Sex, Men, and Babies: Stories of Awareness and Responsibility

By William Marsiglio; Sally Hutchinson | Go to book overview

1
Setting the Stage

Making babies is serious business. At its core, it is a biological process, but a process also steeped in diverse, complex, and controversial psychological, social, cultural, and legal issues. The issues intimately involve both women and men because, as the saying goes, “It takes two to tango.” Despite the reality that women and men must both play their respective roles in making babies, men’s thoughts and feelings about sex, pregnancy, abortion, babies, and fatherhood have often been ignored or overshadowed by women’s voices. One useful response to this disparity is to study the inner worlds of single teenage and young adult men as they come face-to-face with sexual and procreative experiences.

With few exceptions, young men are at least vaguely aware of their potential to create human life. Many actually realize the potential during their teen and young adult years by being involved first with a conception and pregnancy, and then either an abortion, miscarriage, or the birth of a child. In fact, these types of experiences are fairly common. Recent national data show that about 14 percent of men aged 15-19 made a partner pregnant, and about 6 percent of sexually experienced males in the cohort have become biological fathers.1 Because some teenage females never tell their partners about their pregnancies, these figures are lower-bound estimates. During the 1992 to 1994 period, 21 percent of men had become a father before turning 25, and 50 percent before 30.2 The men who have children in their teens or twenties are more likely to be high school dropouts, have low or moderate incomes, and be African American or Hispanic. Men in their twenties, fathers or not, are probably more likely, though, to be aware of their ability to procreate than their teenage counterparts. They have more extensive experience with sexual relationships and exposure to friends and siblings who have become fathers.

For some men, experiencing an event or situation involving their potential to procreate represents a turning point in the way they perceive

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Sex, Men, and Babies: Stories of Awareness and Responsibility
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page i
  • Contents iii
  • Preface v
  • 1 - Setting the Stage 1
  • 2 - Studying Young Single Men 31
  • 3 - Becoming Aware, Being Aware 61
  • 4 - Turning Points in Identity 110
  • 5 - Romantic Involvements 139
  • 6 - Thinking about Fatherhood 176
  • 7 - Looking Forward 209
  • Appendix - Participant Profiles 241
  • Notes 245
  • References 259
  • Index 273
  • About the Authors 280
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