In recent years, society began to show concern about sexual behavior of the young generation. The openness of young generation about sex is a very new issue for the adults. Sexuality is one of the primarily needs of human (Higgins & Browne, 2008). A research involving 269,649 participants from United State showed that the sexual activity of young men and women has increased over time (Wells & Twenge, 2005). Nonetheless, Malaysian still have a perception that talking about sex is a taboo. Most of the people will still avoid discussing about this topic. All of this might be influenced by the cultural values that Malaysian holds.
Engaging in sexual activity is far more than just for reproductive purpose; it can encourage emotion bonding between two human, pleasures, improve health, decrease stress, happiness, increase self-esteem, encourage positive thinking and optimism and many more (Anitei, 2007). Research have shown that in term of happiness, sex contribute more towards happiness in an individual than money, nonetheless, the more money you have do not ensure that you having more sex (Anitei, 2007). Without proper sex education it could possibly harm an individual. For instance, sexually transmitted diseases can be transmitted via unprotected intercourse. Initiation in sexual activity is a personal choice yet we cannot deny that it will be affected by surrounding social factor (Helm, McBride, Knox & Zusman, 2009).
Sexual behavior without appropriate knowledge is harmful because it could lead to sexually transmitted diseases. As of 2008, about 33 million people around the world are living with HIV and approximate 7400 newly infected cases are being reported daily (Blog rasmi kementerian kesihatan Malaysia, 2009). About 2 million people died from AIDS in 2008 worldwide. In Malaysia, statistic shown by the Ministry of Health, Malaysia, reported that there are 3080 cases new HIV infections notified in 2009, while 805 cases are AIDS related to death. On average, daily new infection notified in 2009 is 8 cases. 24% of the infections are among youth aged 13 to 29 years old.
In this study, the researcher would like to find out the relationship between Sexual Values and Sexual Behavior among Malaysian Youths. Youth are defined in this study as youth between 18 years old until 30 years old. Basically, this study is replicated from a study “Sexual Values and Risky Sexual behaviors Among Latino Youths” (Deardorff, Tschann, Flores & Ozer, 2010). The aims of the study is to understand the sexual values that Latino youths holds which is the most important factor in dealing with HIV prevention effort. In the study, 839 sexually active Latino youths ages 16-22 who stay in San Francisco was interviewed in 3 years times, from 2003-2006 to determine the values that influence their sexual behavior. The result of their study will be explained below as it was use as the based to develop this study. Appropriate modification was done to match the Malaysian Culture. Besides that, this study will also be explained in a Malaysian context.
Values that a youth hold are believed to influence their sexual behavior. Values are very broad, different across situation and are an important guiding ideology in life (Schwartz & Rubel-Lifschitz, 2009). Sexual values are principle that someone holds and it may influence their sexual behavior (Deardorff, Tschann, Flores & Ozer, 2010). To understand behaviour, particularly in this case, sexual behaviour by Malaysian Youth, we should first understand the cultural values and norms about how society re-act when comes to issue related to sex (Phinney & Flores, 2002; Deardorff, Tschann & Flores, 2008). The sexual values that this study will be investigating include the perception about Satisfaction of Sexual Needs as Important, Important of Female Virginity, Comfort with Sexual Communication, and Religiosity.
Higgins and Browne (2008) in their research found that poor and working class male reported that their sexual needs must be met in order to sustain normal mental and physical health. Man changes his mood if the sexual needs are not satisfies (Higgins & Browne, 2008).Young man usually need more sex compare to women (Higgins & Browne, 2008).
Elizabeth (pseudonyms) comment that her family give her the concept that only men need sex, but she realise that sex is healthy and normal for female who wants it. (Higgins & Browne, 2008)
Sexual needs are defined as sexual desires that an individual has towards opposite sex individual when they reached puberty.
