Perceptions of Premarital Sex among Students at a Faith-Based University

Main Article Content

Hansel Teo Sze Yong
Amanda Simon


In this study, the relationship between moral development activities and perceptions of premarital sex was investigated among students at a faith-based university. Information was gathered using survey questionnaires, distributed through the university intranet, and the data were analyzed using a statistical software package. Undergraduate students (N = 103) took part in the study. Most university students were against sex before marriage. Moral development activities taught them to abstain from premarital sex. Responses showed that the factor that most affected perceptions of premarital sex was the Internet. Movie/television viewing was also found to be an important factor that shaped perceptions of premarital sex. Moral development activities and perceptions of premarital sex were shown to be weakly related (r =.03). Further improvement of moral development activities is needed to help students understand the value of sex. Future research in this area could use qualitative approaches to examine the factors that influence perceptions of premarital sex.


Download data is not yet available.

Article Details

Research Articles


Abma, J., & Martinez, G. (2017). Sexual activity and contraceptive use among teenagers in the United States, 2011-2015. National Health Statistics Reports, 104, 1–23.

Abma, J., Martinez, G., Mosher, W., & Dawson, S. (2004). Teenagers in the United States: Sexual activity, contraceptive use, and childbearing, 2002. Vital and Health Statistics, 23(24), 1–48.

Adhikari, N., & Adhikari, S. (2017). Attitudes towards premarital sex among higher secondary students in Pokhara Sub-Metropolitan City. Journal of Community Medicine & Health Education, 7(5). doi: 10.4172/2161-0711. 1000564

Arulogun, O., Ogbu, I., & Dipeolu, I. (2016). Influence of internet exposure on sexual behavior of young persons in an urban district of Southwest Nigeria. Pan African Medical Journal, 25(261). doi: 10.11604/pamj. 2016.25.261.2630

Asekun-Olarinmoye, O., Asekun-Olarinmoye, E., Adebimpe, W., & Omisore, A. (2014). Effect of mass media and internet on sexual behavior of undergraduates in Osogbo Metropolis, Southwestern Nigeria. Adolescent Health Medicine and Therapeutics, 5, 15–23.

Bhatta, D., Koirala, A., & Jha, N. (2013). Adolescent students’ attitude towards premarital sex and unwanted pregnancy. Health Renaissance, 11(2), 145–149.

Bragg, S., & Buckingham, D. (2002). Young people and sexual content on television: A review of the research. London, UK: Institute of Education, University of London.

Braun, V, & Clarke, V. (2006). Using thematic analysis in psychology. Qualitative Research in Psychology, 3(2), 77–101. doi: 10.1191/1478088706qp063oa

Brown, J., & L’Engle, K. (2009). X rated: Sexual attitudes and behaviors associated with U.S. early adolescents’ exposure to sexually explicit media. Communication Research, 36(1), 129–151.

Burdette, A., & Hill, T. (2009). Religious involvement and transitions into adolescent sexual activities. Sociology of Religion: A Quarterly Review, 70(1), 28–48.

Chekole, A., Gebrehana, E., & Terefe, F. (2017). Risky sexual practices and associated factors among preparatory school students in Nifas Silk Lafto Sub-City, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Journal of Medical Biomedical and Applied Sciences, 5(7).

Chi, X., Yu, L., & Winter, S. (2012). Prevalence and correlates of sexual behaviors among university students: A study in Hefei, China. BMC Public Health, 12, 972.

Chiao, C., & Yi, C. (2011). Adolescent premarital sex and health outcomes among Taiwanese youth: Perception of best friends’ sexual behavior and contextual effect. AIDS CARE, 23(9), 1083–1092.

Christopher, F., & Frandsen, M. (1990). Strategies of influence in sex and dating. Journal of Social and Personal Relationship, 7(1), 89–105.

Collins, R., Elliott, M., Berry, S., Kanouse, D., Kunkel, D., Hunter, S., & Miu, A. (2004). Watching sex on television predicts adolescent initiation of sexual behavior. Pediatrics, 114(3), 280–289.

Dittus, J., Michael, S., Becasen, J., Gioppen, K., McCarthy, K., & Guilamo-Ramos, V. (2005). Parental monitoring and its association with adolescent sexual risk behavior: A meta-Analysis. Pediatrics, 136(6), 1587–1599.

