LOVE, SEX AND HEARTBREAK

In all settings sex before marriage is stigmatized, but especially for young men interviewed in India. Though most young men have girlfriends, they hide these relationships from their parents and go to great lengths to protect secret relationships. This stigma can inhibit them from buying and using condoms. In Kenya, young men told us that they might have simultaneous relationships with so-called ‘one-night girls,’ ‘casual girlfriends,’ and ‘marriage-material girls’. The type of relationship they were in influenced their choice of contraception and also whether they made that choice collaboratively with their partner. Men in Kenya talked of the pressure to satisfy a woman sexually. Failure to do so has real consequences, including social stigma from other girls, public shaming on social media sites and teasing from friends.

Experiences of fear, heartbreak and jealousy in young men’s relationships were wide-spread and often colored how they explored and asserted power in their own relationships. Many young men talked of fear of abandonment for a wealthier man if they could not provide financially. Across all countries, trust of your partner had a strong influence on use of contraception. In Kenya, young men believe stopping using contraception demonstrates a woman’s love and loyalty. In India, young men said that girlfirends could demonstrate fidelity by providing passwords for social media accounts, so they can monitor their activity.

 
 

“If it’s true love, you don’t hack the ID of your girlfriend. Because there’s trust.”

– YOUNG MAN, LUCKNOW

 

“If you don’t spend on your girlfriend, then she will leave you.”

– YOUNG MAN, LUCKNOW

 

 
 

YOUNG MEN'S PERSONAL STORIES

 
 
 
 
 

 
 

ARTIFACTS

 
 

Researchers asked young men to create artifacts during interviews and focus groups. Through writing, drawing and collaging, young men had an opportunity to express their feelings about relationships, sex and family planning. 

 
 
 
 
 

 
 

MEN SHARED THEIR FAVORITE HEARTBREAK SONGS