up a moral panic in the country, the Communist Party pursued very clear political goals. The antipornography campaign was used to divert popular attention from the pressing political issues and to blunt awareness of the government’s economic failures. In flagging its defense of morality and the family, the Party was deflecting blame from itself for the weakening and destruction of both morals and the family. On that basis, the Party leaders were able to cement the developing alliance between the Party and conservative organizations, including the Russian Orthodox Church and blatantly fascist groups. Antipornography slogans have been used by the Party to direct popular fury and frenzy against glasnost that was so hated by the Party apparatchiks, by branding the democratic mass media as being part of a Jewish-Masonic conspiracy intended to corrupt the morals of young people, destroy traditional values, etc. Under the pretext of concern for young people, the Party was endeavoring to restore its lost control over them.

This political campaign has failed. Public opinion polls show that the majority of Russians do not like pornography, but are positive about erotica. But to differentiate between the two is difficult, and there is a deep generation gap on this issue. Purely repressive police measures taken by some local authorities are ineffective. Instead of the former taboos on sexuality, it is now vulgarized, commercialized, and Americanized. The current Russian government is trying to bring the situation under control, but without much success.

9. Contraception, Abortion, and Population Planning

A. Contraception

One of the most disturbing consequences of the lack of sexual culture in Soviet society has been the exceedingly limited contraception culture, as a result of which induced abortion was, and remains today, the major method of birth control and family planning (Kon 1995, 61-62, 178-193).

Already in the early part of this century, Russian doctors officially recognized that the development of effective contraceptive methods was the only alternative to induced abortion with all its dangerous consequences. Soviet medicine also understood this. In 1920, induced abortion was legalized. Until the end of the 1920s, the U.S.S.R. was a leading world country in its family policies.

Nevertheless, in 1936, induced abortion was banned and no other means of birth control introduced. After the ban was lifted in 1955, induced abortion remained the principal form of birth control.

According to Andrei Popov (1992), Soviet family planning was distinguished by the following general traits right up to 1988:

· Although the right to family planning was formally proclaimed de jure in accordance with international conventions, this right was never de facto realized;

· Services were inaccessible or nonexistent owing to a total lack of information, an absence of qualified personnel and specialized medical services, and the unavailability of modern contraceptives;

· The only easily accessible method of family planning was and continues to be induced abortion; and

· Family planning behavior varies widely by region, according to the ethnographic, demographic, and socioeconomic realities within each region.

Without the necessary scientific information, modern contraceptives, and the ability to use them, the Soviet public was doomed to employ traditional and largely ineffective methods (see Table 3).

Until 1987, the Soviet Ministry of Health conducted a major propaganda campaign against oral contraceptives. Most Soviet citizens are relatively ignorant about the more sophisticated forms of contraception.

Table 3
Percentage of Users of Specific Contraceptive Methods (Moscow Sample Surveys, 1965-1983)


Year of Survey Publication










Rhythm (calendar)




















Oral contraceptives










Rhythm (temperature)















Note: Respondents were allowed to indicate more than one method used.
Since 1987, the negative consequences of this situation have begun to be officially acknowledged, highlighting two obvious problems: the material shortage of modern hormonal, chemical, and barrier contraceptives, and the lack of information and psychological sophistication regarding sexual and reproductive practices.

In 1993, experts of the World Health Organization (WHO) found that both physicians and women in St. Petersburg were convinced that hormonal pills are terribly dangerous. And only 11 percent of Russian gynecologists recognized the right of teenagers to confidentiality, a condition sine qua non of the effective contraceptive services for teenagers.

The government survey in 1990 demonstrated that 30.5 percent of all girls under age 15 had no knowledge whatsoever about contraception. In the 16- to 17-year-old age group, this percentage was 24.6, and among 18 to 23 year olds, 11 percent. Over 96 percent of 16- to 17-year-old girls never used any contraceptives. Most teenage sex - and their sexual activity is growing - still goes unprotected.

