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John E. Knodel photo

Marital Sexual Behavior and Aging in Vietnam in Comparative Perspective

Publication Abstract

Download PDF versionKnodel, John E., Vu Tuan Huy, Vu Manh Loi, and Sharon Ghuman. 2005. "Marital Sexual Behavior and Aging in Vietnam in Comparative Perspective." PSC Research Report No. 05-583. 10 2005.

Combined data from two parallel regional surveys of married persons provide the first quantitative assessment of marital sex in Vietnam. Measures include the percent having intercourse during the prior month, monthly coital frequency among those who had sex, and the percent who have been inactive during the past year. Analysis focuses on the relation of sexual activity and age with particular attention to activity among older persons. Results for Vietnam are compared with those for Thailand and the United States. In addition, we examine the association between marital well-being and sexual activity in Vietnam. As in other populations, marital sexual activity declines with age and at older ages substantial proportions of married Vietnamese are sexually inactive. Levels of sexual activity among older persons are remarkably similar between Vietnam and Thailand but substantially lower that in the US. In addition, contrary to many US studies, the frequency of sexual activity shows little relationship to marital satisfaction and harmony in Vietnam. Possible explanations of lower levels of marital intercourse at older ages in Vietnam and Thailand than in the US are discussed in terms of possible biases in the data, differences in health and living arrangements, and the societal, cultural and normative contexts regarding the importance of sex in general and within marriage in particular.

Countries of focus: Thailand, United States of America, Vietnam.

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