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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 men’s 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 men’s 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.


Results

Sexual Activity

  • Among men aged 15 through 19 who have never had vaginal intercourse, 67% report that they have touched a woman’s breasts, 22% have been stimulated to the point of orgasm by a partner, 18% have received oral sex, and 14% have given oral sex.
  • Percentage of adolescent males who have had intercourse
    AgePercentage
    123.2
    136.1
    1413.4
    1522.7
    1636.3
    1752.4
    1866.1
    1978.4
  • Among men ages 15 through 17, 42% have ever had intercourse. Of these 86% have had intercourse in the past year, 47% have had intercourse in the past month, and 36% have had intercourse ten or more times in the past year.
  • Among men ages 18 through 19, 75% have ever had intercourse. Of these 91% have had intercourse in the past year, 61% have had intercourse in the past month, and 56% have had intercourse ten or more times in the past year.

Contraceptives

  • Among men ages 15 through 19, 91% say they get most of their information about contraception from television, 89% say from school, 47% say from their parents, and 32% say from doctors or nurses.
  • At first intercourse, 60% of men ages 15 through 19 used only a condom, 7% used a condom with another method of contraception, 2% used withdrawal, and 4% used only female contraceptive methods.*
  • At most recent intercourse, 40% of men ages 15 through 19 used only a condom, 20% used a condom with another method of contraception, 2% used withdrawal, and 18% used only female contraceptive methods.*

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    (*birth control pill, implant, injectable, IUD, female sterilization, female condom, spermicide, douche, vaginal film, or periodic abstinence)

Condom Use

  • Among 15 through 17 year olds who had sex in the past month, 47% used only a condom and 20% used a condom with another method of contraception.
  • Among 18 through 19 year olds who had sex in the past month, 35% used only a condom and 20% used a condom with another method of contraception.
  • Among the 20 through 24 year olds who had sex in the past month, 21% used only a condom and 18% used a condom with another method of contraception.

Summary of Sexual and Reproductive Health Behaviors

Of the 10.2 million 15 through 19 year olds from various national surveys:

  • 55.2% ever had intercourse
  • 29.9% had intercourse in the past month
  • 24.8% had more than 2 partners in the past year
  • 17.4%used a condom in the past month
  • 5.2% were involved in a pregnancy in the past year
  • 2.7% have fathered a child

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.

For more information: The Alan Guttmacher Institute, 120 Wall Street, New York, NY 10005; Phone: 212/248-1111; Fax: 212/248-1951; E-mail: info@guttmacher.org; Web site: www.guttmacher.org.




  
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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.
 

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