Study found that the more important a young man considered satisfaction of sexual needs, the younger their self-reported age of first sexual intercourse (Deardorff, Tschann, Flores & Ozer, 2010). People who consider satisfaction of sexual needs as important were usually trying to fulfil their sexual needs. Because of this reason, they are earlier in engaging in sexual intercourse (Deardorff, Tschann, Flores & Ozer, 2010). Men were reported perceived satisfaction of sexual needs more important than women (Deardorff, Tschann & Flores, 2008). Another research found that greater sexual frequency will lead to greater sexual satisfaction (Meltzer & McNulty, 2010). From this research we could assume that sexual needs can be satisfied by the sex frequency that a couple having and thus lead to satisfaction.
Similarly in many part of the world, culturally, the society in Malaysia still expect female to maintain their virginity until marriage. However, from year 1940 until 1990, the young people has shown acceptance towards premarital sex, younger age of first time having sex, more sexual activity, and feel less guilt for the action (Wells & Twenge, 2005). The statistic showed that in 1950’s, only 13% of young female being reported sexually active, but it reached 47% by the late of 1990’s. Between 1943 and 1999, for young women, the age of first intercourse had decreased from 19 to 15 while the for pre marital sex, young women had showed approval from 12% to 73% while for young man is from 40% to 79% (Wells & Twenge, 2005).
Female virginity often refers as first sexual intercourse [e.g. penile-vaginal penetration] (Carpenter, 2001). The first time a penis is inserted into a vagina, than the female and male becomes non virgin (Medley-rath, 2007). If a male put finger inside a female’s vagina, this do not make the female non-virgin (Medley-rath, 2007). If you said virginity is first time sex, that sex should be defined as well. Oral sex does not make a female lose their virginity (Medley-rath, 2007). So, in summary, in this study, female virginity is defined as the first penile-vaginal sexual intercourse.
The sex education in the United State had encouraged their youth to pledge to defer their sexual activity until marriage (Rosenbaum, 2006). This message is widespread, but the efficacy is not known (Rosenbaum, 2006). Martino, Elliott, Collins, Kanouse & Berry (2008), whom doing researched about virginity pledge found that adolescent made virginity pledge delayed or postpone the sexual intercourse or initiation. In their study, 42.4% of youth ages 12 to 17 years old will have sex within 3 years if they do not made the virginity pledge. If they make the virginity pledge, 33.6% will have sex within 3 years. This result showed that virginity pledge reduces the sexual intercourse by 8.8%. Assume that those who are willing to make the pledge are the one who view virginity as important, thus the later their age of sexual intercourse. Young male reported that female virginity is important (Deardorff, Tschann & Flores, 2008). However, this believe was contradicted, this is because, on one hand they think that female virginity is important, but on another hand they want to sexually satisfy their female partner (Deardorff, Tschann & Flores, 2008).
Communication is a very important platform use to impart knowledge. Nevertheless, most of the people know that it is important to communicate effectively about sexuality but they do not do so (Byers, 2011). For instance, even though many parents understand that it is their responsibility to talk about sexuality with their children, they do not do so in details; couples faced difficulty to tell each other’s what make they feel pleasure and what not (Byers, 2011). Kapungu and colleagues (2010) said that sexual communication exist in many ways such as with parents, (e.g., ”Have you talked to your teen about using a condom?”); frequency (e.g., ”How many times have you discussed contraception with your teen?”); content of the communication (e.g., ”what have you discussed about condom use?”) and also the values of the message (e.g., ”Wait to have sex until you are older”). Sexual communication can help to reduce misunderstanding and risky sexual behaviour (Erickson, 1998). Sexual communication is important in influencing the sexual behaviour because it is part of the cultural values (Deardorff, Tschann, Flores & Ozer, 2010). So, in summary, comfort with sexual communication is the level of feeling of comfortable when talking issue related to sex.
