Studies in sub-Saharan Africa have shown that many people engage in multiple sexual partnerships despite a high awareness of and knowledge about the contribution of such practices to the spread of HIV. The culture of masculinity in many African countries, especially in Nigeria, acts to encourage men to engage in sexual experimentation with many sexual partners as a symbol of manhood. While past studies on sexual behaviour in Nigeria have focused on women and adolescents, the topic of men’s sexuality has received relatively less attention. To remedy this knowledge gap, this study, published in the Journal of Medicine and Medical Sciences, used data from the 2007 National HIV/AIDS and Reproductive Health Survey of sexually active Nigerians to investigate correlates and patterns of multiple sexual partnerships among men in Nigeria, with the specific aim being to examine the influence of wealth on sexual behaviours.
Compared to men in the poorest group, moderately rich men were more likely to have multiple and non-regular sexual partners, although not to a sufficient degree to confirm the hypothesis that wealth was associated with number and type of sexual partners. Rather, the study revealed that the pattern of sexual partnership among Nigerian men varies more according to individual characteristics and behavioral factors, rather than their contextual characteristics such as wealth. The study also found that marital status, condom use, students, and age (21-49 years old) were more significant determinants of men engaging in multiple sexual partnerships. Thus, sexual behaviour in the male population is driven not only by their occupations or economic state; younger men are also more prone to risky sexual behaviour. The authors note that the data on sexual partnership was self-reported, and so subject to potential bias in the information provided.