B. Teenage Unmarried Pregnancies

As a consequence of the lack of contraceptives, the number of unplanned pregnancies and unwanted births is growing, despite the prevalence of abortion. According to national statistics, the rate of extramarital births was about 10 percent in 1987; in 1992, it was 17 percent. The rates are even higher in the largest cities. The rate of premarital conception of firstborn children among married couples in Leningrad rose from 27 percent in 1963 to 38 percent in 1978. Similarly, one study in the early 1980s found that, of 1,000 first pregnancies reported in a large Russian city, 272 were aborted, 140 births occurred out of wedlock, and 271 births took place in the first months of marriage - leaving only 317 children actually conceived within marriage (Kon 1995, 169, 181-182).

C. Abortion

The total annual number of abortions in the late 1980s, according to official data, amounted to 6 to 7 million. That was virtually a fifth or even a fourth of all abortions performed in the world. The number of “backstreet abortions” was estimated at 12 percent of the total, according to official estimates, but at 50 to 70 percent according to independent experts. Thus, the aggregate number of abortions in the U.S.S.R. came to 10 to 11 million a year. Even without these adjustments, the number of abortions per 1,000 women of reproductive age in 1985 surpassed by six to ten times the analogous figures for western Europe. On average, every woman in Russia has four to five abortions during her lifetime (Kon 1995, 61-62, 73-75, 178-193).

In 1989, a voluntary association, The Family and Health, was organized and affiliated with International Planned Parenthood World Federation to raise public awareness of family-planning options and improve the image of contraceptive methods other than abortion. Since 1991, it is supplemented by the Russian Family Planning Association. Mass media, particularly television, have begun to deal directly and positively with birth-control issues.

Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, this work is not very effective. According to the VCIOM 1992 survey, most women indicated that they had used some form of contraception during the last five years (Kon 1995,275). Only 18 percent did not use any contraception. Most likely not to use contraception are women between the ages of 15 and 20 (40 percent), the unmarried (29 percent), the poorly educated (24 percent), and those living in rural areas (22 percent) (see Table 4).

Modern contraception tends to be popular largely with the younger (under age 25) and better-educated women, while the rest commonly employ traditional, less reliable, but more accessible methods. A 1990 survey of Soviet-German students (average age 25) showed that 15 percent of the female students had already had an abortion, 6 percent more than once. In 1992, 297,029 Russian teenage girls had an abortion; of these 16,320 were illegal.

The most-preferred contraceptive method was the IUD, most favored by half of the women and the second choice for 25 percent. The pill was less popular, favored by 18 percent as first choice and 25 percent as second choice. The pill is still believed to be unsafe and unreliable. The condom was the third-ranking first choice.

If the current plans of the government to make women pay for abortions, except when medically indicated, materialize, this situation will become much worse. Even now, according to the St. Petersburg Yuventa Reproduction Center, in spite of the general availability of professional abortion services, 80 percent of women who contact the abortion clinics do so only after they have tried to do something, often dangerous, themselves.

Table 4
Contraceptive Methods Used During the Last Five Years (in Percentages)


Frequency Used



Not Used













Coitus interruptus




Vaginal douche












Spermicidal + condom








10. Sexually Transmitted Diseases

The customary hypocrisy did not allow the Soviet people to talk openly about STDs. STDs have been consistently regarded throughout the century as shameful. This attitude has hampered health education, especially when new infections are confronted (Kon 1995, 229-231).

Nonetheless, free state medicine provided treatment in special dermatological and venereological clinics with mandatory official registration identifying the source of infection, and doctors assisted by police endeavored to follow the entire chain of dangerous contacts. Treatment was compulsory, and any infringement of that, or willful infecton of anyone with an STD, was punishable under the Russian Criminal Code. This policy enabled the state to confine the danger within certain limits.

In the early 1980s, physicians noted a substantial rise, especially among young people, in the so-called minor venereal diseases that often occur without symptoms. Russians had practically no knowledge of genital herpes or chlamydia until they encountered it in their own experience.

The demise of the Soviet system has acutely affected the epidemeological situation for the worse. Extensive sexual contacts with different partners, given the ignorance and lack of observance of elementary safety and hygiene rules, is dangerous in itself. State medicine is now debilitated, and in some areas collapsed, because of lack of funds, medicine, and equipment. Private medicine is not available to all, and, when available, it is less effective, especially when it comes to maladies requiring lengthy treatment with subsequent supervision. Administrative supervision is now worse, and official statistics have become even less reliable.

