“Condoms Are for People with HIV”: Partial Information and Sexual Taboo among Middle-Class Women in Delhi, India

Emme Edmunds, Cornell University

Semi-structured interviews were analyzed to understand how women construct understandings and strategies in an environment where gathering sexual and reproductive health information is taboo. Interviews included questions regarding the interviewee’s first and subsequent exposures to formal and informal information about sex and reproductive information, their own efforts to obtain information, and their suggestions regarding the sources and content of information for young people in the future. Recent scholarship examines relationship and sexual behavior of young adults in urban India, the inadequacy of reliable sex education and the desire of young adults to have access to comprehensive information. Yet no studies engage professional, middle-class women who may be opinion leaders and change makers. Interviews are triangulated with ethnographic observations regarding contraceptive services and with content analysis of media. In the mode of everyday social strategizing by de Certeau, subjects obtain information about socially taboo topics as acts of self-care and resistance.

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Presented in Poster Session 6