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PostPosted: Tue Oct 22, 2013 7:34 pm 
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Gay pride revelers in Brazil pack Copacabana Beach
13 October 2013



RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) -- Rio de Janeiro's famed Copacabana beach has been packed with tens of thousands of revelers taking part in the city's gay pride parade.

A hot tropical sun beamed down on Sunday's flamboyant and loud procession. Participants in Carnavalesque outfits danced as trucks outfitted with enormous speakers blasted driving electronic music.

Rio's pride parade isn't Brazil's largest. That distinction belongs to the event held in Sao Paulo. But the gathering arguably the country's wildest, taking place in a city that throws its arms open wide to any event offering a glitzy show.

Organizers say it's not just a party, though. They want to raise awareness about violence committed against gays and to reinforce lessons about safe sex among those taking part in the parade.

Source: AP.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 19, 2013 6:25 am 
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Rio holds ‘biggest ever’ collective same-sex marriage ceremony
9th December 2013
by Scott Roberts

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One hundred and thirty same-sex couples have taken part in a mass civil marriage ceremony in Rio de Janeiro.

The ceremony was held in the auditorium of the School of Magistrates of Rio de Janeiro. Organisers claim Sunday’s event was the “biggest” collective same-sex marriage ceremony ever held.

An emotional Viviane Soares Lessa de Faria, 38, smiled at her partner and told news site G1 “I’ve dreamed of marrying her since I met her.” Her wife’s 29-year-old son was the couple’s best man. For Giuseppe Laricchia, 21, marrying his boyfriend was about guaranteeing rights. “We need to have equality compared with heterosexual couples,” he said.

In May this year Brazil’s national Court of Justice ruled gay couples cannot be denied the right to marry. Some public offices had already been accepting marriage applications from same-sex couples, while others had refused.

Source: PinkNews.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 19, 2013 6:54 am 
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Brazil's child sex trade soars as 2014 World Cup nears
by Adriana Brasileiro
Monday, 9 December 2013

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Brazil's child sex trade: Jessica, 16, who was arrested during a raid at a sex club, shows her tattoo at a shelter for girls in Fortaleza. Photograph: Reuters

A tiny figure in minuscule white shorts and a pink strapless top leans against a metal fence outside a school in Fortaleza, the capital of Ceará state, north-east Brazil.

She has gloss-coated lips, and her yellow headband, holding back long hair, glows in the lamplight along Juscelino Kubitschek Avenue, which connects the city to the Castelão arena, one of the venues for the 2014 World Cup. A car pulls up. The girl climbs in. This is a common scene around the stadium in Fortaleza, considered Brazil's child prostitution capital and a magnet for sex tourism, according to local authorities.

Transvestites also work the dusty pavements of this newly renovated thoroughfare but young girls are in higher demand. "As soon as they hit the avenue they're picked up," says Antônia Lima Sousa, a state prosecutor who works on children's rights in Fortaleza. "It's really a matter of minutes. You'll find them around town during the day too."

Despite more than a decade of government pledges to eradicate child prostitution, the number of child sex workers in Brazil stood at about half a million in 2012, according to the National Forum for the Prevention of Child Labor, a non-governmental organisation. That's a fivefold increase since 2001, when 100,000 children worked in the sex trade, according to estimates by Unicef, the UN children's charity.

And with the World Cup approaching in June, officials and campaigners fear an explosion in child prostitution as sex workers migrate to big cities from interior states and pimps recruit more young people to meet increased demand from local and foreign football fans. "We're worried sexual exploitation will increase in the host cities and around them," says Joseleno Vieira dos Santos, who co-ordinates a national programme to fight the sexual exploitation of children at Brazil's Human Rights Secretariat. "We're trying to co-ordinate efforts as much as we can with state and city governments to understand the scope of the problem."

But the authorities have a battle on their hands as sex workers prepare to cash in on a bumper trade. The Minas Gerais State Association of Prostitutes, which represents sex workers in one of Brazil's largest states, is even offering free English lessons to prostitutes in the capital Belo Horizonte, another World Cup host city. "There'll be a lot more people circulating in this area during the games for sure and the city will be full of tourists," says Giovana, 19, a transvestite working a corner near Castelão stadium. "I know there'll be more work for everybody – women, girls, everybody."

Big bucks

The tournament is expected to attract 600,000 foreign visitors to Brazil who will spend an estimated 25bn reals (£6.5bn) while travelling around the country, the Brazilian tourism board, Embratur, says. The championship could inject 113bn reals into the economy by 2014, Fifa has said, citing an Ernst & Young report.

Brazil's government will have spent 33bn reals on stadiums, transport and other infrastructure by the time the tournament kicks off, as well as £6m on advertising. In contrast, very little is being spent on fighting the sexual exploitation of minors, campaigners say. The Human Rights Secretariat has set aside 8m reals for host cities to set up projects to fight child prostitution, but not all cities have programmes in place to absorb the funds, Santos says. His department is finishing a review of child prostitution in key locations and will then decide what action to take. But any programmes will scratch only the surface. "We realise we're only touching the tip of the iceberg with these actions for the World Cup, but we hope to build capacity and implement longer-lasting programmes in the future," Santos says.

Beyond the Human Rights Secretariat, the government could not provide accurate data on total spending to fight child prostitution but campaigners say some schemes have been shut down. They argue that the government is not doing enough to address the problem. "This subject isn't really part of the government's agenda and we don't see a willingness to combine efforts or increase resources to address the sexual exploitation of children," says Denise Cesario, executive manager of Fundação Abrinq, a local partner of Save the Children International.

The lure of Fortaleza

Sex tourism occurs across Brazil but Fortaleza – one of the north-east's top tourist destinations with white sandy beaches and about 300 days of sunshine – is the industry's main hub. A culture of machismo, combined with extreme poverty and drug use, has created the perfect environment for sexual exploitation, say social workers like Cecília dos Santos Góis, who works for Cedeca, a children's rights charity. "Women in the north-east have traditionally been treated as second-class citizens, as objects even," she says. "Many fathers see their young daughters as a source of income and that is a cultural attitude that's hard to change."

