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

By William Marsiglio; Sally Hutchinson | Go to book overview

7
Looking Forward

Getting young single men to speak candidly about highly personal issues allowed us to explore aspects of men’s inner worlds that have largely been ignored by the research community. Listening to the participants’ intimate stories about their sex lives, romantic relationships, procreative experiences, and visions of fathering yielded clues for unveiling some of the conceptual complexities associated with men’s procreative identities. That the young men were so willing to share their stories of such deep nature with us may surprise some folks. We had our own doubts when we launched our study, but they quickly disappeared once we heard the men talk openly, often passionately, about their personal lives. As we have chronicled, they were forthright in discussing past and present sexual exploits and relationships, feelings of lust and betrayal, embarrassing moments purchasing condoms and failed attempts to use them, fearful and tearful experiences with pregnancy scares and a partner’s pregnancy, contested and consensual negotiations dealing with abortions, the intense anguish over miscarriages, the sense of euphoria in being present when a child is born, ethical and legal dilemmas about establishing paternity, and involvement with real and imaginary children.

Given the exploratory nature of our study and the kinds of issues we wanted to address, we selectively used the symbolic interactionist perspective and several sensitizing concepts to frame the questions we asked our participants. The approach enabled us to deepen and refine the way we think about men’s sexual and procreative experiences. It stressed the value of understanding the meanings men assign to their experiences. Unfortunately, as we noted in the opening chapter, this study does not enable us to say much about men’s procreative identities from a developmental, race/ethnic, or ecological perspective. We plan to address these issues in subsequent research.

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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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