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Background of the Study

In this age of moral laxity, the laws of God have been set aside in the name of freedom. The moral codes of the past have given way to situation ethics. Mothers are insisting that birth control pills be given to their unmarried daughters. Movies, televisions, magazines and pornography of every kind are being used to train and inflame our youth. Modern sex education has become the tool of the devil because the biology and mechanics of sex are being taught without restraint (Momah, 2007).

According to Misi (2008) as cited by Okafor (2010), sexual promiscuity is the use of one’s body for the purpose of remuneration or consideration of any form. It could also be addressed as prostitution. This is the type of service given by ladies who want money or who are desperate to attain some certain levels of prosperity (Osoba, 2005). Olugbile, Abu and Adelakun (2008) opined that sexual promiscuity is very rampant in our Universities and the average campus has several networks. Most of these students stand outside their hostels and halls to solicit for business.

According to Momah (2007), the result of promiscuity and premarital sex, being veneral diseases and illegitimate births are increasing among young people at an unprecedented rate. The teenagers who are more sexually active than anyone else generally do not realize how easy it is to become pregnant. The ultimate solutions recommended by Planned Parenthood is abortion with good surgical procedure where contraceptive fails. People’s mind have been conditioned to accept the idea that an unborn baby is something less than a human being.

The Global Christian Missionary Publications (2008) stated that there is no joy in premarital sex; it only brings misery and regrets. The men who will pressurize the girls for sex will be the same ones to hate them (the girls) passionately later on. The girls that gives in to a boy’s (or man’s) demands for sex only cheapens herself before the boy or man. A girl that can keep herself and resists every sexual advance from her fiancé will be highly honoured by her groom on their wedding night.

Before the 60s, it was considered a taboo for an unmarried teenage girl to be seen alone in company of brothers or cousin. Then marriages were arranged by parents and a girl must remain a virgin before marriage. Any boy or man who has canal knowledge of a girl outside marriage would be forced to marry the girl and pay her bride price. Adeyinka (2005).

In the early 70s sexual promiscuity started to gain ground as a result of western education which weakened the hold which traditional sexual taboo used to have on people, and virginity before marriage was thrown to the wind. Ademola (2002). Douglas Besharov, a resident scholar at the American enterprise institute, sates that, more teenagers are becoming sexually active than in the past years and are more likely to use contraceptives than their earlier counterparts. He further reports that by 1988, 70% of teenage females have had sex at least once compared to 40% in 1970s.

From 1990 to date, the rate of sexual promiscuity among teenagers is on a steady increase and it has grown to an extent of alarming rate in the sense that even children between the ages of 10-12 are no longer left out.

A number of factors has been suggested to be responsible for sexual promiscuity in Nigeria. According to Ubana (2008), some of the factors include the following; mass media, peer group and family types and social economic status of parents.

Although a number of factors contribute to adolescents’ sexual promiscuity, the media have been accused of playing a central role in shaping sexual promiscuity (Ola, 2008). In a recent survey, 53% of teens said that they use TV and movies as a source of information about sex and birth control (Morrish, 2010). This source of sexual learning may be problematic, especially because television often depicts sex as glamorized with attractive characters engaging in such mature behaviour without precaution or consequence.

Two studies have looked at young viewers’ ability to learn sexual information from television. Results from one study show that 5th and 6th graders who viewed a sex education program scored significantly higher on a subsequent questionnaire about sexual facts than did those who did not (Greenberg et al., 2013).

This revealed that television is capable of teaching sexual information, at least when programs are designed specifically for that purpose. Because most TV programming that adolescent’s view is designed for enjoyment rather than education, a more recent study examined learning from entertainment shows (Greenberg, Linsangan, & Soderman, 1993).

Peterson, Moore, and Furstenberg (2007) examined the relationship between sexual promiscuity and television exposure in a two-wave panel study. Research revealed suggested that youngsters are learning information about sex from television and that exposure is affecting their attitudes and moral evaluations. The effect of viewing TV sex on behaviour is less clear. However, theories suggest that television may play a key role in shaping adolescents’ thoughts, attitudes, and beliefs about romantic relationships, intimacy, and even sexual behaviour (Enegide, 2012).