More phone calls are made from Fortaleza to a nationwide toll-free number to report child sexual exploitation than from any other Brazilian city on a per capita basis, experts say. Many of Fortaleza's young sex workers see prostitution as a way of escaping their circumstances. But for 16-year-old Jessica, a tall brunette, her escape plan has landed her in trouble. She began sex work with local clients, earning about $18 (£11) a night, before graduating to bigger nightclubs and groups of foreign tourists for about $90 a night.

Police arrested her in September in a raid on a club on Iracema beach, a crowded neighbourhood packed with lively restaurants, hotels and bars. They took her to one of four shelters for underage prostitutes, a discreet two-storey house in a lower-class neighbourhood, accessible only through a narrow iron gate watched around the clock by security guards. She is waiting for a judge to decide whether she can return home to her mother.

Waiting for a prince

Sitting in the small room she shares with three younger girls, Jessica says one of her regular clients, a Spaniard, has promised to take her to Europe. "I told him I was 18 and I was getting my passport," she says, tucking a rainbow-coloured tank top into green and yellow tropical-print trousers. "I paid 500 reals for a fake ID and was saving money to buy a fake passport. But in the end I was afraid to go."

Leonora Albuquerque, one of the shelter's co-ordinators, says Jessica's story is typical. "Like so many girls who get into this life, Jessica has fantasies that she will find her prince charming – a foreign client who will fall in love with her – and he'll take her to Europe and buy her fancy clothes, perfume, jewels," she says.

Pimps and clients are rarely punished and when prosecutors do manage to build a case against them, survivors often change their testimonies and the cases are thrown out, says Francisco Carlos Pereira de Andrade, a criminal prosecutor who specialises in child exploitation. Of 2,000 cases before his department, which handles sexual violence against children, only about 20 involve child prostitution.

The face of sex tourism in Fortaleza is also changing, making it more difficult to catch criminals, Sousa says. Instead of working the streets, organised rings of pimps, hotel managers and taxi drivers recruit young girls. Foreign clients order the underage prostitutes before they arrive in Fortaleza and they are delivered directly to their hotels, Sousa adds.

Girls on the menu

Friday night at Iracema beach and a small group of blond German men are drinking beer at pavement tables, watched closely by a bouncer. Six adult sex workers stand nearby, some sitting with them, swishing their hair from side to side. But the tourists have something else on their mind. "They're waiting for a cue to let them know the girls they ordered are ready," says social worker Góis, on one of her routine surveillance rounds of child prostitution hubs. "The bar is involved. The taxi drivers that wait on the corner are probably involved too. And some hotels nearby are part of this network."

While international sex tourism is prominent in Fortaleza, it represents only a third of all reported child prostitution cases. Prostitutes with Brazilian clients, from Ceará or surrounding states, are far more common, prosecutors say. That was the case for Vanessa, who was 13 when police picked her up in October, not far from Castelão stadium. She left her home in a poor neighbourhood when she was 10, after her stepfather started to beat her, she says. She has lived mostly on the streets, going to shelters now and then and spending nights with clients, some of whom she calls friends.

Her chubby cheeks, perfectly aligned white teeth and sparkling eyes make it hard to believe she is undergoing treatment for crack cocaine abuse. "I want to study; I really like maths. But sometimes I just want to disappear and go and live on Mars with the astronauts," she laughs. Last month, Vanessa broke into the maintenance room at the shelter, took a ladder and scaled the 2.5-metre wall surrounding the building, according to Albuquerque, who works at the shelter. She convinced two other girls, aged 12 and 13, to go back with her to the Castelão stadium area. It was the fourth time she had escaped in less than six months. "It's very hard to convince these girls to lead normal lives," Albuquerque adds. "Most of them think abuse and selling their bodies is just a fact of life."

Source: Guardian UK.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 03, 2014 7:14 am 
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'Topless' protest falls flat on Brazil beach
21 December 2013
By JENNY BARCHFIELD

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A woman poses for photos during a protest against a topless ban on the Ipanema beach, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Saturday, Dec. 21, 2013. (AP Photo/Silvia Izquierdo)

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) -- A much-hyped protest for the right to go topless on Rio de Janeiro's beaches fell flat Saturday when only a handful of women bared their chests for the movement.

More than 100 photojournalists stampeded across the golden sands of Ipanema beach when the first woman took off her bikini top to flout Brazilian law. Just three or four other women joined in.

"A breast isn't dangerous!" said Olga Salon, a 73-year-old Rio native, as she stripped off her black tank top. "It's a false-Puritanism and indicative of our macho culture that we have a law forbidding that a woman can go topless."

Internationally, Brazil has a reputation as a nation of liberal sexual mores, where nudity is not only tolerated but enthusiastically embraced during Carnival parades. The hundreds of thousands of foreigners who'll descend on Brazil for next year's World Cup and the Olympics two years later will indeed see the famed "dental floss" bikinis that expose the wearer's rear end.

But under Brazil's penal code, which dates back to the 1940s, female toplessness is an "obscene act," punishable by three months to a year in prison, or fines. Even the law's critics admit few are prosecuted. Women going topless on any of the city's beaches are almost guaranteed to a quick response, both from the patrolling municipal guards and fellow beachgoers.

Saturday's protest is the latest chapter in a debate over just how much skin is too much on Rio's beaches. Protest organizers told media they were responding to a November incident in which actress Cristina Flores was set upon by municipal guards after she removed her shirt during a photo shoot on Ipanema beach. "They came at me immediately and there were three of them, more than one per breast," the 37-year-old Flores told The Associated Press with a laugh earlier this week. "They were shouting, `put your shirt on, put your shirt on' as if a bomb were going off if I didn't." Flores immediately complied but said she was shocked by the violent reaction and threat of jail time. "I didn't even know it was illegal when I did it," she said. "But if the Brazilian constitution guarantees gender equality, why should men be able to walk around without a shirt, while when we do it it's seen as an act of provocation?"

Associated Press writer Bradley Brooks in contributed to this report from Rio.
Source: AP.

