This article reports on a study of representations and narratives of sexual abstinence among adolescent males in rural Nigeria that showed that abstinence occupied a variable position in the lives and minds of these youth: Beliefs about sexual abstinence being moral and healthy and signifying decency, propriety, and decorum existed alongside narratives depicting it both as dangerous and unhealthy and as an imposition and a sign of disempowerment and powerlessness. These variations in views about sexual abstinence constitute a vibrant critique of conventional public health messages and discourses casting abstinence as beneficial and doable for all youth and also raise important questions regarding young males' constructions of sexuality, gender, health, risk, danger, and pleasure. A broad approach to sexuality education that both encourages abstinence and provides information for those who may be unwilling or unable to abstain is vital to safeguarding the health and well-being of young people.
Sexuality Research & Social Policy 4 (2) 74-87
Representations of Sexual Abstinence Among Rural Nigerian Adolescent Males.