Coitus and contraception: The utility of data on sexual intercourse for family planning programs
Blanc,Ann K.; Rutenberg,Naomi
Studies in Family Planning 22(3): 162-176
Publication date: 1991
The Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) program has included several questions on sexual intercourse in its model questionnaires that have been used in more than 25 surveys in Latin America, Africa, and Asia over the last five years. This article assesses the quality of the data on sexual intercourse for 12 DHS surveys and shows how these data may be useful for understanding contraceptive use dynamics and for organizing the management of family planning programs. The data show that there is considerable variation among countries in exposure to pregnancy prior to first marriage. Within marriage, the level of coital frequency varies with duration of marriage, fertility intentions, and type of contraceptive method used. Finally, in all countries there is some overlap between contraceptive use and sexual abstinence. This information can be useful in family planning programs for targeting particular populations, for assisting women to choose a method, and for assessing the effect of contraceptive use on fertility.