The Effect of Early Marriage on Women’s Sexual Autonomy within Marital Relationships in Asia: Evidence from India, Indonesia, Nepal and Philippines

Hongyun Fu, Tulane University

Though it is widely acknowledged that women in developing countries, particularly those who married in adolescence, have limited control over sexual behaviors within marital relationships, the patterns of Asian women’s sexual submissiveness in marriage and the determinants have not been systematically investigated. Utilizing Demographic and Health Survey data collected from four Asian countries between 2003 and 2007 (including India, Indonesia, Nepal and Philippines), this study aims to (1) assess the patterns of Asian women’s attitudes towards their autonomy over sexual behaviors within marital relationships, (2) examine the association between early marriage and women’s sexual autonomy; (3) explore the individual, couple and community-level determinants of women’s attitude towards sexual autonomy. The study includes a total sample of 52,016 Asian couples. Findings from this study would contribute to designing strategies in empowering women within marital sexual relations and reducing their risks for HIV/AIDS and other adverse reproductive health outcomes in contemporary Asia.

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Presented in Poster Session 5