The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
AAEB drafted the manuscript. AAEB and FNAD conceptualized the study, made revisions of the manuscript, and approved of the final draft.
Adolescent sexual activity, especially among the urban poor, remains a challenge. Despite numerous interventions and programs to address the negative consequences arising from early and frequent sexual activity among youth in sub-Saharan Africa, including Ghana, only slight progress has been made. A plausible explanation is that our understanding of what adolescents think about sex and about their own sexuality is poor. In that sense, examining how adolescents in urban poor communities think about their sexual readiness, and identifying characteristics associated with that sexual self-concept dimension, should deepen our understanding of this topical issue.
A total of 196 male and female adolescents, ages 12 to 19, were surveyed in the 2011 RIPS Urban Health and Poverty Project in Accra, Ghana. The youth responded to three statements which determined their levels of sexual readiness. Other background characteristics were also obtained enabling the assessment of the correlates of their preparedness to engage in sex. The data were analyzed using ordered logistic regression models.
Overall, the majority of respondents did not consider themselves ready for sex. Multivariate analyses indicated that sexual experience, exposure to pornographic movies, gender, ethnicity and household wealth were significantly linked to their readiness for sex.
Sexual readiness is related to sexual activity as well as other characteristics of the adolescents, suggesting the need to consider these factors in the design of programs and interventions to curb early sex. The subject of sexual readiness has to be investigated further to ensure adolescents do not identify with any negative effects of this sexual self-view.