UKRAINE (Ukrayina)

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
14. Ethnic Minorities
References and Suggested Readings

Tamara Govorun, Ph.D., and Borys M. Vornyk, Ph.D.

Demographics and a Historical Perspective

A. Demographics

Located in southeastern Europe, Ukraine is bordered on the north by Belarus, by the Russian Federation on the northeast and east, Moldovia and Romania on the southwest, and by Hungary, Poland, and the Slovak Republic on the west. It shares a Black Sea border with Turkey. The estimated population in 1991 was 52.2 million - 56 percent female and 46 percent male, with an age distribution of 25 percent below age 19, 62 percent ages 20 to 59, and 13 percent over age 60. (The 1996 World Almanac gives the 1995 population as 51.9 million). Sixty-eight percent of the people live in cities, with the capital of Kyiv or Kiev having a population over 2.6 million. Average life expectancy at birth in 1995 was 66 for males and 75 for females. The 1995 annual birthrate was 12 per thousand, the death rate was 13 per thousand, and the infant mortality rate was 20 per thousand births, for a natural increase of 0 percent. Literacy is 99 percent. Ukraine has one hospital bed per 75 persons and one physician per 228 persons. The 1995 per capita domestic product was $3,960 U.S.

Ukraine's territory is as large as France and Denmark combined. Ukraine has a homogeneous society - 73 percent of its 52 million people are ethnic Ukrainians, 22 percent Russian, and 5 percent Jews, Poles, Moldovians, Bulgarians, and others.

B. A Brief Historical Perspective

For most people, Ukraine was unknown as a country until recent times, although it has a very ancient and rich history and a highly developed national identity and culture. Its relative obscurity is due to the fact that Ukraine has been an independent free nation for only eight years in this century. Although the Ukrainians gave the world the first example of a democratic constitution and republic under the Cossacks in the 1500s and 1600s and never waged war against any other country, they continually had to resist numerous invasions by neighboring nations. For almost three hundred years prior to 1917, part or all of Ukraine was a colonial part of Czarist Russia. At the turn of the last century, Austria-Hungary controlled part of Ukraine within its empire. Ukraine was an independent nation for three years from the end of World War I in 1918 until it was taken over by the Russian Communists in 1921. Seventy years as part of the Soviet Union under Moscow followed, with independence and freedom regained with the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. The national flag of Ukraine has the most peaceful colors: the upper half is blue as a symbol of a cloudless sky or birth-giving water, and the lower half is yellow as a symbol of ripe wheat or the sun. Its modern state insignia, the Triad (Tryzub) can be traced back to Kyiv Rus. It symbolizes the unity of spirit, wisdom, and will as the source of individual and national development. (For additional historical and ethnic perspectives, see Section 2A below.)

1. Basic Sexological Premises

A. The Character of Gender Roles

In order to draw connections between contemporary problems and historical setting, attention must be paid to the main feature in gender relationships that distinguishes Ukraine from Russia and from the other former Soviet states. This is the high status of Ukrainian women as mother, sister, and wife. Throughout history, Ukraine had not been characterized by the traditional patriarchal family structure that existed, for example, in Russia; gender roles in Ukraine contrast sharply with female dependency and submissiveness. There were no male-dominated marriage relationships, and Ukrainian women held high positions in both family and community settings. This was due in part to sociocultural circumstances. Throughout the several different periods of sexual-culture development in Ukraine, sex and gender behavior grew from beliefs in ancient pagan cultures that valued the feelings, sensations, desires, and pleasures of sexual intercourse. Intimacy was considered to be harmonious with nature and male-female relationships.

The origin of Ukraine, the Kyiv Rus, was governed by a highly educated woman, Queen Olga (reign 946-966), who began the country's conversion to Christianity. There are also many historical witnesses of the gender-equality norms in later times, particularly during the rule of the grand dukes of Kyiv in the eleventh century. The marital agreement, for example, was based on mutual desires of both the male and the female to establish a family. Mutual respect for male and female was the norm, as well as respect for responsibilities in housekeeping and child rearing. In Ukrainian customs, tradition, and especially folklore, it is hard to find accounts of either physical or mental abuse of women, or inequalities in family relationships between husband and wife.

In many Ukrainian regions, the woman selected her spouse and often initiated the marriage relationships. Later, especially during the period of the Cossack Republic during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the women educated the children, organized the communities, and maintained their own organizations of social activity while men were away on military service. According to the numerous historical evidences, there was no wide gap between the observed behavior patterns of men and women. The roles of Ukrainian women and men in the family and the social continuum were mutually inclusive. Sadly, three hundred years of Russian governance, and especially seventy years of Soviet oppression, have greatly affected family and gender development in Ukraine.

The idea of gender equality has had a major impact on Ukrainian social life, even though it was interpreted as a complete similarity in jobs, education, and culture for males and females. For seventy years of Soviet rule, women were tractor drivers, builders, fabric workers, and collective farmers whose emotional life and female identification were less connected with family and children and more with job success and Communist party activities. In Ukraine, women continue to be the main labor force for heavy and dangerous jobs that jeopardize their reproductive health.

In many ways, the Soviet society remained sexist because gender differences were emphasized in many spheres. It imposed separateness between women and men in traditional responsibilities for child and family care. Even in the secondary school curriculum, a course in “home servicing” was only for girls and assumed different experiences for boys and girls with wide-ranging consequences. It supported women's attachment to the family and their concern with cooking, caring, and nurturing, while autonomy and public involvement was expected of men.

The complexity of the Russian totalitarian society contributed to the existence of numerous gender subcultures and created a lot of confusion in gender self-identity. Thus, the educational system was and is still oriented to raising girls as self- and task-oriented, knowledgeable, ambitious, and independent persons. On the other hand, the social system as a whole was oriented toward dependency, obedience to authority, and passivity, traits typically identified with femininity in a patriarchal culture. Thus, the communist society created particular behavior patterns manifested by women because the social environment left almost nothing for personal self-actualization in social and family life. In addition to supporting the husband and family, Ukrainian women are still expected to hold a full-time job outside the home; in fact, they have no choice other than to work outside the home. Women remained socially dependent because society maintains a lot of prejudice against women occupying high positions, especially in the social structure. Only a small percentage of women obtain academic grants, prestigious positions, or social recognition as politicians. Instead of the state developing support industries to lighten the burden of women in housekeeping, men and women engaged in an endless and fruitless discussion of which gender was the stronger.

The demasculinization of Ukrainian culture was intensified by the feminization of most institutions involved in socialization. Education, medicine, and even engineering remained extremely sexist, with the assumption that women by nature possessed the necessary abilities to be engaged in these activities. Social, economic, and political inefficiency - we are still discussing whether Ukrainian society should recognize private property - left almost no opportunities for effective problem solving, training in management skills, persistence, and competitiveness for men. Lack of autonomy, self-sufficiency, pursuit of self-interest, and competence had contributed very much toward the demasculinization of the male population in Ukraine.

Finally, in the society where there was lack of responsibility and respect for personality, both genders were losing such human characteristics as being cooperative, warm, sympathetic, loving, creative, and altruistic in relationships, sensitive to others, and intelligent in communications. Thus, Ukrainian society could not provide adequate training for children to develop competent and responsible gender and sexual behavior.

B. General Concepts and Constructions of Sexuality and Love

During the Soviet period in Ukraine, sex was a taboo subject as far as the mass media, scientific investigation, and education were concerned. After the 1920s, the only legitimate function of sexuality was reproduction. The emphasis on sex education for adults was exclusively focused on information about the reproductive systems and on social and moral control of sexual behavior. The communist society selected the information that was communicated in sex education, focusing on physiology and romantic love, while avoiding discussion of values, trust, intimacy, self-awareness, and concern for others.

Society is always a kind of external support for personal development, and self-conception provides values and orientation for sexual behavior. The communist image of sexual behavior was always negative. Sex was considered a “bad” part of one's personality that was in disharmony with the “good” part that involved strict conscious control and abstinence. This viewpoint grew out of the prevailing negative attitude toward personal freedom and intimacy, self-respect, and personal responsibility. It is apparent that the totalitarian society could not help children understand the changes of their bodies and emotions, or teach them responsible decision making. Even in the mid-1980s, when schools recognized the necessity of sex education and faced the task of informing teenagers about love and intimacy, the compulsory course in family and family relationships did not include any information about sex. It was a sexless course about sexless behavior. The same situation existed in society in general.

A humorous episode from the Gorbachev era of the Soviet Union, much quoted among sexologists, illustrates well the prevailing situation. At the time, as Soviets were discovering Western culture, a meeting of American and Soviet women was being carried on by satellite television. The groups discussed common interest issues, such as housekeeping, child rearing, etc. At one point, an American woman asked, “And what about sex in your country?” There was a prolonged pause, when most of the Soviet women in the audience responded, “There is no sex at all in our country!”

Although Ukrainian society has become more permissive sexually in recent years, it still does not provide adequate values for human sexual activity. With the breakdown of the Soviet regime, sexuality became one of the most important symbols of social and cultural liberation. Widespread public silence and ignorance about sex in former years has been replaced by everyday representations in commerce and movies. Television programs and filmmakers exploit sex, but still present it as a part of personality that is hardly related to the self-ideal and is quite dissonant with accepted family gender roles. Public display of the bodies of young women as available sexual objects for men, and sexual intercourse as something far from personal relationships in advertising and mass media, perpetuate the distances between men and women as social beings and between sex and the family.

Ethnicity, culture, national customs, and traditions help create models of gender behavior, develop respect for values, and develop some interpersonal skills. Sexual competence involves many personality qualities and activities that should be taught to children as they develop. Family-oriented customs and traditions that help gender socialization processes, such as marriage, housekeeping, and parenthood, have almost been destroyed in most regions of Ukraine because of the Soviet ideal of creating a new society without ethnicity and religion. The incidence of divorce and child abuse and neglect documented in Ukraine reflects this influence. The incidence of divorce and abuse in the eastern part of Ukraine where traditions were lost is two and a half times higher than in the western regions that retained many of their traditions after they were joined to Ukraine during the 1940s. In the west, teenage girls know an enormous number of things about housekeeping, bringing up children, and proper treatment of relatives, because they are involved in sophisticated and living traditions that are maintained by their families. In the east, family life is extremely narrow and still centered on Soviet holidays. A comparison of family holidays in the U.S.A. and the Soviet Union reveals some significant differences. The personal, individual expression of Mother's Day in the U.S.A. contrasts strongly with the celebration of “The Day of International Solidarity of Women” imposed on Ukrainians by the Soviet system. While Americans honor their individual mothers, Ukrainians for seventy years celebrated the progress of women in the work force.

For three generations, the Ukrainians have grown up in this system, which neglected personal dignity and expressions of respect. The social system as well as family communications were mostly oriented to punishment rather than to the encouragement of self-worth. Another evidence of this distortion can be found in the language people use to address each other in public places. In Ukraine, there are proper words for addressing a person as a sexual human being, as there are in America or other countries, such as miss, missus, lady, sir, mister, gentleman, etc. As a result of the Soviet imposition of the word “comrade,” referring to persons who share political ideas in common, the salutations panni and pan, “respectful woman or man,” were almost totally eliminated from usage. Today, Ukrainians address a person mostly by their gender identity “woman” or “girl” for females, and “man,” “young man,” or “guy” for males. So, the social and sexual identity of the individual oppose each other. Such greetings are mutual and cause no offense or embarrassment to anyone. The fact that most Ukrainians consider these sexual definitions of the self as a normal social greeting does not mean that it is unimportant to the sexual culture. Those Ukrainians who allow themselves to be defined as belonging to a particular sex are those who were raised with a lack of respect for individual personality.