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 25, 2014 6:18 am 
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Brazil: Gay teenager murdered by skinheads, teeth ripped out by pliers
17th January 2014
by Scott Roberts

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Kaique Batista dos Santos (Photo: Facebook)

A gay teenager has been tortured and murdered by a gang of skinheads near the stadium that will host the World Cup opening ceremony this summer.

Kaique Batista dos Santos, 16, had all his teeth pulled out with pliers and was battered to death in a murder that has shocked LGBT activists in Brazil.

His sister Tayna said: “These thugs enjoy beating and torturing with their bare hands and they are please to take the lives of homosexuals. He had bruises to his head and was probably kicked to death.”

Kaique had attended a party in a gay nightclub before he disappeared. His wallet and mobile phone were stolen. Party organiser Cristiano Pacheco, 32, said the case was “utterly horrific”. He said: “He was a quiet kid, everyone loved him. Plucking teeth, iron bars – how can people do that? It is very upsetting for us to lose someone so dear in our family. Kaique was very young and hardly knew what life was.”

The 16-year-old’s body was found around a mile away from the Sao Paulo stadium. The venue is hosting the opening ceremony of the World Cup on 12 June. A vigil will take place in memory of the fallen teenager in Sao Paulo on Friday. The Department of Public Safety said it would not comment on the torture because the report is “confidential”.

Source: PinkNews.

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 15, 2014 10:16 am 
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Brazil gang arrested for killing gay teen with skateboards
3 February 2014
By Joe Morgan

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Bruno Borges de Oliveira, 18, was mugged, humiliated and murdered by a skateboard gang in Brazil.

A Brazilian gang were arrested for killing a gay teenager with a skateboard yesterday (2 February).

The six suspects, aged between 16 and 23, confessed to killing 18-year-old Bruno Borges de Oliveira. The gay teen was on his way home after partying in the famous LGBT area of Frei Caneca in Sao Paulo. When the gang confronted their victim, they stripped him of his shoes, mobile phone and public transport ticket before he was punched, kicked and repeatedly hit on the head with a skateboard.

Friends fled the assault and alerted police. But when they came back, De Oliveira was already dead. Police said the gang had previously targeted homosexuals. The skateboarders allegedly carried out a series of raids against people leaving gay nightclubs in recent weeks. ‘They chose their victims for being gay,’ police spokesman Ruy Ferraz Fontes told Folha de Sao Paulo newspaper. ‘They stole the victim's belongings as part of a ritual of humiliation.’

On the same night De Oliveira was killed, police said at least another three people were mugged. Two of the suspects were aged 16 and have not been named to protect their identity. The others were Leonardo da Rosa, 23, Evetron José Teodoro de Souza, 20, Gabriel Leal Noronha, 20 and Daniel Henrique da Silva, 20.

Source: GayStarNews.

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PostPosted: Sun Feb 16, 2014 9:47 pm 
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World Cup 2014: British police issue warning to England fans over Brazil’s under-age prostitutes scam
by Paul Peachey
Tuesday, 4 February 2014

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The World Cup gets underway in June. Getty Images

British police have warned that criminal organisations are looking to exploit the influx of football fans for the World Cup in Brazil later this year by dressing up children as adult prostitutes for financial gain.

England fans were warned that they could expect prison sentences in South America or Britain for under-age sex, amid official warnings that Brazil was emerging as one of the most significant destinations for travelling child sex abusers.

Reports from Brazil have suggested that girls as young as 11 are dressed to look older than they are and forced into the sex trade. It is illegal in Brazil to pay for sex with a child aged 17 and under. The country’s burgeoning economy and the award of this summer’s World Cup and the Olympics in two years is likely to trigger an expansion of child sex markets, according to the latest threat assessment by child protection experts.

The country is thought to be second only to Thailand for the commercial sexual exploitation of children, according to the National Crime Agency. “Brazilian children suffer abuse in the commercial sex trade and may have their appearance manipulated to look older,” said Johnny Gwynne, the head of the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre. “They are children and they are being threatened and intimidated to make money.”

Charities and police have launched a campaign to warn travelling fans of the dangers of having paid-for sex with children under the age of 17. A short film will be played on flights to the country during this summer’s World Cup.

Sexual violence is the second most reported type of crime against children in Brazil with the majority of child victims aged between 10 and 14. Around 600,000 foreign visitors are expected to visit Brazil for the World Cup, which starts on 12 June.

Source: Independent UK.

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 26, 2014 3:22 pm 
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Child sex tourism warning for fans attending World Cup in Brazil
by Jo Griffin
Sunday, 9 February 2014

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A prostitute on a street in Fortaleza, Brazil. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

It's a Friday night in Fortaleza and the dusty roads around the new stadium are deserted, apart from the prostitutes who work the south side of the city in north-east Brazil.

For the outreach workers on one of their routine drives around the area, the sight of an unknown young girl prompts a familiar dread. Dressed simply in denim shorts and a blue vest, this one looks only 13 or 14.

"We have been seeing more young girls," says Jacinta Rodrigues, from Barraca da Amizade, an NGO that provides advice and assistance to sex workers. "Some of them are already mothers and they do it to support their children."

The NGO's van stops at a corner where the girl is waiting with a group of travestis – men or boys who claim a female gender identity. We have come to talk to Germana, a 24-year-old travesti who is to be the subject of a Dutch TV film. Germana wears a pink dress and careful make-up, but one glance is enough to show why she has drawn particular curiosity: she is completely blind. "Go on, there are two of them," an older prostitute says to the girl, known as "Andressa", who walks over to a car to negotiate a programa with two men. On average, a programa of sexual services costs around 30 reais (£10).

As Brazil prepares to host the World Cup this summer, Fortaleza is under the spotlight for its reputation as the country's capital of sex tourism and the sexual exploitation of children. With around 6,000 foreign fans expected to arrive, and Brazilians travelling to matches nationwide, Rodriguez and her colleagues fear a huge surge in the sex trafficking of minors.

Sexual violence is the second most reported crime against children in Brazil, with most victims aged between 10 and 14. Fortaleza has received more complaints, or denuncias, to a special toll-free telephone line than any other city. Last Tuesday in London, the charity Happy Child, which works mainly in Brazil, launched a campaign called It's A Penalty, backed by the UK's National Crime Agency and footballers including Frank Lampard and Brazil's David Luiz. Its aim is to raise awareness of child sexual exploitation and warn fans that paying for sex with anyone under 18 is a crime for which they will face prosecution in the UK or Brazil.

