Background: To determine the prevalence of premarital sex and its risk factors in Nepal.
Methods: A cross-sectional study was carried out among adolescents in Nepal. A self-administered questionnaire was used to collect information from 6,147 unmarried adolescents. Random sampling by using a lottery method was applied to select 20 colleges from all three districts. All the students who were studying at those colleges were enrolled in the study. Simple and multivariate logistic regression analyses were carried out to analyse the associations of risk factors and premarital sex.
Results: The prevalence of premarital sex was 38.1%. Male students were more likely to engage in premarital sex (adjusted odds ratio [AOR]=2.04, confidence interval [CI]=1.76-2.36) than female students. Alcohol consumption (AOR=1.26, CI=1.08-1.47), smoking (AOR=1.69, CI=1.41-2.02), drug use (AOR=1.85, CI=1.23-2.83), going to night clubs (AOR=1.46, CI=1.24-1.70), clothing style of girls AOR=1.35, CI=1.15-1.58), clothing style of boys (AOR=3.51, CI=2.74-4.53), and unmarried friends having sex (AOR= 1.51, CI=1.31-1.73) were found to be major influencing factors for premarital sex. Moreover, students who had never received sex education were 2.92 times more likely to engage in premarital sex (CI=2.22-3.85) than those who had previously received sex education.
Conclusions: We found several risk factors associated with premarital sex in Nepal. Preventing premarital sex may require the promotion of sex education.