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THE PARENTAL MONITORING AND RELIGIOUS ACTIVITIES ON SEXUAL ABSTINENCE
1.1 Background of the Study
Sexual intercourse or coitus or copulation, is closely the insertion and thrusting of male’s penis, usually when erect into a female’s vagina for the purpose of sexual pleasure or reproduction; also known as vaginal intercourse or vaginal sex (Cecie, Ada, Irving & Kar, 2010). Other forms of penetrative sexual intercourse include penetration of the anus by the penis (anal sex), penetration of the mouth by the penis or oral penetration of the vulva or vagina (oral sex), sexual penetration by the fingers (fingering), and penetration by use of a strap-on dildo (Rutter & Steinberg, 2004). These activities involve physical intimacy between two or more individuals and are usually used among humans solely for physical or emotional pleasure and commonly contribute to human bonding (Richard & Fedwa, 2007). A variety of views concern what constitutes sexual intercourse or other sexual activity (Douglas & Nancy, 2008) which can also impact views on sexual health (O’leary, 2002).
The term sex, often shorthand for sexual intercourse, can mean any form of sexual activity (Randall & Byers, 2003). Because people can be at risk of contracting sexually transmitted infections during these activities (Daouglas, Ann, Fedwa & Randall, 2007) though the transmission risk is significantly reduced during non-penetrative sex (Keath, Wayne & Nilamadhab, 2005), safe sex practice is advised (Dianne, 2008) various jurisdictions have placed restrictive laws against certain sexual acts, such as incest, sexual activity with minors, extra marital sex, prostitution, sodomy, rape and zoophilia. Religious beliefs also play a role in personal decision about sexual intercourse or other sexual activity such as decisions about virginity (Daouglas, Ann, Fedwa & Randall, 2007) as well as legal and public policy matters.
Religious views on sexuality vary significantly between different religions and sects of the same religion, though there are common themes, such as prohibition of adultery. Reproductive sexual intercourse between non-human animal is more often termed copulation, and sperm may be introduced into the female’s reproductive tract in non-vaginal ways among the animals, such as by cloacal copulation. For most non-human mammals, mating and copulation occur at the point of estrus (the most fertile period of time in the female’s reproductive cycle), which increases the chances of successful impregnation (Lloyd, Rutter & Ann, 2007; Jared, 2005). However, bonobos, dolphins and chimpanzees are known to engage in sexual intercourse regardless of whether or not the female is in estrus, and to engage in sex act with some sex partners (Hales, Ann, & Weiner, 2010) like human engaging in sexual activity primarily for pleasure (Carpenter, 2005), this behaviour in the aforementioned animals is also presumed to be for pleasure (Fawcett, 2008), and contributing factor to strengthening their social bonds (Laura, 2005).
The sexual rate activity rate among young teens is increasing. Among males who turned 20 between 1970 and 1972, 20 percent had sexual intercourse by age 15, compared to 27 percent of those who turned 20 between 1985 and 1987. Of females who turned 20 between 1985 and 1987, 10 percent had initiated sexual intercourse by age 15. Compared to 14 percent of those who turned 20 between 1970 and 1972 (Marisglio & Mott, 1998). African Americans are more likely to initiate sexual intercourse at a young age. More than half of African American males have already had sexual intercourse by age 15. White and Hispanic males do not attain these levels of sexual activity until age 17. In 1992, approximately 25 percent African American females and approximately 15 percent Hispanic and white females have had sexual intercourse by age 15 (Marsiglio & Mott, 1998). Pregnancy rate among females age 14 and under rose from 13.5 (per 1,000 females age 14) in 1973 to 17.1 in 1992. Approximately nine percent of sexually experienced females age 14 and under become pregnant each year (Moore, Miller & Glei, 1995). The abortion rate among all females age 14 and under was 5.6 (per 1,000 female age 14) in 1973, 8.4 in 1980 and 7.9 in 1990. In 1994, there were 12,901 births to teens under the age of 15 (Nord, Moore & Morrison, 1992). Moreso, adolescent females may be more susceptible to STDs than older women. Teen girls have fewer antibiotics to STDs and may have a higher risk of cervical infections (Moore, Miller & Glei, 1995). The maternal death rate for teen under age 15 is two and a half times greater than that of mothers aged 20 to 24 (Moore, Myers & Morrison, 1993). Babies born to teens younger’s than 15 are more than twice as likely to weigh less than 2,500 grams (about 5.5 pounds) at birth and are three times more likely to die in the first 28 days of life than babies born to older mothers (Langan & Harlow, 1994). The risk between early child bearing and poor health outcomes is due to the numerous risk factors associated with being young, such as inadequate prenatal care and nutrition (Boyer & Fine, 1992). The younger a woman is, the less likely she is to receive prenatal care during the first trimester of her pregnancy (Moore, Miller, & Glei, 1995). Of African American teen mothers who were less than 16 years old when they gave birth, 72 percent were still living in poverty at age 27. Among Hispanic women and White women, 67 percent and 32 percent, respectively, are living in poverty (Boyer & Fine, 1992).
