Age and Gender Differences in Premarital Sexual Attitudes of Young People in South West Nigeria
The study examined age and gender differences in the premarital sexual attitudes exhibited by adolescents and young adults. A cross-sectional design was employed. A total of 1044 participants in four age categories were drawn from 4 secondary schools and 4 universities all located within three states of South-West Nigeria. There were 490 males and 554 females whose ages ranged from 12-27 years. A 21-item Premarital Sexual Attitudes Test was administered to them. Three hypotheses were formulated and tested. The results indicated an age-related trend as conservative premarital sexual attitudes tend to decrease with increase in age. However, the observed age trend was ‘gendered’ as older age was associated with more permissive attitudes only in males. The findings confirm the postulation of the sexual strategies theory and underscore the need to address society’s double standard with regards to differential treatments meted out to young men and women in sexual matters.
Key words: premarital sexual attitudes, adolescents, young adults, conservativeness, permissiveness, gender