• Sexuality;
  • Puerto Rico;
  • Hispanics;
  • Sexual Health


Introduction.  Given changes in sexual behaviors and norms in the United States, there is a need for current and representative data on sexual behaviors with particular interest in gender, age, and racial/ethnic group differences.

Aim.  Given the limited data for Hispanics and for Puerto Rico (PR), we described patterns of sexual behaviors and characteristics among a sexually active sample (n = 1,575) of adults aged 21–64 years in PR.

Main Outcome Measures.  The main outcome measures for this study are sexual behaviors including age at sexual initiation, number of sexual partners, vaginal and anal intercourse, and oral sex, among others.

Methods.  Data from a population-based cross-sectional study in PR (2005–2008) was analyzed. The prevalence of sexual behaviors and characteristics was described by age-group and gender during the lifetime and in the past 12 months.

Results.  Overall, 96.8%, 81.6%, and 60.9% of participants had ever engaged in vaginal, oral and anal sex, respectively, whereas 23.7% were seropositive to any of the sexually transmitted infections under study. Sexual initiation ≤15 years was reported by 37.8% of men and 21.4% of women; whereas 47.9% of men and 13.2% of women reported to have had ≥7 sexual partners in their lifetime. Approximately, 3% of women and 6% of men reported same-sex sexual practices, while history of forced sexual relations was reported by 9.6% of women and 2.5% of men. Sexual initiation ≤15 years was more common among individuals aged 21–34 years (41.4% men and 33.6% women) as compared with older cohorts. Although having had ≥7 sexual partners over a lifetime among men was similar across age groups, this behavior decreased in older women cohorts. In both genders, the prevalence of oral and anal sex was also lower in the older age cohorts.

Conclusion.  This study provides essential information that can help health professionals understand the sexual practices and needs of the population of PR. Ortiz AP, Soto-Salgado M, Suárez E, del Carmen Santos-Ortiz M, Tortolero-Luna G, and Pérez CM. Sexual behaviors among adults in Puerto Rico: A population-based study. J Sex Med 2011;8:2439–2449.