Teens, Sex, and Fatherlessness

Myth -- Adolescents (particularly girls) are significantly less likely to engage in premarital sex if they have a father living in the home.

Fact: "Growing up in single-parent, step-, cohabiting, or lesbian families has been suggested to have negative effects on adolescent sexual behavior. However, our analysis reveals that, with the exception of girls in single-parent families, family structure does not significantly influence adolescents' sexual initiation. Rather, the family context -- more specifically the mother-child relationship, their level of interaction, and the mother's attitudes toward and discussion of sex -- is associated with adolescent sexual debut. When looking at sexually active teenagers, neither family structure nor family context have an impact on the sexual partnerships of boys, and they explain little in terms of girl's sexual partnering."

Erin Calhoun Davis, Lisa V Friel (2001) Adolescent Sexuality: Disentangling the Effects of Family Structure and Family Context Journal of Marriage and Family 63 (3), 669-681.

Fact: "Those subjects who reported unwanted sexual experiences rated their fathers' and mothers' views of women as significantly more traditional than subjects who had not reported such experiences. These data suggest that parents' attitudes about gender roles may be related to vulnerability and lead to unwanted sexual experiences."

Neal, Cynthia J. and Michael W. Mangis, "Unwanted Sexual Experiences Among Christian College Women: Saying No on the Inside," Wheaton College

You can read more at the Liz Library.

The MOTHER-CHILD relationship.

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