Malaysian societies have a more conservative view towards sexual communication. One of the formal ways of sexual communication is through education, but it is not easily accepted by all people in the community with regards to different religion and culture. On religion view, Muslim believe that by separating the sleeping place of their children according to gender when they reach the age of seven and women should be properly covered is already consider a way of sex education and this ways of communication are able to delay the sexual intercourse activity until marriage (The Malaysian Insider, 2010). When sex education was carried out beside that ways (separating the sleeping place of their children according to gender), some will feel discomfort. A study about gender differences in communication about sexual topic in urban area which African-American mothers and youths live with poverty and high HIV rates, showed that the greater the communication regarding sexual issue with their mother, it decrease the risk of HIV (Kapungu et al., 2010). Communications through sex education that promote abstinence of sexual activity, but at the same time also include the topic about HIV prevention and contraception helps to delays the involvement in sexual activity (Kapungu et al., 2010). This shown that the content of communication affected the outcome of the sexual behaviour, either earlier or later involvement of sexual activity. Teenagers who discuss sexual issue with their peers are usually sexually active and have unprotected sex (Kapungu et al., 2010), which may lead to early involvement in sexual activity. When individual is more comfort with sexual communication, the lower their age at first sexual intercourse (Deardorff, Tschann, Flores & Ozer, 2010). In a research, the statistic show that if a parents who do not allow their children to have sex, 88 % of their children never had engage in sex while for those parent who do not care about this issue, 52% have engaged in sex (Erickson, 1998). When communication takes place, it helps to reduce the risk of engaging in sexual activity as well as delaying the sexual activity.
Sexual behavior might also be influenced by religion in Malaysia. Religion is one of the factors that play a major role in influencing one’s sexual behavior (Helm, McBride, Knox & Zusman, 2009). In Malaysia, Islam is the official religion while constitution ensures the freedom of religion of non-Muslim. Religion has influence many aspects of socio-cultural life, values, behaviour, personalities and the belief system of human beings (Cohen & Hill, 2007). Religiosity is the value place on individual’s thinking and willingness to follow the guidelines.
Study had reported that religion practice and beliefs are associated with pre-marital sex (Helm, McBride, Knox & Zusman, 2009; Grangera, & Priceb, 2009 ). Religiosity contains sexual behaviour. Religiosity also associated with delaying the age of youth having sex for the first time (Grangera, & Priceb, 2009). Study shown that religiosity can affect individual behaviours (Choi, 2010), as in this case referring to pre-marital sex or age at first intercourse. In another study, intercourse group of the study shown that they are having more alcohol, less religion involvement, less moral influences, more humanistic as well as less conventional messages about sex received from parents (Woody, Russel, D’Souza, & Woody, 2000). Not only that, the study also found that the intercourse group had lower evaluation about the decision of their first intercourse (Woody, Russel, D’Souza, & Woody, 2000). This indicated that less religion involvement actually increase the sexual activity. This may lead to the earlier engagement with sexual behaviour.
However, people who think satisfaction of sexual needs as important but can still involve in sex at the later age because research shown that people who are the most satisfied with sex is the marriage couple because both of them have faith with each other (Erickson, 1998). Another study on Turkish university student found that 62.4% of the subjects think that it is important for female to maintain virginity until marriage because it helps increase the male satisfaction (Kukulu, Gursoy & Sozer, 2009). This means the more important an individual perceive sexual satisfaction as important, the later he or she will involve in sexual activity as they want female to maintain virginity until marriage . In the previous study by Deardorff, Tschann, Flores and Ozer (2010), their research found that the important of virginity is not related to the age of first sexual intercourse, yet, we still administering this item with the consideration of cultural differences. Young male consider female virginity more important than young female and female virginity was also interfere by others factor such as if a young female consider virginity as important, they might have sex with less partner even if their level of sexual satisfaction is high (Deardorff, Tschann, Flores & Ozer, 2010). Latina women aware about the present of traditional norms about virginity, but this norm do not affect their sexual behaviour (Deardorff, Tschann, Flores & Ozer, 2010). Youth who are more acculturated are less likely to agree with this sexual values and female virginity is less important for them (Deardorff, Tschann & Flores, 2008).
Sexual behaviors are measure by self-reported age at first heterosexual vagina intercourse. Sexual behaviour is defined as age of having vagina sexual intercourse. Heterosexual vagina intercourse is defined as an individual having heterosexual intercourse with another individual (human) of the opposite sex where the erect penis (male) is inserted into the vagina (female).
