• Journal Article

(Not) talking about sex: couple reports of sexual discussion and expression in Bangalore, India

Citation

McDougall, J., Edmeades, J., & Krishnan, S. (2011). (Not) talking about sex: couple reports of sexual discussion and expression in Bangalore, India. Culture, Health and Sexuality, 13(2), 141-156. DOI: 10.1080/13691058.2010.520740

Abstract

Adolescent marriage is common in India, placing young women at risk of HIV, early pregnancy and poor birth outcomes. Young women's capacity to express their sexual desires is central to negotiating safe and mutually consensual sexuality. Men, too, play an important role in shaping women's sexual and reproductive health outcomes, but little research has examined how men influence women's sexual expression. Using paired husband and wife data, this paper reports on a preliminary investigation into the patterns of and concurrence between women's sexual expression and their husbands' attitudes about it, as well as the influence of men's approval of their wives' sexual expression on women's actual expression of sexual desire. The results suggest that, among this sample, men are more open to sexual expression than their wives and that, for women, expressing desire not to have sex is far more common than expressing desire to have sex. Further, men's approval of sexual expression from wives appears to positively influence women's actual expression. These findings suggest that men may be resources for women to draw upon as they negotiate sexuality in adolescence and early adulthood