Many new sexual education program are now targeting their focus toward boys and pregnancy prevention rather than just girls. Boys and pregnancy prevention education is just as important as the message issued to females if not more so, according to researchers.
This new focus is being made in an attempt to help boys realize they have just as much control over unintended pregnancy and need to take responsibility for their behaviors. Many believe this long-time neglect in helping boys understand their role in pregnancy prevention has been a responsible factor for many unintended teen pregnancies over the decades throughout the United States. According to the National Campaign for pregnancy prevention indicates that major efforts to revitalize sex education efforts and targets have changed substantially over the past 10 years to get boys and pregnancy prevention to become more of a focus of the overall lesson. Many states have made it a requirement to implement certain strategies to prevent unwanted or unintended pregnancies among teens. Some of these states are requiring community-based initiatives that work by adding a male component to existing activities to help prevent teenage pregnancy. The curricula in some schools is also changing to help teach male students forms of responsible fatherhood.
In some schools, child development courses or adult roles classes are designed to present teens with these hypothetical situations like parenting. Teaching tools like the “Think It Over Baby” that is designed to be a baby simulator. This baby must be held in a certain way, laid down in the baby-friendly manner as well as fed through the use of a key hole in its back. The use of this baby is to help teens understand at least some of the responsibility that is required when caring for a child. Some family clinics are now also targeting their instruction toward males to help them understand how to properly use contraception. Continuing in this same effort, male juveniles in the criminal justice system are also being taught these same prevention efforts. This new focus in teaching young men how to properly have safe sex and prevent unplanned teen pregnancy is going along with the renewed interest in the importance of fatherhood in a family setting. This is also why states and the federal government have stepped up the child support enforcement efforts to ensure fathers own up to their responsibilities.
Researchers offer several reasons as to why it is important for boys and pregnancy prevention to be a central part of the focus on preventing teen pregnancy. These reasons include:
- It takes both a male and a female to reproduce.
- Boys and men should be held just as responsible for a pregnancy as the woman even if they are not the ones physically carrying the unborn child.
- More than 90 percent of teen males agree that their responsibilities in preventing teen pregnancy include making sure they have some type of contraception before having sex, as well as making sure they discuss contraception use with their female counterparts, according to a recent study. These results indicate that boys want to do the right thing about pregnancy prevention.
- Male partners have a strong influence on the decisions that teen girls make about sex and contraception use. This is especially true in cases where the male is older than the female in the relationship.
- Building teen males’ self respect also helps them to respect their partners.
- Involving young men in pregnancy prevention efforts makes the same effort meant for young girls and teens to be more effective because both sides of the teen pregnancy equation are being addressed.
Although according to new teen sex statistics, the number of teen males having sex has gone down about three percent from the previous year, the number of teen men getting girls pregnant is still high. This is why it is important for parents to take an active role in talking to their teens, both male and female, about sex. Because most public schools in the United States are only able to focus on abstinence-only sex education, teens may not be getting the proper information they need to make a smart decision about having sex, which can lead to cases of protection failure resulting in teen pregnancies. Parents taking the extra effort to make sure their teens are knowledgeable about safe sex and teen pregnancy is the best way to ensure prevention efforts stick with their children.
Sources: thenationalcampaign.org, wral.org.