In this study, the relationship between sexual values and sexual behaviour will be investigated. Considering the available research reviewed above, the researcher developed the following hypotheses:
The more important an individual considered satisfaction of sexual needs as important, the younger age of self-reported first heterosexual vagina intercourse.
The greater the important of virginity for a young woman, the older their age at first heterosexual vagina intercourse.
The greater an individual’s comfort with sexual communication, the younger their age at first heterosexual vagina intercourse.
Individual who believe and strongly commit to the religion, the older their reported age at first heterosexual vagina intercourse.
CHAPTER 2: METHOD
The researchers used questionnaire survey to obtain the opinion from participants. The independent variable for all hypotheses is sexual values, which was measure by:
For Hypothesis I. : Importance of satisfaction of sexual needs
For Hypothesis II. : Importance of female virginity
For Hypothesis III. : Comfort with sexual communication
For Hypothesis IV. : Religiosity
All the dependent variable is sexual behaviour, measured in term of age of first first heterosexual vagina intercourse.
One hundred [57 male (57%) and 43 female (43%)] subjects were recruited through a survey website www.surveymonkey.com . The participants’ age ranged from 18 to 30 years old with a mean of 21.94. All participants fulfill the following 3 requirement: –
He/She must be a Malaysian Citizens. Screening done at consent form, please refer to Appendix A.
He/She must have had heterosexual vagina intercourse.
He/She must at the time of participating is within the age of 18-30.
Married and single individual are included. Individuals who was divorced, separated or widowed / widower also included as long as they fulfill the 3 main requirements as mentioned above. Participants who were currently single or do not have partner, but fulfilled the 3 main requirements were included. Sexual behavior which was not as defined as heterosexual vagina intercourse was not qualified for the study. For example, for individual who involve in oral sex, anal sex, mutual masturbation, bestiality (non-human) and zoophiles (non-human animal) without vagina sexual intercourse was not qualified for the study. External ejaculation / withdrawal or multiple sex partners was qualified for the study as long as they involve in heterosexual vagina sexual intercourse as defined above. Non-Malaysian will be excluded from the study. All participants were screened using the Consent Form (refer to Appendix A).There are 2% of Malaysian Malay (N=2), 90% of Malaysian Chinese (N=90), 5% of Malaysian Indian (N=5), 1% of Malaysian Kadazan (N=1) and 2% (N=2) of Malaysian others race, please refer to Table 1. In tern of religion, the majority of subjects is Buddhist 58%, (N=58), please refer to table 2. Majority of the subjects came from the major city of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur / Selangor / Putrajaya, 46% (N=46), Please refer to table 3. The total of 93% (N=93) of the participant are pursuing or have either diploma or bachelor degree, please refer to table 4.
Race and Gender distribution of participants
Number of Subjects According to Religion (N=100)
Number of Subjects According to State of Origin (N=100)
Kuala Lumpur / Selangor / Putrajaya
Number of Subjects According to Education Level (N=100)
Secondary School (SPM)
Diploma / High School / Pre-University
There are 4 scales to measure Sexual Values.
The following is the information about the scale.
Satisfaction of Sexual Needs as Important (Deardorff, Tschann, Flores & Ozer, 2010).
This scale measure how important an individual perceives satisfaction of sexual needs. The scale asks about the view of sexual situation between a guy and a girl for both genders. There are 4 items scale and the response choice is based on 4-point Likert scales. 1 is definitely no to 4 is definitely yes. Both genders will respond to all four questions. Average score will be taken for final measure. Higher score means individual perceived satisfaction of sexual needs is very important. In term of internal consistency, the Coefficient alphas for both gender is .72, for female is .68 and for male is .71. Please refer to Appendix B, question number 5 for the item questions.
Female Virginity as Important (Deardorff, Tschann, Flores & Ozer, 2010).