Happy Child's chief executive, Sarah de Carvalho, said: "Children as young as 11 or 12 are already being trafficked in preparation for the World Cup."

In Fortaleza, capital of Ceará state, officials expect this June, when the city will host six matches, to be tough. "We plan to use the strategy we used during the Confederations Cup, doubling both the number of outreach workers on the streets and the shelter service; two independent secretariats will monitor this work," said Leana Regia Faiva de Souza of the Ceará human rights secretariat. De Souza acknowledges that Fortaleza has a reputation for child sex exploitation, but says the high number of complaints – rising from 193 in 2009 to 2,122 in 2012 – reflects its success in improving awareness. "In many areas of Brazil, the population does not regard it as a crime," says De Souza.

The link between sex trafficking and global sporting events has been disputed in a report entitled What's The Cost of A Rumour? by the Global Alliance Against Trafficking of Women, but experts in Brazil agree that the danger for children is real, involves Brazilians and foreigners, and is not only about tourism.

Anna Flora Werneck of the charity Childhood Brazil, based in São Paulo, says: "Major sports events increase vulnerability. Children are displaced due to building projects; they are not at school and are unsupervised; there may be alcohol and drugs; friends tell them sex with a foreigner could transform their life." The charity has uncovered child sexual exploitation by workers at construction sites for the World Cup and for the 2016 Olympics.

De Souza says tourism remains a key battleground: a crackdown on guests taking minors into hotels has reportedly pushed the child sex trade into "love motels", short-stay hotels offering privacy for sex. In the bars on Iracema beach, it is common to see young girls with older foreign men. It is hard to see how this can change if, as Rodriguez says, taxi drivers, hoteliers and even the police "belong to a mafia that provides tourists with children for sex".

A heavy-handed police crackdown brings added dangers for all prostitutes and street populations, says Rodriguez, who says that police reportedly beat sex workers to keep them away from tourists during the Confederations Cup. In this climate, street children are particularly vulnerable, says Joe Hewitt of Street Child World Cup, whose first tournament – in South Africa in 2010 – helped to end police roundups of street children. The charity will hold a second tournament in Rio in March. .

Back on the streets near the stadium, the outreach workers make a final round and a group of travestis approach. Several are planning to go to São Paulo to top up the silicone injections that give them female attributes – to maximise their earning power during the World Cup. There is no sign of Andressa.

Source: The Observer UK.

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 14, 2014 4:33 pm 
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Brazilians say women in revealing clothes deserve rape
March 29, 2014

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Samba dancer participates in the opening night of Carnival celebrations at the Sambadrome in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on February 18, 2012 (AFP Photo/Yasuyoshi Chiba)

Rio de Janeiro (AFP) - In Brazil, the land of mini bikinis and voluptuous carnival dancers, most people say a woman who shows off her body deserves to be raped, according to a poll that has triggered outrage.

Of the 3,810 respondents of both sexes who responded to the government's Institute of Applied Economic Research (IPEA) survey released this week, about 2,480 -- 65 percent -- justified raping women who wear "clothing that shows off the body." And 58.5 percent of respondents also agreed that "if women knew how to behave, there would be fewer rapes."

Most of the May-June poll's respondents -- 66.5 percent -- were women. Brazilian women -- and some men, too -- promptly reacted angrily on blogs and social media to the study's findings. Journalist Nana Queiroz launched an online protest event on Facebook that invited women to take pictures of themselves topless while covering their breasts accompanied with the phrase: "I don't deserve to be raped."

Around 2300 GMT Friday, about 20,000 women simultaneously posted their photographs online. Results were posted on the Tumblr microblogging platform at naomerecoserestuprada.tumblr.com. Queiroz, 28, said she received several threats of rape while she led the protest online. "The most surprising thing is that it is permissible to walk naked in the Carnival, but not in real life," Queiroz told AFP.

The study revealed a well-known Brazilian paradox in which a cult-like obsession with the body and sensuality clashes with the society's dominant conservative Catholicism.

President Dilma Rousseff also criticized the poll's results, saying the government-run study shows that "Brazilian society still has a long way to go." "It also shows that the government and society must work together to tackle violence against women inside and outside the home," she said on her Twitter account. Last year, Rousseff signed a law aimed at protecting victims of sexual violence. The Catholic Church criticized the law, saying it marked a first step toward broader legalization of abortion in the country with the world's biggest Catholic population, at 123 million.

During the 2010 presidential campaign, Rousseff had flinched under Christian churches' pressure and vowed in writing she would not decriminalize abortion, in a move that disappointed feminists and some fellow leftists. Abortion is currently only allowed in Brazil in cases of rape within eight weeks of pregnancy, or when the mother's life is in danger.

Source: Yahoo! AFP.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 23, 2014 7:58 am 
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Love, sex and football: a Brazilian extravaganza awaits
By Natalia Ramos
April 3, 2014

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Models play football during the Erotika Fair in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on March 28, 2014 (AFP Photo/Nelson Almeida)

Sao Paulo (AFP) - Calling all football lovers ...and lovers. June 12, Brazil. Put it in your diary.

The date isn't just the big kick-off as Brazil get the World Cup underway against Croatia; it's also Lovers' Day in the host nation. The coincidence of dates heralds a boon for entrepreneurs plying their wares in Brazil's expanding sex toy market.

Manufacturers see a host of opportunities on what they have already dubbed "green and yellow sex day" in honor of the national colors. "Don't forget to make love," urges erotic products guru Paula Aguiar, chairperson of Brazil's Association of Erotic Market Firms. "We propose that on this day there is a lot of love and sex. Everyone will be glued to the TV watching the football and will rather forget about everything else. But let's see if they do remember to give each other a bit of affection," said Aguiar, at Latin America's biggest erotic fair in Sao Paolo, one of the World Cup host cities.

