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Correlates of sexual behaviour of rural college youth in Maharashtra, India [Eastern J Med]
Eastern J Med. 2011; 16(2): 122-132

Correlates of sexual behaviour of rural college youth in Maharashtra, India

Mohan Ghule1, Balaiah Donta1

Although premarital sex relationships are widely discouraged in India, some youth do form such relationships. It is important to understand the nature and extent of youth sexual behaviour and examine the relationship between individual characteristics, knowledge and attitude towards reproductive health issues and sexual behaviour. In order to study the sexual behaviour of rural youth, quantitative data have been collected among 1500 students (800 male and 700 female) and qualitative data through 4 focus group discussions & 4 in-depth interviews, in the age group 15-24 years in Thane district of Maharashtra during 2005. Chi-square test and regression analysis was performed using the sexual experience (penetrative and non-penetrative sex) as the dependent variable to find out the association and relationship with individual characteristics (age, education, working status, peer interaction, erotic exposure, and habits), knowledge and attitude towards reproductive health issues. Boys and girls lacked scientific information and misconceptions are widespread on various reproductive health issues. Boys had more liberal attitudes towards premarital sex as compared to the girls. Proportion of students with any sexual experience (penetrative and non-penetrative sex) was much higher in boys (29.8%) compared to girls (4.9%). Around 11 percent boys and 1 percent girls who reported penetrative sex (vaginal, /oral / anal), around half of them did not use condom. Homosexual experience was reported by 11 percent boys and 3 percent girls. AIDS awareness was observed high (89% & 87 % respectively among boys and girls). However the knowledge of sexually transmitted diseases was limited. Exposure to alcohol, drugs, pornographic films, having more frequent interaction with peers and working status of the students were positively related with penetrative and non-penetrative sex relationships for both boys and girls. Over 83 percent youth expressed a need for interactive communication on reproductive health issues be available in their colleges. The rural youth engaged in penetrative sex and use condom inconsistently are at risk of STIs and HIV transmission to their partners. Findings underscore the need for sexual and reproductive health interventions to target not only young people but also their peers.

Keywords: Sexual behaviour, rural youth, reproductive health, youth sexuality, sexual health


Mohan Ghule, Balaiah Donta. Correlates of sexual behaviour of rural college youth in Maharashtra, India. Eastern J Med. 2011; 16(2): 122-132


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