Students today are faced with different pressures coming from all aspects of their lives. We decided to focus our study on the sexual behaviours of students and how these behaviours relate to other aspects of their personal and academic lives. Interest was taken in how these areas would differ with relation to gender, age, and lifestyle. Interest was also taken in how alcohol affects these behaviours, and how these behaviours affect student s academic performance.
When we began our research, we hypothesized that males with a higher self-esteem in general, would tend to engage in sexual behaviours more frequently than those with a lower self-esteem. We thought that females with high self-esteems would engage in sexual behaviours less frequently than those with lower self-esteems. We also hypothesized that students for the most part would prefer to be in a sexual relationship as opposed to being single. We assumed that students living on their own would tend to be more promiscuous than those living at home.
We also thought that a student s sexual behaviour would often be affected by alcohol regardless of whether they were single or in a relationship. We thought that our results would show that males became sexually active at an earlier age than females. We believed that males would be more sexually active than females and that males would be more likely to engage in more than one relationship at a time than a female would. Further inferences made about age in response to these questions were made and we believe that older students would be more responsible and conservative concerning these behaviours.
Methods We distributed a written survey to a random selection of students throughout the Carleton University campus. We administered the survey in three different areas of the school to provide us with a diverse selection of students; in the Loeb building, University Centre and Southam hall. We also took care to approach the students at different times of day to allow us a greater probability of variety. Attention was taken in trying to ensure an equal selection of both male and female respondents. A total of 30 students were surveyed in all; fourteen females and sixteen males participants.
We asked the respondents fifteen question about their sexual behaviours and some personal questions concerning their life and lifestyles as well as their feeling towards multiple issues. Incorporated into the survey was a disclaimer, so that the participants were guaranteed complete anonymity. Once they had finished the survey it was folded and placed into an envelope. This allowed them to feel comfortable in answering the questions with complete honesty and ease as possible. After the data was collected we tallied the results to see how sexual behaviours correlate with other attitudes and feeling of students.
Of the 30 people surveyed the majority of the participants were between the ages of 19 and 21, this being the same for both males and females. In total, the ages ranged from 18 to 28. In the female category only one participant was 18, 3 were 19, 3 were 20, 5 were 21, one was 23 and the other was 25, this made for a total of 14 female participants. In the male section of our group, 2 participants were 19, 2 were 20, 4 were 21, 4 were 22, 1 was 23, 2 were 25 and one was 28.
Of the 16 males surveyed 31.2% were in their first year, 19% in their second, 19% also in their third and 31% in their forth. Of the 14 females surveyed 50% were in their first year, 29% in their second, 14% in their third and 7% in their fourth.
Of all the students surveyed 40% live at home and 60% live off campus. Of the males surveyed 50% live at home and 50% live off campus. Of the females 71% live off campus and 29% live at home.
When questioned about academic standing 16.67% of all participants said their average grade was an A, 56.67% responded B, 23.3% responded C and 3.3% responded D. Of the males surveyed, 19% stated their average grade was an A, 56% stated B, 25% stated C. Of the females surveyed, 14% were an average, 57% were B, 21% were C, and 7% were D.
When asked how they would rate their self-esteem in regards to personal and social life, the response was 46.67% of students felt great, and confident, 43.33% said they felt so-so, having good days and bad days, 10% of those surveyed said they are not good and are very self conscious. Of the female being surveyed 36% felt confident whereas males were 50%, 50% of females responded to feeling so-so having good days and bad compared to 38% of males, 14% of females responded that they are very self conscious and 65% of males responded the same.
When asked how these students rated their self esteem in terms of their academic performance. The totals for the group were 36.67% were confident in their academic performance. Of them 21% of females felt confident in their academic performance, and 50% of males also felt confident in their academic performance. In total 50% of the participants were in the mid-range with respect to their confidence in their academic abilities. Of males surveyed 38% fell in the mid range and 64% of females were also in this range. Finally, 13.3% of the subjects were not confident in their academic abilities. 14% of the females surveyed were not confident in their academic abilities and 12.5% of males were not confident in their academic performance.
Next we asked people how they would rate their attitude towards the future in terms of their personal/social life. In total 60% of all those polled were not too worried about their futures in terms of their personal/social lives. A total of 64% of the females surveyed were not worried about their personal and social futures and 56% of males also felt this way. Of all those surveyed 23.3% did not care and said that they live day to day. 14% of these were female and 31% were male. 10% of all those polled said that they were scared of the future and did not know what to expect in terms of their personal and social lives. Of these 14% of females said that they were scared and 6% of males. Lastly, 7% of all those polled answered that none of the answers applied to them. 7% of the females surveyed said that this applied to them and 6% of males said the same.
We then asked the respondents about their feelings towards the future with relation to their academic careers. The majority (63.33%) of those surveyed said that they are not worried about their academic futures. Of the females polled 57% were not worried about the future and 69% of males are not worried about their academic careers. The total of those that say that they do not care and live day to day was 13.3%. 21% of females and 6% of males say that they do not care because they live day to day. Finally, 23.33% of all the participants said that they are worried about their academic careers. Of the females polled 25% are worried about their academic future, whereas 21% of males said they were worried about their academic futures.
We asked the subjects if they had a boyfriend/girlfriend; in total 33.33% said that they had a girlfriend/boyfriend and 66.67% said that they were single. Of the females polled 29% were in a relationship and 71% were single. Of the males a total of 37% were in a relationship and 63% were single.