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Visitors look at the products displayed during the Erotika Fair in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on March 28, 2014 (AFP Photo/Nelson Almeida)

Technological lust

Aguiar said 52 of her colleagues will next month kick off a campaign of their own to ensure that the football does not kick sex into touch but keeps passions running high -- and sales of sex aids with them.

In Brazil, June 12 is the equivalent of Valentines Day, February 14, in other countries and this year the sex industry is intent on making it one to remember. And Brazil's health ministry will do its bid by overseeing the distribution of millions of condoms as part of an anti-AIDS campaign.

With a population of 200 million, Brazil is Latin America's biggest market for sex aids with 8.5 million vibrators, sex toys, body lotions, creams and lubricants sold each month. Wholesalers hope the fair will boost their coffers by some 10 million dollars as they offer consumers a kaleidoscope of products from the cheap and cheerful to the latest silicone vibrators.

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Models perform a striptease show during the Erotika Fair in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on March 28, 2014 (AFP Photo/Nelson Almeida)

Some of the latter are kitted out with mini cameras to send images to computer screens, fetching around $250 as technology is placed at lustful lovers' disposal.

Extra time, with caipirinha

Businesses hope the World Cup does not prove a distraction and some whose livelihoods depend on amorous activities are taking steps to make the most of the event.

"We have sports TV channels in our motel," explains Diego Winterhalter, owner of a motel for couples in the southern state of Rio Grande do Sul and who attended the Erotic Fair. "Just as offices empty out when Brazil are playing, so the motels fill up," he told AFP. He reflects that four years ago, during the World Cup in South Africa, his establishment was a victim of its own success. "Our motel staff didn't get to see a single match in peace during the South African World Cup in 2010 as it was brimful of clients," he reminisced.

Erotic cosmetics firm INTT likewise has an eye on how to make a mint during the Cup. It has come to the Fair to market an edible massage gel which tastes of 'caipirinha,' Brazil's famed concoction of cachaca liquor, sugarcane and lime. Naturally, the gel is colored green and yellow and is being marketed as "Hexa Brasil", as the national soccer squad chase what would be a Hexacampeao or sixth World Cup title. INTT are testing the market with a first batch of 20,000 units of the gel.

The Fair's overall slogan meanwhile gives a nod to the football. "Today is match day -- and there will be a third half," when lovers snuggle up for some post-play after the final whistle.

Source: Yahoo! AFP.

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PostPosted: Mon May 12, 2014 8:25 am 
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Sao Paulo gay pride parade calls for equal rights
By Rosa Sulleiro
May 4, 2014

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Revellers take part in the annual Gay Pride Parade in Sao Paulo, Brazil on May 4, 2014 (AFP Photo/Nelson Almeida)

Sao Paulo (AFP) - Revelers thronged central Sao Paulo for the city's annual gay pride parade Sunday as they pushed for legislation criminalizing homophobic behavior.

The march, considered the world's largest gay parade, drew tens of thousands of people from across society, including some churchgoers who joined in after attending mass and who said they backed the cause.

President Dilma Rousseff, who is seeking another term in October elections, gave a message of support via Twitter. "People from around the country are in Sao Paulo today to participate in #paradalgbt," Rousseff tweeted, reminding her followers there is a hotline people can call in Brazil if they are attacked because of their sexuality.

Slow evolution

As the marchers cavorted through the city, a former teacher who only gave her first name Cassia Maria and her husband stood out, smartly dressed for mass.

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Revellers take part in the annual Gay Pride Parade in Sao Paulo, Brazil on May 4, 2014 (AFP Photo/Nelson Almeida)

They were surrounded by mainly young, beer-swigging marchers dressed as anything from angels to devils and police officers. "We attended mass in a church near here and then came to the march," said Cassia Maria, 53. "I am Catholic -- apostolic and Roman. But I stick my fingers up against discrimination," she smiled as her husband viewed on his cellphone footage of examples of physical abuse meted out to gay people in Brazil. Cassia said she felt the Church should accept all forms of love. "Things are evolving -- but slowly. Things are changing," she insisted.

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Revellers take part in the annual Gay Pride Parade in Sao Paulo, Brazil on May 4, 2014 (AFP Photo/Nelson Almeida)

Enough deaths!

Main thoroughfares were closed to traffic for the 18th edition of the march, which began at midday in front of the Museum of Art on the main Paulista drag of Brazil's seething business hub. Marchers at the event, first held in 1997, are urging the criminalization of homophobia in a country "without homo-lesbo-transphobia."

More than 300 homosexuals, tranvestites and transsexuals were killed in homophobic crimes last year, according to Grupo Gay de Bahia, an independent group. Although the total was down 7.7 percent from 2012, the group said it still left Brazil atop the global league for homophobic homicides and urged government action.

The group estimated four in 10 such crimes worldwide occur in Brazil. "Enough deaths. For the passing of a law for gender identities," read one banner. Two women, Clediana and Paula, said they felt fortunate because lesbian partners generally suffer less abuse than men in same-sex partnerships. The women said a transvestite friend had been abused in the street. After six years together, they were last year able to have their union formalized after a Supreme Court ruling that public entities such as town halls cannot reject gay marriage applications. Even so, Congress has yet to approve legislation to that effect amid opposition from Catholic and evangelical lawmakers in parliament.

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Revellers take part in the annual Gay Pride Parade in Sao Paulo, Brazil on May 4, 2014 (AFP Photo/Nelson Almeida)

Transsexual hairdresser Sabrina, 37, said she had suffered violent abuse but was comfortable with her decision to undergo gender reassignment. She and friend Gabriele, a 25-year-old transsexual, were constantly asked to pose for pictures at the Rio carnival in February. "I found that gratifying. It was a recognition of what we are doing," Sabrina said.

March participants sought to outdo themselves in racy garb -- one donning an outsized blonde wig topped off with football decor in a nod to the World Cup that will kick off in the city next month. The parade was scheduled to finish in Republic Square around 0030 GMT.

Source: Yahoo! AFP.

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PostPosted: Sat May 31, 2014 4:04 am 
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Brazilian Church backs legal gay unions
May 22, 2014

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A rainbow flag during a wedding ceremony at the Court of Justice in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on December 8, 2013 (AFP Photo/Yasuyoshi Chiba)

Brasilia, Brazil (AFP) - One of Brazil's top Catholic bishops has spoken out in favor of legal unions for homosexual couples, an apparent shift in the Church's stance on the country's existing gay-marriage policy.

