A most detailed poly-ethnography of childhood
sexual socialisation is offered by Kaye (1960:p374-408; 1962:p116-29), who collected attitudes,
behaviour and retaliation on 21 sites in
(1976:p36-51) also gives a detailed account of
“In practice few schools have a comprehensive program on family life education”.
“Rapid urbanization, increased
mobility, education, and other agents of change have together undermined the
traditional channels of sex education. With very limited access to sex education
both at home and in the schools, coupled with long periods of schooling in an
unmarried state, the gap between sexual and social adulthood has widened, and
the modern Ghanaian adolescent faces a sexual dilemma. When in 1991, students
in two secondary schools in
In Ahafo, girls must not get pregnant before menarche is formally announced, a practice that may be delayed for years after its actual manifestation (Vervoorn, 1958). Anarfi and Awusabo-Asare (1993:p8; cf. Arnafi, 1993:p9):
“There seem to be no traditions, customs or beliefs prohibiting premarital sex in the societies studied. Over half of the sample, of both sexes and in rural and urban areas, were unaware of any prohibition on premarital sex: what was consistently mentioned was prohibition of sex before a girl underwent puberty rites. For girls, reaching physical maturity, signalled by menarche, was marked with extensive rituals: it symbolized a woman's ability to become a wife and mother. Sexual activity before puberty rites were performed was considered a criminal offence: punishments ranged from ritual cleansing to ostracism of the couple, particularly if the girl became pregnant before the ceremony was performed (Banuako, 1975)[]”.
“There is no
minimum age for marriage under customary law, although it is rare for spouses
to live together before the woman has reached puberty. Child marriage is
practised among all ethnic groups, although the incidence of women marrying
under the age of 15 is generally decreasing, but remains relatively higher in
the North. The courts have generally refused to compel women in marriages
arranged for them as children to return to their husbands where they have run
away (UNECA, 1984)” (Baden, 1994:p70). “Child
betrothal and marriage shortly after puberty for girls are common practices
“Almost all well regarded historical depictions
of life in
An ethnogeographic account of female circumcision was offered by Knudsen (1994). Today, with the ban on female circumcision, “parents and older people in the Kassena-Nankana District tend to trace changes in their children’s sexual behavior to invasive forces- money, media, “white men’s values”, and family planning” (Mensch et al., 1999).
Field (1970) remarked: “Young girls are usually married and become pregnant within a month or two of their first menstruation […]”.
Recent studies have argued that “[…] the expansion of formal education for females, urbanization and migration, have changed the traditional system of social and sexual maturity. Girls no longer marry at puberty, at least in urban areas, a situation that increases the gap between physical maturity and age at first marriage. This gap creates conditions for premarital sex”. According to one study, subjects became sexually experienced at a mean age of 15.5 years for males and 16.2 years for females. Among street children the mean age of sexarche is 14.5 for both sexes; between 4 and 5 per cent of the children had experienced sexual intercourse for the first time below age ten and another 39 per cent by age 14.
Henry and Fayorsey (2002) offers interesting data pertaining to the knowledge about the body, menstruation, sex and contraception, and pregnancy intentions and strategies for preventing pregnancy. It was learned that “[a]bout a third of the participants said that they learned something about sex and related topics in school as well. The others either did not recall whether they had been taught about sex,
said they had been taught nothing about sex, or had dropped out of school before they were old enough to have that class”.
CRLP (2001) Women of the World:
Laws and Policies Affecting Their
Reproductive Lives: Anglophone
Jackson, Elizabeth F., Patricia Akweongo, Evelyn Sakeah, Abraham
Hodgson, Rofina Asuru, and James F. Phillips. Women's denial of having experienced female genital cutting in
northern Ghana: Explanatory factors and consequences for analysis of survey
data, Policy Research Division Working Paper no. 178.
Kofi Awusabo-Asare, Albert M. Abane & Akwasi Kumi-Kyereme, Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health
§ Kofi, E. et al. (March 2003) Sexual Health Experiences of Adolescents In Three Ghanaian Towns, International Family Planning Perspectives 29,–40 [http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/journals/2903203.pdf]
Sexual Mutilations. Case studies presented at the
workshop: African women speak on female circumcision,
Afenyadu, D. & Goparaju, L. (2003) Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health Behaviour in
Bratton, Angela R. (2004) Teenage
pregnancy, education and the construction of sexuality in
Gender Violence in Schools 3:
D. F., Growing Up Sexually.
Last revised: Mar 2005
 Kaye, B. (1960) Child Training in
 “Pretended intercourse” (N=21): 2 all, 2 majority, 6 some, 5 few, 5 none, 1: ?; “real intercourse” of “older children”: 4 majority; 5 some, 3 few, 7 none, 2: ?.
 Bleek, W. (1976) Sexual Relationships and Birth Control in
 Ankomah, Au. (1997)
Among the communities in northern
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 Anarfi, J. K. & Awusabo-Asare,
K. (1993) Experimental research on sexual networking in some selected areas of
Ghana, Health Transition Rev 3
(Suppl.):1-15. Cf. Awusabo-Asarea, K. & Anarfib, J. K. (1999) Rethinking
the circumstances surrounding the first sexual experience in the era of AIDS in
Ghana, in Caldwell, J. C., Orubuloye, I. O. & Ntozi, J. P. M. (Eds.) The
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(1992) Tradition and Change: The Case of
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 Field, M. J. (1970) Search for Security: An Ethno-Psychiatric
Study of Rural
K. & Anarfib, J. K. (1999) Rethinking the circumstances surrounding the
first sexual experience in the era of AIDS in
 Agyei, W., Biritwum, R. et al. (2000) Sexual behaviour and contraception among unmarried adolescents and young adults in greater Accra and Eastern regions of Ghana, J Biosoc Sci 32,4:495-512
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transmitted disease: street children in
K. K. (nd) Women in African Traditional
Religions. Presentation prepared for the Women’s
 Henry, R. & Fayorsey, C. (2002) Coping with Pregnancy: Experiences of
Adolescents in Ga Mashi, Accra.