Sex and Contraception
among Adolescent Males
Freya L. Sonenstein The Urban Institute Washington, D.C. 20037
During the past decade there has been increasing public recognition that teenage childbearing is associated with reduced life chances for individual mothers and children and with substantial government expenditures for welfare, health care, and basic social supports. The evidence supporting these conclusions has accumulated in numerous research studies documenting the extent of the problem, its causes and consequences ( Chilman, 1983; Moore & Burt, 1982). This research has, however, focused primarily on adolescent females. Whereas adolescent males are obviously an important factor in adolescent fertility behavior, surprisingly little research has documented or sought explanations for patterns of sexual activity, contraceptive utilization, or pregnancy resolution behavior among adolescent males. Similarly service interventions have largely ignored the male partners of adolescent girls.
Other chapters in this volume focus on adolescent males after parenthood is an accomplished fact. This chapter describes the state of current knowledge about the incidence of adolescent fatherhood and the conditions leading up to this status. Research findings about sexual activity and contraceptive utlization among adolescent males are reviewed to identify factors associated with the early onset of sexual activity and the nonuse of contraceptives. In addition potential intervention approaches designed to reduce adolescent pregnancy by involving male partners are discussed.
The most remarkable fact about the research literature on male adolescent fertility behavior is that there is so little of it compared to the literature on female fertility. Although teenage pregnancy and childbearing is recognized as a press
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Publication information: Book title: Adolescent Fatherhood. Contributors: Arthur B. Elster - Editor, Michael E. Lamb - Editor. Publisher: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Place of publication: Hillsdale, NJ. Publication year: 1986. Page number: 31.
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