Correlates of First Intercourse Among Women in Jamaica
- Cite this article as:
- Wyatt, G., Durvasula, R.S., Guthrie, D. et al. Arch Sex Behav (1999) 28: 139. doi:10.1023/A:1018767805871
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This study examines retrospective reports offactors anticipated to impact first intercourse in arandom sample of 897 Jamaican women, and contributes toour understanding of the relationship between sexual risk, knowledge, and economic and demographiccorrelates of first intercourse. A relationship betweeninitiation of intercourse prior to the age of consent(16 Years) and factors occurring at or around the time of first intercourse was found. Earlyinitiators were more likely to have had less earlyfamily stability and to have experienced menarche at ayounger age than late initiators. Although early initiators of intercourse were more likely toreport lower socioeconomic status, less STD knowledge,and greater numbers of pregnancies, they were no morelikely to report more sexual partners than women who engaged in first intercourse after the ageof consent, and had a greater number of long-termrelationships. Regardless of age of first intercourse,women need to be made aware of the risks of sexual contact so that they can make informeddecisions about the consequences of sexual activity.Overall, results are consistent with work conducted inother parts of the Caribbean and America regarding the age at which young women engage in firstintercourse. Findings suggest the need for further workexploring expectations at first intercourse such asmarriage, economic support, or relationship stability. Implications of these findings are discussedwithin the context of economic and structural factorsthat both increase and decrease risks.