Changing Attitudes toward Premarital Sex in Vietnam: Evidence from a National Survey

Mai Do, Tulane University

Despite concerns of increasingly relaxed sexual culture in Vietnam, evidence of changing sexuality norms remains scarce. This study documents differential attitudes toward premarital sex by gender, age and marital status with data from 7,289 women and 6,707 men aged 15-49 in the Vietnam Population and AIDS Indicator Survey 2005. Attitudes toward premarital sex remained conservative, although men were more permissive than women. A double-standard for women existed: among both genders, acceptance of men’s premarital sex was significantly higher than that of women’s. Unmarried respondents were more open than married. Only among the married did we find increasing premarital sex acceptance with younger age; among the unmarried, the evidence was unclear. Additionally, the poorest and least educated were most open toward premarital sex. The study indicates a continuing struggle between traditional values and a growing openness toward sexuality that should be taken into account in programs aimed to target sexual behavior.

  See paper

Presented in Poster Session 4