In Brazil, the beaches are hot and the people famously attractive. However, dating takes a slow trajectory that includes a long engagement and other traditional trappings. Unlike the rumors, Brazil isn't a dating and mating free-for-all.
Brazilian dating culture starts in the teens and is punctuated by friendly fun, casual meetings and a relaxed attitude. As a Brazilian matures, he then moves on to solemnifying the relationship under the watchful eye of his parents, with marriage usually following a long engagement.
Dating in Brazil has a lot in common with courtship in the U.S. As Brigham Young University student and Brazilian native Emmanuelle Floriano writes, there are similarities in how singles meet and mate. She says, "Usually, people from both countries look for...religion, race, physical characteristics, and age. These help because they create a common interest between each other. Common interest helps the date to work out."
In Brazil, a man asks a woman out and is expected to pay for the date. If a woman is interested in a guy, she'll send a middleman out to set up a date and convey her feelings rather than show direct interest. The couple will head out to a fun activity like dinner or dancing, have a game night in the family home, or go to a movie. If things are successful, it may still take several years to reach marriage.
Most Brazilians start dating between the ages of 13 and 16. Group dates are an option, but most like to pair off and pursue private time together. In the case of a traditional family, a boy will ask the girl's father if it's okay to pursue a relationship with his daughter. If things get heated and physical, they have to pick a house that's sure to contain family members. The Road Junky travel guide cautions international visitors, "[Brazilian] girls and even many guys live at home until well into their 20s or further, so it’s likely to have to be your place or a motel."
After several years of dating, a Brazilian couple may move onto marriage. "Weddings may include two ceremonies: the legal civil ceremony and the optional religious ceremony. Young married couples occasionally live with their parents for a time, although this custom is changing," writes University of Oregon student Jaime Sichman.
Like couples in the U.S., Brazilian singles go out on a small variety of dates. Single pair dates are the most common, followed by group dates to special events. Blind dates also happen but can result in discomfort for those who don't want to deal with an intermediary.
For a foreigner visiting Brazil, it may seem that the culture is very physically free. This is true, but with some caveats. Brazilians are very tactile and think nothing of slipping an arm around a waist or dancing very close. "Whilst the clichés of easy sex in Rio de Janeiro are exaggerated, this is somewhere that people are very relaxed about their sexuality. To kiss someone in a bar counts for nothing and is all part of the evening’s fun," Road Junky says. The dating culture is incredibly flirtatious, and people think nothing of making a temporary connection. Flirtation is seen as a worthwhile past-time, especially if the pursuit involves a non-Brazilian.
Brazil is a Latin culture that is influenced by popular culture, and telenovelas are a huge hit with many Brazilians. Road Junky theorizes that these dramatic soap operas inspire Brazilian women to have very deep possessive streaks once in relationships. The Brazilian dating guide states, "Once you have a girlfriend she’ll probably try to completely take over your life. Most Brazilian girls are fiercely jealous and will resent any of your female friends or even any time you spend with anyone except them." The men, on the other hand, may avoid commitment in pursuit of flirtation and fun, settling down only after they've had their party time.
Gigi Starr is a freelance fashion writer. She previously served as the blog editor for a major online fashion blog and has more than a decade of backstage experience in the beauty and high fashion industries. She has worked for businesses like an internationally renowned theatrical touring company and events such as the Mercedes-Benz N.Y.C. Fashion Week.