BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Premarital sexual activity is practiced by the vast majority of female students worldwide. Because they are so young and less likely to use condoms, they are more likely to engage in unprotected or risky sexual behavior. Only a small percentage of premarital sexually active teens kept the relationship later on, whereas the majority had sex with love and even ended up with a prostitute (Rosenfeld, 2008). Youths who begin sexual activity at a young age are more likely to be exposed to the high risk of having several sexual partners. Premarital sex has been recognized as a severe problem across the world for many years.Various research on why premarital sex is prevalent (Rosenthal & Moore, 1993) found that a significant percentage of students in Sub-Saharan Africa engage in premarital sex with insufficient awareness about reproductive health. Despite the prevalence of premarital sex, there is an alarmingly low utilization of family planning techniques, particularly condoms.
According to Oladipupo-Okorie and Viatonu (2014), premarital sex is sexual activity performed by unmarried people. Historically, premarital sex was regarded as a moral issue that was prohibited in many cultures and considered a sin by a number of faiths, but it has grown more universally tolerated, particularly in Western countries, since the 1960s. Non-marital sex (which overlaps with adultery), youthful sex, teenage sex, and young-adult sex have all been proposed as synonyms for premarital sex. Many people in various cultures, such as many modern-day Western societies, do not value sexual abstinence before marriage. In research done in the United States, 61 percent of men and 12 percent of women born before 1910 reported having premarital sex; the gender gap might be attributed to societal double standards about the admitting of sexual activity or to males’ frequenting prostitutes. According to a 2001 UNICEF poll, more than two-thirds of young people in ten out of the twelve developed countries with relevant data had had sexual intercourse while still in their teens (Rosenthal & Moore, 1993). The proportion is greater than 80% in Denmark, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Norway, the United Kingdom, and the United States. In Australia, the United Kingdom, and the United States, around 25% of 15-year-olds and 50% of 17-year-olds have had sex. In a 2015 Family Foundation poll of US teenagers, 39 percent reported feeling pressure to have sex, 53 percent claimed “being in a relationship where they thought things were going too quickly sexually,” and 14 percent reported “doing something sexual they didn’t really want to do” (Leonard, 2005).
Premarital sex, often known as penetrative sex before marriage, has alarmed politicians, academics, and even religious leaders. In 1996, several countries throughout the world, including North America, passed the personal responsibility and work opportunity reconciliation act, which included funding for abstinence-until-marriage education. Programs supported by the act must educate people that “abstinence from sexual activity outside marriage is the anticipated standard” of behavior and that sexual activity outside the setting of marriage is likely to have negative psychological and physical consequences in North America.
Being a student is a phase of preparation for adulthood in which various essential developmental experiences take place. In addition to physical and sexual maturation, these experiences include progress toward social and economic independence and identity development, the acquisition of skills needed to carry out adult relationships and duties, and the ability to reason abstractly.According to Leonard (2005), while youth is a time of immense growth and promise, it is also a time of significant danger during which social settings exert huge impacts. Many adolescents are pushed to start using alcohol, cigarettes, or other drugs and have sexual relationships at a younger age, putting them at risk for intentional and unintentional injuries, unintended pregnancies, and infection from sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) (Oladipupo-Okorie and Viatonu, 2014). Many people also struggle with a variety of adjustment and mental health issues. Behaviour patterns formed throughout this period, such as drug use or non-use, and sexual risk-taking or protection, can have long-term good and bad implications for future health and well-being. As a result, adults have a distinct opportunity to influence young people during this process.
STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Premarital sexual activity among adolescents has a range of negative impacts and repercussions that are connected to sexual and reproductive issues. Early sexual debut, in particular, increases young people’s risk of HIV and other STI infection, increases the probability of undesired pregnancy, and makes them more likely to terminate the pregnancy through forced abortion (Rosenfeld, 2008). All of these challenging scenarios add to the burden of maternal mortality and illness. Furthermore, it creates regrets, loss of self-esteem, loss of family support, despair, and victims to rituals, among other things.
In circumstances where the practice is publicly stigmatized, pre-marital sexual debut has the aforementioned substantial immediate and long-term effects on female students. Furthermore, there is a double standard in terms of traditional expectations of virginity at marriage for females, whereas males face less cultural pressure. However, Leonard (2005) observed that studies on the volume of female students’ pre-marital sexual debuts and their related determinants are sparse. Background, religion, parental role and presence, peer pressure, and a variety of other variables all contribute to the incidence of this among female students.
Do female students in secondary schools, on the other hand, comprehend the consequences of premarital sex? This research aims to find out.
OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The primary objective of this study is to critically analyse the causes and impact of Premarital Sex among females students in secondary schools. Other aims of this study are:
i. To examine the factors that contribute to premarital sex among female students in secondary schools.
ii. To examine the effects of premarital sex on the academic performance of secondary school students.
iii. To determine the solutions to the factors that contribute to premarital sex among female students in secondary schools.
The following questions will guide this study;
i. What are the factors that contribute to premarital sex among female students in secondary schools?
ii. What are the effects of premarital sex on the academic performance of secondary school students?
iii. What are the possible ways to curtail the act of premarital sex among female students in secondary schools?
SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This study will be of great significance to educators, government, parents, policy makers and students as the results of this study will show the factors that cause premarital sex among female secondary school students, the influence of peer pressure and family background on the sexual life of secondary school students.
This study will also be of great benefit to scholars as it will serve as existing material for further research and future reference.
SCOPE OF THE STUDY
This study will focus on critically analyzing the causes and impact of Premarital Sex among females students in secondary schools. It will also focus on the factors that influence premarital sex among female secondary school students, the effects of premarital sex on the academic performance of secondary school students, and proffer recommendation to the problems identified. This study will be carried out among secondary schools in Itak, in Akwa Ibom State.
LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
In the course of carrying out this study, the researcher experienced some constraints, which included time constraints, financial constraints, language barriers, and the attitude of the respondents.
In addition, there was the element of researcher bias. Here, the researcher possessed some biases that may have been reflected in the way the data was collected, the type of people interviewed or sampled, and how the data gathered was interpreted thereafter. The potential for all this to influence the findings and conclusions could not be downplayed.
More so, the findings of this study are limited to the sample population in the study area, hence they may not be suitable for use in comparison to other schools, local governments, states, and other countries in the world.
DEFINITION OF TERMS
Impact: a marked effect or influence
Premarital sex: Premarital means before marriage. Either the stages in person‟s life to engage in sex before marriage anything occurs or happens/existing before marriage concerning sex
Factors: Factors are causes, change or changed the state of occurrence as direct results of actions by somebody or something else.