Premarital Sexual Behaviour Among Unmarried Population: Exploring Gender Differences in India

Deepanjali Vishwakarma , International Institute for Population Sciences (IIPS)

This paper analyzes the social context of increasing premarital sex in a gender perspective that affects patterns and the characteristics of premarital sexual behaviors, using data on 169,814 unmarried women and 40,003 unmarried men from Indian DHS, 2015-16. Gender differences in premarital sex are pronounced, where never married males are five times more likely to have premarital sex (16 %) as compared to unmarried females (3%). Cox regression portrays that both male and female at younger ages are significantly more likely to initiate premarital sex at early ages. Muslims men are significantly more likely (HR=1.16 times) to have premarital sex at younger ages. Regional differences in the prevalence of premarital sex are remarkable. Premarital sex has been emerging as a recent phenomenon, where adolescent boys and girls are able to surpass the socio-cultural bindings and taboos on premarital sex.

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 Presented in Session 4. Marriage, Family, Households, & Unions