Sexual discourse refers to sex-related verbal activities that many Nigerian tertiary institution
students engage in. Existing studies have addressed sexual discourse from socio-cultural,
sociolinguistic and critical linguistic perspectives but have not adequately studied its pragmatic
import, especially in relation to encounters centering on sexual intercourse. This study, therefore,
investigates the discourse forms, contextual features, pragmatic functions, and attitudes to and
perception of the language of sex among students of tertiary institutions in Lagos State, Nigeria.
This is with a view to identifying the context-determined roles of language in and the impact of
gender and religion on the students‟ sexual discourse.
The study adopted aspects of conceptual metaphor, together with pragmemic and contextual
beliefs theories. Forty purposive tape recordings of students‟ conversations were made, and
copies of a questionnaire were administered to 760 students in eight tertiary institutions in Lagos
State, selected on stratified and purposive bases: two universities, three polytechnics and three
colleges of education. Four hundred structured interviews were conducted with 50 students in
each of the institutions, and eight focus-group discussions were held with six students each in the
institutions. Participant observation was randomly undertaken on the students‟ interactions.
While the qualitative data were subjected to content-analysis, Pearson and student t-test were
used to test the hypotheses formulated at 0.01 and 0.05 levels of significance.
Two discourse forms characterise the encounters: plain euphemisms and metaphors. Plain
euphemisms bifurcate into sound indicative and sense indicative euphemisms; metaphors
trifurcate into euphemistic, dysphemistic and slangy metaphors. Euphemistic metaphors are
derived from five source domains: food/fruit, security, mysticism, leisure/sport and everyday
language; dysphemistic metaphors from the army, carpentry, food/meat and everyday language;
and slangy metaphors from sports, music, Internet and Nigerian cultures. Three main contextual
features are observed: Shared Cultural Knowledge (SCK), Shared Situational Knowledge
(SSK) and Shared Experiential Knowledge (SEK). SCK and SSK are characterised by the use of
slangy words, metaphors and indexicals, and SEK by attitudinal markers, and linguistic and
cognitive mappings. There are three practs in the interactions: amusing, informing, and
criticising. Six allopracts are identified: three for criticizing; two for informing; and one for
amusing. The quantitative analysis indicates that there is a significant relationship between
students‟ attitudes to and their perception of sexual discourse(r = .443, P<.01); that a significant
difference exists in the attitude of male and female students to sexual discourse ( t = 3.71 P<0.5);
and that male and female students‟ perception of sexual discourse differ (t = 2.459, P <
.05).Although there is a significant difference in the attitude of Muslim and Christian students to
sexual discourse ( t = 2.284, P<.05), there is no significant difference in their perception of
sexual discourse .
Lagos State tertiary institution students deploy creative linguistic forms with context-sensitive
functions in their sexual discourse; attitude, perception, gender and religion play important roles
in the discourse. Thus, understanding the language of sex and associated socio-emotional
variables among the students requires background knowledge of the social, linguistic and
interactional resources the students draw upon in their sexual discourse.
SSA, R (2021). Sexual Discourse Among Students In Selected Tertiary Institutions In Lagos State, Nigeria. Afribary.com: Retrieved May 13, 2021, from https://afribary.com/works/sexual-discourse-among-students-in-selected-tertiary-institutions-in-lagos-state-nigeria
Research, SSA. "Sexual Discourse Among Students In Selected Tertiary Institutions In Lagos State, Nigeria" Afribary.com. Afribary.com, 23 Apr. 2021, https://afribary.com/works/sexual-discourse-among-students-in-selected-tertiary-institutions-in-lagos-state-nigeria . Accessed 13 May. 2021.
Research, SSA. "Sexual Discourse Among Students In Selected Tertiary Institutions In Lagos State, Nigeria". Afribary.com, Afribary.com, 23 Apr. 2021. Web. 13 May. 2021. < https://afribary.com/works/sexual-discourse-among-students-in-selected-tertiary-institutions-in-lagos-state-nigeria >.
Research, SSA. "Sexual Discourse Among Students In Selected Tertiary Institutions In Lagos State, Nigeria" Afribary.com (2021). Accessed May 13, 2021. https://afribary.com/works/sexual-discourse-among-students-in-selected-tertiary-institutions-in-lagos-state-nigeria