Sexual abstinence has been seen as the only way of avoiding different sexually transmitted diseases and, it has put in much efforts at it’s campaign to school students, civil servants, private sectors workers and independent workers; as to the advantages of staying away from having sexual intercourse before marriage. This camping become enstrengthened due to the discovery of the ubiquitous killer disease known as Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) which has an onset of Human Immune Virus (HIV) and, this has caused sexual activities to reduce to the bearest minimum. Though some are still perpetrating commercial sexual activities but, not as it used to be on the increase sometimes back. The first cases of AIDS were identified in Uganda in the early 1990s (Kagimu, 1996). Since then the epidemic has progressed, with an estimated 15 – 20 million Ugandans out of a total population of 18 million HIV-positive (STD/ACP Programme, 1995). There has been several researches carried out on sexual abstinence all over the world, and, but of variables had been used to measure sexual abstinence. Some of which are in-laws, literacy level, peer influence and many more but, all these are still demanding that other variables be used to test sexual absence.
An examination of the characteristics of adolescent sexual behaviour shows that there are differences by gender and socio-economic status, with males found to be sexually involved at younger ages than females. Some studies examined the role of schooling on adolescent sexual behaviour, and argued that in-school teenagers are more likely to exert autonomy in deciding to engage in sexual relationships. The role of the family as a socialization agent has also been examined. Meeker found that in general, the social control exercised by community elders over the fertility and sexuality of young female has become weak due to modernization and westernization. The Nigeria Demographic and Health Survey of 2007 reported that the median age at first sexual intercourse for girls is just over 16 years. By age 18 and 20, 63% and approximately 80% respectively have experienced sexual intercourse. The second phase of the survey published in 1999 reported that half of the female respondents had sexual intercourse by age 18; about one-quarter had sex before age 15. Interesting aspect of the report is that, men are exposed to sexual intercourse later than women. The median age at first sexual intercourse among men is 20, compared to 18 for women. While the HIV/AIDS pandemic has been inflicting a devastating impact on various sectors of life, one of the major obstacles to its prevention is social stigma. Stigma is defined as an attribute that is deeply discrediting which links a person to undesirable characteristics, thus reducing that individual’s status in the eyes of society (Clifford, 2004). It has been indicated that stigmatized individuals are believed to possess some features that convey a social identity that is devalued in a particular social context. In stigma, one group sees the other as abnormal and should be abhorred. It’s components includes people distinguishing and labeling human differences; dominant groups linking labeled persons to undesirable characteristics; labeled persons are placed in distinct categories so as to accomplish some degree of separation of ‘us’ from ‘them’ and labeled persons experience status loss and discrimination that leads to unequal outcomes (Dorothy, 2003). It manifests in avoidance, social distancing, coercion and non-supportiveness’s elf-stigma leads to reduced or diminished self-esteem. Stigmatization can lead to prejudicial thoughts, behaviours and actions on the part of individuals and groups (Adelini, 2004).
The ancient world discouraged promiscuity for both healthy and social reasons (Joseph, 2003). According to Pythagoras (6th century BCE), sex should be practiced in the winter, but not the summer, but was harmful to male health in every season because the loss of semen was dangerous, hard to control and both physically and spiritually exhausting, but had no effect on females (Robert, 2005). This idea may have been merged with Zoroastrian idea of good and evil in a philosophy known as Gnosticism, which influenced Christian and Islamic attitudes to sexual activity (Emery, 2005). Throughout history, and especially prior to the 20th century, there have been those who have held that sexual abstinence confers numerous health benefits. For males, lack of abstinence was thought to cause a reduction of vitality. In modern times, the argument has been phrased in biological terms, claiming that loss of semen through ejaculation result in a depletion of vital nutrients such as lecithin and phosphorous, which are also found at the higher levels in the brain.
