Thirty two percent of young Filipinos aged 15-24 had engaged in sex before marriage, up from 23 percent reported a decade ago. This finding came from the 2013 Young Adult Fertility Study (YAFS 4).
The new survey offers a comprehensive look at the sexuality, fertility and reproductive health behaviors of contemporary young adults in the Philippines. This is the fourth in a series of nationwide surveys on the topic conducted by the Demographic Research & Development Foundation and the University of the Philippines Population Institute.
“While the increasing pattern of premarital sexual activity is expected, what we found notable in this new data is the narrowing gap in the level of premarital sex (PMS) prevalence between young men and women”, said Prof. Maria Paz Marquez, one of the authors of the study.
In 2002, the percentage of young women with premarital sex experience stood at 16 percent, almost half the level found among young men (31.2 percent). A decade later, 36 percent of young men reported having engaged in premarital sex compared to 29 percent among young women. Regional difference in premarital sex prevalence shows the National Capital Region (NCR) having the highest prevalence at 41 percent and ARMM, the lowest (7.7 percent).
Similar to the pattern found in previous YAFS surveys, in YAFS 4 there is higher level of PMS among young people aged 20-24 (54 percent) than the 15-19 age group (17 percent). In addition, young people who are either formally married or in live-in arrangement have higher prevalence of premarital sex than those who are never married. According to Prof. Marquez, although this may suggest that marriage or cohabitation is the likely outcome of early sexual activity, such pattern remains to be analyzed from the dataset.