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Premarital Sex in India: Issues of Class and Gender

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This study is aimed at understanding premarital sexual activity in India using data from the third round of the National Family Health Survey. At the national level, reported premarital sex is still fairly low among women and somewhat higher among men. The data show that ever married women are more likely to report premarital sex compared to currently unmarried women. Among unmarried women and men who report premarital sexual activity, the distributions vary by place of residence, occupational status, level of education, and level of household wealth. Unmarried women who are aware of hiv/aids and sexually transmitted diseases are less likely to have had premarital sex. Notably, there is a significant gender dimension in reporting of premarital sexual activity, pointing the way for further research.

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