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Attitudes toward sexuality among straight and queer university students from Cuba, Norway and South Africa


Professor Bente Træen, University of Tromsø, Department of Psychology, NO-9037 Tromsø, Norway. Tel: 00 47 77 64 59 55; fax: 00 47 77 64 56 10; e-mail:


This paper explores differences and similarities in sexual attitudes among university students 18 years or older of different sexual orientation in Havana, Tromsø, and Cape Town. In the period 2004–5, a questionnaire survey on sexuality, happiness and life satisfaction, was undertaken among 318 students from the University of Havana, 144 students from the University of Tromsø, and 182 students from the University of the Western Cape. The respondents in Cape Town generally expressed more restrictive attitudes toward sexuality than respondents in the other two samples. The dimensionality of attitudes was studied, and three interpretable dimensions were identified: Sexual novelty seeking; Individualization and equality; and Fidelity. Attitudes toward sexual novelty seeking were most efficient in separating straight men and women, and queer men and women in the three samples. The samples were also different in their acceptance of infidelity. More research is needed to further explore cultural differences in sexual attitudes.