Date Published: June , 2018
Publisher: Makerere Medical School
Author(s): Tammary Esho, Arun Datta, Samuel Muniu.
Adolescence is a phase where one is inquisitive about sex and sexuality. It is but natural to exchange the half-baked feelings and experiences with peers. These days the environment that includes public media has sexually suggestive flavors.
This study was conducted to find out the sexual experiences of a selected, few school going adolescents.
A cross-sectional study utilizing stratified sampling to enroll 200 students from secondary schools in Nakuru County, Kenya. A self-administered questionnaire was used to collect data. The data was entered and analyzed in SPSS® version 22. Chi-square test of independence and Fisher’s Exact Test were performed to test for associations.
The study found that a large number have had sexual experiences of varying type. It was interesting to learn from the survey that a large number of older adolescents wish that their parents should have talked to them about sexual matters. There is a general conservative outlook that the students had. Although a small percentage had sexual experiences at a very young age, many of them valued ethics and morality.
There is urgency for intervention by the parents and the church in filing the gap in sexual knowledge.
Globally, reproductive health of adolescents is a matter of great concern. Adolescence is a transition stage where major developments take place and one of the most complex processes is sexual maturation and onset of over sexual behaviour. At this stage the adolescents gain autonomy from their parents, develop a network of peers and begin to pursue romantic connections1. Early adolescence (10 – 13 years) is characterized by different behavioral experimentation, middle adolescence (14 – 16 years) is full of risk taking, while commencement of risk-taking occurs in late adolescence (17 – 19 years)2.
Adolescents require being instilled with positive sexual values and parents can play a big part in influencing their sexual behaviors. Indeed, parents are expected to be the source of accurate information about sexuality and sexual matters14. The findings of this study indicate that it is the peers who inform the youngsters on matters of sexuality. As they mature, they realize the importance of getting accurate education on sex. This is when they wish that their parents had talked to them. These findings correspond with research results found in Botswana where almost twice of the adolescents were informed about sexuality matters by peers as compared to parents15. It has been suggested that early guidance by parents prepares a child for relationships16. Parents should consider being at the forefront in conveying sexual information to adolescents at an early age. This will have a positive influence on their sexual relationships.
The sample size for the study was relatively small. Although it represents the heterogeneous population of Kenya, a bigger sample would do more justice. A follow up with more indirect questions to reaffirm the respondents’ views could add to authenticity.
The socio-economic scene is changing fast in Kenya. The old order does not hold any more. The parents and teachers have not yet fully comprehended what the adolescents are going through. There is a need for accurate sexual knowledge but there is confusion about who should provide it. Of course this is a common responsibility of parents, teachers and the church. However there is a need for the same study to be conducted on a national scale.