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EWC 2001-VA: Sex and Marriage: How Closely are they Related in the Philippines, Taiwan and Thailand

Using large-scale national young adult reproductive health (YARH) surveys conducted in 1994, this paper examines the sexual activities among young men and women aged 15–24 in the Philippines, Taiwan, and Thailand. We examine the extent of sexual activity and its association with marriage among the 15–24 year olds. We then analyze the factors associated with the probabilities of experiencing sexual initiation by types of first sexual partner classified as marital and non-marital. Among the three countries, sexual initiation begins earliest in Thailand and latest in Taiwan, both for men and women. Sexual initiation that precedes marriage by a few years is very common among men. By age 24, 64% of Filipino men, 44% of Taiwanese men, and 78% of Thai men experience sex but only 26%, 9%, and 27% respectively get married. The age patterns of sexual initiation and marriage are similar among young women, except in Taiwan. Over 90 percent of the Filipino women and over 98% of Thai women aged 24 who have had sex are married but only about two-thirds of Taiwanese women aged 24 who have had sex are married. In all three countries, men’s first sexual experiences were predominantly non-marital. Among the 15–24 year old men who ever had sex, 87% in the Philippines 92% in Taiwan, and 93% in Thailand had non-marital first sex. Among women aged 15–24 who ever had sex, 30% had non-marital first sex in the Philippines and Thailand, but 70% of did in Taiwan. Two indicators of early transition to adulthood, leaving parental home at an early age and leaving school at an early age, increase the risk of having had non-marital first sex to a large extent among women. Among men, the first one is associated with increased risks of non-marital first sex in Taiwan and Thailand, and the second one, only in Taiwan. Urban exposure increases the risk of having had non-marital first sex for both men and women with two exceptions. Among Thai men, it lowers the risk, and among Taiwanese men, it has no effect. Having some college education or planning to have college education lowers the probability of having non-marital first sex substantially among Filipino women and Thai women. Among Taiwanese women, it increases the probability of having non-marital first sex. It has no effect on non-marital first sex among men. Separation of sex from marriage among women is not only more common in Taiwan, but is also more common among socially more advanced group of women within Taiwan. This finding suggests that separation of sex from marriage is likely to increase in other countries with further social modernization once the pattern initiates within the country. The prevalence of contraceptive use among sexually active single youth is surprisingly low in all three countries. A new approach for educating young adults about reproductive health risks associated with unprotected non-marital sex and ways of reducing the risks need to be developed and implemented.

Collection of Studies from Other Institutions
Authors Keywords
Choe, Minja Kim; Lin, Hui-Sheng; Podhisita, Chai; Raymundo, Corazon M.; population and family relation; fertility; family planning; reproductive health; population; population and development;
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Published in 2001 and available for Downloaded 473 times since November 25, 2011
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