Perception of Pre-marital Sexual Relationship Among Students of Tertiary Institutions

Perception of Pre-marital Sexual Relationship Among Students of Tertiary Institutions (A Case Study of Delta State University Abraka)


This study focuses on the “Perception of premarital sex among students in higher education The challenges of sex before marriage have drawn concern;. This is due to different social problems it generates understanding is that. , sex before marriage comes with its own dangers and if not treated properly can lead to more social problems. Moreover, the theory of planned behavior was used to explain sex before marriage and her presence among the first students cycle. to achieve the stated objectives of the research, data were collected through the questionnaire as a tool. the data were analyzed using the simple percentage statistical tool to achieve clarity. According to research findings, it was concluded that sex before marriage among students has reached alarming proportions and that sex before marriage is now part of the social life of students and as such, students do nothing see wrong with it. Therefore, it was recommended that, early sex education should be given to children, regular campaign and public awareness on sex before marriage should be carried out and that parents, government and the general public need take it upon themselves to bring their own quota to the education and the reduction of sex before marriage.




More than 13 million youths, representing 7% of the population aged 15–24, are pursuing University education in Nigeria (Ayodele et al, 2001). For most of these youths, university represents a shift towards greater independence from home, and school settings offers an opportunity to form new friendships, as well as new subculture with divergent norms and values. While for others, school represents an opportunity to experience romantic and/or sexual relationships and experiment new ideas.

Throughout the world, the trend towards an increasing number of young people is reported having sex before marriage. Research indicates that as far back as 1950’s, the phenomena attracted a lot of public attention both in the United Kingdom and United States of America (Olugbenga 2009). For example, in 1954 a study in Manchester revealed that between the years 1950-1954 more than a quarter of underage girls were reported to have had sex before the age of 19. It was also noted that the girls came from a particular background, (from broken homes or bad parental influence). Similarly, an analysis of the Demographic health Survey found that in 58.6% of the 41 countries studied, women 20 to 24 years of age were more likely than women of 40 to 44 years of age report having premarital sexual relationship. According to Ayodele et al (2006), the rise in premarital sexual relationship in Africa has resulted from a sexual revolution that came with western culture (Scott, 2006). Sex in traditional societies use to be regarded as sacred and limited only to adult males and females within the institution of marriage (Alo, 2008).It is unfortunate that sex before marriage in Nigeria is still frown at. 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. According to Asuzu (2005), premarital sexual relationship is increasingly considered a modern way of testing a girl’s fertility before marriage. Similarly, Data from the 2002 survey conducted in Owerri south eastern Nigeria by centre for reproductive health indicated that by age 20, 77% of respondents had premarital sexual relationship. Even among those who abstained until at least age 22, 81% had had premarital sexual relationship by age 44. Among cohorts of women turning 15 between1964 and 1993, at least 91% had had premarital sexual relationship by age 30. Among those turning 15 between 1954 and 1963, 82% had had premarital sexual relationship by age 30, and 88% had done so by age 44.

The phenomenon has been reported as being common among Nigerian University undergraduates (Alo, 2008). Corroborating this view, Ayodele et al (2011), carried out a study to determine the prevalence of this phenomenon among adolescence in tertiary institution. The conclusion of the study indicates that premarital sexual relationship is highly normative behaviour among university students. A significant (85.6%) number of the respondents see nothing wrong with sex before marriage. The study also identifies cohabitation as one of the primary influence on premarital sexual relationship among students in tertiary institution. Cohabitation of opposite sex is a predisposing factor to the initiation of sexual activities. Premarital sexual relationship is not confined to teens alone, a good number of people who are not married, are also vulnerable to premarital sexual relationship. This is evidenced by the large number of unintended/unwanted pregnancies many of which get terminated in back street clinics (Alo, 2008). It is against this background that this paper seeks to ascertain the effect of premarital sexual relationship on university students in contemporary Nigerian.


Literature regarding the undergraduates’ perception on pre-marital sexual relationship among students of tertiary institutions is limited. This research seeks to fill the vacuum by examining the students view on how courtship should be and on if premarital sexual relationship should be discouraged with special reference to peers, university environment, family background and the social media have any significant effect on undergraduates’ perceptions on courtship and its influence on pre-marital sex.


The following are the objectives of this study:

1. To examine the undergraduates’ perceptions on premarital sexual relationship in Nigerian tertiary institutions.

2. To ascertain the level of pre-marital sexual relationships among the undergraduates.

3. To identify the factors leading premarital sexual relationship among undergraduates.


1. What are the undergraduates’ perceptions on premarital sexual relationship among tertiary institutions students?

2. What is the level of sexual relationship practiced among the undergraduates?

3. What are the factors leading premarital sexual relationship among undergraduates?


H0: The perception of undergraduates’ on premarital sexual relationship is not gender dependent.

H1: The perception of undergraduates’ on premarital sexual relationship is gender dependent.


The following are the significance of this study:

1. The outcome of this study will educate the general public and education administrators on what students feel about courtship and its effect on premarital sexual relationship as this will form a guide to managing the issues of premarital sexual relationship among the students.

2. This research will also serve as a resource base to other scholars and researchers interested in carrying out further research in this field subsequently, if applied will go to an extent to provide new explanation to the topic.


This study on the undergraduates’ perceptions on premarital sexual relationship will cover all various types of courtship approaches that exist in the Nigerian universities. Its will also cover the views of the undergraduates about its and its effect on premarital sexual relationship.


Financial constraint- Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).

Time constraint- The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.


Bogle P.O. (2008): Premarital sexual relationship involvement: Developmental investigation of relational correlates. Adolescence. 92, 705-987

Hettlinger, R. (2007). Sex isn’t that simple: The new sexuality on campus. Ney York. The Seabury Press.

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