Age at sexual debut amongst learners explored

A non-governmental organization, ActionAid South Africa, conducted a research on various issues around intended and actual age of sexual debut amongst leaners. They also looked at the access youth had to sexual and reproductive health and rights education.

The research found that 79 percent of learners in Gauteng and 28 percent in Limpopo under the age of 16 years old are engaging in sexual activities. The findings were gathered from the voices, experiences and opinions of more than 400 learners.

Talking to CapeTalk’s/702’s Redi Tlhabi Thevan Naidoo, ActionAid SA researcher says that the research also found that the age of sexual debut is now lower and that the nature of the violations are now extreme.

According to Naidoo, in arrears such as Limpopo they have discovered that learners are forced into sexual activities by older boys or family members, which is a call for concern.

The study found that coerced sexual debut among young adolescents occurred mostly through sexual intercourse with peers.

Here are some of the findings of the research:

Sexual activity and sexual debut

79% learners in Gauteng are engaging in sex younger than 16 years old
28% learners in Limpopo are engaging in sex younger than 16 years old

Why are these learners having sex?

  • Naidoo said these learners were having sex as a way of showing love to their partners and some said they were forced by their partner to prove their love for them
  • A large majority admitted to having sex because of peer pressure
  • And some were having sex for money or material gain including having sex with educators for good grades

Who are they having sex with?

55 percent said partners ( peers, or older boys)
15 percent – Sugar daddy’s
3 percent with their educators
Others were having sex with strangers for material benefits

Where do these learners go to have sex?

48% parks, bushes and fields
35% boyfriend’s home
5% school toilets

Here are some of the twitter responses to the topic:

Listen to the full conversation on The Redi Tlhabi Show:


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