Pregnancy Prevention: Where Do Men Fall In Line?
Looking at our country's culture, there is a common misconception that women are primarily responsible for contraception and pregnancy prevention. Ideally, the decisions to have sex and use contraception are made by two consenting individuals. So what role do men play in reproductive health? Below you will hear from a few different men within our community.
Doug Taylor, MPH- Director of Community Programs and Evaluation
I’m certainly familiar with the male attitude that females bear the responsibility for preventing a pregnancy. Changing that attitude and cultural norm is not easy. For 30 years my work has focused primarily on the prevention of unintended pregnancies and STIs. I’m dismayed and disappointed that we are still talking about how to engage males in prevention efforts. For many years public health has promoted the dual protection strategy “my condom-your, birth control” that focuses on males, and “my birth control, your condom” that focuses on females. The goal is to create a culture that says males and females have equal responsibility when it comes to their sexual health. Unfortunately, recent data from the CDC shows the opposite is happening as condom use is trending downward among high school students. Despite this trend, or because of it, we need to remain committed to promoting men’s role in pregnancy and STI prevention.
Corey Ingram, LMSW - emP.O.W.E.R.ed SC Partner
In my opinion, men have a plethora of roles to play in pregnancy prevention. Consent is one area. Therefore, learning, teaching others, and creating a positive culture concerning consent can play a major role in pregnancy prevention. Men being able to properly define consent as well as create a culture of accountability concerning consent would definitely have an impact on pregnancy prevention. Consent can create, maintain, and foster healthy relationships among partners, family, friends, peers, etc. which makes conversations about consent, pregnancy prevention, use of condoms, testing, sex, healthy relationship, and other similar topics easier to have - especially in public spaces. The overwhelming majority of men promoting consent and healthy relationships would have a profound effect on pregnancy prevention and the culture of societal norms related to sex.
Markos Young, B.A.
The role of men regarding pregnancy prevention should be aimed at making a conscious effort to stabilize the family with both a paternal and maternal approach, yet in my experiences, the male influence was absent leading to risky behaviors coupled with peer-led groups of young boys putting pressure on others to “Get Some.” All of this and more created nothing but confusion as I danced through the maze of not wanting to be a child-parent, yet still fighting the urges to have sex. Civil and or level headed Q&A sessions were like mythical beings of existence regarding what a condom was, let alone how to properly implement its use in moments of sexual intercourse.
Time has come for men to head to the front of the room and gain proper knowledge to share with young men coming behind them. Direct conversations regarding all things sexual need to be addressed in order to right the ship the male gender is currently on. We as men need statistics regarding STD rates, discussions and demonstrations regarding the proper use of contraception for both males and females, and owning up to the idea that children are the responsibility of both male and female partners.