So there is an increase in sexually transmitted disease, particularly among young people. People are becoming infected at a younger age. A sharp increase in the incidence of syphylis began in 1988, followed by gonorrhea in 1991. In large cities, such as Moscow, these diseases have already reached epidemic proportions. Virtually half of that increase is accounted for by children and adolescents. According to the U.S.S.R. Health Ministry figures for 1985-87, the number of under-17 women infected by STDs increased by virtually a third throughout the country.

The overall STD picture is still not as bad as it is in many other countries. According to Russian statistics, the rate of syphilis infection is on the increase, with 9,873 cases in 1991 and 7,178 cases in the first six months of 1992. The gonorrhea rate has fallen slightly, from 180,883 in 1990, to 175,020 in 1991, and 87,724 in the first six months of 1992. These statistics do not take into account that many people use home treatment or seek help from a variety of private practitioners who are not part of the official statistical records.

A special epidemiological investigation by Olga Loseva shows that in 1991, the number of registered syphilis sufferers in Russia rose by almost 34 percent, in Moscow by 17 percent in 1991, and by another 50 percent in the first quarter of 1992 (Kon 1995, 277). This is due primarily to the rise in child and teenage prostitution that often begins between ages 10 and 12 for girls and age 14 for boys. No less than half of the infected go to unregistered medics for treatment.

What is to be done? There are two competing strategies. The first demands more stringent administrative measures, namely enforcement of the law prohibiting private doctors from treating STDs. The second strategy would take the social and psychological reality into account. Patients should have the right to choose whether to go to a private doctor or use the state medical system. But the private doctor must report disease cases to the epidemeological services so the epidemeological situation can be correctly evaluated, trends forecast, and preparation made for future needs.


Due to its relative social isolation in the past, the former Soviet Union, for a number of years, was spared the effects of the HIV-related diseases. Even now, the number of people infected and ill is much lower than in most Western countries (Kon 1995, 203-38, 261-62).

On April 1, 1994, the number of HIV-positive persons in the Russian Federation was 740, of whom 286 were children infected in hospitals and maternity homes. The number of AIDS sufferers was 124, of whom 96 were children.

However, this lead time on the HIV epidemic has been wasted by government authorities and medical professionals. Instead of preparing the country for the inevitable increase in infection rates, the Soviet Ministry of Health and government-sponsored mass media waged an ideological campaign in the early 1980s - even accusing the Pentagon and CIA of inventing the virus as a form of germ warfare! Next, the blame was put on homosexuals and drug addicts. Hopes for control of the disease were placed on the prisons (for homosexuals) and on moral exhortations in favor of monogamy (for the addicts and the remainder of the population). Unfortunately, this strategy continued even after the disease had claimed its first victims. As late as 1988, an appeal to explore the social and psychological aspects of the AIDS, including the dangers of an AIDS-induced public hysteria, brought violent attacks in the conservative media.

The major high-risk group in Russia turned out not to be gays, drug addicts, or prostitutes, but newborn children infected in maternity homes through lack of disposable syringes and the negligence of medical staff. Now the children and their families have become victims, not only of this terrible disease, but also of an AIDS-phobia. Medical personnel are scared of treating them, coworkers do not want to work with members of their families, and some schools are demanding their removal.

Since AIDS-prevention politics are completely in the hands of epidemiologists, millions of rubles are spent on diagnostics, HIV-tests - 25 million were tested in 1993, and so on, but there is no money for prevention programs and sex education. Education and prevention programs are mainly in the hands of different voluntary organizations.

12. Sexual Dysfunctions, Counseling, and Therapies

The traditions of pre-1917 Russian sex research were completely lost in the 1930s and 1940s. Revival of medical sexology (sexopathology) as an area of clinical medicine that studies the functional (behavioral, personal, and social) aspects of sexual disorders began in the 1960s with a series of seminars under the leadership of Professor N. V. Ivanov in the city of Gorky (Nizhny Novgorod) and later in Moscow at the Sexopathology Department of the Moscow Psychiatry Research Institute. In 1973, this department gained the status of an All-Union Scientific Center on Sexopathology.

