Academic journal article Fathering

Factors That Contribute to Fathers Being Perceived as Good or Poor Sexuality Educators for Their Daughters

Academic journal article Fathering

Factors That Contribute to Fathers Being Perceived as Good or Poor Sexuality Educators for Their Daughters

Article excerpt

This study examined factors that contributed to fathers being perceived as good or poor sexuality educators by their daughters. The data from 10 female participant interviews were analyzed (five fathers were rated as quality educators and five as poor educators). Good Paternal Educators were perceived as being emotionally close to their daughter, displayed attentiveness to her comfort level during sexual conversations, were open and honest when discussing sexual topics, monitored her behaviors with a level of trust, and were direct communicators. Conversely, Poor Paternal Educators were viewed as not being close to their daughters, not talking regularly in general, appeared uncomfortable when talking about sex, attempted to avoid sexual conversations, used humor to avoid a serious conversation, and had ambiguous or indirect forms of monitoring.

Keywords: sexuality education, fathers and daughters, parental communication


National high school student data from the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System indicate that 47% of high school students have had sexual intercourse (Eaton et al., 2012). Additionally, the authors state that 40% of these sexually active students did not use a condom during their most recent sexual intercourse. This lack of consistent contraceptive usage contributes to the significant consequences of acquiring a sexually transmitted infection or an unintended pregnancy. Weinstock, Berman, and Cotes (2004) estimate that while 15-24 year olds make up 25% of the population with sexual experience, in 2000 they comprised 48% of the new cases of sexually transmitted infections. They estimate that they accounted for 74% of the new cases a chlamydia, 60% of gonorrhea, and 74% of HPV. Lack of correct contraceptive usage also contributes to the relatively high incidents of teen pregnancies (67.8 per 1000 women aged 15-19 in 2008, Kost & Henshaw, 2012) and births (41.5 women aged 15-19 per 1000 in 2008, Martin et al., 2010). The teenage abortion rate in 2008 was reported as 17.8 abortions per 1000 women (Kost & Henshaw, 2012). High rates of sexually transmitted infections, births, and abortions emphasize the importance of female adolescents engaging in open dialogue about safer sex practices in the hopes of mitigating these negative outcomes.


Parent-adolescent communication about sexuality is associated with a delay in adolescents' sexual debut, an increase in the use of condoms and contraception when they become sexually active, and more sexual communication with their partner (GuilamoRamos, Jaccard, Dittus, Bouris, 2006; Hutchinson, 2002; Hutchinson & Cooney, 1998; Hutchinson, Jemmott, Jemmott, Braverman, & Fong, 2003; Longmore, Eng, Giordano, & Manning, 2009). Parent-child communication about sexuality is also associated with lower frequency of teen pregnancy and acquiring sexually transmitted infections (Dittus, Miller, Kotchick, Forehand, 2004; Guilamo-Ramos et al., 2006). However, utilizing two nationally representative samples (the national Youth Risk Behavior Survey and the National Survey of Family Growth), Pazol et al. (2011) state only 44% of teenage females had talked with a parent about methods of birth control and saying no to sex.

When present, conversations about sexuality can differ in the specific topics discussed and quality of dialogue based on the gender dynamics of the parent-child dyad. Mothers tend to be seen as the primary providers of sexuality education. In general, mothers are more likely to communicate with their daughters about sexuality than are fathers, and equally as likely to talk to their sons as are fathers (Dilorio, Pluhar, & Belcher, 2003; Miller, Kothick, Dorsey, Forehand, & Ham, 1998; Rosenthal & Feldman, 1999; Wyckoff et al., 2007). Further, mothers talk about a wider range of sexuality topics than fathers, and are seen by both male and female adolescents as being the more appropriate parent with whom to discuss sexual issues (Collins, Angera, Latty, 2008; Dilorio, Pluhar, & Belcher, 2003; Nolin & Peterson, 1992; Rosenthal & Feldman, 1999). …

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