The Sexual, Marital and Fathering Behavior of Men in Sub-Saharan Africa|
Bankole, Akinrinola; Singh, Susheela; Hussain, Rubina & Wulf, Deirdre
Understanding men's sexual and reproductive preferences and behaviors as well as their roles as partners in sexual relationships, marriage and family building is essential to address their sexual and reproductive health information and service needs. Identifying and meeting these needs are crucial because the more informed and more effective men are in living safer and more fulfilling reproductive lives, the better it will be for not only them, but for their families as well. The sexual and reproductive behaviors and health needs of men aged 15-54 in 22 Sub-Saharan countries were examined using nationally representative data collected in these countries by the Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) between 1994 and 2001.The study found that the years between first sex and marriage represent a period of enhanced risk of STIs and premarital pregnancy for many sexually active unmarried men in Sub-Saharan African (SSA). Men in SSA want and have large families. At age 40-54, men have had seven or more children in 14 of 21 countries with data, and about six children in the remaining six countries. However, desired family size is declining: Men 15-24 want fewer children than do men in their early 50s-around 4-6 children compared with 6-10 and more, respectively. Although substantial proportions of sexually active men have more than one partner, the majority are not using condoms to prevent HIV/AIDS and other STI. Men in SSA need targeted information to help them make informed choices in their sexual and reproductive behaviors. Men also need information to help them meet their responsibilities as husbands and fathers. Men, especially those who live in areas with high prevalence of HIV/AIDS and other STIs, need better access to condoms and health services for the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of STIs. If these information and services are put within the reach of men, the gains for them will inevitably be gains for their partners and children.