Premarital Sex Essay
A world without premarital sex would lessen sexually transmitted disease (STDs), there would be no unwed mothers, and there would be reduced causes of unwanted pregnancies and abortion. The above rightly capture the concern which premarital sex has generated among policy makers, researchers and even religious leaders. The rise in premarital sex in Africa has resulted from a sexual revolution that came with western culture (Scott, 2006).
Sex in southwest Nigeria before now was regarded as sacred and limited only to adult males and females within marriage (Alo, 2008). 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). Nigeria is a relatively culturally conservative country; the topic of sex is still considered a taboo between parents and children. A child learns through the mass media and peers unguided.
Children learn the important topic of sex education in negative manners, rather than having proper sex socialization at home or in schools. Premarital cohabitation has been reported as a common phenomenon among Nigerian University undergraduates (Alo, 2008). Cohabitation of opposite sex is a predisposing factor to the initiation of sexual activities. Premarital sex is not confined to teens alone, a good number of people who are not married, are also vulnerable to premarital sex.
This is evidenced by the large number of unintended/unwanted pregnancies many of which get terminated in back street clinics (Alo, 2008), the high rate of sexual transmitted infections among the 15-24 years old, and the increasing number of girls dropping out of schools due to unintended/unwanted pregnancies. Over half of all new HIV infections worldwide (6,000 a day) occur among those between 15 and 24 years of age (Yvan, 2000). The worst hit among this age bracket are the female population.
Females are particularly vulnerable to a host of problems related to premarital sex. Women have certain physical peculiarities that increase the risk of infection: the vaginal surface exposed to semen is large and semen, have greater concentration of HIV than vaginal fluid (AIDS, 2002). In addition, women social role, also increase the vulnerability to STDs/HIV especially in African south of Sahara, this is due to unequal power relationship and economic dependence which limit access to adequate information and hinder the adoption and maintenance of safe behaviour.
In fact, the consequences of premarital sex, STDs (as well as HIV) are higher for females than for males. When a young girl becomes pregnant, she places herself and her unborn child at further risk. Because, a young girl’s body may not have developed to the point of being able to handle childbirth safely. Even if a teen mother escapes severe health consequences, she must still face the serious responsibilities of parenthood. This is aside the fact that she drops out of school and except in rare cases she may never go back to school again (Alo, 2008).
The society is becoming freer in many different ways so that premarital sex is becoming more ‘ordinary’. May be in certain sense premarital sex is not wrong, but premarital sex seems to be causing many social disturbances such as disorderly household and more corruption of public morals. Throughout the world, most young people have had sex before they reach 19years of age. There are some other ones who engage in so called “sexual alternatives”, such as fondly one’s sexual organs (mutual masturbation).
A disturbing report in the New York Times reveals that “Oral Sex” has become a common place initiation into sexual activity, widely perceived by many young people as less intimate and less risky than intercourse (Scott, 2006). Premarital sexual activity is not a recent occurrence worldwide. Research indicates that as far back as 1950’s, the phenomena have attracted public attention both in the United Kingdom and United States of America (Teenage pregnancy, 2007).
For example, in 1954 a study in Manchester revealed that between the years 1937 and 1954 almost a quarter of underage girls coming to the attention of a certain female police officer regarding underage sex, were pregnant. It was also noted that the girls came from a particular background, either broken homes or of bad parental influence (Teenage pregnancy, 2007). Finer (2007), examining trends in premarital sex in USA concluded that premarital sex is not surprising in an era when men and women typically marry in their mid to late twenties and they are sexually active as singles for extensive periods.
Sex was reported by Finer to be nearly universal in USA by age 30, but also very common at younger ages. From a study conducted in India, Krishmen (2006) reported that premarital sex is rising among youths in rural India where the rate exceeds that of the urban areas. He went further that while access to sex education was far less in rural areas, rural youth were twice as likely as urban youth to have had premarital sex.
In Turkey, Mehmet (2006) concluded that among the background variables considered; mother’s education, age, ethnicity and employment status were among the most important predictors of attitudes towards women premarital sexual activity. However, Allen (2003) had earlier reported that several polls have indicated peer pressure as a significant sexual activity predictor, while on the contrary, sexually inducing drugs and alcohol have been identified as factors which may encourage unintended sexual activities (UNICEF, 2001; Leonard, 2005).
Other factors associated with premarital sex include number of siblings, possession of future partner by teens, literacy, urban residents, religion, the breakdown of traditional family system, influence of mass media, curiosity, peer influence, expectation of gift and money, force, a measure of friction between respondent’s parents, living arrangements and school location, incomplete, inadequate and unappreciated feelings; gender, substance use and staying with single parents (Kiragu and Zabin, 1995; Zanel, 1998; Blanc and Way, 1998; Djamba, 2003; Ghuman, Huy and Knode, 2006; Lee et al, 2006; Ramesh and Tgotsne, 2009).
In sub-Saharan Africa, investigation of premarital sexual activity tend to merely document levels of sexual activity, numbers and ages of sexual partners, knowledge and use of contraceptives. A few of these studies have attempted to explain the behavior in a systematic fashion.