AROUND 70 per cent of Portuguese consider sexual relations between two adults of the same sex wrong, according to a study by a Lisbon university.
The Health & Sexuality Survey 2007, Inquérito Saúde e Sexualidade, by sociologists at Lisbon University’s Institute of Social Sciences, also showed that one in 10 admitted to having been unfaithful.
Even 53 per cent of young people thought that same sex relationships were morally wrong.
Sofia Aboim, one of the sociologists involved in the project, said: “Portugal still is a very homophobic country and mentalities aren’t very open-minded in accepting homosexuals.”
The questionnaires, which were given to 3,643 men and women of all age groups, from 16 to 65, and social classes across the country, asked those canvassed if they thought sexual relations between people of the same sex were totally wrong, mostly wrong, sometimes wrong or rarely wrong.
The majority of those asked responded mostly wrong, with men being most critical of homosexual relationships (58.9 per cent) but believing lesbianism was slightly more acceptable (53.9 per cent).
Sofia Aboim says that this is because Portuguese society is traditionally machoistic and homophobic, although women were more likely to accept same sex relations with 40 per cent thinking them totally wrong.
Age also played an important factor in attitudes. The younger the person (18-24) the less likely they were to disapprove of same sex relationships, but even among young people the level of disapproval was high (53 per cent).
Five per cent of the population had admitted having some kind of sexual contact with someone of the same sex, 3.2 per cent claimed they had had a full blown sexual relationship with a same sex partner, and there were more who accepted they were bi-sexual than homosexual.
Among those Portuguese living in a relationship for five years or more, 12 per cent admitted to having cheated on their partners at least once, with 16.9 per cent of men claiming they had been unfaithful as against seven per cent of women.
Fifty-five per cent of women said they had only had one sexual partner in their lives, whereas 59 per cent of men said they had had four or more sexual partners in their sexual lives.
However, scientists concluded that “men exaggerated their sexual prowess” while women were more likely to “understate” their partners.
Both women and men who were religious were also likely to be the most conservative and less adventurous when it came to sexual practices.