J Biosoc Sci. Oct 2002 34(04): 525-539
Determinants of coital frequency among married women in Central African Republic: The role of Female Genital Cutting
Stewart H, Morison L, White R
This paper examines determinants of one aspect of sexual behaviour – coital frequency – among 2188 married women in the Central African Republic using a secondary analysis of data from the Demographic and Health Survey of 1994–95. Female genital cutting (or circumcision) is practised in the Central African Republic and self-reported circumcision status was included in the questionnaire enabling it to be examined as a possible determinant of coital frequency. Multiple logistic regression was used to find a subset of factors independently associated with coital frequency. Decreased coital frequency was found in those who had longer duration of marriage, those who were not the most recent wife in a polygamous marriage and those who had more surviving children. Coital frequency was higher in more educated women and those not contracepting because they wanted to get pregnant. After adjusting for confounders no association between female genital cutting and coital frequency was found. The extent to which women can control coital frequency in this culture is not known and fertility desires may override any negative effects of circumcision on sexual pleasure. It was therefore not possible to draw conclusions about how female genital cutting affects a woman’s desire for sexual intercourse and consequently there is a need to develop research methods further to investigate this question.