Sexual networking in the Ekiti district of Nigeria

Stud Fam Plann. 1991 Mar-Apr;22(2):61-73.


The confirmation of a significant number of HIV-positive persons and some deaths due to AIDS in Nigeria has rendered more urgent the study of sexual networking, both for an understanding of the risk of HIV transmission and also that of sexually transmitted diseases, which may serve as a vehicle for HIV infection. This article reports on a research project that concentrated initially on developing both small-scale survey and anthropological methodology to a point where reliable information was obtained. The research was carried out in both urban and rural areas of Ekiti, Nigeria, a Yoruba district 150 miles northeast of Lagos. Findings are reported from both the survey of 200 men and 200 women and the supplementary specialized in-depth studies. A high level of premarital and extramarital sexual activity was shown to exist, with higher levels among men than women and in urban than rural areas. Most female extramarital relations in rural areas were occasioned by the need for material or economic assistance and were highest among the younger wives in polygynous marriages. Male extramarital relations were highest in monogamous marriages and were frequently explained by wives' periods of postpartum sexual abstinence. Polygyny and postpartum sexual abstinence were underlying social institutions that explained much of the sexual networking. Reported levels of sexually transmitted disease were high, as were beliefs that these disease could be treated successfully by traditional healers.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Extramarital Relations
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / ethnology*
  • HIV Infections / transmission
  • Health Surveys*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nigeria
  • Risk Factors
  • Rural Population
  • Sex Factors
  • Sexual Behavior / ethnology*
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases / ethnology*
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases / transmission
  • Urban Population