Initially, a monodisciplinary approach dominated Soviet sexopathology. Urologists, and to a lesser extent the gynecologists and endocrinologists, set the tone. Subsequently, however, when the neuropathologist Profesor Georgi Vasilchenko took charge of the center, the picture changed. Vasilchenko maintained that sexopathology should not take the “brigade” approach, where the urologist treats “his” pathology, the psychiatrist “his” and the endocrinomologist “his,” while the sexopathologist operates as a transport controller. His approach viewed sexopathology as an independent, interdisciplinary clinical discipline. It was in this spirit that the first Russian handbooks for doctors were written under his editorship - General Sexopathology (1977) and Special Sexopathology (1983).

Professor Abram Svyadoshch set up the first Sexological Center in Leningrad. His book Female Sexopathology (1974) enjoyed three editions and became a genuine best-seller. The Leningrad psychiatrists Professor Dmitri Isayev and Dr. Victor Kagan began to study the formation of sexual identity and problems in juvenile and adolescent sexuality. They published the first Soviet guide for doctors The Psycho-Hygiene of Sex Among Children (1986).

Soviet sexological service was based on the principle of ambulatory assistance, preserving a normal living pattern, carrying on normal work, and sexual activity. The need for hospitalization arises only in cases of acute psychopathological disorder (where a patient will be placed in a neurosis unit or a daytime inpatient psychoneurological clinic), vascular insufficiency of the genitalia (admission to an angisurgical unit), acute urological illness (a urological unit), and specific endocrinopathy (an endocrinological unit). Inpatient treatment is normally followed by a period of ambulatory sexual readaptation by the partners.

Analysis of visits to sexological clinics reveals that the bulk (70-75 percent) of patients have sexual problems of a psychological nature. Women’s visits to a sexopathlogist account for no more than 10 percent of the total number of patients. The percentage of patients who come because of misinformation or distorted knowledge about sex is fairly high, up to 10 or 15 percent.

In 1988, in the large cities, special family medical-psychological consultation units were introduced for:

· consultative-diagnostic selection of patients needing observation and treatment in the unit;

· comprehensive therapy of patients with sexual disorders through psychotherapy, physiotherapy, reflex-therapy, pharmacotherapy, and specialized procedures;

· psychological diagnosis and correction methods for family relationship disorders;

· hygiene-educative and psychotherapeutic work with the public and, first and foremost, with people just entering marriage and couples divorcing.

13. Research and Advanced Education

A. Russian Sexology

Historically, the professional training of sexopathologists was delayed in favor of other priorities. The first department of sexology was organized in the Leningrad (St. Petersburg) Institute for Advanced Medical Training only in 1989. Students at other medical colleges receive no sexological training at all.

The beginning of the 1990s saw extensive promotion of individual medical activity and group work. Numerous medical cooperatives and profit-making centers are increasingly advertising the services of sexopathologists. The development of this type of medical practice reflects the public’s demand for it. The professional level of this practice is sometimes problematic.

The Russian Sexological Association Health and Culture was established in February, 1991, to promote an interdisciplinary investigation of sexual behavior, sex education, and sex culture. But, like many other post-Soviet voluntary organizations, it exists only on paper and serves as a cover for private commercial activities like sex shops. Somewhat more efficient is the medically oriented Soviet Sexological Association.

B. Recent Soviet and Russian Sexual Surveys

Because not one Soviet or Russian sexual survey was ever published in the normal scientific way, with all tables, questionnaires, and methodological discussions, sexologists, such as the present author, are forced to rely on published papers and summaries, as well as whatever unpublished data, raw tables, and so on they can obtain from colleagues (Kon 1995,275-277). Below is a short description of the most important recent Russian surveys.

1. The VCIOM “Culture” Poll of June, 1992, was conducted by Vsesoyuznyi (since 1992 - Vserossiiskii) Tsentr Izucheniya Obshchestvennovo Mnenia (All-Union [since 1992 - All-Russia] Center for Public Opinion Research) (VCIOM), with Professor Yun Levada as director.

This poll involved a representative sample of about 3,500 persons in three different areas: Slav (Russia and Ukraine); Baltic (Estonia and Lithuania); and Asiatic (Uzbekistan and Tadzhikistan). In the Slav area, the population was surveyed without regard to ethnic origins or “nationality” (that is, not only ethnic Russians, but also Tatars, Jews, Germans, and others were questioned), while in the other two regions, only members of indigenous nationalities were surveyed (that is, in Estonia, Estonians but not Russians).

