Pressured and Sometimes Forced: The Context of Boys’ First Sexual Encounter in Ghana

Maame Peterson, University of Ghana

That girls’ first sexual encounters occur in contexts where they are forced and pressured, and adverse implications on their futures, is widely known and appreciated. Despite this wealth of information, little has been done to understand how the same unfortunate circumstances may impinge on boys, and the implications such experiences portend for their futures are unclear. This paper analyzes 31 in-depth interviews of teenage boys from the NIH-funded Gendered Sexual Contexts study in two communities in Ghana. About one-third of them had their first sexual encounter while they were minors, and felt pressured or coerced into doing so. A good proportion of those encounters were with older females. We describe the phenomenon of cross-gender sexual abuse, highlight the effects, and discuss potential implications for future relationships. Further research will analyze three longitudinal survey data waves collected on these boys, to try to untangle the chronological developments associated with their situations.

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Presented in Poster Session 7: Family Planning, Sexual Behavior, and Reproductive Health