2. Religious and Ethnic Factors Affecting Sexuality

A. Character of Ethnic Values

Ukrainians have developed as an ethnic group over a period of at least three to four thousand years. Scientists distinguish several periods in the development of Ukrainian religious values. At the beginning of the twentieth century, scientists found the first archaeological evidence of an ancient settlement and culture on the territory of Ukraine. These have been dated back to 4500 to 2000 before the Common Era and the birth of Christ. The culture was named Trypil'ska, after the name of village Trypillja near Kyiv (Kiev) where the first signs of this ancient culture were discovered. Similarities in gender roles and behaviors between this ancient culture and elements of the modern Ukrainian culture make this discovery particularly significant. The people of the Trypil'ska culture were agricultural, living in small and large families in separate houses usually situated in circles near rivers. The most wonderful of the remains of this civilization unearthed were ceramic figures of different women and the special places or shrines in houses where these were placed. All of the figures showed obvious evidence of a connection with religious beliefs, specifically a Mother cult and worship of the female. These figures have pronounced sexual signs and even such details as fatness and hairdos. The principal role of a woman in Trypil'ska culture was connected with a highly developed agricultural cult in which the female symbolized fertility and the Goddess Earth. It all gave a woman the right to be a priestess and a head of the family.

From the seventh to the third centuries B.C.E., Indo-European Scythian tribes controlled the Ukrainian steppes.

The period from 500 to 900 C.E. is the time of the Slavic tribes and Slavic community development as a separate ethnic population. Slavic tribes began migrating from the northwest into what is now Russia in the fifth century. The division of the ancient Slavs into various tribes began in the second to fourth centuries when the Goth and Huns forced them to split. In the south, they eventually formed the tribes of the Polianians, Siverianians, Derelianians, etc. Some of these tribes were united in Kyivan Rus by the spread of Christianity from Byzantium (Constantinople) in the tenth and eleventh centuries; Volodymyr the Saint was converted in 988.

Western historians give greater importance than do Ukranian historians to the role of Scandinavian chieftains, Norsemen or Vikings, in the ninth century. A common Western view claims that the Viking Rurik founded the first Russian dynasty in 862 in Novgorod - hence the distinction between Novgorod and Kyivan Rus, and the possible origin of the term Russian. Ukranians scholars trace the origin of the term Rus to the common root of many Ukrainian rivers, Ros', Rosavitsa, Rosava, etc., where Slavic tribes settled. Hence, the Slavs were called Rusychi or Rusyny, and Rus is the synonym of Ukraine but not Russia. Ukrainian historians note that Rus existed long before the arrival of the Norsemen, and that the word Russia, referring to a nation, does not occur until Peter the Great.

The Moguls overran the country in the thirteenth century, destroying Kyiv in 1240. Kyiv was freed from Mogul conquest after 80 years in 1320, when Lithuanian Duke Gedimin (ca. 1275-ca. 1340), together with Rus dukes and their military troops, fought the Moguls in three battles, the last and largest of which was held by the river Irpin' near Kyiv. After that victory, the Lithuanians ruled the country with the help of Rus dukes. In 1386, when the Lithuanian Kingdom united with Poland, Rus, according to the convention, received a separate government which was called Het'man. As time passed, Poland extended its power over Ukraine. In addition, while the eleventh-century grand dukes of Kyian Rus held such centralized power as existed, most of the sons of the Kyivan Rurikovechi Dynasty ruled in Novgorod.

From the thirteenth to the sixteenth centuries, Kyiv was under the influence of Poland and western Europe, with the 1500s and 1600s being the time of the Cossack Republic. In 1547, Ivan the Terrible formally proclaimed himself the first czar of the Rus, and Russia the true successor of the fallen Roman and Byzantine Empires. In 1654, Ukraine asked the czar of Muscovy for protection against Poland and signed the Treaty of Pereyasav, which recognized the sovereignty of Moscow. The Cossacks under Chemelnytsky may have wanted a full defensive partnership, such as now exists between the Canada and the United States. Moscow, however, interpreted the treaty as an invitation to take over Kyiv. Peter the Great (1682-1725) extended Moscow's domain, and in 1721 founded the Russian Empire, which included Ukraine.

As described by Veles (Rehbinder 1993), the Slavic culture was pagan, based on the worship to the numerous gods of the Great Mother Nature. The unity of female and male substances was considered a kind of magical activity for enriching the fertility of the Earth. Even today, the Ukrainians sing some seasonal songs (koljadky and tsedrivky), which are a kind of communication and dialogue of the individual with nature - animals, plants, sun, moon, and wind. A summer holiday of love, Kupala, has persisted from ancient times down to the present. In this ancient context, sexual intercourse is viewed as a relationship, the attachment feeling to the partner.

Nestor the Chronicler (ca. 1056-1114) supplemented and continued the primary Rus chronicles in Povist Vremennykh Lit (A Tale of Bygone Years) (1990). A monk in the Kyivan Cave Monastery and the most educated man of his time, Nestor described the differences in sex and gender behavior between the tribes: “Polyany - Slavs who lived in the central regions of what is now modern Ukraine - maintain their parents' traditions, peaceful and obedient, and their marriage customs.” The neighboring Derevljany “lived like animals, killed each other... and there was no marriage customs other than kidnapping the young women.” Nestor the Chronicler also condemned another neighboring culture where the people “had vulgar, disgraceful words and used them in the presence of parents and women.” They also “did not know about marriage, but cavorted between villages. The men traveled around, playing, dancing, and singing all kinds of devil songs, stealing wives for themselves - women they found agreeable - and having two or three wives.” His view was certainly colored by his perspective as a Kyivan monk. The Derevljany had killed Ihor, the husband of Queen Olga (c. 890-969), who in turn wiped out several of their towns.

The prominent feature of the ancient Slavic psychology was love-living, life-loving, and a tenderness and joyful mood. When Nestor the Chronicler wrote about Ihor's campaign, he described the feelings of attachment, and emotional evolvement of the ancient Slavs. Later on, when Kyivan (Kievan) Rus reached its heyday in the reign of Grand Prince Jaroslav the Wise (1019-1054), the Church, which represented Christianity, could not eliminate this sensitive character of pagan culture. Christianity, with its cult of emotionless asceticism and abstinence, could not overcome the cheerful character of folk traditions and either tried to adopt and incorporate some of them into religious holidays or to prohibit them altogether. Thus, the Christian tradition began its long coexistence with ancient ethnic values. (See Section 1 in the chapter on Russia for further elaboration on this coexistence.)

B. Sources and Character of Religious Values

Three quarters of the Ukrainian people are Eastern Orthodox, 13.5 percent Ukrainian Catholic or Uniate, 2.3 percent Jewish, and 8.2 percent Baptist, Mennonite, Protestant, and Moslem.

From the eighth century, Ukraine was also known as Rus. In 988, the rulers and people of Kyiv adopted Christianity. During the reign of Prince Oleg, Kyiv was referred to as the “mother of Rus cities,” which explains the particular importance given to the development of Christianity in this region. As a result of a jurisdictional division between Church and secular power, matrimonial and family cases fell within the Church's competence and domain. Legislation of the norms of matrimonial law dates from the second half of the eleventh century. As recorded in the legislative code of Prince Jaroslav the Wise, and later in other books, the new legal code incorporated the centuries-old experience of eastern Slavic social life.

The Church assumed an exclusive right to register marriages and insisted on rooting out pagan traditions. For example, marriage without a religious ceremony was considered to be void. In its views of marriage and family life, the Church was guided by the norms of Christian morality. The Church sought to incorporate into the mass consciousness ideas of the sanctity and inviolability of marriage and conjugal fidelity.

Men and women who were related up to the sixth generation were forbidden to marry. In addition, children from one family could not marry the brothers or sisters in another unrelated family. These restrictions were obviously adopted from Byzantine law, but were less strictly enforced. In Kyivan Rus, men married when they were 15 years old, while women married between ages 13 and 14. The Church forbade marriage of Christians with non-Christians. Engagement usually involved mutual consent and was followed by a festive dinner. Cheese was an obligatory dish shared by the bride and groom; the ritual of cutting cheese and bread meant that agreement had been reached. A lack of virginity in either partner was not an obstacle to marriage. There was a law that proclaimed the woman-slave free if she was tempted into intercourse and gave birth to a child. In case an unmarried woman gave birth to a child, she had to live in some church facility and was socially culpable. It was forbidden to have two spouses. Divorce was allowed only in exceptional cases and only after a court trial. A wife's adultery could be a serious reason for divorce; not so with a husband's adultery. After divorce, a husband had to pay his former wife a large financial compensation.

The Church in Kyivan Rus controlled norms of sexual behavior. First of all, it was forbidden to have any sexual relations between relatives and even relatives-in-law. Any intercourse outside the marital union was considered sinful, even when totally secret. Considerable attention was paid to any sexually deviant behavior. Thus, punishment for zoophilia was recorded in the statutes of Kyivan Rus. Childbearing was protected, and the Church took care for pregnant women and helped them. Anyone associated with an abortion or attempted abortion was guilty of a serious crime.

Within a marriage, and in society in general, there was a moral responsibility to respect all persons, regardless of gender, in Kyivan Rus. Thus in the Edification to Children by Volodymyr Monomach (1052-1125) one finds a great appreciation of the individual: “Protect widows, do not let the powerful ruin anyone.... Let your eyes look down but your soul aspire to height.... Love your wife, but don't let her control you” (1991).

The ancient and cheerful ethnic culture, coupled with moral Christian demands, helped to produce gender behavior patterns based on mutual respect of men and women, feelings of connection and attachment to each other, and the capacity to appreciate the romantic love as well as erotic sensations (Chubyns'kyj 1994). For the Ukrainian couple, intimacy was characterized by affection, consent, and long-lasting commitment. The psychology of love is widely described in Ukrainian songs, which are considered the best in the world and expressive of the national character (Shlemkevych 1992). The respect for women was so appreciated among the Ukrainians that Mirza-Avakjants wrote in 1920 that “the modern woman of every country could envy the position of Ukrainian woman in the sixteenth and seventeenth.” More than a century and a half of the Cossack republic strengthened the independent-woman position in family life and made this a national characteristic.

3. Sexual Knowledge and Education

Sex-education problems in Ukraine are closely connected with recovery from the long period during which sexual culture was monitored by the Communist party. In the last four years, as a result of common efforts by Ukrainian scientists, especially physicians, psychologists, and teachers, the National Program Planning for the Family has been developed. An important direction in this program is sex education. The basic idea is to unite the efforts of educational institutions for children, parents, and the mass media in the process of socialization about sexuality. The main idea is to supply all children from preschool to college with a compulsory sex-education program that provides adequate knowledge of the emotional, psychological, and physical aspects of gender and sexual behavior. In addition, this program includes discussions of self-understanding, intimacy, family life, values, attitudes, orientations, and skills concerning the behavior and relationships of both genders.

Teachers, psychologists, and sexologists have created such a program to provide information about human sexuality, including discussion of human reproduction, pregnancy, childbirth, sexual responses, contraception, abortion, and sexually transmitted diseases. Developers of the program were conscious that the most important value for children of postcommunist society is to develop the ability to understand and respect the individual person. That is the reason the context of this program leads children to question, “Where did I come from?” “What do I want to be?” and “Who am I?” The development of self-reflecting capacity with regard to gender and sexual behavior is emphasized at every age level.

To a large degree, sex and gender behavior begins in the home. At various stages, children should receive knowledge about sex and reproduction from their parents. Thus, the new program initiated efforts to encourage family-based sexuality education. A substantial gap, however, exists between the knowledge provided by the family and the average child's curiosity needs. This gap makes clear the need for child- and parent-oriented knowledge that revives national family customs and traditions.

