Rivkin-Fish, Michele R. (1999). Sexuality Education in Russia: Defining Pleasure and Danger for a Fledgling Democratic Society. Social Science & Medicine, 49(6)
Public health indicators have plummeted throughout Russia since the collapse of the Soviet Union, with exponential increases in sexually transmitted diseases reported among this society’s young adults. Newly developing sexuality education programs provide insights into the ways local health providers interpret such public health challenges and conceptualize the educational needs of Russian youth. Moreover, these initiatives reveal the impact of both Soviet-era discourses and more recent, international anti-abortion activism on contemporary thinking about sexual health matters. This article explores the implicit and sometimes explicit ways that sex education lectures are being driven by debates over the significance of the Soviet past and anxieties over the perceived chaos of current transformations. Drawing on material from lectures, fieldwork, and interviews with sex educators, I argue that sexuality education efforts reveal a persistent ambivalence between the hope to promote individual autonomy from state interests and the presumed need to control sexual expression and reproductive practices within an emerging moral economy of post-Soviet Russia.
Social Science & Medicine
Rivkin-Fish, Michele R.