Be clear before gettitng involved in sex: the impact of sex before marriage amongst young people in Cambodia

Tong Soprach, University of Cambodia

From a scientific, biological perspective, males and female have an equal need for sex as part of their human nature. In practice however, men seem to have a much higher drive toward premarital sex than women. The purpose of this paper is to objectively examine the sources of this disparity as main previous studies in Cambodia: Khmer culture context of sexual behavior among young people, sexual relationships, gang rape and sexual violence amongst young people, as well as social-stress amongst students at university. And interviewing expatriates for more information on Western cultures in term of social behaviour context and a biological science specialist. The limitation of this study focuses on young people who are involved in sex before marriage but not commercial sex workers as a job. This paper asks whether it is Cambodian or western cultural impacts, perceptions of masculinity, peer pressure, drug and alcohol use, gender stratification, economic pressures, or opportunity that accounts for men’s passion for sex before marriage. The paper will focus on the premarital sexual practices and the impacts of these practices in relation to the sexual and reproductive health of youth; including STIs and HIV/AIDS, the social consequences of unwanted pregnancy and the incidence of gender based violence including the previously documented phenomenon of bauk (refers to the practice of gang rape) and the trafficking of girlfriends to brothels. In addition, this paper presents some recommendations for the design of education and advocacy interventions for youth sexual and reproductive health including the introduction of gender and human rights issues into STIs/HIV/AIDS and other sexual reproductive health initiatives, thereby encouraging safe and responsible sex among young men, and promoting the empowerment of youth.

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Presented in Poster Session 1

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