The authors of the program are interested in exploring the social influences, especially television, which create the sexual environments in which our children are growing up. Ukrainian mass media, however, are preoccupied with non-family-oriented commerce and movies. Still, many scientists have begun to collaborate with mass media, especially television, to prepare sexually oriented programs for adolescents, teenagers, and their parents. (See Section 5A for more details on the sexual knowledge of children and their sources of such information.)

4. Autoerotic Behaviors and Patterns

Ukrainian folk beliefs, proverbs, parables, and humorous refrains condemn autoerotic behavior and ridicule it as unnatural and abusive for the potential marital partner. This widespread opinion contributes very much to the contemporary Ukrainian negative attitude towards autoerotic behaviors.

A. Children and Adolescents

There is a lot of misunderstanding and fear among adults concerning children's autoeroticism. As the young child starts to explore his or her genitals, a strong punishment usually follows when adults detect this natural curiosity. Thus, from early childhood, the deliberate manipulation of genitals is mostly prohibited by the family and social environment. Most children do not receive any information about their genitals as the source of pleasure and good feelings. Parents usually worry so intensely about the occurrence of masturbation that this initial sexual experience is immediately suppressed whenever discovered. Still, what surveys are available suggest that by 6 years of age, between 2 and 10 percent of children have engaged in self-pleasuring.

Normally, the second period of interest in exploration of one's own body appears at puberty. The practice of masturbation considerably increases during these years and occurs alone or with other children in pairs or small groups. There are a lot of myths among the people about the harmful results of masturbation. Some boys believe it will impair or make intercourse impossible in the future, or result in mental retardation. Similarly, many physicians commonly consider adolescent masturbation to be harmful when it becomes a dominant concern, the focus for leisure activity, or a source of strong feelings of guilt. There is, however, some shift among health care professionals to accept adolescent masturbation as a normal activity. Still, most parents try to restrict teenage masturbation. In comparison to the Western experience in sex education, autosexuality during childhood is considered by most Ukrainians not as a pleasurable kind of sexual expression but as a hindrance to sexual pleasure. This may be partly connected with the former imposition of the Soviet ideas about sex as shameful, and not a useful human activity for the socialist society.

For children who are being raised in orphanages, outside a family, the opening of the sexual sensations generated in the genital areas usually becomes a habit. Thus, masturbation provides an easy way for self-soothing, reducing tension, and calming down for many boys and girls. Children raised in an emotionally deprived environment frequently seek consolation in their own bodies.

B. Adults

Autoerotic satisfaction among adults is widespread. It often occurs as a part of intercourse for sexual stimulation. Adults who are not in some sexual relationships are very often engaged in self-stimulation. Masturbation is also engaged in, despite moral and social prohibitions, as a way for releasing sexual excitement and tension.

Modern sexological clinics and sex shops sell devices for genital massage to stimulate an orgasm. The most usable by women, and rather popular for sexual self-pleasuring, are vibrators and dildoes for clitoral and vaginal stimulation. Among men, the most enjoyable are active devices that substitute for intercourse. Male masturbation is often connected with the increased sexual excitement of men observing their own nude body or its parts. Some elements of narcissism may occur during adolescence, when sexual excitement affects some parts of their own body, especially the erect penis. This may be only a temporary period in sexual development, but some boys stay on this self-loving stage for a longer period. Cases of narcissism among adult women are very rare.

5. Interpersonal Heterosexual Behaviors

The complexity of interactions between the former Soviet system and indigenous Ukrainian traditions has resulted in many areas of tension and confusion in sexual behavior and gender identity.

A. Children

Sexual Knowledge and Attitudes

Juvenile sexual behavior is a kind of a mirror of the social problems and its influence on the development of gender consciousness. The traditional role expectations that determine the activity of boys and girls are assimilated by children by their fifth or sixth year of age.

Recent studies conducted in Ukraine by sexologists Iryna Vovk, Ihor Gorpinchenko, Zoreslava Shkiriak-Nyzhnik, and Borys Vornyk; and psychologists Myrosluv Borishevskyj, Oksana Shurgan, Tamara Govorun, and Svitlana Kyrylenko investigated the attitudes of elementary school children, adolescents, and teenagers toward family gender roles. They also examined their knowledge of sexual reproduction. In conversation with 6- and 8-year-old boys and girls, we asked such questions as: Where do you hear the word sex? Do you know what this word means? Can you explain it in your own words? When people have sex, do they have sex to give life for a new baby? Is sex always connected with childbirth? What are the names of the male sexual organs? Can you name female sexual organs? What are their proper names? Why are people ashamed of sexual organs? Can you explain where babies come from? Where did you receive this information? What did your mom tell you about sex and childbirth? What did your dad tell you about sex and childbirth? Did anyone else ever tell you about intimate settings? If so, who were those people? We asked the children about desirable and undesirable feelings and attitudes toward family relationships, and asked them to explain their own desires and wishes for themselves regarding their appearance, skills, traits, friends, etc. We also asked them similar questions about the opposite sex.

We asked the children to draw something pleasant and desirable for them. Most pictures were strongly family- and gender-oriented. Mom, dad, and child together, sitting in a flat or walking. Most children who lived in single-parent families usually expressed their strong wish for mom and dad to live together. We asked the children to choose from pictures which home task was better for mother and father. Gender expectations for both sexes were traditional: mother's role was always connected with some service, tutoring, or guardian activity, and especially with housekeeping. Father's role was connected with machinery, military, or driving activity and oriented to passive roles in the home.

Gender Images

The ideal man for most Ukrainian boys is Superman from the American movies. The ideal appearance for girls is usually connected with the American Barbi doll. In assessing the personal features of the opposite or the same sex, children esteem modern clothing much more often than some skills, habits, or moral qualities. Findings indicated that more than 80 percent of children ages 6 to 8 could not identify the words for the sexual parts of the body for either the same or opposite sex. Those who could give some kind of explanation used many crude words and felt embarrassed and shy. More than 75 percent of the children did not understand the meaning of “birth control” and “sexual intercourse.” Less than 20 percent knew from where a baby comes, and only 30 percent of those who did know received this knowledge from parents or another adult relative. Only 15 percent of the children could explain the intimate behavior in connection with human feelings of love, friendship, and the desire to have a baby.

Children's awareness of their own body was extremely narrow. About half of the children considered the sexual parts of the body as places of the most bad feelings and experienced shame in being naked or seeing an adult naked. The shame of body exposure is even greater in children from small towns and villages. The rather prudish approach to nudity and bodily functions has greatly affected the sexual behavior of children. In observing some paintings with nude bodies, most elementary school children express their confusion by laughing, chattering, and showing some kind of ignorance.

B. Adolescents

Attitudes Toward Nudity and Body Functions

The ambivalence toward nudity, bodily functions, personal hygiene, and patterns of sexual behavior, combined with the lack of proper sexual education, increases during adolescence and impacts sexual and gender self-perception. We asked 12- to 13-year-old boys and girls questions concerning their knowledge of the main physiological changes in body functions during adolescence. More than 70 percent of the boys demonstrated poor understanding of the indicators of growing up as a man or a woman. Although many adolescents have seen many movies with sexual themes, only a third of them had ever discussed sexual topics with a relative or teacher. Most boys were extremely shy when explaining the function of a condom or the origin of a baby. More than 65 percent used the pronoun “it” rather than the terms penis, vagina, breast, and uterus. (See Igor Kon's comments on similar issues in Section 1B of the chapter on Russia.)

In comparison to boys, 70 percent of the girls interviewed had discussed the topic of male and female body maturation at puberty with their mothers, grandmothers, or elder sisters. The topic of bodily functions, however, remained uncomfortable for girls to discuss. More than 60 percent of the girls replied to the questions “Are you glad to be growing up as a woman?” and “What feelings do you experience during your period?” that it would be better without the menstruation cycle, pubic hair, or breast development; that it made them feel dirty, sick, or bad. These responses may be connected in part with the poor availability of feminine hygiene products.

Their reaction might be more positive if they did not have difficulties and anxiety connected with school toilet facilities. Is it partly connected with pain or feeling unwell? The interviews revealed that menstrual periods make them more serious (heavy) because of hygiene problems and the embarrassment before classmates, boys, and teachers of physical education. Many Ukrainians continue to experience emotional problems as they get older because of the social taboos surrounding menstruation and the social embarrassment of talking about the subject.

Ukrainian adolescent boys experienced the same discomfort answering the questions “What do you know about menstruation?” and “What do you know about erections and pollution.” Only 25 percent of the boys received proper sex explanations from their mothers, about 10 percent from fathers, and the rest from peer groups.

Was the sexual knowledge expanded substantially throughout the adolescent years? Most of the children obtained good information about the reproductive system from school lessons on biology. But most adolescents of both sexes still showed a poor understanding of the questions concerning sexual behavior and sexual feelings. Such questions as “What is AIDS?” “How does one protect him/herself from contracting AIDS?” “Can a condom prevent pregnancy or transmitted diseases?” “Is masturbation harmful to ones health?” “Can a child in adolescent age become a father or a mother?” and “What do you know about using birth control?” embarrassed the adolescents. In talking about sexual subjects, most adolescents could not find appropriate words for the sexual organs.

These findings suggested that children viewed these topics regarding body functions, intercourse, and relationships to be shameful aspects of their personality. The adolescent sex vocabulary of most boys and girls was full of vulgar (“dirty”) words. Most Ukrainian adolescents consider clothing as an important expression of masculine or feminine behavior, and regard it as an important factor in their personality and physical beauty.

When assessing the problems of gender self-consciousness in teenagers in Ukraine, we see a growing gap between the lack of sexual knowledge and sexual experience, the practice of gender behavior, and moral/psychological maturity.

Satisfaction with Parental Lifestyles

Observing the wealth of the West, combined with the poverty of the native country, has impacted gender self-consciousness and sex orientations of youth. Ukraine is rearing a third generation of children who are strongly dissatisfied with their parent's family and social life. Fathers, and especially mothers with double duties, are rarely viewed as role models. Investigations concerning values and orientations of teenagers reveal that prostitution is considered to be a normal occupation among 40 percent of students. More than 50 percent of teenagers value money and good leisure time over having a nice family and happy parenthood in the future.

Sexarche and Teenage Pregnancy

There is a growing tendency for Ukrainian youth to become involved in sexual intercourse at an earlier age. According to studies conducted in large industrial cities among the students at professional high schools, more than 50 percent of the women and 80 percent of the men have engaged in sexual activity before age 17.5. In 1980, the average age of first sexual experience was 19 years for men and 20 for women. Currently, nearly half of the sexually active females become pregnant at least once during their teenage years. Teenage pregnancy continues to increase every year and early motherhood has become a reality for thousands of teenager girls. According to survey data, more than 50 percent of teenagers are sexually active at least with 3 partners before the age of 20. For most teenagers, sex exists as a curiosity that may involve a kind of commitment but not love and passionate feelings. Most sexually active teenagers do not protect themselves from an unwanted pregnancy, because sexual knowledge, including information about contraceptives, remains low and comes mainly through interaction with peers.

Ukrainian teenagers usually plan their nearest future with creation of their own families, as the median age for marriage is now 19 to 21 years for female and 21 to 23 for males. Ukrainian teenagers usually do not consider economic and psychological maturity as necessary conditions for getting married. More than 80 percent of teenagers who get married consider themselves very dependent on their parents and family for financial support, for help with housing, and assistance in taking care of their children. A lack of privacy and opportunity for experiencing premarital sexual relationships leads teenagers to consider their sexual (physical) maturity sufficient basis for marriage. That is why about 45 percent of young couples are divorced within the first year of their marriage.

As evidence of the separateness between the sexual sphere and personality itself in mass consciousness, we might consider the content of the sex vocabulary of Ukrainians. The Ukrainian youth have adopted a lot of abusive words from the Russian sexual vocabulary that express bondage of women, rape, and humiliation of the people engaging in sexual intercourse. This is partly a result of the authoritarian society that encouraged cruel attitudes toward women and a misconception of male behavior.

