Russian society became more liberal to sex before marriage in the past 25 years, a poll conducted by the All-Russia Public Opinion Research Center (VTsIOM) shows.
The poll, which surveys 1,600 people, was conducted in 130 populated areas of Russia. It shows that the percentage of respondents who believe sex before marriage is unacceptable for young men went down from 29% in 1989 to 21% in 2014 and the percentage of people who believe it is unacceptable for young women went down from 37% in 1989 to 26% in 2014.
The poll shows that older people are more conservative on this matter than young people. Responding to a question as to whether sex before marriage is acceptable, 42% of the respondents older than 60 believe it is unacceptable for young men and 47% said it is unacceptable for young women (of the respondents aged 18-24, only 8% said it is unacceptable for young men and 16% said it is unacceptable for young women).
Twenty-six percent of the respondents are tolerant of sex between a young man and his future wife and 32% are tolerant of a relationship between a young woman and her future husband.
The percentage of respondents who believe citizens have a right to have sexual relations with any partner has increased considerably: 27% of the respondents (against 11% in 1989) said young men have a right to have sex with any woman and 20% (against 6% in 1989) said young women have a right to have sexual relations with any man.
Some respondents believe sex before marriage is not only allowed, but also useful for young men (13%) and for young women (9%).
Forty-nine percent of the respondents (against 48% in 1989) who find sex before marriage acceptable believe the acceptable age for beginning sexual life is 18-19, 17% believe it is normal to begin sexual life at 16-17, and 23% believe it is better to wait until at least twenty.
The number of respondents who believe sex before marriage is now widespread has increased considerably from the Soviet times (59% against 41%). Twenty-nine percent of the respondents believe sex before marriage is very common. Only 3% of the respondents said such a thing is rare (the percentage has not changed since 1989).
Fifty-two percent of the respondents said the main reason why sex before marriage is widespread is moral decline (against 42% in 1989). More Russians now mention people's wish to imitate the Western lifestyle as the main factor (from 14% to 34%). Others blame insufficient sexual education of young people (31%), earlier physical maturation (29%), and changes in the ideas of love (27%).
Among the possible negative consequences of sex before marriage, most respondents mentioned the spread of sexually transmitted diseases and AIDS (56%), the probability of many children being abandoned (46%), the increase in the number of weak families, which are created 'out of necessity'(37%).
The percentage of those who believe abortions will increase women's infertility has doubled (from 21% to 40%). More respondents are mentioning consequences such as problems with getting an education due to an early pregnancy (from 12% to 27%) and the worsening of relations between young people and the older generation (from 12% to 25%).
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