TABLE 2-2 Males and Females Who Had Not Had Intercourse at Time of First Marriage/Partnership, Among Ever-Married Men and Women, by Current Age: in percent

 

Age

 

 

25-29

 

30-34

 

35-39

 

40-49

 

Country or City

M

F

M

F

M

F

M

F

Africa

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Côte d'Ivoire

35

52

24

56

23

58

29

68

Kenya

15

31

8

25

5

30

6

32

Tanzania

30

66

24

77

28

82

42

83

Lusaka

38

51

26

56

23

68

28

65

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Asia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Manila

36

83

29

88

21

85

24

87

Singapore

57

92

71

95

56

95

68

94

Thailand

28

98

26

96

27

95

37

99

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

South America

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rio de Janiero

17

71

14

69

9

75

13

81

 

SOURCE: Adapted from Caraël (1995).

weaker and less strictly enforced than prohibitions against female sexual activity before marriage. Condonement, and even encouragement, of sexual experience by young men affects the reproductive health of both men and women. Table 2-2 shows data from surveys, carried out by the Global Programme on AIDS, on sexual intercourse prior to marriage or partnership among ever-married men and women. Males and females in the Kenya survey and males in the Rio de Janeiro survey were most likely to report sexual activity prior to their first stable union. Thai, Singaporean, and Manila women reported the lowest rates of sexual activity prior to marriage or union.

Quite apart from the gender inequality implied by such differences in sexual norms, in an environment in which adolescent females are denied such activity, adolescent males seeking sexual activity turn to other partners—usually commercial sex workers, as the anthropological and survey evidence from Thailand describes (see, e.g., Thongkrajai et al., 1993) or to older married women, often within the larger extended family (see, e.g., Goparaju, 1994, on India). Because their husbands have often had such sexual contacts, young married women are put at risk of acquiring STDs at a stage in life when they are culturally least able to identify or seek medical or nonmedical help for socially embarrassing conditions such as



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