Changes in the timing of sexual intercourse in Ghana: evidence from the demographic and health survey data, 1988-2014.

Acheampong Yaw Amoateng, Ololade Baruwa


Background: Although sexuality is an inherent feature of humans, the timing of this important life-changing event sets the tone for future sexual behaviour with broader social implications.

Data source & Method: The present study used the six waves of the Ghana Demographic and Health Survey data (1988 to 2014) to examine the effect of changes in social and demographic contexts on age at which women have their first sexual encounter.

Results: The results of the study have shown that even though the age at which women in Ghana initiate sexual intercourse is changing, the changes have been slow over the course of the 26 years under review (1988 to 2014). Of the social and demographers factors examined, only education, religion and ethnicity were found to be significant predictors of the timing of sexual intercourse among women in Ghana, while the effects of place of residence and region were found to be insignificant after controlling for other factors. Educated women tended to postpone the initiation of first sexual encounter compared to their less educated counterparts, while women who belonged to other Christian denominations and Muslims delayed sexual initiation compared to women who did not belong to any religious group. Finally, Ewes, Guans, Mole/Dagbanis and other ethnic groups all tended to delay sexual initiation compared to the majority Akan.

Conclussion: The study demonstrated that the timing of first sexual intercourse among women in Ghana is affected by social and demographic contexts such as place of residence, education, ethnicity, region, and religion.


sexual intercourse; Ghana; education; ethnicity; demographic and health survey

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ISSN 2308-7854 (online); ISSN 0850-5780 (print)

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