C. Adults

Premarital Sexual Relationships, Dating, and Courtship

In the late 1960s, premarital sex was a taboo for both the fiancé and fiancée, as the bride should be a virgin until marriage. The ethic of premarital virginity during dating was a major theme in sex education and mass media. To abstain from sex meant to escape from being betrayed by the groom or from potential pregnancy. The statistics of those years reveal the increasing quantity of unmarried mothers and the forced weddings. In recent decades, the situation has changed considerably. Today, most teenagers and adults consider sex before marriage rather acceptable, and thus premarital sex relations are widespread.

The initial selection of a potential mate usually occurs among a reference group - college mates, colleagues at work, or a common-interest community that brings together people with similar values, education, or cultural levels. The length of courtship for young couples is usually about twelve to eighteen months between meeting and marriage, with dating two to three times a week. In various strata of people, dating activity takes different forms. Dating is mostly oriented toward dancing, visiting friends, parties, cinemas, bars, and cafeterias.

The discovery of one other person in a romantic relationship is followed by the wedding arrangements initiated mostly by the man. The choice of a mate is determined by the young people themselves, as it was in ancient Ukraine, although the parents usually have to confirm the engagement. The Final ceremony of marriage depends on religious, ethnic, and cultural level and social group.

In Soviet times, a lot of Communist symbols were included in the wedding process - a ritual of laying flowers at the local Lenin monument, special greetings, and promises. Wedding ceremonies in a church were prohibited and couples who had religious weddings were often prosecuted by the authorities. Nowadays, the wedding ceremony has become more relaxed, but it is still formalized. In the countryside, people keep traditions of a large wedding celebration with almost all villagers invited as guests. A lot of fun, music, singing of celebration songs, dancing, treating, and role playing characterize such family holiday. Usually, any large wedding celebration is very expensive for parents, who have to carry the burden of wedding debts sometimes after the young have divorced.

A few years ago, some registry offices started to propose that couples use a relationship contract to define some problems of their future family life. These contracts usually do not include any legal documentation and are used as a moral obligation that helps the bride to clear up some unexpected areas of marital interaction.

Sexual Behavior and Relationships of Single Adults

The number of single Ukrainians is increasing significantly, especially among highly educated people - teachers, physicians, engineers, and business owners. Psychologists trace this phenomena to increasing levels of personal aspiration and expectations of potential partners of the opposite sex. The single trend is occurring in every age group and for both sexes.

It is difficult to tell with any accuracy how many persons remain single because of unrealistic expectations of a significant other, immaturity in emotional responses and communications, or egocentrism. Singles include adults who have never been married and divorced women with children. Most of them are lonely and have many problems in maintaining a relationship with a person of the opposite sex. Most places of entertainment cater to teenagers for meetings with mates. Because of the lack of privacy in their own flat or available rooms in hotels it becomes embarrassing and hard for a single person to get together and be intimate with a partner.

During the last two decades some marriage bureaus, consultation family centers, and radio programs have started providing matrimonial services, advertising in order to introduce the partners and help with dating. There are obvious proposals in some newspapers for dating that serve sexual purposes.

The frequency of intercourse for couples under age 20 is ten to fifteen times a week; among couples 20 to 30, five to seven times a week; for couples 30 to 40, four times a week; among couples 40 to 50, two or three times a week; one to two times for couples 50 to 60 years; and once or twice a month for couples over age 60.

Marriage and Family

Despite an increasing number of singles, most Ukrainians live in families. In Ukraine, the minimum age for marriage is 17 years for women and 18 for men. The marriage can be dissolved by mutual consent of the spouses. The divorce is equally available to both men and women. The husband is required to provide the maintenance of children until they are 18 years old. Custody of children, maintenance, and property must be decided before the couple divorce.

The typical family in Ukraine is a nuclear family. This kind of family started to increase from the 1930s after the dissolution of the extended family pattern. Shifts in family structure were mostly triggered by increasing urbanization. Millions of young people were induced to migrate to urban industrial regions in search for employment, education, and occupational mobility. In 1920, 20 percent of Ukrainians lived in cities areas; by 1980, this percent had more than tripled. This process has increased labor participation rates for women and decreased the size of the nuclear family. More than half of all Ukrainian families are one-child families.

The nuclear family has increased the demands for equal sharing of responsibilities and household roles between the spouses, as well as raised the intrafamily factors like emotional support, shared values, sexual satisfaction, common income distribution, attention and expression, mutual assistance, and moral protection.

Divorce and Remarriage

The increasing divorce rates are a reflection of the diminished dependence of spouses on each other and the desire of obtaining a legal marital dissolution rather than remaining an harmful relationship.

The incidence of divorce has increased rapidly since the 1960s. A recent study conducted by Zubov Chujko (1994) showed the number of divorces per thousand nationwide was 3.9 in 1991 and 4.4 in 1993. There is a great difference in the divorce rates for urban and rural citizens, 5.5 per thousand compared with 1.9 per thousand in rural areas. Surveys indicate that about 75 percent of divorced men remarry within five years and only half of divorced women within ten to fifteen years after their divorce. In the case of remarriage, the rights of all children of every spouse are protected as stepchildren.


In the past twenty-five years, as the marriage rate slowly declined, the number of unmarried cohabiting couples quadrupled. In Ukraine, there is no special law regulating cohabitation, but legislation does offer some protection for the rights and responsibilities of cohabiting partners, and their children who are protected as though the couple was married. While the legal system provides some rights for persons who cohabit for some period of time, these rights are much less than those of married couples.

D. Persons with Physical Disabilities, and Older Persons

Unfortunately, most individuals with disabilities are cut off from the active contacts with the social environment. The services for any social assistance, education, welfare, and transportation facilities are almost totally absent, as they were in former Soviet times when the needs of this population were mostly ignored by society and treated as a family concern. Privacy and independence are vital for the physically handicapped. Even in large cities, it is hard to find the convenient access and passages across the streets, as well as a lot of other facilities for the disabled. These necessities affect the development of sexuality very much because of the personal isolation. Only specialized sanatoriums offer places for temporary relationships of individuals with special needs. In Ukraine today, there are about 60 disabled persons per thousand under 60 years of age.

Only recently has the Ukrainian society begun to recognize the abused fate of the physically handicapped, and to break their isolation by improving the conditions of their existence by providing for common interests - sports, education, hobbies, and therapy - and by slowly increasing their access to social allowances.

The Ukrainian society also needs to overcome a rather strict and condemnatory attitude toward any sexual activity by older people or public acknowledgment of same. In comparison to Western contemporaries, Ukrainian women over 40 years old usually consider themselves too old for any sexual intimacy, and thus stop taking care of their own appearance and sexual attractiveness.

E. Incidence of Oral and Anal Sex

Traditionally, in Ukraine, sex was an extremely personal and very private matter. Moral, emotional, gender, and age factors influence attitudes toward anal sex and its enjoyment. While anal sex holds a great attraction for male homosexuals, and heterosexual couples may engage in anal sex for the enjoyment of one or both partners, there are no special studies undertaken to discover the frequency of anal sex. What data are available usually come from sexological clinics. According to this data, more than 30 percent of males have had an experience with anal sex in their teenage years. In jails, anal sex is usually engaged in as a temporary substitute for heterosexuality, or for maintenance of power.

Oral sex is rather popular for both heterosexual and homosexual couples. It is also very often practiced by adolescents. Cunnilingus is mostly a part of couple foreplay during lovemaking in order to stimulate female orgasm. It is used in a many cases by men with sexual dysfunctions. Fellatio is much more widespread as a kind of foreplay for intercourse, or as a separate sexual activity. Fellatio technique involving partial penis penetration into the woman's mouth, or penis licking, sucking, or kissing, are very popular among the lovers of all ages, but mostly among teenagers and persons under age 30.

6. Homoerotic, Homosexual, and Ambisexual Behaviors

Historically, gender and sexual behavior in Ukraine were strongly influenced by the Christian tradition, which restricted any manifestation of sexuality and considered homosexual orientation as a great sin. Ukraine, as well as the other states of the former Soviet Union, was and still remains a very heterosexist society with strict gender stereotyping. All social institutions and social opinion place considerable pressure on gay men and lesbian women. Most individuals with a same-sex orientation kept their sexual drives and orientation deeply hidden.

The democratic processes in the newly independent Ukraine gave the opportunity for the people with gender dysphoria to share the discovery of their sexual orientation and gender-identity problems within sympathetic communities and support groups, in the mass media, and with specialists - physicians, sexologists, and psychologists. However, most Ukrainians still consider homosexual behavior as abnormal and socially unacceptable and reject both male and female homosexuality.

A. Children

Because information on sexology and psychology of gender was prohibited in former Soviet Ukraine, little is known about the early experiences of those who today identity themselves as gay or lesbian. No national research on the developmental sexuality in childhood was conducted.

In an ideological system that denies any nonheterosexual form of behavior, children with a same-sex orientation encounter a lot of discrimination and even violence. Atypical gender behavior during childhood is usually ridiculed within the society and results in being rejected by parents, relatives, or teachers as not adjusted to the male or female social role. In early childhood, the measurement of gender-role behavior includes easily observable facts, such as preference for same play interests, toys, sex peers, dressings, etc.

The behavior markers of gender identity emerge in Ukrainian children typically between ages 2 and 5 years. At puberty, a child's sexual interests and desires normally emerge. In many features, lesbian, gay, and bisexual youths are similar to other children. However, a pervasive heterosexism of the social environment at home and school causes young gay men or lesbians to experience their cross-gender feelings and behavior in isolation from the significant others. Because of the inner conflict stirred by social and family rejection, they must hide their sexual attraction from others at the very time they are becoming aware of it. Growing up with forbidden and unacceptable sexual attractions influences personality development, often resulting in a negative image of the self as a homosexual female or male.

The initial recognition of same-sex attraction usually becomes evident at puberty and adolescence. Discovery of one's orientation often leads to some sexual activity involving persons of the same sex, starting with simple touching, kissing, petting, stroking the genitals, oral-genital contact, and, more rarely, anal intercourse.

Although attendance at a professional high school or summer camp provides wide opportunity for teenage sexual experimentation, and many adolescents have even more homosexual than heterosexual encounters, they are not considered as really gay or lesbian behavior. The capacity to respond sexually to a person of the same gender in teenage years is considered being bisexual rather than homosexual. Many teenagers who identity themselves as homosexual in fact are bisexual. Many such Ukrainian youths try to change their sexual orientation by different kinds of therapies. These usually are not successful in reaching the desired goal. A predominant sexual attraction to persons of the same gender, with a constitutional lack of attraction to members of the opposite gender in late teenage years, signals the development of a homosexual orientation.

B. Adults

Gender Roles, Courtship, and Relationship Patterns

In the Ukrainian society where intimacy and relationships have been focused primarily on heterosexual patterns of behavior, the sexual minority groups try to develop their own language for communicating with similarly minded peers, courtship, and discovering sexual roles for future intercourse. The image of the self as a homosexual female or male is mostly dependent on the success of lifelong intimacy with a partner, and on the opportunity for the self-extension in experiencing the feelings of sexual attractiveness, physical fitness, and good looks. In a traditionally hostile society, coming out as a homosexual poses great problems. The inability to define one's self in terms of social and private activities thus becomes a common characteristic of adults with gender dysphoria.

Many lesbian women and gay men are modeling their relationships on heterosexual behavior forms and communication. A lifelong monogamous commitment is often a desirable model of homosexual relationship. The partners share household and home labor in accordance with active (masculine) and passive (feminine) roles in a sexual intercourse. There are a lot of jealous feelings in the attitudes towards each other, passionate love, and sympathy. Many homosexual adults develop their sexual and romantic relationships much as heterosexual couples do, but with the significant difference of fear for manifesting that love and attachment in a hostile environment. In contrast to gay men, many lesbian couples have made parenting an important part of their life. But because homosexual relationships are usually hidden, long-term monogamous homosexual couples are rare in Ukraine.

