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36 per cent of Indian women have sex only after age 24

Last updated on: September 26, 2012 18:16 IST

36 per cent of Indian women have sex only after age 24

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An annual multi-national survey, exploring young people's attitudes to sex and contraception, has been released to mark World Contraception Day (WCD) 2012, which takes place every year on September 26. Here are some of the findings.

For the third year running, Bayer HealthCare, together with the Family Planning Association of India (FPAI) and Federation of Obstetric and Gynaecological Societies of India (FOGSI) has released the results of an annual survey conducted to determine youngsters' use of contraception.

The survey was conducted among 812 young adults aged 20-35 years old in eight countries across Asia, including China, India, Indonesia, South Korea, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia and Taiwan.

Coinciding with World Contraception Day, which falls on Sepember 26 each year, its purpose is to is to improve awareness of contraception and enable young people to make informed decisions regarding their sexual and reproductive health.

Here are the 2012 findings for India.

First sexual intercourse

  • Thirty six per cent of females had their first sexual intercourse when they were 24-29 years old, significantly higher than at least three other countries.
  • The gap between the age a woman first has sexual intercourse and the age at which she has her first pregnancy is less in India, as 48 per cent of female respondents had their first pregnancy between 24-27 years. This also points out the need for the use of reliable contraception for effective family planning and that contraception usage rates are still low in India.
  • Overall, 55 per cent of the respondents used the male condom when first having sexual intercourse.

Photographs: Anamix257/Wikimedia Commons

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Usage of contraception

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  • Twenty nine per cent of men and women have had unprotected sex at least once.
  • In 2012, contraceptive usage rate was still low, as 23 per cent of respondents did not use any contraception when they first had sexual intercourse.
  • In addition, 51 per cent of respondents currently use the male condom as a form of contraception, 23 per cent used no form of contraception.
  • It was also found that, 13 per cent of respondents currently rely on the withdrawal method, which is not known to be a reliable form of contraception, compared to a more effective form of contraception such as the oral contraceptive pill, whose efficacy stands at 99 per cent if used correctly.
  • Furthermore, a comparison of women's age at marriage showed that, it has been steadily increasing. In India the mean age of marriage in 1971 was 22 years while the mean age of marriage in 2011 was 26 years.
  • Another longitudinal comparison of the number of children per woman during her lifetime has shown a drastic decline. According to the United Nations Population Division, the total fertility rate (TFR) has more than halved in the past 40 years.

Photographs: Timothy Takemoto, Yamaguchi, Japan/Wikimedia Commons

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The most appealing contraceptive to females

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  • Forty two per cent of the female respondents prefer to take a pill everyday to prevent pregnancy, while another 28 per cent prefer to use an intra-uterine device (IUD), which is significantly higher than at least three countries.
  • For the first time, the annual WCD survey asked respondents about their longterm family planning. The most preferred contraceptive method for long-term family planning was the male condom. Alarmingly though, almost one in three respondents did not see the need for contraceptives when it came to family planning or would rely on the withdrawal method. Results also show that 29 per cent of men and women have had unprotected sex at least once.

Photographs: Anka Grzywacz/Wikimedia Commons
Tags: WCD , IUD

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Responsibility for contraception

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  • Only 52 per cent of respondents think that both partners are responsible for contraception, which is the lowest among all countries.
  • Twenty per cent of males felt that neither parties are responsible for contraception. "Obviously times have changed and we are seeing different trends, however the perception towards contraception is not changing with these trends. It is also up to communities and society to make it possible for women to start conversations about contraception and make it accessible for everyone," said Mr. Vishwanath Koliwad, Secretary General, FPAI.

Photographs: Aurorablu/Wikimedia Commons

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Usage of contraceptive methods

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  • Fifty one per cent of respondents currently use the male condom as a form of contraception.
  • The survey revealed that among the respondents in India, 28 per cent of women have used the emergency contraception at least once in the last year.

Dr. P K Shah, President, FOGSI explained, "I believe it all boils down to the need for education as people still mistakenly consider the withdrawal method to be a reliable contraceptive option. Furthermore, many insist that they do not need contraception, yet we are still seeing so many people rely on emergency contraception and drastic measures such as abortion."

"I urge every woman to take the future into their own hands especially beginning today on World Contraception Day. Talk to your partner and your doctor about a suitable contraceptive method that would complement your lifestyle and future plans," added Angel-Michael Evangelista, Managing Director, Bayer Zydus Pharma.


Photographs: Wikimedia Commons

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