Early sexual debut with older partners in India: determinants and associated reproductive health risks

Vijaylakshmi Singh, International Institute for Population Sciences (IIPS)
Shrikant Singh, International Institute for Population Sciences (IIPS)

Commonly, our comprehension of early sexual experiences and adult-teen relations, what they involve, their meaning as well as their individual and social consequences is very limited. The present study is an endeavor to unravel the reproductive health risks and outcomes; violence and women’s rights that are possibly entailed in early sexual debut with older partners, which is largely neglected in the Indian context The present study basically employs large scale National Family Health Survey I & II data and data on adolescent females from CHARCA survey to study the scenario of reproductive and sexual rights among both married and unmarried young women (age 13-24 years) experiencing early sexual debut in the five selected states and to furnish a better understanding of the issues through qualitative analysis. Around two-thirds of Indian women are married below the legal age of marriage and about 30 percent of married women are having partners who are more than 5 years older Place of residence, caste affiliation, education and economic status is significantly and positively associated with lower age of sexual initiation with older partners. Women having much older partners are having lower age at first birth while the number of children at the time of first use of any modern contraceptive is also higher among couples with larger age difference. The prevalence of reproductive morbidities, especially gynecological morbidity is much higher among women involved with much older partners. Overall spousal communication is very low in the Indian context but it is lesser among women having older partners which thus in turn experience lower autonomy and suffer from physical and sexual violence Unmarried adolescents perceive higher sexual and reproductive rights, however among both married and unmarried females, large gap exists between perception and behavior in terms of their actual rights and hence suffer more sexual violence.

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Presented in Poster Session 3