"There needs to be a dialog on the rights attached to shared life between people of the same sex who decide to live together. They need legal support from society," Leonardo Steiner, the secretary general of the National Confederation of Brazilian Bishops, said in an interview with O Globo newspaper published on its website Thursday.

Brazil, home to the world's largest Catholic population, has allowed gay marriage since May 2013, when a court ruled clerks could not reject marriage applications from same-sex couples.

At the time Brazil's bishops opposed the decision, but Steiner said the Church was constantly evolving. "The Church isn't the same through the ages. It seeks answers for the present time, using the Gospel as the illuminating force of its action," the bishop said. "The Church is always seeking to read the signs of the times, to see what must or must not change. The truths of faith don't change." Brazil does not have a gay-marriage law, and Steiner said one reason for the Church's objection to last year's court decision was that the matter had never gone before congress.

Despite the recent move towards inclusiveness, Brazil is a dangerous country for gays. More than 300 homosexuals, transsexuals and transvestites are killed every year in the country -- including 312 last year, according to data compiled by rights group Grupo Gay da Bahia, which says the country is among the deadliest for gays.

Source: Yahoo! AFP.

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 04, 2014 5:14 pm 
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Brazil's sex trade: How the country's one million prostitutes are preparing for the World Cup
by Ewan MacKenna
Sunday, 1 June 2014

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More than 300 prostitutes have already signed up for the free English classes. AFP/Getty Images

According to the locals, it's the bar capital of the world, with more than 12,000 catering for the five million citizens of Brazil's third city.

Others will recall Belo Horizonte as the scene of England's most humiliating football defeat, when a hearse driver and teacher from the US stunned the national team at the 1950 World Cup. But if the 5,000 or so English ticket holders expected here for England's final group game against Costa Rica in a few weeks' time look a little more closely, they may remember it for something else. As is the case across Brazil, peer behind the mask and another reality stares back at you.

In downtown Belo Horizonte are 23 brothels, known locally as zonas. They are hidden up narrow staircases between shops in the grim city centre, a place so grey, in parts, that you could be in the old Soviet Union except for the scorching sun above. Nearby, in an empty office on the top floor of a shopping centre, a handful of the 2,000 or so prostitutes who work the city are getting English classes from a volunteer in order to cash in on the six matches the city's Mineirão stadium will host (including one semi-final). All the while, tucked away at the back of an indoor car-park, is Aprosmig – a union for those within the industry in the state of Minas Gerais (the name is a contraction of the "Minas Gerais association of prostitutes"). "For sure [the city's prostitutes] will get more money with the World Cup," says the fiftysomething woman working the desk. "In the nightclubs they'll be earning a lot. It's normal for foreign guys to look for them, they always do, and now there'll be more foreign guys. They'll do very well."

Inside, pasted to a grubby wall are erotic photographs and charts of the body, notes about diseases, numbers for doctors and timetables for psychology sessions. As the woman potters about, she tells her story, a familiar narrative. Having become pregnant and seen the factory she worked in shut down, she took a job as a cleaner. But the family she worked for put pressure on, insisting they should adopt her child, and she felt she couldn't keep both job and baby, but neither could she go hungry. There was one avenue to walk down. "I prostituted when my child was sleeping," she sighs. "But it was weird, lying there in a room as guys looked in your door before deciding. I just remembered I had to bring food to my house and I had to pay bills so there was no choice. But I spent my life working in that room. I missed out on so much."

Occasionally, she pauses to assist the union members coming in from the early morning to collect the unlimited condoms their £2.60 monthly membership allows them. Among them are two sisters in their thirties. At first they're wary, but they agree to talk. "We started by ourselves, nobody came to us and offered us," they say. "Since we started we can eat what we want, buy the clothes we want. That's why we do it.

"But look, why feel bad? We're not here because we like it, but it's a profession and we're not going to be grumpy and be treating people badly. If we're there working, we'll be smiling. In any profession you need to be like that. And the sex is pleasurable, honestly. So if people look down on us we don't care. And when people ask, we tell them we're prostitutes, although often they don't really believe us. In fact the worst part of it is probably that we have to pay 130 reais [£35] per day for a room each. The owner makes the most money, so many girls rent an apartment so they make more, but for us that's too dangerous. So we prefer to pay."



To reach the zonas, clients and workers alike must pass by the bouncer sitting on a bar stool on the side of the street, go through a metal detector and ascend flights of stairs; what awaits is a like a cross between a run-down prison and a hostel even the earthiest backpacker would turn away from. The floors are bare concrete, while the corridor extends past door after door into cell-like rooms where women lie. There, a girl just out of her teens confirms it's safe before noting: "It's rare but sometimes men rape."

Meanwhile, the woman back at Aprosmig tells of a 62-year-old she knew who was murdered last year. "There was another stabbed to death, too. They found her in the bedroom bleeding. She spent a week in hospital but didn't make it. It was her boyfriend but violence isn't common; it's just that girls end up with bad guys like drug dealers."

Many might wonder why women take such risks, but necessity trumps choice in a nation of close to 200 million. The statistics are stark: illiteracy averages 10 per cent, reports say 13 million are underfed, 42,785 were murdered nationwide last year and there is a national shortage of 168,000 physicians. Prostitution was legalised in 2000. At the time it was suggested there were as many as one million sex workers, and while that may have been an overestimate, prostitution is undeniably widespread. At one point, the government's own employment website offered tips for those wishing to attempt prostitution, going step by step through preparation, seduction and delivery of service. It was later toned down after much pressure from conservatives and the religious right.

There are also those completely against it as a profession. Recently the female members of Brazil's major trade union federation, Cut, debated the issue with secretary Rosane Silva saying, "What we need is to fight for politics that take women out of this condition. We have to keep pushing for this because it's basic exploitation". At the same conference, Para Cleone, a former prostitute, added: "Of course I'm against this. These women are being exploited by the people who run the zonas."