Some advantages in favour of sexual abstinence were also claimed by Walter Siegmeister, better known as Raymond and Bernard, an early 20th century American alternative health, esoteric writer, author and mystic, who formed part of the alternative reality subculture. In his essay entitled science discovers the physiological value of continence (1957) he states: “It is clear that there is an important internal physiological relation between the secretion of the sex glands and the central nervous system, that the loss of these secretions, voluntarily or involuntarily, exercises a detrimental effect on the nutrition and vitality of the nerves and brain, while, on the other hand, the conservation of these secretions has a vitalizing effect on the nervous system, a regenerating effect on the endocrine glands, and a rejuvenating effect on the organism as a whole.” Considering the above statement based on what is experienced amid youths in the Nigeria setting, there are believes that when one refrain from sex such a person would have scrotal pains so, this believe has caused many youths to run into sex while others believe that, by having sex, ones life longevity reduces by twenty one days depending on the number of time he/she have sex, so, this also is refraining youths from having sexual intercourse while some youths are not even afraid to face any negative consequences for having se. the widely dreaded HIV/AIDS is another thing of fear among youth in that it’s victims have been seen and, it’s news is allover the places and, still some youth could not abstain from having sex so, they use contraceptives/protectives such as condom. This endemic has to stop or get reduced in rate therefore, parents, government, non-governmental bodies, association, etc has a lot to do as regard the issue of sexual abstinence among youths.
Sexual abstinence has been practiced at all edges by different cultural backgrounds even, biblical proof stated 1st Thessalonians 4:2-4 that, “for this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honour. In the African setting, it is common of parents to monitor their children such as knowing where and when they will leave a particular place and, most importantly, the types of friends that they keep because, it is a taboo in African cultural setting for a young man to get married to a disvirgin lady even, it is a disgrace to the entire family of such a lady. This African culture is also depicted in the book of Hebrew 13:4, “let marriage be held in honour among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled, for God will judge the sexually immoral and adulterous. The medicine of the Prophet by Al-Suyuti (pp. 18-20) states “go and take virgin as your wife whom you will caress and who will caress you,” while an Hadith of the Prophet (S.A.W) states “whoever among you is troubled by his sexual urge, let him marry for marriage causes the eyes to be lowered and safeguards the private parts.” This facts undoubtedly shows that the African culture against sexual intercourse before marriage isn’t bias but, for the safety of the adolescents in that, a lot of it had led to contracting of deadly sexually transmitted diseases.
Parents, as adolescents themselves reveal, are the ones who have the most influence on their children’s decisions about sex. Indeed, two-thirds of all adolescents share their parent’s value on this. nearly all parents (90 percent) report having had a helpful conversation about delaying sex and avoiding pregnancy with their adolescent children, compared to 71 percent of adolescents who report having had such a conversation with their parents (Edgars, 2000). Meanwhile, several negative outcomes has been attached to adolescent sexual intercourse especially those who lack parental monitoring and these outcomes are: lack of wages and career opportunities, increased welfare dependency, interrupted education, single parenthood, psychological distress, increased medical complications during childbirth and high likelihood of further unintended pregnancies (Chilman, 1988; Voydanoff & Donelly, 1993; McLaughlin & Micklin, 1983; Zabin & Hayward, 1993). Drop in abstinence, religion may also play a vital role at bringing adolescents to consciousness on the related risks associated with having sexual intercourse before marriage.
Religion plays a significant role in the life of individuals in any society. It’s role as a moral builder has been variously acknowledged but, one factor that has not been given adequate attention in Nigeria, especially among adolescents, is the role of religion in adolescents sexuality. Although several studies have shown a correlation between adolescent sexual behaviour and religious commitment (Cullen, 2003), no serious attempt to confirm the underlying mechanism through which religion affects sexual behaviour exists in Nigeria because, religious values are the source of moral proscriptions for many individuals, the teachings of the churches and mosques are likely to play a role in the formation of individual attitudes, values and decisions. The extent to which religion influence individual attitudes and behaviour, however, depends on the specific doctrines and religious institutions on the degree of integration and commitment of individuals to their particular religious institutions (Iyod, 1999; Beckly, 2000; & Larma, 2001).
