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Adolescent sexuality in Asia: new focus for population policy.

  • Robey, B
Published Article
Asia-Pacific population & policy
Publication Date
Sep 01, 1989
PMID: 12315866


As the age at marriage continues to rise in East and Southeast Asia, the fertility behavior of unmarried teenagers is receiving more attention from population policymakers. In addition to fertility reduction through family planning, Asian societies today consider population planning strategies in relation to national needs and social goals, including such matters as the population's growth rate, age structure, educational quality and skills. The number of single youth in Asia is growing much more rapidly than the total youth population. By the year 2010, for example, India is projected to have nearly 70 million single teenagers, aged 15-19, 188% more than in 1980. In many developing countries today, such as the Philippines and Korea, the rising age at marriage has combined with rapid urbanization, improved status for women, and more educational opportunity to alter both the behavioral norms of young people and the traditional means of social control over youth. Studies of contemporary adolescent sexuality have been conducted in 4 Asian countries. In the Philippines an overt independent youth homosexual culture was found to exist in urban and to some extent rural areas. In Thailand research revealed little conservative resistance to family planning or to contraceptives for young unmarried people. Surveys in Taiwan indicate that behavior related to dating and choice of spouse has become more liberal, and a survey in Hong Kong revealed a higher level of premarital sex and use of prostitutes among Chinese men than expected. Population policy perspectives that need to be considered in these changing times include: 1) issues of access to family planning services by unmarried people below the legal age of maturity; 2) the development of social institutions, such as exist in Thailand and the Philippines, to guide adolescents' behavior; 3) more extensive study of adolescent sexuality; 4) establishment of the scope of family policy.

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