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Delaying sexual debut amongst out-of-school youth in rural southwest Uganda.

Nobelius AM, Kalina B, Pool R, Whitworth J, Chesters J, Power R

  • Journal Culture, health & sexuality

  • Published 12 Oct 2010

  • Volume 12

  • ISSUE 6

  • Pagination 663-76

  • DOI 10.1080/13691051003768132


This paper focuses on 'sexual debut' among out-of-school youth in Masaka District, Uganda, factors influencing its timing and assistance young people feel they need to delay sexual initiation. Data were drawn from a sexual health needs assessment using applied anthropological techniques with young people aged 13-19 years. Parents, guardians and community leaders were also consulted. All participants felt that young people begin their sexual lives too early. Young men feel under pressure from friends and older men to prove their masculinity. Most delay further activity after debut and want assistance to resist the pressure. Young women's debut after physical maturation prompts 'pestering' for sex from boys and men who offer gifts. After debut, young women remain sexually active but believe younger women need assistance to resist pressure. Programmes are needed to help young people achieve these goals. Structurally, the community needs to develop means of preventing men from pestering young women for sex and of redeveloping both the social role and pathway to marriage for young women who are marrying later than is traditional.