Saturday, 31 March 2012

Adolescent Sexuality and Family Life Education in Nigeria

Adolescents’ sexuality behaviour in Nigeria and sub-Saharan Africa is seriously going through transformation from what it used to be in the past. This can be attributed to the effect of modernisation caused by industrialization, education, exposure and enculturation through importation of various foreign cultures, which
were alien to the Nigerian culture in particular and African as a whole.

Sexual behaviour display by adolescents are of various types and it is worthy of note that modalities in sexual activities have changes with young people more willing and eager to experiment different discovered through intuition or otherwise variations in foreplay and coitus. In fact, the large numbers of pictorial books combined with the licit and illicit movies have contributed in no small measure toward the removal of guilt, fear and shame associated with unconventional activities.

Five types of sexual behaviours found among adolescents include– kissing, breast/genital fondling, embracing, holding and sexual intercourse. In addition to that, there some other notably sexual behavior which include dating, petting, masturbation and homosexual contact. Another sexual behaviour discovered is oral general contact. A lot of concern has been expressed about the delinquent behaviour of adolescents in connection with sexual matters and various analysis of adolescent sexuality behaviour in sub-Saharan African have pointed out to a transformation in the nature of sexual activity and child bearing among the young. With rapid urbanization and the breakdown of moral values, sexual permissiveness have become a characteristic of the social life of adolescents and there have been growing incidents of pregnancy and contracting of sexually transmitted diseases including HIV/AIDS among unmarried teenagers. More than one-third of these pregnancies are aborted, with almost half of the pregnant ones being admitted in hospitals for bleeding, anemia and fatigue and also other complications. Some have been confirmed HIV positive while some are already dead or are at the point of death because of AIDS. For instance, studies in Cote D’Ivoire, Malawi, South Africa, Tanzania, Zimbabwe and Nigeria confirmed that young women in their teens and early twenties had highest seroprevalence rates. Often, the society frowns at these adolescents due to series of problems they face. Most of them dropout of school, live on welfare, often below poverty line, while their health and that of their babies(in the care of pregnant ones) suffer.

In the past, before the advent of Western Education, young people were given informal education to prepare them for life. The traditional system of education in Nigeria saw to it that young men and women were taught to acquire a healthy attitude towards sex as part of their preparation for adult life. There was also availability of traditional authority structures governing marriage and sexual behaviour as well as the familial and community support networks that eased young people’s transition to adulthood. During this period, an adolescent have little opportunity for full sexual expression until his late twenties. In Ghana, like other sub-Saharan Africa, adolescents’ sexual experience was not encouraged. Elders were concern of the very young participated in sexual activity. Such activity occurring too early was said to cause “a boy becoming weak and impotent and a girl to become barren and lazy”. But with the disorganization of primary societies, and resort to urban life, when people move away from their roots and lose their otherwise rich cultural values in their bid for better social status and atonements, there is bound to be problems. One of such problems is the inability of the adolescents to handle their newly awakened sexual impulses. This problem over time, has led to sexual flippancy which made issue of teenage or premarital pregnancy, abortion, illegitimate children and venereal diseases including HIV/AIDS the recurring natural consequences which require a lasting solution that could stand a test of time.

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