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Sex workers in Belo Horizonte, where some have been taking English lessons in preparation for the World Cup. (AFP/Getty Images)

"Given the numbers and our dignity, it made sense to look for recognition," contests Cida Vieira, who is in her late thirties and chairwoman of Aprosmig (it was Vieira who was quoted widely last year in the world's press when she announced that the prostitutes of Belo Horizonte would accept payment on credit card during the World Cup). "We deserve to be treated like anyone else working. I used to work in the central bank here but different people like different things. In that other job, well, I hated the bureaucracy. It's so boring. And even before I tried this I liked reading about it and watching erotic films but I like the fetish, not the sex. Really, I love what I do, I never want to stop. Loads of the girls love what they do, they just don't tell people because of the prejudice. But I'm not ashamed. Everyone in my family knows, we talk about it openly."

Vieira mentions she has a daughter – how would she feel if her child became a prostitute? "I'd be very happy," she insists. "But she wants to be a businessperson. That's her choice and this is mine and I work the streets and prefer it there as I just like to be free. I don't like to be sitting there waiting like those in the zonas. That will never change. I don't worry about it being more dangerous on the streets either. The prostitutes have a great relationship with the police. They know us all and that makes a big difference," she insists. "Really, this is a great life."

But this life goes way beyond Belo Horizonte. With a total of 3.7 million tourists expected in the country for the World Cup, there have been lurid accounts of preparations across Brazil. In Fortaleza, a local prosecutor stated: "Foreign clients order underage prostitutes who are delivered directly by the hotels' pimps." Meanwhile, a massage house beside Congonhos airport is said to be offering a limousine service and hiring English speakers to improve service. In São Paulo, local reports have quoted a dental student who will earn $5,000 by giving exclusive attention to a German businessman for two weeks.

Back in Belo Horizonte, meanwhile, a founding member of Aprosmig, Laura Maria Do Espirito Santo, who is now in her early sixties, recounts a tale that's unlikely to feature in local headlines. "When I had my daughter, I lost my job. I told the father and he said, 'You can burn that child, throw it in a bin, kill it, whatever you want. Just don't bother me with it.' We were going out for a year and he was from the upper class. His mother was a lawyer, his father an engineer and he said I couldn't destroy his life because I was poor. I told him even if I become a prostitute, I'll have my child and raise her well, so this is what I had to do. But the first time I felt the worst humiliation, it's the worst feeling when a woman has to go to bed with a guy she doesn't want. But I had no real choice."

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Approximately 2,000 women work in the sex industry in Belo Horizonte, and many still ply for trade on the streets. (AFP/Getty Images)

Not only was she behind the formation of the Aprosmig, Santo has been a driving force behind its initiatives and partnerships with several universities as well as the city council, which offers regular health screening. But though Brazil's anti-HIV policies were recognised globally as a success in the 1990s, there has been concern expressed recently by activist groups that the disease is far from under control in the country. Santo, however, is adamant: "Aids isn't a big deal because this job is their livelihood and they have to look after themselves or they won't have work. They are given all the medical checks they need."

Each year there's even a Miss Prostitute pageant that she hopes lessens the snobbery. "There is still much prejudice, though, especially from housewives, because their husbands come to us," she laughs. And the English classes were her idea as well after she took note of the increased sex tourism during the Copa Libertadores (South America's Champions League). "The language gets you ahead. We are learning the basics. They say there'll be 200,000 tourists in Belo Horizonte so it makes a lot of sense."

In one zona, Santo stops continually to chat with the younger girls who stand at the doors of their rooms. "Those girls when they start, they are too crazy, they start making too much money. They have sex without condoms and sometimes they get boyfriends inside of here and that's when they get pregnant. Loads work until just before they have babies. As I say, they get crazy. They also fall in love, but with the wrong guys. They could have all the businessmen and they end up marrying a builder. I'm not discriminating but they should see the prostitutes that marry a rich guy. One married a judge and lives in luxury. Another got pregnant by a guy, married him and now has eight maids in her house." How many actually attain this particular fantasy is unclear.

But perhaps it's the impressive progress of Santo's own daughter that explains the thinking behind such a lifetime of dog-hard days. Having passed through two of the major universities in the city, she's now studying to be a doctor in Portugal. "I never asked anyone for anything," Santo stresses. "And it's been worth it when I see what my child has become. She's so beautiful and so smart, so why should I be ashamed? Why should any of us?"

Source: Independent UK.

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 10, 2014 6:51 am 
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Prostitutes play football match on World Cup sidelines
June 15, 2014

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Prostitutes play a football match against a university team to protest against the exploitation of women in Belo Horizonte, Brazil on June 14, 2014
(AFP Photo/Gustavo Andrade)

Belo Horizonte, Brazil (AFP) - Brazilian prostitutes and a Christian evangelical group played a football match Saturday in World Cup host city Belo Horizonte, taking over a central street to raise awareness about sex workers' rights.

Gathering just after Colombia played Greece in the southeastern city, the women set up an impromptu pitch using traffic cones for goalposts and played to the enthusiastic cheers of onlookers.

The prostitutes, calling themselves the Naked Football Club -- though in fact they played in the green and yellow uniforms of Brazil -- teamed up with the visiting evangelicals from the United States to take on a local university team in a match with a message. "Rights must be the same for everyone. We're no different from anyone else just because we're sex workers," player Patricia Bonges told AFP. "We are finally breaking that prejudice and stigma." Her American teammate Jenny Jack said the game was about showing that "you just love people, you don't judge, you don't change people, you just love them."

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People watch as prostitutes play a football match against a university team to protest the exploitation of women in Belo Horizonte, Brazil on June 14, 2014
(AFP Photo/Gustavo Andrade)

Prostitutes in Brazil have long complained of discrimination and called for the government to treat their profession like any other, including with programs to help older sex workers. The match was organized by the Prostitutes' Association of Minas Gerais, the state where Belo Horizonte is located. The association has also helped some of the city's 80,000 sex workers prepare for the World Cup by offering free English classes at a local mall.

Source: Yahoo! AFP.