The Christian religious group have strong opposition against premarital sex, although such opposition is more radical among the Pentecostal and evangelical religious movements. While the later can sanction their members by excommunication, the former can tolerate the offending members with the hope that they will turn a new life (Odimegwu, 2005). This differential institutional commitment to premarital sexual abstinence leads to the expectation that in individual Catholics and evangelical Protestants would be less accepting of premarital sex than non-fundamentalist Protestants. Those who with no religious affiliation would be most likely to accept and engage in premarital intercourse (Beckly, 2000). Since most religious groups discourage premarital sex, the degree of commitment to religious organizations may be more important as a determinant of premarital sex and abstinence attitudes and behaviour than religious affiliation.
Individuals who attend religious services may receive more frequency religious messages on abstinence and, their greater religious commitment may also make them more likely to accept the teaching of their religious institutions concerning abstinence and against premarital sex. Thus, individuals who attend religious services frequently and who value religion in their lives are probably more likely than others to develop sexual attitudes and behaviour that are consistent with their religious doctrines. As a result young people who are active in religious groups would either have a greater commitment towards sexual abstinence before marriage or would place greater emphasis on maturity in sexual relationships than would young adolescents less active in religion institutions (Peter, 2001 & Odimegwu, 2004).
Charity is always believed to begin at home. So, as a parental, monitoring of the children is very essential and, the teaching of moral lessons so that, even if peer would influence such a child it will be of bearest minimal and such child might have developed a filter to choose from shaft and powder. Many policy makers, health professionals, and “safe sex” advocates respond to parental influence and adolescents sex by demanding more comprehensive sex education and broader access to contraceptives for minors. They assume that adolescents are unable to delay their sexual behaviour and that a combination of information about and access to contraceptives will effectively lead to protected sex, preventing any form of harm to adolescents. Not only are these assumptions faulty, they tend to disregard important factors that have been linked to reduce adolescent’s sexual activity. A particularly noticeable omission is parental influence. Therefore, this study chooses to test sexual abstinence in adolescents using the duo of parental monitoring and religious influence as correlates of sexual abstinence among in-school adolescents.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Sexual activities has found it’s bearing among Nigeria in-school adolescents and this has even polluted the academic environment by reduction in the number of female adolescents who achieves in terms of education; due to unintended pregnancies, contraction of deadly diseases such as HIV/AIDS and others sexually transmitted diseases which will not allow them to complete their education with their colleagues; eventually makes them become a dropout.
The issue of sexual abstinence which cannot be adopted by adolescent brought a lot of adverse effect in the area of teenage pregnancy, contraction of HIV/AIDS, abortion, leading to the destruction of the womb, maternal death, due to unripe age of child delivery, rapid school drop-out due to unplanned pregnancies, etc. All these have brought about low self-esteem in the adolescent and a decline in the manpower of a nation. Consequently, it brings about a huge disgrace to the family from where they originate.
Moreso, peer influence most times play a changing of orientation from acceptable to unacceptable; role in adolescents in that, some parents have time to take care of their wards but, these wards goes out there to come-in with an entire different attitude. Most times these attitudes that are acquired are kept in the covert at home but, overt at the midst of friends. So, the role or impact of peers can also not be underestimated when considering factors that causes sexual activities among in-school adolescents.
Campaign on sexual abstinence has been echoed by various religious organizations while some adolescents are adapting and most of them are remaining adamant in that, they have tasted sex and are not willing to change therefore, government should equip schools with counsellors and bring back the life planning foundation programmes that was eradicated so as to compliment the effective work of counsellors at reducing sexual activities and promoting sexual abstinence among in-school adolescent; because it was observed that, the absence of these two factors also contributed to increase in the sexual activities of Nigeria in-school adolescents.
Sexuality in the period of adolescent is poorly handled in that, in Nigeria, most parents sees sex education as country to the teachings of the Koran and Bible therefore, they failed to enlighten the adolescents. These adolescents when mixed with their peers learn alot of things about sex and, they pick it up in the wrong way; a situation which gas accounted for different unintended pregnancies, different lives had been lost through abortion while several innocent by ignorant souls had been lost through HIV/AIDS.
1.3 Purpose of the Study
The general purpose of this study is to assess the influence of parental monitoring and religious activities on sexual abstinence in some selected secondary schools in Ilorin West LGA of Kwara State.
