Providing a Catholic framework on the truth and meaning of sexuality, love, and family

Too Soon for Sex?

In their August, 2006 article, “Too Soon for Sex?” the Ladies Home Journal reports on research from the University of Texas at Austin which shows that “Young women who have close bonds with their fathers are only about half as likely to have sex with their boyfriends as girls who have poor rapport with their dads.”

The article quotes study author Mark Regnerus, Ph.D., assistant professor of sociology, who says “Girls who have high-quality relationships with their fathers, who feel that their fathers enjoy spending time with them, tend to be more self-confident. They’re less likely to base their self-worth on the opinions of male peers because they already feel valued by their dads.”

Dr. Regnerus went on to say that “Dads shouldn’t just be pushovers. But discipline is most effective when it’s clear that the father loves his daughter, too . Foolishly, parents think they become irrelevant as kids get older. But the most important thing is to remain involved in your teens’ lives.”

The same article also said that “Close-knit communities, in which neighbors feel able to intervene if they see others’ kids misbehaving, also deter teens from early sex. A study of 80 Chicago neighborhoods found that children who grew up in such cohesive areas tended to have sex later than other kids, regardless of income level. When teens know that they’re watched over by a whole network of adults, they behave with more restraint, says study coauthor Jeanne Brooks-Gunn, Ph.D., professor of child development at Columbia, University in New York.”

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