This is the base line study conducted among adolescent students to correlate between the knowledge and the thoughts of students about pre-marital sex and school dropouts. The present study is a cross sectional base line study conducted using an online survey which consisted of questions relating to the topic to test the understanding of the Indian youth on premarital sexual activity. Around 130 students attempted this survey based on their views on premarital sex and their perception regarding the present scenario of the society. The study shows that around 79% of the students think that premarital sex is nothing but a sexual intercourse before marriage, and not an adolescent or youthful sex. Moreover, students disagreed on the fact that premarital sex is responsible for school dropouts in India.
Sex being a universal term one would expect a great deal to be known about it. But this is not the case, partly because all societies regulate sexual activities. The family institution is where sexual activities or intercourse takes place between two adult of opposite sex. Pre-marital sex is not confined to young people alone; a good number of people who are not married are also vulnerable to pre-marital sex. This is evidence by the large number of unintended pregnancies many of which get terminated in back street clinics which leads to the high rate of sexually transmitted infections among the 15-24 years old and an increasing number of girls dropping out of school due to unwanted pregnancies. Is premarital sex really a good enough reason for girls to drop their schools? Let us find out with the help of some reports and surveys conducted across the world.
In a recent report released by CSA (Centre for The study of Adolescents), the age of sexual debut is now at all-time low, in between 8 and 12 years. This increases the chances of unwanted pregnancies, sexually transmitted diseases as well as the chances of dropping out of school. Also, the consequences of pre-marital sex are sexually transmitted diseases, (as well as HIV) are higher for females. If a young girl becomes pregnant, she places herself and her unborn child at further risk because a young girl’s body would not have developed to the point being able to handle child birth safely. Even if a young mother escapes severe heath consequences, she must still face 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. Modern society is becoming freer in many different ways so that premarital sex is becoming more ordinary. Pre-marital sex seems to be causing many social disturbances such as disorderly household and more corruption of public morals.
The absence of social and economic opportunities for girls and women and the demands placed on them, coupled with the gender inequities known to exist within the educational system, may result in unsatisfactory school experiences, poor academic performance and resignation to or preference for early childhood. Although pregnancy is often thought to disrupts the education of adolescent girls, teenage reproductive behaviour may be endogenous to school completion in that many of the same factors lead to drop out and early child bearing.
In conjunction with the trend towards an increase in the age as marriage, the age at sexual initiation among young women has either remained the same or risen. At the same time, a shift has occurred in many countries towards an increase in the proportion initiating sex before marriages at ages when adolescent could still be enrolled to school. However, the issue of premarital sex in India remains a poorly explored topic. Not enough is known about the levels, trends and regional patterns in sexual activity before marriage in India. A review of the literature on adolescent sexuality showed that anywhere up to 10% of unmarried girls and women and 20-30% of unmarried boys and men have been sexually active. Given the conservative attitude towards non-marital sexuality, even this vague figure for premarital sex is revealing. Further, there are indicators that the numbers are likely to be higher than those reported by women, especially in poor and rural areas. Considering the present Indian generation, this topic is now becoming more and more open in comparison to the preceding generations, which is highly motivating to do a survey on a topic presumed to be a taboo in the society. In the popular media, there is now a sense that sex before marriage is on the rise with the social and economic changes brought about by globalisation. The increasing exposure of youth to western culture is thought to have effected a change in moral attitudes towards sex before marriage.
REVIEWS AND FINDINGS
The data used for this study are collected with the help of an online survey. This analysis includes all women and men, unmarried or married. While there appears to be a strong relationship between education and household wealth and the levels of premarital sex among women, these relationships are less clear for men. The percentage of women who report premarital sexual intercourse decreases with an increase in their level of education as well as with an increase in the wealth quintile their household is in, albeit marginally. The majority of women cannot enjoy sex outside of the bonds of marriage. The development of a fulfilling sex life needs the security and peace of the marriage bond. Premarital sex usually takes place sneaking around in hidden places dealing with the fear of being caught, the fear of pregnancy and feelings of guilt. All these (worrisome) factors undermine pleasure in premarital sex, most especially for women. But there is no discernible relationship between premarital sex and men’s level of education or wealth.
In India, research attention on youth sexual behaviour has increased considerably in recent years. Several small and large scale studies, including the recent National Family Health Survey and the National Behavioural Surveillance Survey have explored pre-marital sexual behaviour of young people. Evidence from these studies indicates that despite socio-cultural taboos, youth in India do engage in pre-marital sex and that for many young people, pre-marital sexual experiences are characterised by multiple partnerships, lack of contraception or condom use and for young women, by coercion as well. Studies that shed light on the correlates of pre-marital sexual experiences among young people are, however, few in India.