Donenberg, G., Wilson, H., Emerson, E., & Bryant, F. (2002). Holding the line with a watchful eye: The impact of perceived parental permissiveness and parental monitoring on risky sexual behavior among adolescents in psychiatric care. AIDS Education and Prevention, 14(2), 138–157.

Finer, L. (2007). Trends in premarital sex in the United States, 1954-2003. Public Health Reports, 122(1), 73–78.

Finer, L., & Zolna, M. (2016). Declines in unintended pregnancy in the United States, 2008–2011. New English Journal of Medicine, 374(9), 843–852.

Focus on the Family. (1999). Risk factors for premarital sex. Retrieved from https://www.focusonthefamily. com/marriage/risk-factors-for-premarital-sex/

Ghaffari, M., Gharghani, Z., & Rakshanderou, S. (2015). The relationship between religious belief and behaviors and the intention of premarital sexual abstinence among Iranian youths. Health, Spirituality and Medical Ethics, 2(2), 2–7.

Ghani, S., Abdullah, S., Akil, S. M., & Nordin, N. (2014). Muslim adolescents’ moral value and coping strategy among Muslim female adolescent involved in premarital sex. Procedia–Social and Behavioral Sciences, 114, 427–433.

Gyan, S. (2018). Passing as “Normal”: Adolescent girls’ strategies for escaping stigma of premarital sex and childbearing in Ghana. Sage Open, 8(3), 1-8. doi: 10.1177/2158244018801421.

Habesha, T., Aderaw, Z., & Lakew, S. (2015). Assessment of exposure to sexually explicit materials and factors associated with exposure among preparatory school youths in Hawassa City, Southern Ethiopia: A Cross-sectional Institution Based Survey. Reproductive Health, 12(86). doi: 10.1186/s12978-015-0068-x

Helm Jr, H., McBride, D., Knox, D., & Zusman, M. (2009). The influence of a conservative religion on premarital sexual behavior of University students. North American Journal of Psychology, 11(2), 231–245.

Henrich, C., Brookemeyer, K., Shrier, L., & Shahar, G. (2006). Supportive relationships and sexual risk behavior in adolescence: An ecological-transactional approach. Journal of Pediatric Psychology, 31(3), 286–297.

Homiak, M. (2019). Moral character. In E. Zalta (Ed.), The Stanford encyclopedia of philosophy (Summer 2019 ed.) Retrieved from

Humanists UK. (2019). “Collective worship” and school assemblies: Your rights. Retrieved from https://humanism.

Hurissa, B., Tebeje, B., & Megersa, H. (2014). Prevalence of pre-marital sexual practices and associated factors among Jimma teacher training college students in Jimma Town, South West Shoa Zone, Oromiya Region, Ethiopia-2013. Journal of Women’s Health Care, 4(1). doi: 10.4172/2167-0420.1000221

Kanzal, V., Subikshalakshmi, G., & Goswami, L. (2016). Moral education: Current values in student and teachers’ effectiveness in inculcating moral values in students. The International Journal of Indian Psychology, 4(1), 81. dip: 18.01.138/20160401

Kraus, S., & Russell, B. (2008). Early sexual experiences: The role of internet access and sexually explicit material. CyberPsychology & Behavior, 11(2), 162–168.

Kuar, S. (2015). Moral values in education. Journal of Humanities and Social Science, 20(3), 21–26.

Lamb, S. (1997). Sex education as moral education: Teaching for pleasure, about fantasy, and against abuse. Journal of Moral Education, 26(3), 301–315.

Lou, C., Cheng, Y., Gao, E., Zuo, X., Emerson, M., & Zahin, L. (2012). Media’s contribution of sexual knowledge, attitudes and behavior for adolescents and young adults in three Asian cities. Journal of Adolescent Health, 50(30), S26–S36.

Manea, D. (2014). Influences of religious education on the formation moral consciousness of students. Procedia–Social and Behavioral Sciences, 149, 518–523.

Manlove, J., Wildsmith, E., Ikramullah, E., Terry-Humen, E., & Schelar, E. (2012). Family environments and the relationship context of first adolescent sex: Correlates of first sex in a casual verse steady relationship. Social Science, 41, 861–875.

Markham, C., Tortolero, S., Escobar-Chaves, S., Parcel, G., Harrist, R., & Addy, R. (2003). Family connectedness and sexual risk-taking among urban youth attending alternative high schools. Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, 35(4), 174–179.