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 20, 2014 3:19 pm 
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What a prostitute’s tale says about the new Brazil
By Dom Phillips
September 13, 2014

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Brazilian society indulges promiscuity in its men but looks askance at female sexuality, argues author Gabriela da Silva, a prostitute. Here, a visitor looks at products during the Erotika Fair in Sao Paulo on March 28, 2014. NELSON ALMEIDA / AFP/GETTY IMAGES FILE PHOTO

SAO PAULO, Brazil — At the Livraria Cultura bookstore, a waiter circulated with champagne on a recent evening as a line formed in front of Gabriela da Silva, who had come to launch her first book, The Pleasure Is All Ours, written under the pseudonym Lola Benvenutti.

It is the story of her life as a prostitute, decorated with graphic descriptions of sexual acts, including rendezvous with couples in the “love motels” found scattered throughout Brazil. It is also something of a manifesto for sexual freedom, written like a self-help guide.

The reaction has been curiosity, respect and even support — signs of how the wheels of social change are turning in Brazil. This highly sexualized society indulges promiscuity in its men but looks askance at female sexuality, even as it prizes the beauty of its women, argues da Silva, 22, a literature and language graduate. She writes that she enjoys her work, embraces pleasure and gets paid — controversial sentiments for contradictory Brazil, a country that is obsessed with sex but deeply religious, conservative and macho.

At this landmark bookstore, a cultural hub for São Paulo intellectuals, these sentiments appeared to hit a nerve. “I admire her,” said Carol Monteiro, 18, after joining the line to buy a copy of the book. “She had the liberty and strength to do what she wanted,” added Suzane Albino, 24.

Lola Benvenutti began as a blog persona, as da Silva used prostitution to pay her way through college. In an interview the day after the launch, she drew a distinction between her book and a 2006 novel by former prostitute Rachel Pacheco, later made into the hit Brazilian movie Bruna Surfistinha. “The way it was presented was about the prostitute as a victim, who suffers,” da Silva said. “Sex for me has always been very good. I do everything to have pleasure.”

Da Silva said Brazilian society has a problem with female sexuality. “Men make this distinction, a woman who has sex on the first night can’t be taken seriously,” she said. “Women are raised not to have orgasms.”

Brazilian women like her are increasingly challenging this. The country is awash with sexually explicit literature — 200,000 read online the erotic romance Love Has No Laws by first-time writer Camila Moreira, according to Brazil’s biggest newspaper, the Folha de S. Paulo. The paper also hosts a blog, the X of Sex, in which one woman recently detailed realizing her fantasy of having sex with two men at the same time.

Brazil has a very sexually active population, said Carmita Abdo, co-ordinator of the sexuality studies program at the University of São Paulo. Just 8 per cent of Brazilian women and 3 per cent of men have no sex, according to a 2008 survey Abdo conducted for Brazil’s Ministry of Health. “We are a people recognized for a lot of sexuality. And we end up wanting to live up to this,” she said.

But Brazilians have problems talking about sex, said Jaqueline Barbosa, 25, and Emerson Viegas, 31, who four years ago started the relationship-and-sex blog Shameless Couple. It now has 80,000 visitors a day, they said in an email interview. “We are seen as a liberal country, because Brazil is very associated with Carnival, the culture of the body, sexiness, TV programs with many exposed bodies ... Brazilian people converse very little about sex,” they said. “Women have certainly conquered more sexual freedom, but there is still a lot to be evolved.”

That would include experimentation, as more Brazilian couples visit the swing clubs and “liberal parties” that have long discreetly existed in big Brazilian cities but that are now emerging above ground. The Shameless Couple offers advice on how to manage threesomes but cautions that they are not for every couple. “The option has to be discussed, because more and more couples are succeeding in establishing a differentiation between sex and love,” they said.

In a 2011 survey by the international dating agency C-Date, 49 per cent of Brazilian men and 19 per cent of women said their fantasy was to have sex with more than one person at the same time. In one chapter of her book called “Sodom and Gomorrah,” da Silva describes being hired for an orgy by a group of well-to-do doctors and their wives at a remote ranch. “They were very well mannered, paid me really well, they trusted me,” she said. The women wore heels; the men wore Rolex watches. No one wore anything else.

Earlier this year, André Luiz, a 49-year-old lawyer, opened Apice Club, São Paulo’s newest “swing house,” in the upmarket Moema neighbourhood, with his wife, Ana Paula, 35. Both are swingers, Luiz said. They plan to invest up to $1.1 million. “The popular saying is that swing is good. There is just one problem: It is addictive. Those who enter don’t leave,” Luiz said. The club has a dance floor where couples interact, and a darkened, secluded area out back for sex. On a recent Friday night, couples watched a cowboy stripper or disappeared into the back area. “It is part of the culture of the newer generation to see sex as something open,” said the club host, Fabio Gouvea, 39. He said 1,100 couples are connected to his profile on a network site. “All swingers,” he said. “It’s very cool.”

Rio de Janeiro’s Vogue Club is a “liberal party” aimed at a younger market. About 400 couples celebrated the club’s first anniversary recently, said Claudio de Luca, 48, one of its partners. The club has a “Cupid” to introduce shy couples to each other on the dance floor. The night after the club’s anniversary, some of its clients agreed to be interviewed and photographed if names were changed. “I have a life that is not swing, that is of a normal person, who works, who goes to college,” said Ninfa, 29, a nutritionist. “There is prejudice.”

Sandro, 42, and his wife, Deborah, 25, said swingers are reacting against traditional norms that accept male infidelity but do not allow women the same freedom. “It preaches that a man can do what he wants, go out with as many women as he wants,” Sandro said. “The swinger sees it like this: The rights he has, the woman has.” Abdo said that young Brazilian adults are experimenting more and more and that the increasing visibility of clubs such as Vogue and Apice has heightened curiosity. “Experimentation is much more common today — hetero, bi, homo, sex with more than one person,” she said.

But the fundamental shift in sexual behaviour, Abdo said, has been among women, who start their sex lives earlier, marry later and demand more of the men with whom they have physical relationships. “The man has to be always ready, if he is seduced,” Abdo said. “She is more demanding and does not just have sex to give pleasure.”

Source: Washington Post via The Toronto Star.

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