Despite the hostile social environment, homosexual adults elaborate some elements in dressing, gestures, and behavior that signal a homosexual orientation to knowledgeable observers. Still, even in metropolitan Kyiv, homosexual persons meet each other in covert ways and endure some period for tentative exploration before overtly connecting. Usually there are some places in cities and towns where homosexual individuals can meet each other. In such public places, including sections of certain parks, certain bars, and steam baths, homosexual persons can safely meet, interact, and relate to each other.

In former Soviet times, disclosure or discovery of homosexual orientation meant destruction, ostracism in the workplace and family, forced hospital treatment, and even prison. Lesbians and gays today are as diverse as the society to which they belong. They differ widely in both educational level and economic status. Depending on their social status, they may either conceal their sexual orientation or be open about it. They may have multiple partners, or prefer one. Feelings of unhappiness due to the lack of a mate, feelings of alienation, a minimum of understanding regarding their situation, stressful life experiences, anxiety, depression, and substance abuse are common difficulties in the private lives of homosexual persons in Ukraine.

Social Status

The social attitude regarding homosexual persons in the former Soviet Ukraine was determined by statute N121 in the criminal code, which supported penalties for male homosexuality, as well as for the homosexual seduction of children, teenagers, and adults, and punishment for homosexual rape. Female homosexuality was not noted as criminal in that law.

In postliberation Ukraine, researchers and clinicians studying the patterns and quantity of homosexual, lesbian, and bisexual behavior have rejected the Soviet diagnosis of homosexuality as deviant and a mental illness, and now make use of the Western paradigms, statistics, and assessment measures, particularly those of the American Alfred Kinsey and his colleagues.

This dramatic shift, coupled with the beginning of the democratic process in Ukraine, has given impetus for homosexuals to “come out from the closet.” Today, Ukrainians can openly visit a consulting center to meet a sexologist or psychologist to discuss some private problems concerning lesbian or gay orientation or activity. Today, lesbian women and gay men are becoming more open about their sexual identities and social processes in which developmental changes affect their life. One can easily find many advertisements in the erotic newspapers placed by homosexuals of both sexes seeking a partner. There has also been some recent efforts to organize a gay liberation movement. In May 1995, the First Ukrainian International Congress of Homosexuals and Lesbians, which called itself “Two Colors,” was held in Kyiv. An initiative group was organized to serve the social, political, and cultural needs of the gay and lesbian population, by promoting a positive image for the homosexual status in society. In comparison to Western gay liberation movements, Ukrainian lesbians and gays are not separate in their social needs; they are one in their efforts to promote common ideas.

Although homosexuals in postsocialist Ukraine are not relegated to a deviant status, there is still a lot of prejudice against gay and lesbian persons, and many individuals oriented toward the same-sex sexuality keep their attitudes hidden. This is partly due to the rigid manifestation of cultural heterosexism, as well to a reminiscence of Soviet mass psychology of nonreconciliation and nontolerance of anyone who does not fit the majority model. Homophobic tendencies among Ukrainians were and are mostly connected with gay men but not lesbians. This is due in part to a fear for the younger generation being molested, seduced, or infected by HIV. But another factor is an ancient blame for men's abstinence from heterosexual intercourse causing a decrease in childbirth, threatening the future of the nation.

The Ukrainian Homosexual Culture

The basic demographic characteristics and size of the homosexual population in Ukraine remains a subject of debate. Some scientists estimate the size of exclusively homosexual at 2 percent for females and 2 to 4 percent for men, with predominantly gay or lesbian bisexuals approximately 10 percent of the population, about 5.2 million people. Some scientists believe the figures should be much larger for the former Soviet state. Little is yet known about the relationships of homosexual couples, as well as about the functioning and life course of families with lesbian and gay adults.

As mentioned, most homosexual women and men try to remain invisible. The dominance of exclusively heterosexual orientations in Ukrainian society presses homosexuals to hide their drives and attitudes. One result of this hostile environment is the number of men and women who pose as transsexuals to obtain sex-change surgery in order to change their sex on their passports, and thus obtain the opportunity for a legal relationship with a partner of the desired sex. In Ukraine, there are many more such individuals with female-to-male orientation than in western Europe. Ukrainian scientists have suggested the significant importance of social factors in the origin of such orientation because of the high valuation by the Soviet system for manifestation of masculine features and of masculine traits expressed by women. Thus, lesbian women are more independent, dominant, unconventional, and self-sufficient than most Ukrainian heterosexual women.

Among gay men, who are known as “blues,” there is usually a division for a passive partner who receives his partner's penis anally, and an active partner who plays the inserter role in anal or oral sex. The predominant forms of genital sex by gay men are fellatio and mutual masturbation.

The patterns of a sexual partnership among gays and lesbians are significantly influenced by the former Soviet sexist society with strict polarization of gender roles in housekeeping, raising the children, and in the social sphere. What limited statistics are available suggest that only about 1.5 percent of gay male couples achieve a stable, long-lasting relationship of more than five years; 2.7 percent have relationships that last three years, while about 7 percent have relationships that last a year or so. Lesbians and gays have occasional sexual encounters for anonymous short-time enjoyment; some have sex in pairs or in groups. Some homosexual couples emphasize social needs rather than purely sexual contacts.

Homosexual as well as bisexual relationships satisfy many social, sexual, and emotional needs - many homosexual couples enjoy common professional interests, shared lifestyle, cognitive satisfaction, and cooperation, although their welfare in Ukrainian society is generally not so high. Although there are many different challenges in gay and lesbian experiences, including communications and intimacy, the main widespread problems involve a special need for a positive self-redefinition, coming out as a part of personality development and interpersonal growth, and social activity and well-being as an affirmation of the personality. Ukrainian society needs to provide a social environment in which gay and lesbian persons can feel that their sexual orientation is not pathological or immoral.

7. Gender Conflicted Persons

The beginning of the democratic processes in Ukraine allowed the problems of people with gender conflicts to surface. Because of this, Ukrainian society faces some new questions about the status of such individuals in a postsocialist society and the ways in which they interact with the public, family, and friends.

Ukrainian scientists consider that the cases of gender dysphoria, in which a person rejects his or her biological sex and requests surgery and the gender identity of the opposite sex, occurs in about 1 out of every 30,000 to 50,000 persons.

During the Soviet rule, the only center that provided medical treatment and sex-change surgery for transsexuals was in Moscow. In the late 1980s, when legal and medical procedures for altering sex were for the first time performed in Kyiv, female-to-male transsexuals outnumbered male-to-female transsexuals seven to one. In Western countries, the proportion is about equal or favors male-to-female by about three to one. The reasons for this sharp difference might be social-learning experience and the prevailing status of men in Soviet society.

A government commission for transsexualism has recently been organized in Kyiv to deal with the individuals with gender dysphoria. The chairman is Professor Borys Vornyk (Address: 8 Smolenska vul., Kyiv 252057). Its members include qualified transgendered “alienist” persons, surgeons, sexologists, psychologists, and lawyers. The clinical and psychological strategy for managing sex change and identity cases is based on the best of foreign experience and practice. The procedure of personality evaluation before undergoing sex reassignment are based on preliminary criteria: originally over age 21, but since 1995 over age 25; having no children under age 18; no criminal offenses; a consistent gender disorder not connected with psychosis - absence of mental diseases or psychosis, a long-standing (from early childhood age) irreversible cross-gender identification with positive self-conception, physical appearance and demeanor as a member of the opposite sex, and a strong identity with the opposite sex; and referral to “nuclear” transsexual by a psychiatrist and psychologist based on at least one year of psychotherapy - a stable ego conception, and economic and residence stability - minimum problems in self-support, sexual satisfaction of self and the partner if involved, a positive relationship with family, adequate psychological support, and an adequate understanding of the hazards of the operation.

The commission considers the importance of family diagnosis in an evaluation of gender identity, as the transsexuals will meet a lot of psychological problems involving military registration and alienation from and nonacceptance by society.

Many people react negatively to the phenomena of transsexualism and transvestism, because these contradict the traditional gender behavior and assumptions.

A transvestite's social and family situation is usually very difficult, because the lack of privacy in everyday life does not allow him to have the opportunity to dress even partially as a member of the opposite sex. The cases of male-to-female cross-dressing are usually connected with a hyperfeminine expression. The lack of community and the nonavailability of public places for mixing with others as a woman restrict the options for cross-dressing.

Cases of berdachism and other atypical sexual identities are extremely rare in Ukraine and exist mostly as rumors rather than as clinical or scientific studies.

8. Significant Unconventional Sexual Behaviors

The incidence of socially unaccepted kinds of sexual behaviors are increasing rapidly as the process of political and economic reconstruction affects the whole culture and everyone in it.

A. Coercive Sexual Behavior

Child Sexual Abuse, Incest, and Pedophilia

Any kind of child molestation has always been condemned in Ukrainian society and Ukrainian folk traditions consider any sexual abuse of children as the most heinous of crimes.

Known cases of sexual abuse are mostly connected with girls assaulted between 3 and 7 or 8 years old. More than half of the offenders are close friends or neighbors of the parents. More than half the victims have been killed by the seducers after the pedophilic acts because of the fear for criminal responsibility and punishment. The penalty for sex molestation is the same as for the rape of a minor or incest; Statute 117 of the criminal code mentions the penalty from three to fifteen years in jail, and even death. Most of the perpetrators of this crime are men 20 to 30 years old.

More often than not, cases of pedophilia are not connected with penetration, only with genital fondling or handling. The children involved in such sex games with adults are about equally male or female.

The frequency of pedophilia in our country is sometimes connected with homeless girls and boys who run away from home to escape from parents, and are, in turn, victimized by adult male strangers in return for some food, money, reward, and temporary shelter. Usually, they do not report their offenders and keep the sexual experience secret from parents and others. Cases of incest are a rather rarely reported form of child sexual abuse. Thus, in 1994, Ukrainian courts registered about 1 case of incest in 15,000 cases of sexual assault. Accounts of sex between a parent and child are more frequent than are officially reported. Sexual relations between a mother and son or a father/stepfather and daughter are seldom discovered or reported. Very few scientific statistics and little information are available about sexual relations between brothers and sisters. The recent development of sexual consultation centers with psychoanalytic services will help in obtaining data on the incestuous involvement of children in Ukraine.

Sexual Harassment

[Note: In this section, the Ukrainian authors adopt a broader and less specific definition of sexual harassment than is common in Western usage. (Editor)] Violations of personal boundaries, a basic element in the administrative-commanding system of the former Soviet Ukraine, made sexual harassment an everyday normative behavior in official and informal relations. Fear of the authority that was taught by the Soviets fostered a tolerant attitude towards sexual harassment as a usual and expected behavior of authorities and subordinate persons. Although Statute 119 in the Ukrainian criminal code deals with a penalty for forcing a woman to engage in sex, no incidents of such violations were ever reported or registered.

Incidents of sexual harassment between the children of a different age mostly take place in the orphanage houses, and in summer or winter youth camps. The most common cases are connected with masturbation and fellatio. Sexual intercourse usually occurs among older children. As this aspect of child relations is most sensitive and vulnerable for youngsters, the teachers who discover such incidents prefer to keep them hidden from the community.

Sexual harassment behavior is widespread, especially among youths. Sexual remarks, jokes, explicit conversation about having sex, as well as such behavior as following, staring, leering, and taunting are regarded by both men and women as inoffensive and even just larking. Such behavior is mostly considered to be an acceptable way of getting acquainted in public places, and as normal masculine communication in mixed-gender interactions.