Although studies on pre-marital sexual behaviour of young people have increased considerably in India in recent years, these studies differ substantively and methodologically. Just a couple of studies were nationally representative, a few were representative of districts in which they were conducted and almost all others were small-scale studies. Some focused on community-based samples of unmarried and married youth, while others focused on institution-based samples of special groups such as college students or young men seeking treatment for sexually transmitted infections. Hence, findings from most of these studies were not intended to be generalised to the country as a whole. Numerous scientific studies show that the children of single mothers suffer psychologically and are less successful socially and academically than children from intact families. Above all, children need both their father and their mother. It is wrong to risk having children who will never have their father’s love, protection and care.
The following are the results of the online survey which included around 130 people.
This online survey is taken by approx. 130 people of which 82% are male and remaining 18% are female.
Out of these 130 people, 42% belong to the age group of greater than or equal to 20. Remaining 58% have their age less than 20 years.
71% of the Indian Population thinks that pre-marital sex is justified and correct, even morally. The increasing exposure of youth to western culture is thought to have effected a change in moral attitudes towards sex before marriage.
In general, Indian men and women are not expected to have sex before marriage. But still, 22% of the people who attempted the survey said that if a boy and a girl are prior to marrying each other, their sexual activity is morally correct. Otherwise, it is wrong.
In the popular media, there is now a sense that sex before marriage is on the rise with the social and economic changes brought about by globalisation.
Culture also plays an important role when it comes to the decisions which are bold and would be unacceptable in the society. Especially in Indian culture, where ethics and values are followed to the core, such activities may create a thunderstorm in the society. 79% of the people think that Indian culture has a great influence on the perception regarding Pre-marital sex.
Considering the above diagrams, it can be easily understood that pre-marital sex is a taboo in Indian society. As a result, there are several ramifications for the event. School Dropouts, being the most common and the most severe one, can be observed as a prime effect of pre-marital sex, in case of unwanted situations like pregnancies. When the youth was asked about the school dropouts, 74% disagreed for the fact that increase in school dropouts is not due to pre-marital sexual activities.
Also, when asked about the future aspects of the event, 72% of the people said that they have no problem engaging in a pre-marital sexual activity.
At the national level, reported premarital sex is still fairly low among women (1.8%) and somewhat higher among men (12%). The data show that ever married women are more likely to report premarital sex compared to currently unmarried women. A comparison of the age at intercourse and the age at marriage for married women reveals that the majority of women who had premarital sex report the start of sexual activity to have taken place in the year before marriage suggesting that it is likely that takes place during the transition to marriage. Among unmarried women and men who report premarital sexual activity, the distributions vary in accordance with their level of education and household income. It is notable that gender equitable attitudes in men are associated with higher levels of premarital sexual activity, while the opposite is true for women. If the awareness of the consequences of risky sexual behaviour is combined with the better ability to determine safe and healthy outcomes among both women and men, then this is one avenue for public policy to ensure better sexual health in the population. Sexual activity for young people arrests their psychological, social and academic development. Studies show that when young people engage in premarital sex, their academic performance declines and their social relationships with family and friends deteriorate. This is because adolescents are too immature to deal with the explosive sex drive and it tends to dominate their life.
Sex is a powerful force that can destroy if not used properly. Like atomic power, sex is the most powerful creative force given to man. When atomic power is used correctly it can create boundless energy; when it is used in the wrong way it destroys life. Sex is the same kind of powerful force. Sex is a gift from God to give us the greatest pleasure, to help in creating a deep companionship with one’s spouse and for procreation of the next generation. But if you play with this powerful force outside the bounds of marriage, it destroys you and those close to you. As mentioned above, it may ruin the entire career of the person by dropping his/her academics.
Our study makes several new and important contributions to understanding the correlates of age at initiation of pre-marital sex among both young women and men about which information is scant in India. Programmatically, findings underscore the need for sexual and reproductive health interventions to target not only young people but also their peers and the influential adults in their life, including parents. Methodologically, the study emphasises the need to continue the search for appropriate methodologies to measure sensitive behaviours among youth as well as the need for prospective or panel study designs that capture the ways in which the situation and experiences in adolescence influence their life courses at later ages.