By : Annie Freeda Cruez
KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian youth are involved in sexual activities before the age of 20.
A national study in 2004 involving 18,805 people (10,718 females and 8,087 males) revealed that the median age they had sex for the first time was 23.
The majority of the study group was Malay (56.4 per cent) followed by Chinese (20.6 per cent) and Indian (11.2 per cent). Out of the 18,805, the majority (72.8 per cent) was married.
Male respondents confessed to experiencing sex at the minimum age of 10 and median age of 22 and females at 12 and 24 respectively.
The overall median age of marriage was 23 Â— Chinese (25 years), Indians (23 years), Malays (22 years), Sabah Bumiputera (21 years) and Sarawak (20 years).
Professor Dr Lekhraj Rampal of the Department of Community Health, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences at Universiti Putra Malaysia said: Â“What is of concern is the fact that among the 13,971 respondents who had experienced sex, 38.2 per cent said they had sex before the age of 20.Â”
The age factor, he said, clearly indicated that those who had sex early were college students and young workers.
Â“Malaysians are now becoming very open when it comes to talking about sex. The unmarried and married talk about sex and itÂ’s time sex education be given emphasis and the public made aware of healthy sexual behaviour, including using condoms to protect against unintended pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases.Â”
He said as much as religion and culture encouraged sex after marriage, it could not be denied that younger people engaged in sexual activity.
Sexual behaviour, he added, was any action that allowed the expression of oneÂ’s feelings, including holding hands and kissing as well as masturbation and penetrative intercourse (per vagina or anal).
He said healthy sexual behaviours were consensual, non-exploitive and honest, and included actions that protected against unintended pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases.
Presenting a paper on Â“Sexual Practice in MalaysiaÂ” at the two-day conference on Sexuality in Medicine, organised by Universiti Putra Malaysia and the Malaysian Healthy Aging Society at UPM, Dr Rampal warned young Malaysians to be cautious when indulging in sex with unknown partners.
Â“The person, be it man or woman, may look healthy and sexy but you do not know whether he is a HIV victim or suffering from venereal disease or sexually transmitted diseases (STD). Get a blood test done to ascertain if he/she is free from STD or use a condom.Â”
Dr Rampal gave this warning because in a survey done to find out how much people knew about HIV and its transmission, the majority of the respondents could not give the right answers to many of the questions.
Dr Rampal also stressed that there was a need to educate the young not to fall victim to non-consensual sexual experiences.
Â“It covers a continuum of behaviours ranging from unwanted verbal advances and unwanted touch to assault and forced sex as well as sex in exchange for money, gifts, food or protection,Â” he added.
As for married couples, Dr Rampal said it was important for them to understand how the body works.source from http://www.nst.com.my/Current_News/NST/Saturday/National/20071027084739/Article/index_html