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Paternity, Consciousness, and Responsibility

As boys enter puberty, they begin the road towards sexual development, as well as a refining of their working definitions of masculinity and maleness.  One nearly universal theme is that of paternity.  90% of men aged 15-20 intend to parent at some point in their lives.[8]


Research into adolescent male sexual development identifies two paradigms that young men acquire:

  • Procreative Consciousness is the awareness of ones fecundity, and the emotions (positive and negative) that arise from them.  Some men feel that the ability to procreate is a sign of masculinity.


  • Procreative Responsibility refers to the sense of obligation with respect to contraception, pregnancy resolution, child support and parentage, that arises from ones ability to procreate.

Unintended pregnancy generally results from a lack of procreative consciousness, and/or procreative responsibility on the part of men.  Men either underestimate their abilities to father a child, or are not meeting their responsibility to prevent an unintended pregnancy.  Unintended pregnancy also makes the responsibilities of procreation (child support) much more real.


8. Marsiglio, W. Adolescent Males’ Orientation toward Paternity and Contraception. Family Planning Perspectives, 1993. 25:22-30

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