How Many Women Are Abstaining or Having Infrequent Sex in Sub-Saharan Africa? Implications for Family Planning Targets
Marie Claire Peytrignet, University of Geneva
Several studies have pointed to abstinence or infrequent sex as a major cause of unmet need for family planning among married women in Sub Saharan Africa. It is also well established that a substantial portion of unmarried women in Sub Saharan Africa never had sex or have infrequent sex. Married women who abstain or have infrequent sex and do not use contraception are counted as having an unmet need for family planning, as opposed to abstaining single women. Both groups of women are at risk of unintended pregnancy, and need family planning programs suited to their life circumstances. This paper proposes an approach distinguishing women who are abstaining or engaging in infrequent sex (married and unmarried) from other categories of unmet need. We will explore variations in their numbers across countries and subgroups of women, using the most recent Demographic and Health Surveys conducted in Sub Saharan Africa since 2005.