We then asked if they would prefer to be single or in a relationship. In total 50% said they would prefer to be single, whereas 50% said they would rather be in a relationship. In sum 57% of females surveyed said they would prefer to be single and 43% said they would rather be in a relationship. Of the males surveyed, 44% would rather be single and 56% would prefer to be in a relationship.
We asked the participants the age at which they became sexually active. In sum, 6.67% of those surveyed became sexually active before the age of fourteen; 43.33% between the ages of 14 to 17; 43.33% between the ages of 17 to 20; 3.33% after the age of 20; and this was not applicable for 3.3%. Of the females, 7% became sexually active before the age of 14; 64% between the ages of 14 to17; and 29% between the ages of 17 to 20. Of the males, 6% became sexually active before the age of 14; 25% between the ages of 14 to 17; 56% between the ages of 17 to 20; 6% after the age of 20; and it was not applicable to 6% of those surveyed.
Next we asked the participants when was the last time that they engaged in any sexual activity. In all 3.3% of those polled have never engaged in sexual activity. 6.67% answered that the last time they engaged in sexual activity was more than a year ago. 6.67% said that the last time they engaged in sexual activity was more than six months ago. 23.33% of those polled said that they last engaged in sexual activity more than three months ago. 26.67% say that they have been sexually active within the last month. 33.33% of those surveyed have been sexually active within the last week. Of the females polled 7% were sexually active more than six months ago.
29% last engaged in sexual activity more than three months ago. 29% were last sexually active within the last month. 36% have been sexually active within the last week. In total, of the males surveyed 6% have never been sexually active. 13% were last sexually active more than a year ago. 6% were last sexually active more than six months ago. 19% said they last engaged in sexual activity more than three months ago. 25% of the males surveyed last engaged in sexual activity within the last month. Finally, 31% were sexually active within the last week.
We questioned the participants as to whether they have ever carried on more than one intimate relationship at the same time. In all, 26.67% said that they have carried on more than one intimate relationship, as opposed to 73.33% that have never carried one more than one intimate relationship at a time. Of the females, 21% say that they have in fact carried on more than one intimate relationship at a time, whereas 79% say that they never have. As for the males polled, 31% have carried on more than one intimate relationship at a time, whereas 69% have never done so.
The last question on our survey asked participants the frequency that alcohol influenced their sexual behaviours. Of all the participants, 6.67% are frequently influenced by alcohol. 23.33% of those surveyed are often influenced by alcohol. 50% said that their sexual behaviours are seldom influenced by alcohol. 20% said that they are never influenced by alcohol. In total, of they females surveyed 14% are often influenced by alcohol. 71% said that their sexual behaviours are seldom influenced by alcohol. 14% say that they are never influenced by alcohol. Of the males, 13% said that their sexual behaviours are frequently influenced by alcohol. 31% said that their sexual behaviours are often influenced by alcohol. 31% of the males polled said that they are seldom influenced by alcohol.
Discussion The information received from our conducted survey showed a high discrepancy in relation to our first hypothesis. We claimed that males with a high self-esteem would be more likely to engage in sexual activity more frequently than those with a lower self-esteem. In actual fact, we were wrong. We found that those males with a high self-esteem engaged in less sexual activities. Our second hypothesis stated that females with a low self-esteem would be more likely to engage in sexual activities more often than those with a high self-esteem.
Our hypothesis was proved by our results. Almost all of the females with a lower self-esteem were single and had engaged in sexual activity either within the last month or the last week. We found that both males and females with low self-esteems engage in sexual activities more frequently than those with a high self-esteem. We predicted that students would prefer to be in a sexual relationship than being single. Our results show that in fact more females prefer to be single and more males prefer to be in a relationship.
In regards to our hypothesis about the frequency of sexual encounters among those who live at home or off campus, we found the results quite interesting. Almost all of the females living at home have engaged in sexual activity within the last week, and most of those living off campus have engaged in sexual activity more than 3 or 6 months ago. We also found it interesting that more females live off campus than males that participated in the survey. Our next hypothesis stated that alcohol may frequently have an influence on a student s sexual behaviour.
The result show that the 71% of females surveyed are seldom influenced by alcohol. On the other hand, 31% males who were surveyed said their sexual behaviour was seldom influenced by alcohol and 31% said that their sexual behaviours were often influenced by alcohol. This shows that male s sexual behaviour tends to be influenced by alcohol more frequently than a female s sexual behaviour. We found it interesting to find that the majority of females surveyed had engaged in sexual activity at a younger age than males.
Our hypothesis stated the opposite; we believed that males would have engaged in sexual activity at a younger age that females. We also thought that males would be more likely to engage in more than one relationship at a time than females would. The results disproved our hypothesis; the majority of both males and females stated that they have never carried on more than one relationship at a time. Our last hypothesis stated that the older the individual the more responsible they were in terms of their sexual behaviours. This is not so, we found that in some cases irresponsible sexual behaviour was more prevalent in older students.
If we had have asked if protection was used during sexual activity, we would have been able to receive a more precise result. If we were to run this study again, we would have to add some questions that asked about the protection people use during sex, and how often they use it. It would have helped. In The International Journal of STD and AIDS on age related increases in sexual behaviours and decrease in regular condom use among adolescence in Australia found that self reported prevalence of intercourse increased as subjects got older. It increased from 9. % (aged 13 years or less) to 23. 9% (aged 15 years) and 51. 2% (aged 17 + years).
These findings are similar to ours being sexual activity became more frequent among older students. From the data presented in this research among 932 sexually active students in the final three years of secondary school 26% of males and 18% of females reported having three or more partners in the previous year. In our study we found that this was less common among university students surveyed. This is perhaps because as students get older they become more responsible with their sexual behaviours.