A nationwide study found that 63 percent of men -- from both urban and rural areas -- agreed that "wives can be hit if they deny to have sex with their husbands" while another 62 percent believed that "there are times when wives deserve to be beaten."
The findings were revealed at a webinar organised by Brac James P Grant School of Public Health today.
The survey, titled 'Male Youth and Their Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) in Bangladesh: a Mixed-Methods Nationwide Study' conducted by the department, also found that 30 percent young males in Bangladesh think that a female smoker or drinker is easily available for sex.
Besides, 27 percent of male youth have not heard the term 'family planning' and only six percent of males consulted with a health professional only once while most reported their first points of contact for SRH problems with kobiraj, homoeopathy doctors or local medicine dispensaries.
The study was conducted through systematic random sampling in all 64 districts (from 81 urban and 289 rural clusters), where 11,102 male respondents aged between 15 and 24 participated.
The survey, funded by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Bangladesh, was conducted to understand the knowledge, perception, practices and challenges in accessing SRH services for male youth in Bangladesh and to map the existing SRH interventions and review existing SRHR policies.
Among other major findings, 54 percent of the respondents had not heard of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), while 28 percent of young males agree/strongly agree that STDs are a result of weak faith, curses or the "evil eye".
The study also found that male SRH issues are not equally and elaborately described in textbooks compared to females, and teachers are not adequately sensitised to these issues, which is why SRHR sections of the textbooks are mostly ignored in classrooms and exams.
According to the study, despite having 11 SRHR programmes, there is no programme solely designed for male youth as they are included only to complement the objectives for enhancing female SRHR.