1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
University campuses offer a unique environment for students either to pursue a traditional courtship style or engage in a courtship style that is driven by pre-marital sexual intercourse. According to Merriam Webster dictionary, courtship is the activities that occur when people are developing a romantic relationship that could lead to marriage or the period of time when such activities occur.
Premarital sex is sexual activity practiced by people who are unmarried. Historically, premarital sex was considered a moral issue which was taboo in many cultures and considered a sin by a number of religions, but since about the 1960s, it has become more widely accepted, especially in Western countries.
Several studies have been carried out on the perception of students on courtship considering its effect on pre-marital sex (Bogle, 2008). These studies indicate that young men and women are more frequently engaging in casual sex or what is known as ‘campus courtship’ or ‘hooking up’ than the traditional courtship where lovers are not to engage in pre-marital sex. Hooking up carries a level of ambiguity but has been generally defined as a sexual encounter, anything from kissing to having sex, especially between young men and women without implying any marital commitment.
The large percentage of divorces each year, non-marital pregnancies and pre-marital sex has all dramatically changed the traditional family structure. Courtship which was a trend that has been present for decades in Nigeria became popular as a result of western education. Courtship among undergraduates has changed the realm of male and female interaction as it used to be in the traditional African society. Prior to the colonial era, men had to call upon women and be invited to visit the woman’s home under strict supervision from the family. This type of courtship was a form of traditional courtship that had very clearly delineated guidelines that, men and women were expected to follow. However, western education has totally redefined the perception of young men and women about courtship and sex before married. The university environment provides the opportunity for young individuals to go out to places away from the watchful eyes of the family and community members and engage in another kind of campus courtship popularly known as ‘hooking up’ (Hettlinger, 2007).
Several factors such as the mass media, the social media, internet, peers, changing family traditions, money, the university environment, among others has influenced how young men and women think and participate in courtship alongside modern social changes. The influence of this perception on courtship has influenced undergraduates’ sexual behavior, particularly in the areas of courtship and its relationship with premarital sex.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Literature regarding the undergraduates’ perception on courtship and its influence on pre-marital sex is limited. This research seeks to fill the vacuum by examining the students view on how courtship should be and on if pre-marital sex 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.
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The following are the objectives of this study:
1. To examine the undergraduates’ perceptions on courtship and its influence on pre-marital sex.
2. To ascertain how courtship is being practiced among the undergraduates.
3. To identify the factors leading pre-marital sex among undergraduates.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
1. What is the undergraduates’ perceptions on courtship and its influence on pre-marital sex?
2. How is courtship being practiced among the undergraduates?
3. What are the factors leading pre-marital sex among undergraduates?
1.5. RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
H0: The perception of undergraduates’ on courtship and its influence on premarital sex is not gender dependent.
H1: The perception of undergraduates’ on courtship and its influence on premarital sex is gender dependent.
H0: courtship does not influence premarital sex among undergraduates.
H1: courtship influences premarital sex among undergraduates.
1.6 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
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 sex as this will form a guide to managing the issues of premarital sex 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.
1.7 SCOPE/LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
This study on the undergraduates’ perceptions on courtship and its influence on pre-marital sex 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 sex.
LIMITATION OF STUDY
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.