For instance, a cultivation approach may argue that viewing repeated messages regarding sex on television may be teaching viewers that sex is to be taken lightly, without much thought, precaution, or consequence. With heavy viewing, young viewers may cultivate unrealistic attitudes and beliefs about negative consequences of sex or the importance of practicing safe sex.

Peers are important influences during adolescence, and peers in particular, become increasingly important (Aseltine, 2005; Bowerman & Kinch, 2009). There is an abundant literature available demonstrating that there is a positive association between sexual promiscuity among adolescents and that of their peers, and this (Billy & Udry, 2005).

Steinberg and Silverberg (2006) found that as young people grow, they begin to surrender to the influences of their peers as they shed off their parental orientation and replace it with dependence on their peers. According to him, Friends may encourage their peers to engage in undesirable acts like fighting, alcohol drinking, and sexual promiscuity.

Chalder, Elgari, and Bennett (2005) pointed out that peer group influence is a key determinant in causing alcohol consumption that may result into getting into fights, engaging in sexual promiscuity, and missing school. Indeed, there is evidence that peer affiliations may be the mechanism through which social disadvantage and family conflict affect a number of undesirable life outcomes in later adolescence and early adulthood, such as criminal behaviour, sexual promiscuity, and early childbearing (Dishion, Ha, & Vérroneau, 2008).

Peers may strongly determine preference in the way of dressing, speaking, using illicit substances, sexual promiscuity, adopting and accepting violence, adopting criminal and anti-social behaviours and in many other areas of the adolescent’s life (Padilla, Walker & Bean, 2009; Tomé, Matos & Diniz, 2008).

Among the possible causes of promiscuity such as television viewing, pressure from peers, internet, news media that feature sexual films, and modern music, one that stands out prominently is parenting. Parenting is an important component of the family system and it could involve different types. Family type comprises family size, either small or large family, family structure, monogamous or polygamous and either intact or broken (Donatus and Bankole, 2013).

Owing to a constant breakdown of the family unit, there is a decrease in parent/adolescent communication and time sharing which results in lack of sex education within the home. Odebunmi and Adeyole (2006) were of the view that sexual activity of single adolescent girls today can be accounted for by rational adaptation and social disorganization of the family.

In a broken home, the two parents do not cooperate, only one of the parents takes care of the children. Adolescents in broken homes may be free, attending one party or the other. They are more likely to be exposed to joining bad gangs, to be addicted to drugs and other vices due to lack of proper upbringing. They are likely to receive inadequate affection and love, there may be no proper coordination or direction in the affairs of such family. Adolescents in broken homes are therefore likely to be promiscuous and are likely to have a less serious disposition against promiscuity (Donatus and Bankole, 2013). Chao (1994) stated that love as distributed by polygamous homes could be regarded as promiscuous. However, the Nigerian culture which permits polygamy may be regarded as endorsement of promiscuity.

Many parents have difficulty discussing sex with their adolescents and the more difficult it is when parents suspect adolescents of being sexually promiscuous. It seems that society is not much concerned about sexual promiscuity among adolescents. Society seems to be permissive about the sexual activities of adolescents including promiscuous behaviour. Society seems not to be bothered even about the promiscuous life of adolescents. Permissive attitude seems to pervade the society including the adolescent population. High rate of polygamy in the Nigerian society, separation and divorce may provide a fertile ground for promiscuity and permissive attitude to promiscuity. Adolescent from polygamous homes have more favourable attitude to sexual promiscuity than those from monogamous families. Male and females adolescents have similar attitude to sexual promiscuity (Donatus and Bankole, 2013).