Questionnaires were completed by the respondents in the presence of a professional interviewer. Among many other questions, some were related to sexuality: Are people happy in love and family life? What are their family values, their attitudes to premarital and extramarital sex, conjugal fidelity, erotica, sex education, and so on?

2. The VCIOM “The Fact” June 1993 Survey involved a representative sample for the Russian Federation, 1,665 persons. Demographics for this survey included 746 men and 909 women, aged from 16 to 84 (16-25 years, 285; 24-40 years, 546; 40-55 years, 383; and 55-84 years, 461), from thirteen different regions. The subjects’ educational level was: 235, university level; 803, high (secondary) school; and 616, fewer than 9 years of secondary school. The occupational demography was: nonworking pensioners, 409; manual workers, 330, professionals, 284; technicians, 136; other employees, 120; and students, 87. The subjects’ place of residence included: capitals and regional cities, 604; towns, 614; and villages, 344. All standard procedures normally used in public-opinion polls were used.

Some of the questions concerned attitudes toward the following aspects of sexual behavior (on 5-point scales, from “It deserves censure” to “I don’t see anything wrong in it”): masturbation, premarital sex, frequent change of sexual partners, marital infidelity, viewing of pornographic films, group sex, homosexual contacts, induced abortions, and so on. There were also a few questions about personal sexual experience, such as age at the first sexual contact, number of lifetime sexual partners, and present sexual activities. About 40 percent of respondents did not answer these personal questions.

3. The Adolescent Sexuality Survey published in 1993 and conducted by Vladimir Shapiro and Valery Chervyakov, Institute of Sociology, Russian Academy of Sciences, with Igor Kon as a consultant and Mana Gerasimova as the research organizer. This survey used an adapted version of American sociologist Stan Weed’s questionnaire. The data were collected in late 1992 and early of 1993. The sample involved 1,615 students (50.4 percent boys and 49.6 percent girls) from sixteen high (secondary) schools and eight vocational schools in Moscow and St. Petersburg. The students’ ages ranged from 12 to 17 years, and their grade levels from the seventh to eleventh grades.

The questionnaire contained 135 questions about aspects of sexual experience and attitudes: dating, going steady, age at, and the motives for, the first sexual intercourse, sources of sexual information, communications with parents and peers, moral and religious values, involvement in deviant behavior, and some personal psychological characteristics. The schools were selected to represent different social strata of the two cities’ populations. Questionaires were completed in the classrooms, anonymously, voluntarily, and individually, in the presence of a professional interviewer. The permission of the school administration was obtained, but none of them had access to this confidential information. There were no refusals from students to take part in the research, but some respondents did not answer certain questions. Detailed statistical analysis may be available by the time this chapter is published; however, a general popular overview of the results was published by Igor Kon, Valery Chervyakov, and Vladimir Shapiro in 1994.

4. A second survey of adolescent sexual attitudes, representations, and practices was conducted by Igor Lunin (1994) of the St. Petersburg Crisis Prevention Service for Children and Adolescents between May and September of 1993. The sample population for this survey was 370, (185 boys and 185 girls, secondary (high) school tenth graders and vocational school students from three socially and economically different districts of St. Petersburg). The average age was 15.9 years.

In this study, an anonymous questionnaire was preliminarily reviewed in teenage discussion groups. Participation, on the school premises, was individual and voluntary. Questions concerned sexual values and behavior, main sources of sexual and contraceptive information and the evaluation of its availability and reliability, sexual harassment, violence, and rape experience, and attitudes to condoms and to different forms of sex education. (In addition to Lunin (1994), see also Igor Lunin, Thomas L. Hall, Jeffrey S. Mandel, Julia Kay, and Norman Hearst, Adolescent Sexuality in St. Petersburg: Russia in the Era of AIDS (in press).) A detailed statistical analysis is also in progress.

5. A telephone survey was conducted by Dmitri. D. Isayev in St. Petersburg between September and December, 1993. The sample for this survey was 435 people, 16 to 55 years old; 155 men (average age, 35.4 years and 67.5 percent married), and 280 women (average age, 37.3 years with 67 percent married). Questions were asked about personal sexual experience and attitudes, number of partners, safe-sex practices, and AIDS-prevention measures.