This scale measured how important an individual perceive female virginity. There are 3 items scale and the response choice is based on 4-point Likert scales. 1 is definitely no to 4 is definitely yes. After reverse scoring, the higher score means an individual perceive female virginity as important. In term of internal consistency, the Coefficient alphas for both gender is .64, for female is .63 and for male is .66. Please refer to Appendix B, question number 6 for the item questions.
Comfort with Sexual Communication (Deardorff, Tschann, Flores & Ozer, 2010).
The scale measure the level of comfort when individuals talk about sex issue with their partners. There are 8 items scale and the response choice is based on 4-point Likert scales. 1 is very uncomfortable to 4 is very comfortable. Higher score indicate that they are very comfort with the sexual communication. If they are currently single, the questions were asked with reference to the most recent partner. The final score was the average of the 8 items. In term of internal consistency, the Coefficient alphas for both gender is .85, for female is .84 and for male is .89. . Please refer to Appendix B, question number 7 for the item questions.
For scale I , II and III, the author conducted focus group and qualitative interviews with the Latino youths. The scales are generated using exploratory factor analyses while final measures conformed to single-factor scales. The psychometric were examined and the scale was reliable and valid (Deardorff, Tschann, Flores & Ozer, 2010). In term of construct validity, it was examined using correlation between the sexual values scales and conceptually related measures (Deardorff, Tschann & Flores, 2008).
Religiosity (Choi, 2010).
The scale aimed to measure one’s religiosity. It consist of six items, comprised of 7-point Likert scales from 1, ”strongly disagree,” to 7, ”strongly agree.” Higher score means higher level of religiosity. The author modified the scale from Duke University Religion Index (Hill & Hood, 1999), McDaniel and Burnett (1990) and Hoge (1972). All the six items measure intrinsic religiosity which included the degree of an individual adopts religion in his or her daily life. In this survey, it refers to the sexual behavior. In term of reliability, the Cronbach alpha for those who practice religion is 0.97. The religion choice that can be use through this scale including no-religion, Buddhism, Catholicism, Protestantism, Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, or Orthodox. Please refer to Appendix B, question number 8 for the item questions.
Concerning the copy right issues, permission from the author was obtained. Please refer to Appendix D.
The study will be conducted using questionnaire survey through internet survey tool, Survey Monkey. Firstly, the researcher will use the following 2 ways to approach the participants:-
An announcement on the study was placed on researcher’s personal social network website such as Facebook or MSN. Please refer to Appendix C for the sample announcement.
Suggest the participant to invite any other individuals they think suitable / appropriate to participate in the study. Please refer to end part Appendix B.
Participants who qualified and interested with the survey will click on the link provided. They need to enter passwords to proceed with the survey. Then, the aims of the study were explained to participants in the consent form, (please refer to Appendix A). Consent from participants was obtained when participant agree with the term and condition by checking “I Agreed” before they can proceed with the survey. If they do not check “I Agreed”, it was assumed that they do not agree to participate and will not be directed to the survey page. They will be advice to leave the page. A reminder message will be display if they failed to agreed and clarify their nationality, “To proceed, you need to check I AGREED and clarified your nationality”. Please refer to Appendix A. Name of the participant will not be obtained. The questionnaire contains 7 questions, takes about 20 minutes to complete. Participants need to answer all the 7 questions before they were done with the survey by clicking the “Done” button. A short paragraph of debriefing about the study will be provided at the end of the survey. Please see the end part of Appendix B. If there was incomplete question, a reminder will be display. The button to exit the survey was available on the top right hand site at all the time for the participant to exit the survey whenever they want to.
CHAPTER 3: RESULTS
To test the first hypothesis, a bivariate correlation was conducted and the result show that there is no significant relationship between satisfaction of sexual needs as important and age of self-reported first heterosexual vagina intercourse (r= -.142, p>.05). Hence, the important of satisfaction of sexual needs (sexual value) do not affect the age of self-reported first heterosexual vagina intercourse (sexual behavior). Hypothesis number one was not supported. Please refer to table 5.
