Behind closed doors: A qualitative study of sexual behaviour of married women in Bangladesh
Khan,M.E.; Townsend,John W.; D'Costa,Shampa
Culture, Health and Sexuality 4(2): 237-256
Publication date: 2002
This paper, based on in-depth interviews of 54 women selected from both rural and urban areas, analyses the sexual behaviour of married women in Bangladesh. The study reveals that at the time of marriage girls have very limited knowledge about sex and married life. In a few cases, this has a significant bearing on later sexual behaviour and the expression of sexuality. The study also indicates that, despite normative restrictions, many women find ways of communicating about sex and sexuality with their husbands, and most enjoy their sexual life. Communication on contraception is almost desexualized and generally occurs early in their married life. In most cases, discussion of sex or contraception is initiated by husbands. These findings encourage new efforts to prevent the transmission of STIs/HIV and make married life sexually more enjoyable. The study reveals considerable variation in the sexual behaviour of women with respect to sexual negotiation, sex during menstruation and forced sex. Findings suggest the need for further studies to identify and address the factors causing such variations and producing undesirable reproductive health outcomes.