The more decisions a woman reported making on her own the less likely she was to have sex.
Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health researchers examined the relationships between married women’s autonomy and the regularity of their sexual relations.
They found that women who were more empowered to make decisions had less frequent intercourse.
Professor Michelle Hindin, the lead author of the study, said: “A very consistent pattern was observed across all six countries we surveyed.
“The more decisions a woman reported making on her own, as compared to joint decision making, the less likely she was to have sex and the longer it was since she last had sexual intercourse.”
Researchers analysed data from surveys in Ghana, Malawi, Mali, Rwanda, Uganda, and Zimbabwe that asked survey participants to indicate the day, week, month and year they last had sexual intercourse.
Survey participants were also asked to indicate the person in the household who typically had the final say on the following decisions: health care, large household purchases, household purchases for daily needs and visiting family and friends. Researchers also examined socio-demographic and relationship factors such as age, wealth, parity, husband’s residence, and marital duration.
The majority of women participating in the survey reported sexual intercourse within the last month.
For men, making decisions by themselves was not related to the timing of sex.
Carie Muntifering, a co-author of the study, said: “Understanding how women’s position in the household influences their sexual activity may be an essential piece in protecting the sexual rights of women and helping them to achieve a sexual life that is both safe and pleasurable.”
The research will be published in the October issue of the Journal of Sex Research.
Photo credit: Woman’s Day