Martinez, G., Copen, C., & Abma, J. (2011). Teenagers in the United States: Sexual activity, contraceptive use, and childbearing, 2006-2010 National Survey of Family Growth. Vital and Health Statistics, 23(31), 1–35.

McCree, D., Wingood, G., DiClemente, R., Davies, S., & Harrington, K. (2003). Religiosity and risky sexual behavior in African-American adolescent females. Journal of Adolescent Health, 33(1), 2–8.

Mehrotra, P., Zimmerman, R., Noar, S., Dumenci, L. (2013). A test of an adapted multiple domain model in predicting sexual behaviors among unmarried young adults in India. Journal of Sex Research, 50(2), 116–127.

Noelliste, D. (2020). Biblical ethics: An introduction. Crossway Books. Retrieved from resources/esv-global-study-bible/biblical-ethics-an-introduction/

Opayemi, R. (2011). Gender, self-esteem, religiosity and premarital sex among young adults. Gender & Behaviour, 9(1).

Owens, E., Behun, R., Manning, J., and Reid, R. (2012). The impact of internet pornography on adolescents: A review of the research. Sexual Addiction & Compulsivity, 19(1–2), 99–122.

Peltzer, K., & Pengpid, S. (2015). Early sexual debut and associated factors among in-school adolescents in six Caribbean countries. The West Indian Medical Journal, 64(4), 351–356.

Penhollow, T., Young, M., & Bailey, W. (2007). Relationship between religiosity and “hooking up” behavior. American Journal of Health Education, 38(6), 338–345.

Podhisita, C., Xenos, P., and Varangrat, A. (2004). The risk premarital sex among Thai youth: Individual and family influences. Journal of Population and Social Studies, 12(2). Retrieved from 101291/2001_10_The_Risk_of_Premarital_Sex.pdf

Regnerus, M. (2005). Talking about sex: Religion and patterns of parent-child communication about sex and contraception. The Sociological Quaterly, 46(1), 79–105.

Romer, D., Stanton, B., Galbraith, J., Feigelman, S., Black, M., & Li, X. (1999). Parental influence on adolescent sexual behavior in high-poverty setting. Archives of Pediatrica & Adolescent Medicine, 153(10), 1055–1062.

Rovinelli, R., & Hambleton, R. (1977). On the use of content specialists in the assessment of criterion-referenced test item validity. Tijdschrift voor Onderwijsresearch, 2(2), 49–60.

Sieving, R., Eisenberg, M., Pettingell, S., & Skay, C. (2006). Friends’ influence on adolescents’ first sexual intercourse. A Journal of Peer-Reviewed Research, 38(1), 13–19.

Suwarni, L., Ismail, D., Prabandari, Y., & Adiyanti, M. (2015). Perceived parental monitoring on adolescence premarital sexual behavior in Pontianak City, Indonesia. International Journal Public Health Science, 4(3), 211-219.

Tant, D. (2011). Dealing with the effects of premarital sex. Retrieved from resources/2011/03/07/dealing-with-the-effects-of-premarital-sex

Wang, B., Li, X., Stanton, B., Kamali, V., Naar-king, S., Shah, I., & Thomas, R. (2007). Sexual attitudes, pattern of communication, and sexual behavior among unmarried out-of-school youth in China. BMC Public Health, 7, 189.

Ward, L., Friedman, K. (2006). Using TV as a guide: Associations between television viewing and adolescents’ sexual attitudes and behavior. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 16(1), 133–156.

Wells, K. (2020). Peer pressure. Encyclopedia of children’s health forum. Retrieved from http://www.

Wong, M., Chan, R., Koh, D., Tan, H., Lim, F., Emmanuel, S., & Bishop, G. (2009). Premarital sexual intercourse among adolescents in an Asian Country: Multilevel Ecological Factors. Pediatrics, 124(1), 44–52. doi: 10.1542/ peds.2008-2954.

Yamane, T. (1967). Statistics: An Introductory Analysis (2nd Ed.). New York, NY: Harper and Row.

Yi, S., Poudel, K., Yasuoka, J., Palmer, P., Yi, S., & Jimba, M. (2010). Role of risk and protective factors in risky sexual behavior among high school students in Cambodia. BMC Public Health, 10, 477.

Yip, P., Zhang, H., Lam, T., Lam, F., Lee, A., Chan, J., & Fan, S. (2013). Sex knowledge, attitudes, and high-risk sexual behaviors among unmarried youth in Hong Kong. BMC Public Health, 13, 691.