Recently in Men Category
Apr 18 2013Papa Preaches - For a Living
I never thought the day would come when I'd sit down to watch TV and choose Lifetime over MTV, but it finally happened. I recently started tuning in Tuesday evenings to a new reality series called Preachers' Daughters, which, as the title would suggest, follows three daughters of preachers in their day-to-day lives. The show focuses on the girls as they grapple with typical teen experiences, like dating and socializing, under the supervision of religious and often highly protective families. Unlike many reality shows on television right now, all of the girls outwardly value and practice abstinence and plan on saving sex for something that happens after marriage. But that doesn't mean they have always felt that way.
One of the girls, Olivia, is a single teen mom who admits she used to party and take risks but is ready to reform her life now that she's a parent. But that doesn't mean she's never going to date again. She talks to her parents and sister about bringing a new guy into her life and how she should introduce her beliefs and values to him. Even though she's had sex in the past, she's decided she's going to wait until she's married and focus on her relationship with God in the meantime. She's looking for a guy who will be good to her and her family, will be a good role model for her daughter, and will understand her decision to wait. While the guy she introduces to her family turns out not to be what she expected, her sister reminds her that the right guy would not only understand her decision but also have similar values when it comes to waiting.
The communication between the girls and their families is great. It's not easy to be the child of a religious leader and the temptation to rebel as a teenager may seem even greater in such a situation. But they all have open and honest conversations, talking about morals and expectations in their families, in every single episode. Abstinence is portrayed in a positive light and discussed frankly among very normal-looking teen couples. I have to admit, it's pretty refreshing.
Apr 02 2013And the Next Great Condom Is...
Have an idea for the next generation condom? If so, the Gates Foundation will give you $100,000--possibly up to $1 million. This is great news because the condom has been used for over 400 years and the modern one has seen little to no change in the last 50 years.
The grant prompt asks: "Is it possible to develop a product without this stigma, or better, one that is felt to enhance pleasure? If so, would such a product lead to substantial benefits for global health, both in terms of reducing the incidence of unplanned pregnancies and in prevention of infection with HIV or other STIs [sexually transmitted infections]?"
Gates isn't just looking for a new male condom; they want to see innovative designs for female condoms too (which are typically more expensive and more difficult to use). And in the world of teen and unplanned pregnancy prevention, while LARCs are king, condoms are still a go-to method because they are cheap and relatively easy to get compared to prescription methods. In fact, when youth were surveyed in 2011, about 60% of boys and girls said they used a condom as their method of birth control the last time they had sex. And while 99% of people have heard of condoms as a method of birth control, one-third of young adults say they know little or nothing about condoms. There are still clear barriers to condom use, including the difficulties many people face in using them correctly and consistently, as well as complaints that they aren't as pleasurable (though a recent study actually did a decent job debunking that one). Hopefully a condom revamp and new messaging will help to address these issues.
I'm not sure I have any winning ideas (I'm picturing a condom that can yell at you in the heat of the moment to put it on--too much?), but hey, wouldn't it be great to add a new and improved product to our arsenal for pregnancy prevention? Read more about the Next Generation Condoms Challenge, then roll up your sleeves and start inventing!
Mar 15 2013Knot Yet
By age 25, fully 44% of women have children; 38% are married. Does this datum make you choke on your cornflakes or yawn? This particular nugget is part of a new report--Knot Yet: The Benefits and Costs of Delayed Marriage in America--from the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia, the RELATE Institute, and The National Campaign.
The report has lots to chew on and this space will explore it all in more depth in the days ahead. It has me pondering the following: Recall that the vast majority of unmarried 20-somethings say it's very important to avoid pregnancy right now. Even so, many young adults say they would be at least a little happy if they did get pregnant. As my smart colleague and champion mathlete Kelleen Kaye says: "This leaves young adults occupying a foggy middle ground, somewhere between actively seeking parenthood and actively preventing pregnancy. "
Oct 26 2012Starting Even Earlier - And Not Just For Girls
As if parents needed another reason to start talking with their kids about love, relationships, and--yes--sex, a new study out this week found that American boys have caught up with girls in showing evidence of early puberty. The study, published in Pediatrics, found that white and Hispanic boys showed physical signs of puberty at age 10--about a year younger than they did 30-40 years ago--and at about age 9 among African-American boys. We have long known that girls are developing earlier, too. The new study on boys focused only on the physical signs of puberty--not on emotions or hormones. While the first question most people ask is "why," my mind skipped ahead to "what to do."
For about 15 years now, our Campaign has counseled parents to start talking with their children early about love, relationships, and values so that when the time comes to also talk about sex, pregnancy, and how to prevent it, they can bring a strong base of trust and comfort to this emotionally-loaded topic. Now that I'm the mom of elementary-school-aged children, it's hard to take my own advice. We want to protect our kids from hearing things they're not ready to hear, from exposure to grown up situations that they have the rest of their lives to deal with. But we also can't filter out sketchy stories from their friends' older siblings or things overheard on the playground--let alone those legit questions about how a baby gets out of a mommy's tummy (or how it got in there in the first place).
While it's important to answer questions calmly and in an age-appropriate way (somewhere between an anatomy lecture and a tuck-and-roll out of a moving car), what kids remember most is the tone their parents set. So many teens have told us over the years that they wish parents wouldn't assume all kinds of horrors just because they've asked a question. Or that an early parental freak-out can be a years-long deterrent to questions later, when things really heat up. So while I found it sobering that kids' bodies may be growing faster than their feelings can catch up, I also found it sort of comforting that the "start early" advice holds true even more now than it did a (teen) generation ago.
What's your take? Tell us in the comments.
Oct 18 2012Love Your Birth Control? Tell Someone About It.
Ninety-nine percent of women use birth control at some point in their lives--but some are more private about it than others. Bedsider made a trio of videos inspired by folks on the, er, less private end of the spectrum. Of course privacy is important and to be fully respected, but we do hold a special place in our hearts for people who love their birth control so much that they want to share it with the world.
Whose approach to shouting out their birth control do you like best? Tell us in the comments.