Gender dynamics in the parental household and their effects on the sexual behavior of Mexican youth



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Gender norms shape our sexual experiences because they provide us with information about the appropriate behavior for men and women in social interactions (Allgeier and McCormick, 1983). Family is one of the places where we first learn about gender norms. Research on youth sexuality shows the importance of family on the sexuality of individuals through paths such as parent-child communication, parents‟ gender attitudes, parental surveillance, etc. However, less is known about other practices in the family, such as gender dynamics, or gender role practices, that could also affect the sexuality of young individuals. The aim of this dissertation is to analyze whether the sexual division of decision-making power and labor (gender dynamics) in which vii youngsters were raised, have any effect on their age at sexual debut, and their use of condoms as a contraceptive method. The source of information is the National Survey of Youth 2000 for Mexico. A discrete time hazard model is used in the analysis of age at sexual debut and a logistic regression was performed to analyze condom use. Results show that egalitarian gender dynamics have effects that differ by socioeconomic status and gender. The most remarkable findings are that shared decision-making power decreases the likelihood of an early sexual debut among girls with low socioeconomic status, and increases the likelihood of condom use among girls with high socioeconomic status.