The Link Between Postnatal Abstinence and Extramarital Sex in Cote d'lvoire



Whether the link, found in Benin, between postnatal abstinence and husbands' extramarital contacts can be generalized to other West African countries is assessed in this study. Data from the 1994 Demographic and Health Survey, Cote d'lvoire, obtained from monogamous husbands concerning their extramarital sexual behavior in the two months preceding the survey were linked to data reported by wives concerning postnatal abstinence over the same time period. Logistic regression was applied to assess the link between these two factors, net of the effects of possible confounders. A significant effect of postnatal abstinence on the probability that the husband reported at least one extramarital partner was found. Unprotected extramarital sex was two times more common among men who observed conjugal abstinence than it was among other men. Other predictors of extramarital sex were urban-rural residence, region, education, and whether or not husband and wife had the same religious affiliation. Because condom use is low in this population, the protective effect of marital abstinence is offset by an increased probability that husbands will seek extramarital partners during the postpartum period. The results confirm the earlier findings for Benin and can likely be generalized to most of West Africa.