Sexual Assault and Rape

The incidence of rape is growing very quickly. Stranger rape accounts for about 94 percent of all reported rape cases; 67 percent involve group or gang rape; 13 percent result in serious physical harm. According to the criminal statistics for the Kyiv region, most of the reported perpetrators were under age 20. Most of the victims were under the age of 18. Most of the rapists did not have a previous criminal record and used alcohol.

B. Prostitution

The danger of prosecution does not limit the offers of sexual services in return for financial gain. Prostitution is not legal in Ukraine, but is also not forbidden by legislation. After the colonization of Ukraine, especially from the eighteenth century, prostitution started to spread, especially in urban areas, although between 1843 and the October 1917 Revolution, it was somewhat restricted by special edict. Today, there is no law in the criminal code of Ukraine on prostitution, except the remark regarding a penalty of not less than five years in prison for compelling anybody to engage in prostitution for profit.

There are several grades of prostitutes according to their financial status and education. The higher-class prostitutes are known as “hard currency.” They have sufficient means to rent a room at a hotel and to share information about potential clients. These women are educated and sophisticated, skilled in both conversation and sexual activity; their clients are mostly foreigners. The middle class of prostitutes, call girls, deal with regular rich businessmen and tourists, and rich customers at bars and restaurants. The lowest class of prostitutes work the streets and railway stations; they service all comers and may trade sex for drugs or alcohol. The average age of prostitutes is about 30. Most had their first intercourse before age 17 with a stranger rather than in a loving relationship with someone they knew. Most do not have a permanent job and their sex business is a financial necessity for supporting themselves, family, and children. Eighty percent of the men availing themselves of commercial sex are 30 years or older.

Historically in the Ukrainian community, there was always a negative attitude toward women who had sexual relations with men outside marriage. But today from at least the early 1970s, the attitude towards prostitution, especially among the youth and middle-aged adults, is very permissive. What is more, prostitution is considered by teenagers to be among the most-prestigious professions, just as desirable as being a fashion model, stewardess, or interpreter. The main reason for this is the impossibility within the socialist economic system of earning sufficient salary in any highly qualified occupation. Prostitution makes a decent, even comfortable, life possible. The economic turmoil that has prevailed since the 1991 collapse of the Soviet system has only accelerated this trend toward acceptance of prostitution. Only the older generation is confused by the view of prostitution as a business matter.

C. Pornography and Erotica

A Project of Law prohibiting the production and distribution of pornography, and the formation of the Presidential commission on obscenity, were still being discussed in the Ukrainian Parliament as of mid-1995.

Although Ukrainian society has become more permissive sexually, it does not provide adequate values of human sexual activity. With the breakdown of the Soviet regime, sexuality became one of the most important symbols of social and cultural liberation. Widespread public ignorance about sex in former years has been replaced by everyday representation in commerce and movies. Television programs and filmmakers have exploited sex; the display of the bodies of young women as available sexual objects are not only on cinema screens, but in advertising, on posters, photographs, and drawings. After seventy years of repression, Ukraine has a large market for pornographic products. Television programs portray and revel in various types of sexual experience, and frank expressions of nudity with erotic excitement are displayed in public places for everybody.

The public discussion of the harmful role of pornography for grownup sexual expectations and values makes it clear that under the slogans of democracy, new businessmen are exploiting sex roles, promoting the image of a happy life associated with sexual pleasure, drinking, smoking, and male control of the opposite sex.

Newly opened sex shops and the appearance of such newspapers as Pan Plus Pani and the sex magazine Lel have broken all previous taboos on sexual subjects, recognizing the sexual culture and providing sexual education for different age groups. Artistic eroticism has started to recover from years of repression, producing pictures, stories, and theater plays in the best national traditions, based on gender equality in relationships, personal freedom and dignity, Ukrainian humor, and the pursuit of a full-blooded life.

9. Contraception, Abortion, and Population Planning

A. Attitudes, Education, Availability, and Usage of Contraceptives

The maintenance of an appropriate population level is vital to the survival of any society, but especially for Ukraine after the Soviet takeover. During the famines deliberately created by Soviet policy in 1920 and especially 1933, six million Ukrainian peasants from the central, east, and south regions died from hunger or were removed from their native land to Siberia and the Far East. The devastation of World War II also reduced Ukraine's population significantly.

From the middle of 1979, the Ukrainian birthrate started to drop rapidly; since the end of 1980, the birthrate has remained below the replacement rate. Although the former Soviet authorities tried to encourage families to have more children in order to get a larger labor force, their efforts did not reverse the trend. By the end of 1960, most Ukrainian women had to combine parenthood with professional work because of economic needs and the necessity of guaranteeing family income.

As a consequence, Ukraine is characterized by the rapidly increasing proportion of older persons. In 1960, there was one person of pension age for every 11.5 nonpension persons. Today, the ratio is one in every six. And the birthrate continues to decline. Under such circumstances, the social and economic situation has had a great impact on the family: We have an increase of single persons of marriageable age, and a high proportion of divorce (51 to 52 divorces per 1,000 families) and one-parent families (the number of one-parent families in 1995 constituted 10.8 percent of all families in the country and 14.8 percent in towns and cities).

Historically, most Ukrainian families did not limit the number of their children, nor did religious doctrine permit use of contraception. However, sexual intercourse was forbidden during major religious festivals. And most women knew about medicinal herbs that could be used to prevent pregnancy or induce a miscarriage. In the eleventh century, the daughter of King Jaroslav Mudryj Jevpraksija wrote the first book on the medical use of herbs, describing their use in preventing or terminating pregnancy. The average Ukrainian family was large, with the women sometimes having more than ten childbirths and five to nine surviving children.

The involvement of Ukrainian women in the labor force in 1930 and in 1950 reduced the number of childbirths and increased the number of induced abortions, even though from 1936 to 1955 abortion was forbidden by Soviet law. In the end, economic factors enabled the government to give impetus to a family planning policy and promote the development of contraception. Nevertheless, from the late 1960s to the present, Ukraine remains at the head of countries where abortion is the main form of birth control. In 1993, there were 104.2 abortions for every 1,000 women between ages 18 and 34. In 1994, there were between 110 and 115 abortions for every hundred childbirths.

There are several factors behind the reliance on abortion for family planning. Because of the lack of sex education in the former Soviet Union, the main form of family planning was natural, either withdrawal (coitus interruptus) or the “rhythm,” basal metabolism/calendar methods. Because these natural methods are not effective for pregnancy prevention and the abortion rate was increasing dramatically, the Ministry of Public Health was able to start teaching sexually active adults about contraception. The methods promoted included condoms, diaphragms, cervical caps, intrauterine devices, and spermicides.

Since sex-education programs were focused on adults, the sexual behavior of youths was not regarded as important for family planning. In the context of such policies, the incidence of teenage pregnancy started to rise. A second reason for the failure of the government program to promote contraception was the fact that the sex-education programs were focused mostly on women in gynecological clinics, and not on all women of child-bearing age. This policy ignored the family as a unit of a man and a woman and the male's responsibility in family planning. With this policy, husbands simply assumed that the wife would take responsibility for contraception, which they sometimes, but not always, did.

But the major factor was that the most effective birth-control methods, such as oral contraceptives and hormonal implants, were not recommended by the physicians and remained unpopular among both adults and teenagers. In addition to the strong prejudice against the hormonal contraceptive pills, another factor in their nonuse is their high cost in Ukraine.

From 1994 on, tubal ligation for the female and male vasectomy have been increasingly chosen by Ukrainian couples who do not want any more children or who prefer to remain childless.

In general, Ukraine needs a greater availability of contraception and improved sex information in order to reduce the increasing numbers of unwanted pregnancies.

B. Teenage Pregnancies

Although the main sex-education policy in Ukraine remains as it was in former Soviet times, with abstinence for youth declared the best birth-control method, every year the average age of the first intercourse for teenagers becomes lower. In 1995, sexarche occurred at about the age of 17 for both females and males. The number of teenage pregnancies is growing rapidly, with an estimated 15 percent to 18 percent of all pregnancies being to women under the age of 18 years of age (Bogdushkin and Andreev 1995). In the three years, 1992 to 1994, the number of abortions among the teenagers has increased 9.3 percent (according to hospital reports) and the number of illegal abortions by 23 percent (Ryzhko 1995).

Teenage pregnancy is often a motivation for establishing a marriage relationship. According to one survey, unmarried pregnancy occurred among 83 percent of young couples under 20 years old; 71 percent of them considered the childbirth undesirable. The decision to have an abortion or to keep a child is made by the young woman, with additional agreement of parents or relatives when the girl is under 16 or 17 years old. There are no special schools or classes for pregnant teenagers. Usually the relatives take the responsibility for a newborn baby. The destiny of such babies is often unhappy when a young mother gives her child up for the adoption or to an orphanage. During recent decades, the population of the rejected babies in an orphanage has increased many times in comparison to the number of the orphaned children in Ukraine after World War II. The high rate of adolescent pregnancy demonstrates that Ukraine needs to improve its school and community sex-education programs and to provide free, low-cost contraceptive services to all teenagers who need them.

C. Abortion

Abortions have been legal in Ukraine since 1955. They are available to any woman after the age of 18 years and are mostly free of charge - the state pays the medical expenses of low-income women. The abortion is usually done at a special clinic or gynecology department up to twelve weeks after the last menstrual period. Although abortions usually are medically safe, many factors affect the women after an operation: anxiety, depression, and complications in reproductive function. For 7.7 percent of Ukrainian women who are considered at risk for subsequent fertility and pregnancy, the first pregnancy is interrupted by abortion. (See also Section 9A above.)

The average Ukrainian women in her early 40s has experienced two or more abortions. Most women do not use any contraceptive method because of cost or unavailability. Recently, there has been a growing antiabortion movement in Ukraine, especially among some religious denominations, scientists, teachers, and some social organizations. These groups emphasize that a woman should take responsibility either for preventing pregnancy or giving the life for a new baby because of the right to life of the unborn fetus.

D. Efforts to Regulate Population Growth

With a regard to the demographic situation, the Ukrainian government considers the improvement of living standards for all women, but especially for young couples, as a measure of fertility, womanhood, and parenthood. For this purpose, the Committee of Women's Affairs, the Children and the Population was organized in April 1995 by the cabinet of the ministers of Ukraine. The committee started to develop family-planning policy and different social programs to permit the women and the families to promote their well-being, their health, and parenthood. The emphasis is on the improvement of women's status, maternal and child-health care, and family welfare. A family planning education strategy, the use of contraceptives, hygiene, and nutrition, are the basis of the committee's program. Family planning medical and psychological counseling services are becoming available in a number of towns of Ukraine.

10. Sexually Transmitted Diseases

The history of the medical treatment of sexually related diseases in the nineteenth century was connected with such scientists as J. Zelenev. J. Popov, B. Zadoroznij, and J. Mavrov. In Czarist Ukraine around 1850, 10 percent of all reported illnesses involved venereal diseases. Syphilis and gonorrhea were found mostly in the large industrial centers like Kyiv, Kharkiv, Odesa, and Mykolajiv. In 1901, The Journal of Skin and Venereal Diseases was founded in Charkiv; it carried articles describing the symptoms of common sexually transmitted diseases and their complications.

World War I and the October 1917 Revolution led to widespread sexual promiscuity and increasing cases of venereal diseases. In 1920 in Ukraine, the special dispensaries for treating STDs were organized in all large cities. This helped to slow the spread of these infections. World War II created a huge new public health problem, which lasted until 1950. In comparison to other former Soviet republics, Ukraine was characterized by the lowest level of STDs, due to the sanitary preventive measures.