6. An epidemiological study was conducted in 1991 by Olga Loseva, a Moscow venereologist. This unpublished dissertation summarized fifteen years of research of sexual behavior and sexual values of syphilitics. Loseva collected data on 3,273 heterosexual men and women at a venereological clinic in Moscow: 300 medical histories and about 3,000 questionnaires. The data came from 1,782 infected patients and 1,191 in a control group of persons without sexually transmitted diseases, plus 120 teenage girls. Sociologically, the samples were not representative, but a comparison of three control groups, divided by five-year intervals, is informative for the shifts in sexual attitudes and practices.


Sexuality is just beginning to be thought of as a subject worthy of consideration and study by Russian researchers. Clearly, sexual behavior is diverse in societies as large and heterogeneous as Russia and the other republics of the former Soviet Union. Although certain values are strong within and between these societies, there is no single standard of “normal” sexuality for family members. Marriage is valued as a primary arena for sexual expression; however, sex-related ideas, attitudes, and activities are extremely diverse. Citizens are exposed to sexual information and images from a variety of public sources. Naturally, their reactions to these differ, and the impact upon their behavior is varied. Parents seem concerned about the proper sexual development of their children. Yet, some of these same parents respond by suppressing expressions of sexuality in the family, others by obsessively explicating sexual guidelines, and still others by supporting social programs of sex education in schools and community institutions (Kon 1995, 265-272).

To develop effective public policies that encourage responsible sexual expression by citizens without reactionary negativism, and to accommodate pluralistic diversity without succumbing to crippling ambivalence - these will be the challenges common to our countries as they enter the twenty-first century.

An Update from Igor Kon

March 1997 - Sexuality and sex education once again became a scapegoat in the anti-Western political rhetoric. The Russian Orthodox Church is rapidly assuming the Communist ideological mantle of sexual repression. Attacking all sex education in schools and any expression of sexuality as “satanic,” Orthodox clergy have demanded a United Nations-sponsored sex education project be stopped immediately, because it is a Western conspiracy to depopulate Russia. Although a few medical efforts and the Russian Planned Parenthood helped reduce the abortion rate since 1991 considerably, teen syphilis rates increased thirty-fold, as teenage coital experience increased and began earlier. Orthodox clergy preach that they alone can provide proper sex education, and claim that Westerners are trying to exterminate Russian culture by reducing its birthrate with abortion, contraception, sexual excesses, masturbation, and homosexuality. Artistic and mass-media freedom is also threatened by the draft law’s too broad and indiscriminate definitions of pornography and “products of a sexual nature.”

References and Suggested Readings

Attwood, Lynne. 1990. The New Soviet Man and Woman: Sex-Role Socialization in the U.S.S.R. Bloomington, IN: University of Indiana Press.

Borisenko, K. K., and O. K. Loseva. 1994. “Zabolevaemost Molodyozhi Boleznyaimi, Peredavaemymi Polovym Putyom.” Planirovanie Semyi. 4:20-22.

Chervyakov, Kon, and Shapiro. 1993. Full citation not available.

Engelstein, Laura. 1992. The Keys to Happiness. Sex and the Search for Modernity in Fin-de-Siecle Russia. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.

Flegon, Alex. 1976. Eroticism in Russian Art. London: Flegon Press.

Gessen, Masha. 1994. The Rights of Lesbians and Gay Men in the Russian Federation: An International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission Report. San Francisco: I.G.L.H.R.C.

Golod, S. I. 1984. Stabilnost Semi: Sotsiologichesky i Demografichesky Aspekty. Leningrad.

Karlinsky, Simon. 1989. “Russia’s Gay Literature and Culture: The Impact of the October Revolution.” In M. B. Duberman, M. Vicinus, and G. Chauncey, Jr., eds. Hidden from History: Reclaiming the Gay and Lesbian Past. New York: New American Library.

Kon, Igor S. 1989. Vvedenie v Seksologiu (Introduction to Sexology). Second enlarged edition. Moscow, Russia: Translations: Bulgarian (1990), Chinese (1990), Ukranian (1991).

