Sexual behaviour among rural women in Ondo state, Nigeria: do cultural and gender norms matter?

Chukwuechefulam K. Imo, Oyewole O. Olusanya, Ifeoluwa E. Oluwatuase


Background: The issues of sexual behaviour that increase risk of a negative outcome among women have been debated. This paper explored the influence of cultural and gender norms on sexual behaviour among rural childbearing married women in Akoko, Ondo State, Nigeria.

Methods: The study utilized exploratory study design and purposively recruited 394 and 30 childbearing married women for quantitative and qualitative studies, respectively through which data were generated. The analyses were carried out with Stata software (version 13.0) for quantitative data using descriptive and chi-square statistics, while thematic content analysis was used for qualitative data.

Results: About two-third of the respondents did not use contraceptive methods, which was a significant predictor of unplanned pregnancies among the women at p<0.05. Alluding to cultural preference of children and male roles in sexual behaviours, the qualitative data revealed that desire for large family sizes by partners, cultural norms, men’s superiority on sexual matters and partners’ disapproval of contraceptive usage predict women’s inability to negotiate sex with partners.

Conclusions: Therefore, risk reduction strategies aimed at enlightening childbearing married women on their imperative positions in sexual relationships within marriages should be initiated to facilitate the achievement of sustainable development goals should be intensified.


Sexual behaviour, Women, Cultural and gender norms, Sustainable development

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