A. Incidence, Patterns, and Trends

After the dissolution of the U.S.S.R., social factors such as large-scale migrations, the ease of reproducing erotic and pornographic videos and their availability, changes in the economic situation, and the double moral standard have influenced the recent outburst of venereal diseases. In Ukraine, as in other countries, the teenaged population appears hardest hit by the STD epidemic. Venereal diseases are increasing in epidemic proportions among teenagers because of lack of knowledge, early sexual experience, multiple sexual partners, and a high level of sexual activity.

In the past five years, syphilis cases among 14-year-old boys has increased about 400 percent, for 15- to 17-year-olds by about 800 percent. Among teenage girls, syphilis has increased by about 500 percent. Venereal diseases affect about 15,000 reported cases among teenagers. Females and males between the ages of 17 and 27 are most at risk of infection, and they account for the majority of all STD cases reported. In the past five years, the common infections like syphilis, gonorrhea, herpes, and chlamydia have increased about 300 percent in adult females and by 400 percent in adult males. This continuing increase in the incidence of STDs is creating urgent social problems.

B. Availability of Treatment and Prevention Efforts

In Ukraine today, there is a system of STD control, and appropriate health care is available throughout the country for people of all ages, in the rural areas as well as in the cities and large metropolitan areas. Everyone can obtain free and confidential routine medical testing and care. It is obligatory for all the personnel of medicine, nutrition, and provision services to be tested periodically for STDs and HIV, since the best way to fight the epidemic process is to block it. Some clinics provide resident treatment, some dispensaries provide out-patient care with pre- and post-test counseling. All services are free, with the patient paying only for medication when they can afford it. Besides medical service, these clinics provide free printed contraception and HIV/AIDS information.

The program for high-risk youth includes testing and follow-up care. Special venereal departments provide a wide range of medical services, all free and confidential. The only requirement for the patient is to identify all the partners so they can be tested and referred to medical services in case treatment is needed. Some venereal clinics offer extensive treatment for individuals addicted to drugs or alcohol, or to a person whose behavior put him or her at risk for being infected.

Ukrainian physicians prepare special information for adolescents aged 14 to 18 in order to give them the facts they need to protect themselves from STDs. But this work is insufficient in the area of mass media, especially television and in educational programs in the schools, where some are still embarrassed when speaking of “sexually transmissible.” A sexually enlightened society is not afraid to influence the consciousness and attitudes of the masses with an honest voice.


The epidemiology of HIV and AIDS infection in Ukraine demonstrates worrisome trends. The epidemic reached all but three of the twenty-one regions of the state, Volyn', Khmelnyts'kyj, and Rivne.

A. Incidence, Patterns, and Trends

By April 1, 1995, there were 429 persons infected with HIV, 210 of them being citizens of Ukraine and 219 foreigners. Sixty percent were male and 40 percent female. Of this total, thirty-six cases were full-blown AIDS, of which seventeen are already dead, including four children. Every year the number of HIV-positive men and women increases by about 35 percent. The rate of infection is growing more rapidly among those who engage in intravenous (IV) drug use or are sexual partners of such users. Thus, in the Mykolajiv region, most of the HIV cases are spread by IV drug users. There are now in Ukraine more than 40,000 registered drug users, 75 percent of them sharing needles as a regular practice.

Most of the current victims, 66.2 percent, were infected during sexual intercourse, mostly heterosexual, often with IV drug user partners. Twenty infants, 4.7 percent of the cases, contracted HIV during delivery. The policy of routinely offering HIV testing to all pregnant women can play a vital role in preventing the spread of this disease.

B. Availability of Treatment and Prevention Programs

The first national project for HIV/AIDS prevention was adopted in February 1992 and ran through 1994. A second program was planned to run until 1997. Both plans were developed by a national committee against AIDS and are supported by a number of organizations: the Ministry of Public Health, the Ministry of Economics, Social Defense Ministry, and the Agency for Youth and Sports. The general lines of the programs include promotion of condom use, an educational project, mass-media action, and providing health care clinics.

The general goal is to slow down the epidemic of HIV and save thousands of lives. Medical aspects of the program arc designed to reduce or eliminate the risk of getting HIV. The health workers have set themselves an ambitious goal: mass awareness and understanding of how sexual intercourse can be made safer to reduce the risk of getting HIV. Another effort is to supply the population with condoms; approximately 150 million condoms will be provided annually for the needs of the Ukrainian population. The medical campaign against AIDS also requires testing donated blood and blood products by checking two million blood samples annually.

Special attention will be given to laboratory testing for HIV-infection. More then 170 institutions will make four million tests a year, using clinical tests produced by the American firm Abbott and French Sanofi Diagnostic Pasteur. The state will also promote development of a national industry for transfusion blood screening. The program also contains measures for health care of the laboratory and hospital personnel in order to reduce the risk of their becoming infected.

The development of AIDS service organizations requires special training programs for responding without fear to the needs of all HIV-infected people who require medical or psychological help. Already, clinics in regional centers serve people with HIV or AIDS. Usually they offer confidential medical services, pre- and post-test counseling, meals, housing and rental assistance, and complete medical evaluations. Again, all such services are free and confidential. The national program includes research studies of the viral causes of AIDS, the development of new diagnostic and treatment methods of diagnosis, and the search for an AIDS vaccine.

The main program direction is on promoting AIDS awareness among the population. A mass-media effort on radio and television and in the newspapers should be effective in raising the knowledge about AIDS, especially how everyone can gain some protection. The information-educational work is focused on separating the scientific facts from the myths, and providing information about the connection between sexual intercourse, oral and anal sex, and HIV transmission. High-risk groups will receive special attention. The financial cost for the National Program is 1,481,823 million rubles plus $12,248,600 American dollars.

In 1991, the Ukrainian Parliament adopted a bill about the prevention against AIDS infection and protection of the population. A national committee supported by the Ukrainian president has been organized as the main center for creative central and regional area programs for the fight against AIDS. This committee provides a wide range of educational, economic, and social policy concerning AIDS-related work. The chairperson of the National Committee is Professor Matsuka Hennadiy (Address: 3 Mechnikova vul., Kyiv, 252023; fax 380-44-244-3811).

12. Sexual Dysfunctions, Counseling, and Therapies

A. Concepts of Sexual Dysfunction

Until the mid-1970s, the concept of sexual dysfunction in the Soviet Ukraine was limited to disorders in the reproductive functioning. This view was widespread in an authoritarian society where the individual was considered only a small screw in a large mechanical machinery. Yet, even without knowledge about social and personality psychology, many urologists and gynecologists tried to treat their patients' sexual problems by dealing with their individual psychological difficulties.

A network of sexological consultation centers began to appear in Ukrainian cities in 1964. The inspiration for this development came from Ivan Unda (1924-1994), a professor of sexology, who emphasized the connection between physiological and psychological factors in human sexual functioning. He taught that sexual problems, such as lack of sexual desire, inhibited sexual arousal and orgasm, premature ejaculation, and other dysfunctions, stem from a combination of sociocultural, individual, and interpersonal factors.

While sexual problems vary from individual to individual, today's Ukrainian scientists consider sexual problems as stemming from three sources: (1) personal subjective feelings, emotions, attitudes, and values; (2) socially acquired attitudes and expectations, as well as the partner's reactions; and (3) physiological disorders mostly associated with stress, depression, and illness. In recent years, one must add to the usual etiologies of sexual dysfunction the individual's response to the economic difficulties and political situation in postsocialist Ukraine, which increasingly can be related to sexual problems.

One particular consequence of seventy years of Soviet authoritarianism is evident in the psychology of the Ukrainian female and male. While other aspects of this influence are gender-related, one effect pertains equally to both females and males. This has resulted in problems in the ability to listen, to understand, to forgive, and to resolve conflict on the basis of respect for the individual person.

B. The Availability of Diagnosis and Treatment

Since 1989, every large city in Ukraine has had its family or sexology consultation centers where sexologists and psychologists have begun to work together. Medical examination of the individual or couple is accompanied by psychological testing.

Many women and men are seeking help at these centers, be it guidance, information, or reassurance. The number of sexological problems are considerable, but most are connected with the individual psychological culture. The diagnostic services of the consultation centers focus on the communications abilities and relationships between wife and husband or lovers and the psychology of human sexual response. The latter is not limited to coitus, but extends to all the pleasurable and negative sensations associated with any sexuoerotic contact.

The treatment part of the counseling deals with couple guidance and relationship problems, and on teaching interpersonal skills that can be applied in their everyday interactions as a couple. The program, usually a combination of traditional psychotherapy with behavioral-oriented therapy, is aimed at personal growth of the patient(s) and sexual healing, using dialogue, role playing, and group therapy. Constant efforts are made to help the patient(s) develop a warm and well-functioning relationship.

Most counseling services are free of charge and confidential. There are some nongovernmental family consultation services, available for those who can afford them.

C. Therapist Training and Certification

Sexological or family consultation centers are staffed primarily by physician-sexologists, and by clinical psychologists and psychiatrists. Medical sexology as a specialty for physicians is taught by gynecologists, by psychiatrists in graduate courses at the medical universities in Kyiv, Odesa, Dnipropetrovs'k, and other cities, and in postgraduate courses at the Ukrainian Physicians' Improvement Institute in Charkiv. Psychological problems in sexology are studied at the Teachers Training Universities in postgraduate courses, and in the doctoral program at the Institute of Psychology. The Ministry of Public Health of Ukraine, the Ministry of Education, the State Universities and their scientific boards establish the criteria for programs, course work, and requirements for licensing and certification in fields involved in diagnosis and treatment of sexual dysfunctions.

13. Research and Advanced Education

A. Institutes and Programs for Sexological Research

Several government agencies are involved in and support sexological research. These include seven divisions of the Ministry of Public Health of Ukraine. Other organizations are:

Kyiv Research Institute of Urology and Nephrology, Professor Olexandr Vozianov, Director; Department of Sexopathology, Androgyny, and Sexology Clinic, Professor Ihor Gorpinchenko, Chairperson. Address: 9 a In. Kotsubinskyj vul., Kyiv 252053. Telephone: 38-044-216-5054; fax 38-044-244-6862. Research includes: the sexology and andrology of aging; the Chernobil catastrophe and changes in the reproductive function; development of objective diagnostic method for sexual dysfunctions; and investigation of the pathospermia factors in infertility couples.

Kyiv Research Institute of Clinical and Experimental Surgery, Professor Valerej Saenko, Director. Address: 30 Herojiv Sevastopolia vul., Kyiv 252180. Telephone: 38-044-483-1374; fax 38-044-483-5219. Research includes: improvement and development of body surgery corrections of transsexual persons; diagnosis and treatment of the vascular impotence; and endo-orthopedic prosthetic appliances.

Kyiv Central Institute for the Physicians Improvement - Medical and Social Problems of the Family Division, Professor Zoreslava Shkiriak-Nyzhnyk, Chairperson. Address: 8 Manujil'skoho vul., Kyiv 252054. Telephone: 380-44-213-6271; fax 380-44-213-6271. Research includes: family and female health at all ages.

Common Ukrainian-Holland Center for Human Reproduction, Iryna Vovk, President. Address: 8 Manujil'skoho vul., Kyiv 252054. Telephone: 38-044-213-1446; fax 38-044-213-7125. Research includes sex information for children and teenagers.

Kyiv Research Sexology and Andrology Center, Professor Borys Vornyk, Chairperson. Address: 8 Smolenska vul., Kyiv 252057. Telephone: 380-044-228-0103; fax 380-44-543-8421. Research includes: adult sexual dysfunction; male and female infertility; personal disharmonies in sexual relationships; social and biological factors in transsexuality and homosexuality; hospital investigation and the treatment of sexual diseases (prostatitis, urethrities, epidermities, etc.); and treatment of gender-identity disorders and conditions.

