Premarital partnerships among youth, including those that do not involve sexual relations, are widely discouraged in India. There is a widespread perception that youth do not find opportunities to mix and form romantic relationships and that premarital sex is negligible. These kinds of perceptions are often cited to argue against the provision of sex or family life education and sexual and reproductive health services to unmarried young people. While several small and unrepresentative studies have noted that sizable proportions of young people, particularly young men, are sexually active before marriage, the lack of rigorous and representative evidence on the levels and patterns of intimate partnerships among youth continues to hamper the designing of appropriate policies and programs to address young people’s sexual health needs. This policy brief documents the extent of premarital romantic and sexual relations experienced by young men and women in Bihar, and the extent to which premarital sexual experiences among young people are informed, safe, and wanted.
International Institute for Population Sciences (IIPS) and Population Council. 2009. "Romance and sex before marriage among young women and men in Bihar," Youth in India: Situation and Needs Policy Brief no. 19. Mumbai: IIPS.
Youth in India: Situation and Needs Study