JUMMEC 2009: 12 (1)
MALAYSIAN YOUTH SEXUALITY: ISSUES AND CHALLENGES
Medical Education and Research Development Unit, Faculty of Medicine, University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur
Youth sexuality is a great concern for many. Sexual health issues facing our youths are: premarital sexual intercourse, sexually transmitted diseases, unwanted and unsafe pregnancies and abortions, sexual diversity, HIV/AIDS, and cybersex. Various factors lead to risky sexual and reproductive health behavior, particularly among those unmarried youths: lack of sexual and reproductive health information and skills in negotiating sexual relationships and the inaccessibility of youthfriendly sexual and reproductive health services. Growing peer pressure of pre-marital sex plays a major role in sexual and reproductive health related decision-making among youths. Another factor is the issue of sexuality education which is still considered a sensitive topic and thus impinging on its implementation, due to cultural and religious constraints. Misunderstanding and a lack of information on sexual diversity have caused a concern for many, as there is a tendency for judgments, stereotypes, discriminations and prejudices towards homosexuality in the society. Online sexual activities or cybersex have become the next sexual revolution. Negative consequences are shown for those hooked on cybersex. Healthy youths are fundamental to the prevention initiatives. Promoting the sexual and reproductive needs and rights of our youths is warranted. (JUMMEC 2009; 12 (1):3-14)
KEYWORDS: sexual knowledge, sexual attitude, sexual behaviour, adolescent, reproductive health, sexual health
The World Health Organization (WHO) refers sexuality to a core dimension of being human which includes sex, gender, sexual and gender identity, sexual orientation, eroticism, emotional attachment/love, and reproduction. It is experienced or expressed in thoughts, fantasies, desires, beliefs, attitudes, values activities, practices, roles, relationships. Sexuality is a result of the interplay of biological, psychological, socio-economic, cultural, ethics and religions/spiritual factors. Malaysia is experiencing a population age structure characterized by “population momentum,” the “youth bulge” and the “demographic bonus.” According to the WHO, “adolescence” is the period from 10 to 19 years and “youth” refers to those between 15 to 24 years old. The term “young people” covers those between 10 and 24 years old. Sexual health of youths has emerged as an issue of great concern for many, particularly, the policy-makers, health service providers, family, community and the individuals him/herself. Trends in youth sexual and
reproductive behavior are changing and health care professionals must be aware of these trends to provide necessary sexual and reproductive care and education to this population. The main sexual and reproductive health issues facing our youths are: premarital sexual intercourse, sexually transmitted diseases (STD), unwanted and unsafe pregnancies and abortions, HIV/AIDS, sexual diversity, cybersex and sexuality education.
Sexual Knowledge, Attitudes and Behaviors of Adolescents and Youths There is a growing incidence of premarital sexual activity among youths, especially adolescents, owing to the widening gap between age at menarche
Correspondence: Low Wah Yun Medical Education and Research Development Unit Faculty of Medicine, University of Malaya 50603 Kuala Lumpur Email: firstname.lastname@example.org 3
JUMMEC 2009: 12 (1)
and age at marriage. The continuing prevalence of premarital sexual activity and the low contraceptive usage, result in a high rate of adolescent and youth fertility. The consequences of these pregnancy and childbearing have significant effects on maternal and child health. Motivations for premarital sexual activities are likely to be different for adolescent men and women. There is a gender...