Correlation depicting relationship between the important of satisfaction of sexual needs (sexual value) and self-reported age of first heterosexual vagina intercourse (sexual behavior)
Satisfaction of sexual needs
Self-reported age of first heterosexual vagina intercourse
To test the second hypothesis, a bivariate correlation was conducted and the result show that there is a strong significant relationship between the important of virginity for a young woman and age of self-reported first heterosexual vagina intercourse (r= .315, p<.01). Hence, the greater a person holds the value about important of virginity for a young woman (sexual value) the older their age of self-reported first heterosexual vagina intercourse (sexual behavior). Hypothesis number two accepted. Please refer to table 6.
Correlation depicting relationship between the important of virginity for a young woman (sexual value) and self-reported age of first heterosexual vagina intercourse (sexual behavior)
Virginity for a young woman
Self-reported age of first heterosexual vagina intercourse
To test the third hypothesis, a bivariate correlation was conducted and the result show that there is no significant relationship between individual’s comfort with sexual communication and age of self-reported first heterosexual vagina intercourse (r= .002, p>.05). Hence, the important individual’s comfort with sexual communication (sexual value) do not affect the age of self-reported first heterosexual vagina intercourse (sexual behavior). Hypothesis number three was not supported. Please refer to table 7.
Correlation depicting relationship between individual’s comfort with sexual communication (sexual value) and self-reported age of first heterosexual vagina intercourse (sexual behavior)
Comfort with sexual communication
Self-reported age of first heterosexual vagina intercourse
To test the fourth hypothesis, a bivariate correlation was conducted and the result show that there is no significant relationship between Individual who believe and strongly commit to the religion and age of self-reported first heterosexual vagina intercourse (r= .195, p>.05). Hence, the religiosity (sexual value) do not affect the age of self-reported first heterosexual vagina intercourse (sexual behavior). Hypothesis number four was not supported. Please refer to table 8.
Correlation depicting relationship between religiosity (sexual value) and self-reported age of first heterosexual vagina intercourse (sexual behavior)
Self-reported age of first heterosexual vagina intercourse
CHAPTER 4: DISCUSSION
The purpose of this study is to understand the relationship of sexual values and sexual behavior among Malaysian Youths. In this study, we are going to examine how sexual values, which was measure by four sub scales: satisfaction of sexual needs as important, important of female virginity, comfort with sexual communication, and religiosity influences the sexual behavior which was measured by age of first vagina sexual intercourse.
The four values that study in this research is interrelated to each others in influencing the sexual behavior. As what predicted, we found that the greater a person holds the value or perception about the important of virginity for a young woman, the older their ages of self-reported first heterosexual vagina intercourse. This result can be explained in term of the cultural values of Malaysian. In Chinese cultural wise, society still has the perception that if a young girl loses their virginity [via a relationship or rape] before marriage, they got a lesser chances for a “good” marriage. So, many will comply with this cultural norms. A female will worry that their future husband can’t accept the facts that they lose their virginity to another man. So virginity is very important for them. From the news, we also see that Asian brides go through operation to restore their hymen (Khatkar, 2008). This show how important is virginity in Asian cultural. Once can be sexually active but still think that virginity is important (Deardorff, Tschann, Flores & Ozer, 2010). Similarly, the same study found that if virginity is important for a female, she may delay the sexual intercourse (Deardorff, Tschann, Flores & Ozer, 2010). For male who perceived that female virginity is important will also delay their first heterosexual vagina intercourse because there is a motivation to have a virgin wife.
Nevertheless, the results showed that sexual values: the important of satisfaction of sexual needs, the important individual’s comfort with sexual communication do not affect the sexual behavior which was measured by the age of self-reported first heterosexual vagina intercourse. This result of these two values can be explained together. The society was brought up with the concept sex is something should happened only after marriage. Sex was also considered an “evil” and shameful topic to talk or discuss about. Individual may think that the satisfaction of sexual needs or comfortable of sexual communication is important yet do not engage with sexual activity because they are “stop” by the society stigma. In a simple sentence, “I think it is important, I want to try, but I can’t do it, because it is wrong”. In this case, this value [satisfact