Monday, March 12, 2018

Dissecting Attitudes towards Pre-Marital Sex in Georgia

Many in Georgia embrace conservative attitudes about premarital sex, as a previous CRRC blog post highlighted. Attitudes are different, however, depending whether it’s a male or a female having the premarital relationship. This blog post uses data from CRRC’s 2017 Knowledge of and attitudes toward the EU in Georgia survey (EU survey) conducted for Europe Foundation to describe how justified or unjustified people of varying ages, genders, and those living in different types of settlements believe pre-marital sex to be for men and women.

In 2017, when asked, “In your opinion, how justified or unjustified is it for a woman to have a sexual relationship before marriage?” 71% of people in Georgia reported that it is ‘never justified.’  In contrast, only 38% responded that it is ‘never justified’ for a man to have a sexual relationship before marriage. Both men and women are more conservative towards women engaging in pre-marital sexual relationships than men.  However, women report that it is ‘never justified’ for a man to have pre-marital sex slightly more often than men.

Variations in the level of justification of male and female pre-marital sex can also be observed by age group and settlement type. Unsurprisingly, older people (56+) hold more conservative attitudes toward pre-marital sex than younger individuals, responding more frequently that it is ‘never justified’ for both men and women to have a sexual relationship before marriage. Nonetheless, people above the age of 55 exhibit much greater acceptance of a man having a sexual relationship before marriage than of a woman.

Both men and women in the capital and other urban settlements are more liberal than those residing in rural and ethnic minority settlements.  However, men and women in Tbilisi generally demonstrate greater acceptance of premarital sex than those in other urban settlements of Georgia. While people living in rural and ethnic minority settlements hold the most conservative attitudes in general, they are more strongly opposed to women having pre-marital sexual relationships than men, further highlighting how standards of ‘justifiable’ sexual behavior are applied to men and women differently.

The data presented in this blog post highlights a number of findings.  First, a majority of individuals in Georgia believe that women should adhere to conservative standards of sexual ‘purity,’ while men are granted greater liberty in this regard.  Secondly, even within populations that are more liberal toward pre-marital sex — men and women aged 18-35 and those residing in the capital — most people still report it is never justified for a woman have a pre-marital sexual relationship, while they are more liberal with men.  The fact that women tend to respond more frequently that it is ‘never justified’ for a woman to have a pre-marital sexual relationship than responding the same about a man demonstrates the extent to which women have internalized gendered norms regarding sexual behavior.

To explore the data used in this blog post further, visit our Online Data Analysis platform.


WOMblog said...

Amazing rate of "Ok" for women to have sex in rural populations' female opinions! It may show sociological differences of family/religion/occupations. I surmise that villagers are far less religious in most villages (excluding those that were religious centers traditionally) than urbanites (contrary to popular belief), thus closer to rural realities.

WOMblog said...

I did not find the explanation for what "non-Georgian" respondents implied??