Kon, Igor S. 1995. The Sexual Revolution in Russia: From the Age of the Czars to Today. New York: Free Press.

Kon, I., V. Chervyakov, and V. Shapiro. 1994. “Podrostki i Seks: Utrata Illuzii.” Ogonyoh, 2.

Kon, Igor S., and James Riordan, eds. 1993. Sex and Russian Society. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press. Includes chapters on “Sexuality and Culture,” I. Kon; “Patterns of Birth Control,” L. I. Remennick; “Sex and the Cinema,” L. Attwood; “Sexual Minorities,” I. Kon; “Soviet Beauty Contests,” E. Waters; “Sex and Young People,” S. Golod, and “Medical Sexology,” L. Shcheglov.

Lenhert, Phillippe, Irina Pavlenko, Larissa Remennick, & Adrian Visser. 1992 (May). “Contraception in the Former USSR: Recent Survey Results on Women’s Behavior and Attitudes.” Planned Parenthood in Europe, 21 (2):9-11.

Levin, Eve. 1989. Sex and Society in the World of the Orthodox Slavs, 900-1700. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.

Loseva, O. K. 1991. “Seksualnoe Povedenie Bolnykh Sifilisom (Epidemiologicheskie I Mediko-Sotsialnye Problemy),” Avtoreferat Dissertatsii na Soiskanie Uchenoi Stepeni Doktora Meditsinskikh Nauk (Moscow: Tsentralnyi Nauchno-Issledovatelskii Kozhno-Venerologicheskii Institut, 1991)

Loseva, O. K, 1994. “Sotsialno-Meditsinskie Aspekty Boleznei, Peredavaemykh Polovym Putom, u Detei i Podroskov,” Rossiyskaya Assotsiatsyia “Planirovanie Semyi,” Pervaya Natsyonalnaya Konferentsya “Problemy Planirovania Semyi v Rossii” (Materialy Konferetnsii. 7-9 Dekabrya 1993, Moskva, Moscow “Kvartet,” pp. 89-96.

Loseva, O.K., T.V. Chistyakova, A. V. Libin, and E.V. Livin. 1991. “Seksualnoe Povedenie Podrostkov, Bolnykh Sifilisom.” Vestnik Dermatologfi i Venerologii, 2:45-49.

Lunin, I. I. 1994. “Seksualnoe Prosveshcheme Kak Faktor Profilaktiki Seksualnykh Posyagatelstv.” Problemy Planirovaniya Semyi v Rossii. Pervaya Natsionalnaya Konferenfsia Rossiiskoi Assotsiatsii “Planirovanie Semyi” (Moscow), pp. 96-105.

Lunin, I., T. L. Hall, J. S. Mandel, J. Kay, and N. Hearst, Adolescent Sexuality in St. Petersburg: Russia in the Era of AIDS (in press).

Maddock, James W., M. Janice Hogan, Anatolyi I. Antonov, & Mikhail S. Matskovsky, eds. 1994. Families Before and After Peristroika: Russian and U.S. Perspectives. New York/London: The Guilford Press.

Popov, A. 1992. “Induced Abortions in the U.S.S.R. at the End of the 1980s: Basis for the National Model of Family Planning.” A paper for the Population Association of America 1992 Annual Meeting (Denver, Colorado, April 30-May 2, 1992).

Popov, Andrej, Adrian Visser, & Evert Ketting. 1993 (July/August). “Contraceptive Knowledge, Attitudes, and Practice in Russia During the 1980s.” Studies in Family Planning, 24 (4):227-35.

Stafford, Peter. 1967. Sexual Behavior in the Communist World. An Eyewitness Report of Life, Love, and the Human Condition Behind the Iron Curtain. New York: Julian Press.

Stanley, Alessandra. 1994 (April 17). “Sexual Harassment Thrives in the New Russia Climate.” The New York Times, pp. 1 & 8.

Stanley, Alessandra. 1995 (October 21). “Russian Mothers, from All Walks, Walk Alone.” The New York Times, pp. A1 and A5.

Waters, E. 1993. “Soviet Beauty Contests.” In Igor S. Kon and James Riordan, eds. 1993. Sex and Russian Society. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press.