Delali Margaret Badasu

 A number of international initiatives and paradigm shift in economic development have led to the recognition of sexual and reproductive health (SRH) of young people as fundamental to human development in many countries. In Ghana, for example, the adoption of the 2000 Adolescent Reproductive Health Policy in Ghana in 2000, and the inclusion of teenage pregnancy as an emerging issue earlier in the revised 1994 National Population Policy are indications of efforts being made to promote the reproductive health of young people in the country.

Despite these efforts and several programmes and interventions, risky sexual behaviour among young people remains an area of concern in Ghana. Cross-generational sex, that is sexual relationship between male adults and unmarried adolescent girls with an age gap of ten years or more between them has been one of such risky sexual behaviours.

Cross-generational sex is, however, not new to African societies. Within the polygynous form of marital union, and contexts of double standards of sexuality that allows multiple partners for males but one for females, older males may select adolescents as younger wives or sexual partners. But, today, promotion of good reproductive health for young girls, girl-child education and campaign against HIV/AIDS make adequate understanding of cross-generational sexual relationships in Ghana as well as its reproductive health outcomes and human development implications desirable. The present study investigated child birth and other consequences of their cross- generational sexual relations among secondary school students in Accra.

The findings of the study show that the birth of a child ended the cross-generational sexual relationship and schooling in some cases and some of them were followed by child neglect. Marriages resulted from the relationships for others. The girls had a variety of responses and support from their families with respect to the continuation of their relationship with their male partners (the sugar daddies) and coping with their responsibility for the babies born from the sugar daddy relationships. The policy implications are discussed.

Kindly post your comments or views to the following questions on this issue

  • What social and cultural factors promote cross-generational sex?
  • What measures can government or civil society take to address the consequences of cross-generational sex relation outcome? 
  • Do the HIV/AIDS behavioural change campaign and the 2000 adolescent reproductive health policy adequately address cross-generational sexual impact on the spread of HIV/AIDS in Ghana?

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