ASSESSMENT OF THE CAUSES OF PREMARITAL SEX AMONG UNDERGRADUATE STUDENTS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF BENIN
Background of the study
Over the years and all through history it has been observed that opposite sex attracts, that is, man to woman, young boys to young girls, male child to female parent (Oedipus complex) and female child to male parent (Electra complex). This attraction could be for sexual gratification, sense of identity or a feeling of belonging. Literatures have shown that these two parties (male and female) have always had a strong connection that is beyond the ordinary. Something, someone or an idea has drawn them together.
Premarital sex is generally used in reference to individuals who are presumed not yet of marriageable age, or between adults who will presumably marry eventually, but who are engaged in sexual activity prior to marriage (Lucas, 2000, Ramesh, 2008 and Barbra et al, 2001).
Public opinion polls have consistently shown that premarital sex is wrong and dangerous to health resulting in abortions, teenage mothers and sexually transmitted infections (Aaron, 2006; Finer, 2007). Premarital sex is sex before marriage and it is generally found among the youth. It involves fornication, rape, defilement and incest. The causes behind it have been established including curiosity among the youth, proof of manhood, lust, pornography and it adverse effects, insanity and sex promiscuity as well as moral decadence among the youths (Choe et al, 2004).
Premarital sex is perceived and seen as a taboo in many cultures and considered a sin against man and God in most religion, it has become more commonly accepted by large portions of populaces in developed countries within the last few decades. The rise in premarital sex in Africa has resulted from a sexual revolution that came with western culture (Scott, 2005). A 2014 pew study on global morality found that premarital sex was considered particularly unacceptable in “predominantly Muslim nations” such as Indonesia, Jordan, Pakistan and Egypt, each having over 90% disapproval, whilst many people within western European nations were the most accepting with Spain, Germany and France having less than 10% disapproval.
According to a 2001 UNICEF survey, in 10 out of 12 developed nations with available data, more than two thirds of young people have had sexual intercourse while still in their teens. In Denmark, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Norway, The United Kingdom and The United States, approximately 25% of 15years old an 50% of 17year olds have had sex. This goes a long way to prove that even before the students gains admission into the University a hand fill of then are already familiar with the experience of sexual intercourse an so the trends to continue even at the University level.
Worldwide, rates of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) among the youth are soaring; one-third of the 340million new STDs each year occur in people under 25 years of age (Fernandez et al, 2010). There are many behavioral problems among the adolescents that Nigerian society today has to contend with. Such problems include truancy, disobedience, drug offences, assault, insult, stealing, violent demonstrations, Vandalism, examination malpractice, robbery and secret cult activities (Nnanchi, 2003). Apart from these widely publicized behavioral problems, heterosexual activities are listed among types of behavioral problem prevalent in Nigerian secondary schools. These are variously named in the literature as sex abuse, sex offences, sexual misconduct, sexual immorality, sexual promiscuity, and sexual maladjustment (Odoemelamelam, 1996, Adedipe, 2000, Ndu, 2000; Nnachi, 2003). When this individuals graduates from their secondary school they do not only graduate with learned behavior and new ideology which they bring in to the University to explore their new gained freedom.
Sexual intercourse from observation and from the reports and witness of people who engage in them attest to the fact that it is highly pleasurable, both during and after the act, and as such an average person would be attracted to activities that induce pleasure. People engage in premarital sex, in this case University undergraduates for several reasons whether out of curiosity, for pleasure sake or a feeling of achievement etc. The case of premarital sex among undergraduate student of the University of Benin one can say has been on the increase and is gradually becoming a part of the norm in our society and the University communities. In one occasion in my Faculty just outside the entrance I witness a girl and a boy obviously not married kissing and smooching for a long period of time in the dark. Here and there within an outside the University Campus, cases of students caught engaging in sexual intercourse has been reported among undergraduate students in some locations of peculiar features. A roommate of mine attest to an incident where him and his friends caught some students in the act around the dark corners in his faculty, one thing lead to the other and the case got to the security department University of Benin.
According to Abdullahi and Umar (2008), “Sexual behavior among the students in our University is speculatively very rampant and worrisome. In this contest it is important to understand why youth engage in risky sexual behavior and to understand the influencing factors for the behavior. When the Dean, students’ affairs of the University of Maiduguri whose responsibility is to regulate the conduct of students issued a circular to checkmate sex activities amongst students, the students felt that neither the deanery nor the university authority had jurisdiction over their sex life. The students, who live in congested rooms and study in a difficult academic environment, were angry, not for the lack of facilities in the halls of residence or in the teaching areas, but with the interference of the university management with their personal life (Their Activities). In the night of Monday, 28 January, 2002 the students went on demonstration during which the Dean of student affair was beaten and sand thrown on him.
