Sex negotiation skills in the Obuasi Municipality: a comparative study of in-school and out- of- school female adolescents

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Adolescence (from 10 to 19 years of age) is a very important stage in human life where a person transits from childhood to adulthood. During this stage, the person may exhibit certain characteristics of adulthood and behaves like a child almost simultaneously hence exposing them to some risks and challenges. Among the adult behaviours that an adolescent exhibits is the desire for sexual expression and fulfilment. The adolescent negotiates for sex by making a request or responding to that of a partner. This process is often a complex one that requires the use of some skills to ensure success. Depending on the prevailing factors, a successful negotiation process may lead to an acceptance or refusal to have sex. The objective of the study was to describe the skills used by the female adolescents in negotiating for sex and show how the discoveries can be transformed into recommendations and policies for better reproductive health care in Obuasi municipality. The study was important to determine which skills adolescent girls in-school and those out-of-school in the Obuasi Municipality used in sex negotiation. It also sought to determine which of the skills were successful when used and the factors that made them effective. Three hundred and eighty three (383) girls who volunteered to participate in this study were asked some questions with the help of a questionnaire through face-to-face interviews and their answers analysed for discussion. A two stage cluster sampling technique was used to select the sample. The results of the study indicated, among other things, that both in-school and out-of-school adolescents used the same types of skills for sex negotiation but the two groups of respondents differed significantly in age, relationship status and religion. Communication was the main skill that girls in both groups used to negotiate sex. They all preferred the verbal way of communicating (talking) to their partners concerning their desire, acceptance or refusal of sex. Many also indicated that assertiveness was also a major skill that they used. The natural desire for pleasure was been identified as the main factor that affected the success of a sex negotiation skill. The impact of the sex negotiation skills of the female adolescents was evident in declining antenatal registrations and STI cases in relation to girls. This impact also had some socio-economic effect and could have led to the attainment of MDG5b in the municipality. Health and education directorates in the municipality would consider working together to promote the use of assertiveness and condom as skills for sex negotiation by adolescent girls in addition to verbal communication (Talking) which they (the girls) preferred.
A thesis submitted to The Department of Population, Family and Reproductive Health, College of Health Sciences, School of Public Health, in partial fulfilment of requirements for the award of degree of Master of Public Health in Population & Reproductive Health, 2016