Body, Perception and Risk: Understanding Sexual Development among Out-of-School Rural Adolescents in India

R.S. Goyal, Indian Institute of Health Management (IIHMR)
Suvakanta N. Swain, International Institute for Population Sciences (IIPS)

Adolescent sexuality is always a research concern in the age of the HIV. The present paper defines the perceived sexual development and explores its linkage with risk taking behavior among out of school rural adolescents in India. A survey data of 1089 boys and 1245 girls within the age group of 13 to 18, qualitative data of 40 focus group discussions and 120 key in-depth interviews administered in two sates in India has been analyzed for the current purpose. Primary analysis shows the large proportions of the adolescent girls are married. Majority of the adolescents are having misconceptions regarding sexual development. Lack of knowledge source, no proper communication with parents compels them to depend on equally de-empowered peers for getting sexual information. The culture of silence makes the girls more vulnerable. Gender message and morphological perception dominates among boys regarding sexual development, which further endangers their sexual behaviors.

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Presented in Poster Session 1