From the above, one can see that matters pertaining to sex and sex activities are held dearly by students, even when other aspects of their health an even their future is threatened. They would rather fight for “their personal life”. Taking out time to meditate on why in this present time the issue of sex has become an issue of grave concern, one would observe that the media has somehow succeeded in creating in our subconscious, pictures of sex, sexual feeling and sexual arousal. Careful observation would reveal the fact that on almost all television station you turn to there is either a beautiful damsel who is half naked intentionally showing off her cleavage, the size of her breast or her hip just to get your attention to a particular product or service. This is also the case for the opposite sex who would flaunt his muscle and “six pack” just to sell underwear. Access to the internet (which is actually a great thing) have heightened this issue of sexual feeling and arousal most especially among undergraduates who at the click of every link is beckoned to subscribe to a porn site or watch a pornographic video, or hookup. Newspaper, Magazines and other book materials are not left out in this jingle of sex and sexual activities. All of which strengthens and empowers the individual to engage in premarital sex, where everything around an individual preaches the pleasure of sex and a desire to gratify ones id.
A look at all the facts and speculation that has been built around premarital sex among individuals in the society at large and among undergraduate students of the University of Benin in particular, one can conclude that it is a matter that needs to be addressed and causes carefully assessed to get better understanding or insight into these causes and possibly provide alternative activities or suggestions that can help address this issue for the benefit of the individual, the university community and the nation at large.
Statement of the problem
This research work is designed to assess the cause of premarital sex among undergraduate students of the University of Benin. From my own personal observation, a walk and a careful survey of the environs of the university community one would find packs of already used condoms littering the ground, even though it is not that rampant. It could be possible that these packs was used as instructional materials or for the primary purpose for which it was made.
Students lives in community, where they meet people from different background and as such they are exposed to peer influence and a desire to meet up with certain standard. All of this and more can lead to premarital sex which culminates in various problem such as unwanted pregnancy, exposure to sexually transmitted infections, poor academic performance, school dropout and a host of others.
All of these problems associated with premarital sex are preventable or at least the effect on a large majority of students can be reduced to the barest minimum. Accessing the causes can help us better understand ways to prevent and checkmate the occurrence of premarital sex among undergraduate students of the University of Benin.
Premarital sex, pose a great threat to the future of the numerous naive students admitted yearly into the university and also to the name of the school, because if this act increase various consequences will inevitably follow and it can grow into becoming a part of the culture among the students, taking a cue from “arrowing” which means to throw abusive words on passerby from the flyover just to have fun and make them feel embarrassed. From this one can see that there is need to carefully assess the causes of premarital sex among undergraduate students of the University of Benin.
In a view to reaching a meaningful and an objective result/conclusion the following questions were drawn to guide the research work.
1. Does peer group influence contribute to the occurrence of premarital sex?
2. Do financial gains influence premarital sex?
3. Does curiosity have any effect on premarital sex?
4. Do the media influence the occurrence of premarital sex?
Purpose of the study
The purpose of this research work is the assessment of the causes of premarital sex among undergraduate students of the University of Benin. The effect of premarital sex and possible suggestions for preventing or curbing this menace.
This research work will help school authorities to Identify measures to be put in place that will help to curb the incidence of premarital sex among undergraduate students.
If this study is properly utilized, it can help the school authority and the public in general on better approach to teaching sex and sex education.
Significance of the study
The conclusion reached and the result gotten from this research will provide additional knowledge to past research findings already done on premarital sex, provide the University of Benin with an arsenal of knowledge about the causes of premarital sex in her institute and also would be very beneficial to the numerous student admitted yearly to be better equipped against the pressure and occurrence of premarital sex among undergraduates.
This study will help to identify how peer influence contributes to premarital sex, the influence of financial gains on premarital sex, how curiosity or desire to experiment affects student’s decisions to engage in sexual intercourse before marriage.
Finally the results of this study can be used to strategize for better alternatives on educating the students on sex, and how to go about the unavoidable pressure associated with sex in the university community.
Scope of the study
This research study is focused on the prestigious federal university of Benin located in Egor local government of Edo State, Nigeria. The research shall be carried out using a descriptive survey research design. This study is focus on the causes of premarital sex among undergraduate students with the students of university of Benin as the main respondents.