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Chapter 2 :Literature Review
Premarital sex is ubiquitously known as two people having sex before marriage. In the past, premarital sex is considered as a taboo and doing so will lead to a heavy punishment. Now as society evolves, values and mindsets develop and the society is slowly embracing premarital sex as a common thing in relationships. This had led to ambivalent responses from the society as well as religions. The significant question is has our society embraced premarital sex? Does the youth of our society know the effects and factors of premarital sex?
This section will provide a comprehensive overview on the history of premarital sex and diverse aspects on premarital sex to enable enhanced understanding on premarital sex.
2.2 History of premarital sex
According to Archbishop Lanfranc, a marriage without the benediction of a priest is not a legitimate marriage, and other marriages are considered as illegitimate. Serious punishment is inflicted beyond the law as there is no blessing from the priest. ( Magguire, n.d.)
Premarital sex is considered as a crime in many countries such as England and laws are made to declare premarital sex illegal. Serious sanctions are made to prevent premarital sex. The seriousness of the sanctions is based on the views of the community.(May 1650: An Act for suppressing the detestable sins of Incest, Adultery and Fornication, 1911)
Tony Pace, an African American and Mary J. Cox, a white woman were accused for fornication in the Circuit Court of Alabama for committing premarital sex. The court has come to a decision to sentence them both 2 years of imprisonment.(Pace v. Alabama, 1881)
Pope John Paul II has said that premarital sex does not only bring guilt but also negative emotions such as envy and unfriendliness
2003: Couples that deliver babies before marriage are required to stand in front of the Church to confess their premarital sex acts. Dione Longley (2003) stated that people who hate history do not learn and will have a different opinion on premarital sex.
Now, most countries allow premarital sex with the requirement of both couples being at the age of 18. However, Islamic countries still forbids the act of premarital sex.
2.3 Factors leading to premarital sex
2.3.1An established relationship
Strong connection and relationship between couples allows nature to take place, especially couples which have been affectionate in the whole relationship. Premarital sex is more likely to happen if the boy is a few years older than the girl as more stability is ensured by the male counterpart (Focus on the family, n.d.).
2.3.2 Little parental control
Parents are often busy at their own personal matters and neglecting their children. This has been one of the leading factors of premarital sex. By granting excessive freedom, adolescents are free to explore without proper guidance. Youngsters will then go and discover themselves; this leads to curiosity thus experimentation may occur. The lack of parental control leads a group of adolescents to be ignorant or little regard about the consequences of having premarital sex (Singson, 2008).
2.3.3 Low grades in school
Having poor results in school may be a factor leading towards premarital sex as adolescents are not focused on their duty as a student. As adolescents stray away from their obligations, they start to develop ignorance and negative values. Premarital sex, in the contrary usually reflects these characteristics (Focus on the family, n.d.).
2.3.4 Alcohol and drug use
Alcohol and drug use is also one of the leading causes as alcohol and drug use contains chemicals that will affect the ability to ponder. Alcohol and drug usage tends to obscure judgment and the ability to think. The blurred judgment and failure to think, weakens resistance of sexual proposals. Furthermore, alcohol provides an ‘disinhibiting' effect which will provide an individual with an artificial confident feeling. (Palatino, 2007).
2.4 Negative effects of premarital sex
As adolescents are equipped with low knowledge of sex education, pregnancy may occur. Teen pregnancy rates have been as high as 85.8 per 1000 teenagers in America and 50.9 per 1000 in the United Kingdom (Unicef, 2001). At a tender age, adolescents are not mentally ready to have a child thus complications such as abortion and suicide just to name a few may happen.
2.4.2 Sexually transmitted diseases
Sexually transmitted diseases which are ubiquitously known as STDs are easily transmitted with the absence of proper sexual knowledge. STDs such as AIDS and herpes just to name a few are incurable and will lead to death. This has been a crisis that the government has tried to solve years after years.(Stevenson, n.d.)
2.4.3 Bad Reputation
Usually if adolescents commit premarital sex, this secret would be confined between the couple themselves. Many times this act is hard to be kept as a secret as man tend to brag amongst their friends thus leading to rumours. The girl's reputation is at stake as she will be gossiped and judged by her own peers. (Focus on the family, n.d.).
2.4.4 Psychological problems
As adolescents commit premarital sex, they tend to think back as premarital sex is not something that occurs and being forgotten easily. When the adolescent regrets his or her doings, that image will not be forgotten easily. This is where the adolescent questions his or her self worth; this tends to lead to depression and other mental illness(4Parents.gov, 2009).
2.5 Statistics on premarital sex of other countries
Using the statistics from the 1982, 1988, 1995 and 2002, National Survey of Family Growth had asked nearly 40,000 people age ranges from 15-44 about their sexual behaviour and traced the vogue in premarital sex back to the 1950. Based on Jayson (2006), in 2002, 95% among the 40,000 people had reported that they had premarital sex; 93% said they did so by age 30. Surprisingly, among women who born in the 1940, approximately nine in 10 had premarital sex.
According to Melhado (2009), among teenagers who range around 18-19 years old who had completed primary school, half or more reported that they had sex (49-74%). But, there are 31% of males and 44% of females had done so in Ghana. Greater proportions of females than males in this group had had premarital sex in Ghana and Uganda. Meanwhile, in Malawi, the higher proportions of males than females were involved in premarital sex.
The occurrence of premarital sex is continuously increasing in the Philippines. According to the University of the Philippines Population Institute (UPPI), it is reported that one out of four, aged fifteen to twenty four are engaging in premarital sex. Comparing to the data collected in 1994, 18% of the respondents are engaging in premarital sex. This increase of percentage of 18% to 25% is a worrying sight (Palatino , 2007).
Discussions and opinions have been voiced in forums and in the internet regarding premarital sex, some may agree, some may be ambivalent and some may disagree. Opinions of the society's youth best describe the perception on premarital sex as it shows the evolving values of society and culture.
2.6.1 African's point of view
Zambian man aged 25, working in a hospital and still a virgin. To people who have a religion should remain faithful to faith and not to fornicate. Without having premarital sex, we are able to live life without regrets. Try to resist the evil thoughts stealing your mind to have sex. God made sex specially meant for people who are married.(Askstudent, 2010)
2.6.2 American's point of view
Woman, 21 years old and still a virgin. A whole bunch of my female friends are still virgins and we actually prefer a boyfriend who is still a virgin. The fact knowing that a guy is just as new at the concept as we gives us the courage to go a little further with him. In addition to that, we know that they are not womanizers. Girls do not just want sex from boyfriends. Girls also would like to know that a relationship does not originate from just physical attraction. (Askstudent, 2010)
Based on the information imparted above, it can be deduced that premarital sex has evolved rapidly in history, from being illegal to being legal at the age of 18 in certain countries. The statistics presented shows that western people are more exposed to premarital sex compared to Asians. As our society's values evolve, it is inevitable that our country's youth are starting to embrace and having positive views on premarital sex.