A Qualitative Study of Sexual behaviour and practices of school going adolescents in a rural area of Panvel Taluka
Author(s): Fazila Patankar, Shalini Ojha, Daksha Pandit
Introduction: Adolescents constitute nearly 22% of India’s population of which 72% reside in rural areas. While there is limited evidence available on the nature and formation of premarital relationships in India, there is a trend that despite strict norms, partnerships are formed with the opposite sex. There is growing evidence of sexual activity before marriage, amongst both boys and girls.
Aims and Objectives: i) To understand perceptions and beliefs of adolescents regarding their sexual behaviour. ii) To study their sexual practices. iii) To understand the perception and opinion of teachers regarding sexual behavior and practices of adolescents.
Methodology: Qualitative study using different methods like free listing, focus group discussions and key informant interviews. Free listing regarding sexuality behavior and practices was done with 30 girls and 30 boys who were purposively chosen. Further FGD’s were conducted with girls, boys and teachers. Key informant interviews were conducted with 6 adolescents who were considered as their peer leaders.
Results: Results are organised around three main themes that arose: sexuality (sources of information, sexual practise, knowledge and attitudes) studies (schooling and careers) and relationships with parents and teachers.
Conclusions: Although relatively low there is a clear indication that students are indulging in some form of sexual activity. They have incorrect and incomplete knowledge regarding sexual health. Barriers of communication exist between adolescents, parents and teachers.