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      Knowledge and Attitudes toward Sexual Health and Common Sexual Practices among College Students – A Survey from Vellore, Tamil Nadu, India


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          Indian society is considered to have conservative attitudes regarding sex and is ambivalent about the concept of sex education. Previous reports suggest that a considerable proportion of Indian youth have inadequate sexual knowledge and hold a variety of sexual misconceptions. Methodological flaws limit the generalizability of some earlier studies.


          This study assessed knowledge and attitude toward sexual health and common sexual practices among college students in Tamil Nadu.


          A total of 952 students from seven randomly selected colleges in Vellore district of Tamil Nadu participated in the survey. The survey questionnaire contained 51 questions on knowledge and attitude toward sexual health and common sexual practices and incorporated items from standardized questionnaires and additional questions suggested by a multidisciplinary group who work in the field.


          Two hundred seventy-five students among those who completed the survey were women. Higher knowledge scores were associated with older age, male gender, being from a rural background, pursuing non-science streams, and being in postgraduate courses. Nonconservative attitudes were associated with older age, male gender, enrollment in non-science disciplines, discomfort with the family environment, and a religious family background.


          Sexual knowledge is inadequate and sexual misconceptions were widely prevalent in the population studied. School-based comprehensive sex education programs, which have been demonstrated to be effective in improving sexual health, could be used to deal with these lacunae in sexual health knowledge and attitudes.

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          Most cited references26

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          Sexual Satisfaction and the Importance of Sexual Health to Quality of Life Throughout the Life Course of U.S. Adults.

          Discussions about sexual health are uncommon in clinical encounters, despite the sexual dysfunction associated with many common health conditions. Understanding of the importance of sexual health and sexual satisfaction in U.S. adults is limited.
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            Prevalence of masturbation and associated factors in a British national probability survey.

            A stratified probability sample survey of the British general population, aged 16 to 44 years, was conducted from 1999 to 2001 (N = 11,161) using face-to-face interviewing and computer-assisted self-interviewing. We used these data to estimate the population prevalence of masturbation, and to identify sociodemographic, sexual behavioral, and attitudinal factors associated with reporting this behavior. Seventy-three percent of men and 36.8% of women reported masturbating in the 4 weeks prior to interview (95% confidence interval 71.5%-74.4% and 35.4%-38.2%, respectively). A number of sociodemographic and behavioral factors were associated with reporting masturbation. Among both men and women, reporting masturbation increased with higher levels of education and social class and was more common among those reporting sexual function problems. For women, masturbation was more likely among those who reported more frequent vaginal sex in the last four weeks, a greater repertoire of sexual activity (such as reporting oral and anal sex), and more sexual partners in the last year. In contrast, the prevalence of masturbation was lower among men reporting more frequent vaginal sex. Both men and women reporting same-sex partner(s) were significantly more likely to report masturbation. Masturbation is a common sexual practice with significant variations in reporting between men and women.
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              Dhat syndrome--a useful diagnostic entity in Indian culture.

              In a prospective study of 144 consecutive male patients with psychosexual disorders, comprising 93 with Dhat syndrome with or without impotence or premature ejaculation, 21 with premature ejaculation, and 30 suffering only impotence, the commonest associated psychiatric illness was neurotic depression (39%) followed by anxiety neurosis (21%), while 31% did not receive a psychiatric diagnosis. The common presenting a symptoms of Dhat syndrome were weakness (71%), fatigue (69%), palpitations (69%), and sleeplessness (62%). After random allocation into groups, four types of treatment were given: an anti-anxiety drug, an antidepressant, a placebo, or counselling. The best response was seen with the anti-anxiety and antidepressant drugs. Twenty-one patients dropped out of treatment; 15 of whom were from the counselling group.

                Author and article information

                Indian J Psychol Med
                Indian J Psychol Med
                Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine
                Wolters Kluwer - Medknow (India )
                Jul-Aug 2019
                : 41
                : 4
                : 348-356
                [1]Department of Psychiatry, Christian Medical College, Vellore, Tamil Nadu, India
                Author notes
                Address for correspondence: Dr. Packirisamy Thangadurai Department of Psychiatry, Christian Medical College, Vellore, Tamil Nadu - 632 002, India. E-mail: thangadr@ 123456gmail.com
                Copyright: © 2019 Indian Psychiatric Society - South Zonal Branch

                This is an open access journal, and articles are distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 License, which allows others to remix, tweak, and build upon the work non-commercially, as long as appropriate credit is given and the new creations are licensed under the identical terms.

                : 28 October 2018
                : 29 May 2019
                Original Article

                Clinical Psychology & Psychiatry
                college students,sexual attitudes,sexual knowledge,sexual misconceptions,sexual practices,sexual knowledge is inadequate and sexual misconceptions are widely prevalent among the youth in india. culturally sensitive and comprehensive sex education programs could be used to deal with these lacunae.


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