Institute of Gerontology, The Academy of Medical Sciences, Department of Genetics and Mathematical Modeling, Professor Volodymyr Vojtenko, Chairperson. Address: 67 Vyzhhorods'ka vul., Kyiv 252114. Telephone: 380-44-431-0524; fax 380-44-432-9956. Research includes the development of human sexuality in the later years.

Ukrainian Institute for the Physicians Improvement, The Chair of Sexology and Medical Psychology, Professor Valentyn Kryshtal', Chairperson. Address: 81/85 Myronositska vul., Charkiv 310023. Telephone: 38-057-245-1056. Research includes: matrimonial disharmonies, causes as well as medical and psychological methods for the evaluation of dysfunctional couples; marital therapy and treatment programs.

Other major institutes with programs for sexology-related research include three whose main focus is education, the first two below being in the Ukrainian Ministry of Education:
State Ukrainian Pedagogical University, Ofter M. Drahomanov, Chair of Psychology and Pedagogy, Dr. Tamara Govorun, Research Program Manager. Address: 9 Pyrohova vul., Kyiv 252030. Telephone: 380-044-216-3007; fax 380-44-224-2251. Research includes: techniques for teaching human sexuality courses; childhood sexual development and behavior; and comparisons of gender behavior in cross-cultural investigations.

Institute for the System Researchers Studies in Education, The Department of Child Upbringing, Dr. Svitlana Kyrylenko, Research Programs Manager. Address: 37 Petra Sahajdachnoho vul., Kyiv 252070. Telephone: 380-44-416-0441; fax 380-44-417-8336. Research includes: conception of childhood sexuality and models for sexual education; sexual behavior and parent-teenager communications; and sexual knowledge in secondary and high schools.

Ukrainian Academy of Pedagogical Sciences, Institute of Psychology, The Laboratory of the Psychology of Nurturing: Professor Myroslav Boryshevskiy, Chairperson. Address: 2 Pan'kivs'ka vul., Kyiv 252030. Telephone: 380-44-244-3320; fax 380-44-244-1963. Research includes: development of gender self-consciousness in childhood and adolescence; parental roles in developing child sexuality; and development of sex-education programs for children and teenagers.

B. Graduate Programs and the Advanced Study of Human Sexuality

Most specialists who deal with human sexuality in Ukraine fit into three categories: sexologists, physician/sexologists, and psychologists. According to the basic college education, there are a variety of postgraduate advanced courses of study available in Ukraine. Some of these are listed here with their focus, sponsoring agency, and address.

Master's degree programs in human sexuality. Ministry of Public Health of Ukraine, Ukrainian Institute for the Physicians Improvement, The Chair of Sexology and Medical Psychology, Professor Valentyn Kryshtal', Chairperson. Address: 81/85 Myronositska vul., Kharkiv 310023. Telephone: 380-57-245-1056.

Graduate courses in sexology for the physicians' advanced training; doctorate programs in sexuality and family studies. Ministry of Public Health of Ukraine. Address: Kyiv Research Institute of Urology and Nephrology, 9 a In. Kotsubinskiy vul., Kyiv 252053. Fax: 380-44-244-6862.

Postgraduate courses on sexology for an academic degree in medicine. Ministry of Public Health of Ukraine. Address: Ukrainian Institute of the Physicians Improvement, Mykola Chjesjuk, Director. 17 Korchahintsiv vul., Charkiv 310000. Telephone: 380-57-211-3556; fax 380-57-211-3556.

Postgraduate courses on sexology for an academic degree in medicine. Ministry of Public Health of Ukraine, Ukrainian State Medical University. Address: Department of Psychiatry, Professor Olexandr Naprijenko, Chairperson, 13 Shevchenka bulv., Kyiv 252004. Telephone: 380-44-435-3554.

Graduate courses on sexology for the physicians' advanced training courses. The Academy of Pedagogical Sciences, Institute of Psychology. Address: 2 Pan'kivs'ka vul., Kyiv 252033. Telephone: 380-44-244-1963.

Postgraduate courses on sexual behavior for an academic degree in psychology. The Ukrainian Ministry of Education, The State Ukrainian Pedagogical University, by M. Dragomanov. Address: 9 Pyrohova, Kyiv 252030. Fax: 380-44-224-2251.

There are also postgraduate courses on sexual behavior for an academic degree in psychology or in pedagogy.

C. Ukrainian Sexological Journals

Two sexological journals are published in Ukraine:

The Journal of Sexology and Andrology. Address: Editor, 9 a Kotsubynskoho vul., Kyiv 252053. Fax: 380-44-244-6862.

The Journal of Sexopathology and Andrology. Address: Borys Vornyk, Ph.D., Editor, 8 Smolenska vul., Kyiv 252057. Fax: 380-44-228-0103 (a semi-annual publication).

There are three popular mass-media publications in Ukraine dealing with sexuality:

Pan Plus Pani. Address: a/ja. 71. Ternopol 282001. Telephone: 380-35-225-0724 (a weekly newspaper).

Interesnaja Gazeta. Address: 50 Peremohy bulv., Kyiv 252047. Telephone: 380-44-441-8257; fax 380-44-446-9101 (a newspaper).

Lel. Address: Editor, Chyrkovsrly, 38/44 Dehtjarivs'ka vul., Kyiv 252103. Telephone: 380-44-211-0268 (a quarterly Ukrainian erotic magazine).

D. Major Sexological Organizations

The Ukrainian Society of Sexologists. Address: 9 a In. Kotsubinskiy vul., Kyiv 252053. Telephone: 380-044-216-5054; fax 380-44-244-6862. This national professional organization includes physicians, psychologists, and teachers in secondary high schools, colleges, and graduate schools who unite their efforts in scientific research and applied work on human sexuality.

The European-Asian Association of Sexologists. Address: 8 Smolenska vul., Kyiv 252057. Telephone: 380-44-446-1346; fax 380-44-228-0103. This is an international organization of sexologists from former Soviet republics and of professionals from abroad. Its annual meetings in sexual science are usually held in September in Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine.

The Institute of Reproductive Medicine, Professor Phedir Dachno, Director. Address: 2b Herojiv Kosmosu vul., Kyiv 252148. Telephone: 380-44-478-3068; Fax 380-44-478-3068.

14. Ethnic Minorities

Ukraine is motherland to many ethnic groups. Bulgarians, Serbs, and Poles have been settled in Ukrainian territory since the eighteenth century, Moldavians since the sixteenth century, Gypsies since the fifteenth century, and Jews since the fourteenth century. Most of these ethnic minorities identify themselves with some nation in the world, but some of them, like the Budjak Gaguasers and Tavrida Tartars, have developed as an ethnic group within Ukraine, and thus consider themselves a native minority population.

A. The Tartars

In the 1940s, all Tartars, descendants of various Mogul and Turkish tribes, were forced to leave their homes in Ukraine. Today, those who survived Stalin's genocide policies are trying to return to the Crimea and Tavrida steppes.

The Tartar family, as any family, is a system for social control and inculcating cultural behavior patterns for all its members. Before their forced eviction, the Tartars lived mostly in extended families. These family communities included two or more brothers with their wives, married children, and grandchildren. Such kin constituted an independent economic and social group which remained a primary vehicle for preserving and transferring customs and traditions.

Most Tartar families today are nuclear, although the authority of males, especially older males, is maintained as a tradition. In all family settings, the superiority of males is considered normal and natural. Marriage is prohibited within seven generations of blood kinship. Tartar sexual culture is more permissive for men, whether young or old; women are held to much stricter standards. The wife's devotion to her husband is very much appreciated and expected, as well as the obedience of all women to their father, brothers, and male relatives by marriage. The family is viewed as a social, religious, and moral unity, based on the wife's efforts to support her husband and maintain a positive psychological climate among the relatives. That is why developing honesty and innocence is the main focus in raising girls. The Tartars have different rituals to protect virginity, and its public manifestation indicates the important role virginity plays in the appreciation of marital intimacy. It is taboo for bridegrooms to admit sexual competence before their wedding.

In modern Tartar wedding celebrations, a lot of ethnic prescriptions are maintained. The women's and men's communities are located in different rooms. Newlyweds are expected to show the groom's relatives the signs of the bride's virginity by the time of marriage. The young wife puts a red kerchief on her head, while her husband wears a red ribbon-belt around his waist as a symbol of sexual innocence. Red strings link the generations, as well as brothers, sisters, and relatives by marriage. All play special roles during the wedding ceremony and try to help the young couple as they settle into married and family life. According to ethnic beliefs, sexual feelings and private matters should be subject to human reason and the stability of marital relationships. Some traditional presents for newlyweds symbolize the support of the family: a wedding candle to make life light and clear and a round meat pie (kobete) to symbolize good health and children.

B. Koreans

Koreans as an ethnic minority came to Ukraine mostly after World War II. In families where one spouse is Korean and the other non-Korean, national customs are much more carefully maintained when the wife is Korean than when the husband is Korean and his wife non-Korean. Korean gender behavior is determined by the commandments of Conphutsy ideals of great respect for ancestors, harmony within the marital unit and society, strict subordination of the younger to their elders, and the high authority of the father and male relatives.

Korean marriage is considered not only the unity of husband and wife, but of two families or kins. Although the dominant position of the male is preserved in all family matters, the Korean woman does not change her last name after marriage. Thus, many Korean families in Ukraine have doubled names with two surnames. The Korean minority has adjusted to Ukrainian holidays but try to preserve their national festivals. One of the more important of these is the commemorative feast in which every person celebrates in him- or herself the past, the present, and the future of parentage.

An appreciation of the growing personality and the older generation is at the core of most Korean family holidays. Among these are the celebration of a hundred days after the baby's birth. The belief is that if a hundred guests share in the banquet that day, the child will live a happy and long life. When a baby is 1 year old, he or she may foretell his or her future destiny. For that purpose, the parents place some different toys before the child. If the baby chooses the money, it will be successful in business in the future; if a book is chosen, the future adult will be lucky in science and intellectual pursuits; and so on.

Since Korean marriage is considered to be a union of two kins, special gender behavior patterns are honored during the wedding ceremony. The bride and groom stand face to face, bow to each other, ritually clean the hands, exchange goblets of wine, and drink from the cup. Usually, Korean families remember and commemorate four times a year at least four generations of their ancestors who are known by name and profession.

The sexual attitudes and customs of Tartar and Korean ethnic minorities in Ukraine, like any ethnic minority in any country, are continually undergoing change and adapting, being influenced by me majority culture and, at the same time, more or less influencing and changing that majority culture.

References and Suggested Readings

Bogdushkin N., and M. Andreev. 1995. “The Problem of the Young Pregnancy and Childbirth.” Kharkov Medical Journal, 1.

Boryshevskyj, Myroslav. 1990. Psychologichni Pytannia Statevoho Vyhovannia Uchniv (The Psychological Questions of Sex Nurturing the Pupils). Kyiv: Edition Radjanska Shkola (in Ukrainian).

Boryshevskyj, Myroslav. 1992. Stateve Vychovannya (The Sex Nurturing). Kyiv: Encyclopedia of the Mother and Child. Edition Ukrainian encyclopedia after Bazhana (in Ukrainian).

Chubyns'kiy, P. 1994. “Shameless Songs.” Lel, 6(17).

Chujko, L. 1994. “The Tendencies of Family Development.” Economical Reforms in Ukraine. SINTO.

Gorpinchenko, Ihor. 1991. Herontologicheskaya Seksopatologija (Herontology Sexopatology). Kyiv: Edition Zdorovja (in Russian).

Gorpinchenko, Ihor. 1991. Otkrovenno o Sokrovennom (Sincerely about Innermost). Kyiv: Edition Zdorovja (in Russian).

Govorun, Tamara, and Oksana Shargana. 1990. Bat'kam pro Stateve Vychovannya Ditej (For Parents about Sexual Education of the Children). Kyiv: Edition Radjanska Shkola (in Ukrainian).

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