Over the past few decades, several related changes have contributed to increasing the prevalence of premarital sexual relations in Nigeria. Demographic transformations such as rising age at marriage and increasing levels of urban migration are playing a part in changing the nature of male-female relationships. Sexual relationships are being socially constructed as an appropriate expression of intimacy, but also as a statement about a particular kind of modern identity. This article examines the social context of premarital sexual relations among young people in Igbo-speaking southeastern Nigeria. In particular, the paper explores conflicts between contemporary sexual identities and traditional models of gender and family as these tensions unfold in premarital sexual and reproductive decision making.


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