In Their Own Right: Addressing the Sexual and Reproductive Health Needs of American Men
May 24, 2002
In Their Own Right: Addressing the Sexual and Reproductive Health Needs of American Men, recently released by the Alan Guttmacher Institute, examines the continuous need for awareness of mens health issues.
The report, which focuses on heterosexual men, hopes to take some initial steps in addressing the health needs of men by providing an overview of some fundamental patterns in mens sexual and reproductive lives. The report focuses on men 15 through 49 years old, with the belief that sexual and reproductive milestones, from the initiation of sexual activity to marriage and fatherhood, occur during these years.
For this issue of SHOP Talk, we will focus specifically on the findings of young men, ages 15 through 24.
Summary of Sexual and Reproductive Health Behaviors
Of the 10.2 million 15 through 19 year olds from various national surveys:
The Alan Guttmacher Institute (AGI) report notes two basic facts about male sexual and reproductive health and behavior have emerged from this overview. First, a significant number of men, particularly young men, are taking action to avoid unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease. At the same time, however, many men still expose themselves and their partners to a high risk of STDs and unwanted pregnancy. Nearly one in five men ages 15 through 49 use no protection when they have intercourse.
The report identifies the challenge is to craft messages, programs, and policies that do not try to fight human nature -- for example, by urging all unmarried men to abstain from sex -- but focus on helping men recognize risky behavior, make responsible decisions and lessen the risk.
Finally, the report advocates that despite the obstacles standing in the way of improved sexual and reproductive health services for men, helping men take greater control of their sexual and reproductive lives should be an important national goal. Men with enhanced reproductive education and competency are an essential part of a virtuous circle linking their improved health with that of their partners, wives, and children.
This article was provided by Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States. It is a part of the publication SHOP Talk: School Health Opportunities and Progress Bulletin.