In some cultures, where “hawking” (street vending) and “night marketing” is common, young girls are learning to receive “passes” from men and acquire skills in dealing with these. Since the introduction of Western values and education in Nigeria, women have continued to acquire skills in dealing with males in a culture in transition. This has led to an increased tendency to delay marriage and an increased incidence of premarital sexual relationships. In some cultures, it is very common today to demand pregnancy rather than virginity as a prerequisite for marriage. This is especially true among the educated youths. Also, most of the popular music and advertisements glamorize sexuality, even though there is still a strong disapproval of open discussion of sexuality. This study is therefore aimed at investigating the causes of sexual promiscuity among senior secondary school students in Ovia North East Local Government Area of Edo State.

Statement of the Problem

There is a high rate of sexual abuse among adolescents in the society, secondary schools, tertiary and other institution of learning. These have resulted into unwanted pregnancies, teenage parenthood, illegitimate children, feeling of shame and emotional instability. In some cases, abortion is attempted or committed and this sometimes led to premature death of both mother and child. The primary cause of these lamentable circumstances is simply because adults in a position to instruct the young are too often filled with shame and guilt about sex. They are themselves sexually ignorant or misinformed and painfully uncertain about what they truly believe to be acceptable sex behaviour. Compounding this ignorance and conflict is their reluctance to admit these shortcomings. A growing proportion of youth not only initiates sexual intercourse at early ages, but also engages in multiple sexual partners for lack of information and education, hence a high incidence of illegally induced abortions. Moronkola and Fakeye (2008), reveal that sizeable number of youth have been sent out or shamefully and voluntarily withdrawn from school due to teenage pregnancy. The researchers further stated that many female adolescents may be engaging in unprotected sexual intercourse with attended health consequences because they lack knowledge and information.

Parents, who ought to communicate values about sexual behaviour to their teaming population of adolescent, shy away due to several opinion and beliefs. It from this background that this study is investigated to find out the causes of sexual promiscuity among secondary school students in Ovia North East Local Government Area of Edo State as perceived by parents.

Research Questions

Four research questions have been raised to this studies.

  1. In what ways does mass media contribute to sexual promiscuity among secondary school students?
  2. Does peer group contribute to sexual promiscuity among secondary school students?
  3. To what extent does family types contributes to sexual promiscuity among secondary school students?
  4. Does socio-economic status of parents contribute to sexual promiscuity among secondary school students?

Purpose of the Study

The general purpose of this study is to find out the causes of sexual promiscuity among secondary school students in Ovia North East Local Government Area of Edo State while the specific purpose is to find out:

  1. How mass media contributes to sexual promiscuity among secondary school students
  2. How peer group contributes to sexual promiscuity among secondary school students
  3. How family types contributes to sexual promiscuity among secondary school students
  4. How socio-economic status of parents contribute to sexual promiscuity among secondary school students

Significance of the Study

This results of this study will be beneficial to the students, the school authorities, the parents, counsellors and the government.

The study will be of great benefit to the students because, it will expose them to the dangers of sexual promiscuity and the need to exhibit good moral behaviour.

The study will be of great importance to the school authority as it will review the causes of sexual promiscuity and the role they can play in order to bring this societal menace to its barest minimum.

The study will also be useful to the parents in that they will be encouraged to provide the right motivation and learning for their children so that the right behaviour can be nurtured.

Counsellors will also benefit from this study. They will gain knowledge on the causes of sexual promiscuity and how they can assist the adolescent child develop ways of addressing this social menace.

Lastly, the government will benefit from this study, as through a study of this nature, the right moral value can be restored back into the society.

Scope and Delimitation

This study examines the various causes of sexual promiscuity among secondary school students in Ovia North East Local Government Area of Edo State.

Operational Definition of Terms

There are certain terms used in this work which may not be familiar to the readers of this research work, so therefore, in order to help the readers to understand better, it is necessary to clarify such. Terms as:

Causes: Things or factors or individuals that produces an effect, result, or condition

Sexual Promiscuity: This is a situation where an individual has sexual intercourse with more than one partner.

Senior Secondary School Students: These are teenagers studying in schools meant for individuals between the ages of 11 and 18.

Local Government Area: This is an administrative division of a country that is, the third tier of governments.

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