The study is guided by the following research questions.
(1) To what extent will parental monitoring jointly predict sexual abstinence among in-school adolescents in Ilorin West LGA of Kwara State.
(2) Is there any relationship between the independent variables (parental monitoring and religious influence) and the dependent variable (sexual abstinence) among in-school adolescents in Ilorin West LGA of Kwara State.
(3) What is the relative contribution of parental monitoring and religious influence on sexual abstinence among in-school adolescents in Ilorin West LGA of Kwara State.
1.4 Significance of the Study
This study will benefit students especially, the female because, some of the adverse effects of school activities are treated in this research while the benefits that awaits those who could refrain from sexual activities are also discussed i.e. those who engages in it jeopardizes their future career opportunities by dropping out of school due to unintended pregnancy and abortion to include the loose of lives while those who refrain will set the sky as their limit in academic and career pursuit. Ultimately, the killer endemic disease HIV/AIS and other STDs awaits those who practices sexual; activities while those who refrain enjoys their God given life.
Parents stand vagary of chances to benefit from this study in that, those parents who are myopic of the fact that HIV/AIDS and other SIDs exist and those who are aware would be able to use knowledge gained from this study to protect their wards through words of advise and motivation especially, enlightening them on the dangers in sex before marriage and the shame it can cause the family. It will enable parents to enlighten wards on the existing cultural, Biblical and Koranic beliefs as regards sex before marriage as to as reduce sexual activities among adolescents.
Schools will benefit from this study by organizing sexual abstinence programmes for students as did by Federal Government of Nigeria in 1997; a programmer which several numbers of student benefitted from. Important information on sexual abstinence could help pupils manage their health. Evaluation of comprehensive sex education programme shows that these programmes could help youth delay onset of sexual activity, reduce the frequency of sexual activity, reduce number of sexual partners, and increase condom and contraceptive use. Importantly, the evidence shows youth who receive comprehensive sex education are not more likely to become sexually active, increase sexual activity, or experience negative sexual health outcomes.
Counsellors should intensify their efforts believing that teens who received a behavioural intervention centered on abstinence were more likely to delay first sexual intercourse than teens who received a control intervention. Studies have shown that behavioural interventions can reduce behaviours related to HIV/AIDS and STI risks. Intervention programmes would be based on strengthening beliefs, supporting abstinence, preventing pregnancy and STIs, foster attainment of future goals and increase skills for resisting pressure to have sex.
Religious leaders should identify efforts to talk out adolescents on sexual activities making them understand that the religious which such adolescent practices doe not favour it. This could be effective during modrast lessons (for Islam) and Sunday Schools and Bible Studies (for Christians) where topics relating to sexual activities could be discussed and, adolescents will be made to see the negative outcomes of sexual activities as a way of abreacting their minds from sexual activities.
Community comprise of parents of adolescents therefore the community should take into cognizance the betterment of their wards by implementing some rules and regulations that will strictly kick against sexual activities and indecent dressing in the environ. Community can bring up ethics that will refrain adolescents from sexual activities and, this could be discussed at the community meeting where different ethical codes can be put in place.
Policy makers have continued to support these campaign on sexual abstinence and, there is clear evidence including compelling recent evidence from a long-awaited, congressionally mandated report on federally funded abstinence-only-until-marriage programmes that are effective in stopping and delaying adolescents sex. Infact, policy makers through Federal Government has been supporting and evaluating single-purpose abstinence promotion programmes since 1992 and there is evidence that the programmes are effective i.e. Life Planning Education Programmes (LFEP).
1.5 Scope of the Study
This study is limited to the study of parental monitoring and religious activities on sexual abstinence. Only some selected secondary schools in Ilorin West LGA of Kwara State will be used.
1.6 Operational Definition of Terms
For the purpose of this study, the following concepts are operationalized.
Parental Monitoring: This refers to the manner the parent supervise their children’s movement, academics, social and religious activities.
Religion: This refers to the general belief in a Supreme Being i.e. Islam in Allah, Christianity in God (Jesus), traditional in Deities.
Adolescent: This is an individual who is within the ages of 10 – 19 years especially, those who are still schooling.
Sexual Abstinence: This refers to the act of refraining oneself from sexual activities until when one is matured physically and emotionally according to societal standard.
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