Gender Factors Associated with Sexual Abstinent Behavior of Rural South African High School Going Youth in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
Dlamini, S., Taylor, M., Mkhize, N., et al. Health Education Research (2009), Vol. 24 No. 3, pp. 450–60.
The study of ninth-grade students in rural South African high schools investigated the prevalence of sexual abstinence among rural KwaZula-Natal 14- to 20-year-old youth. The study analyzed gender perception about abstinence and motivating factors in abstaining from sex, and found that students who practiced abstinence were more likely to be younger females who also drank less alcohol. Girls who abstained from sex tended to believe that their friends and parents wanted them to abstain; that their friends also abstained from sex; and that abstinence helped them to mature emotionally. Abstaining girls tended to feel more confident than non-abstaining girls about saying no to sex when their partner pressured them. Abstinent boys expressed intentions to abstain from sex until marriage. The authors conclude that programs need to consider developing different abstinence activities for boys and girls. Programs that target and encourage females to abstain should focus on social influences, which include perceptions of friends and parents about abstinence from sex, parental support, and intervening early before the age of sexual initiation. For males, activities should include skills on resisting pressure to have sex and also changing and creating positive attitudes towards sexual abstinence.