The male’s accountability in regards to heterosexual sexual encounters goes beyond the condom. Pertaining just to straight men, the accountability that they have, which is often overlooked, is crucial to their own health and that of their sexual partners. While condoms are one of the best ways to prevent STDs and unwanted pregnancy, sexual accountability doesn’t stop there.
We need to hold men to a higher standard when it comes to being accountable, and there are many ways in which they can do so to help protect women and themselves.
First, they can get tested regularly. Every six months, as suggested by doctors and experts, but if someone is highly sexually active, I’d get tested every three months just to be sure. Knowing your status is key in staying healthy and keeping everyone you come in contact with safe as well.
There actually are laws in regards to not disclosing such information, but living in denial by not being tested prevents one from such guilt. It’s not worth, however, the consequences of giving someone else an STD and having them find out. Far too often people do not know their status and unintentionally infect another individual. It is simply a matter of honesty.
Clear communication is another crucial aspect to being held accountable. Some men just want a “no strings attached (NSA) hookup,” and that’s okay. Some women also just want a no strings attached hookup, and that’s okay as well.
The problem comes when that is not expressed clearly enough at the beginning. Most of the complaints I have heard from people is that they didn’t know what their relationship with someone was. There were no clear intentions laid out. What I have found out by talking with female colleagues is that it would have been okay to have an NSA fling if there had been clear communication about it at the beginning.
Men need to stop being scared of being honest and just tell the truth about what they want. If they want a relationship, then that’s great. If they just want to hook up, then that’s great too. The key in holding them accountable is making sure they clearly communicate that intention with the other person involved.
Being educated is another great way for a guy to be held accountable. Sexual responsibility should be taught to every young person at the beginning of puberty.
Some states have comprehensive sexual education programs and do a very good job at keeping students educated about the risks of not being sexually responsible. Other states – not uncoincidentally Republican states, have less-pragmatic and more abstinence-based sex education programs that don’t teach accountability or responsibility to its students. This leaves room for those misconceptions to flourish, while proper understanding of a healthy sex life is left behind.
While looking at what it means to hold men accountable when it comes to contraception and sexual health, I asked myself a question that I’ve asked before but had never really researched. Why do we make women take birth control, but don’t pressure men to take birth control as well? Are there even options for men, other than the condom? Why is all of the responsibility placed on the woman?
Through my research, I found a few different reasons, such as physiological differences, side effects on men, and the societal norms we have in place.
I came to find that there has been research into contraceptives for men since the research for women contraceptives started, and scientists are actually close to finding a successful contraceptive for men.
Website Gizmodo.com, has an in-depth article, posted in 2013, by Robert Sorokanich about male contraceptives which is very informative about why we don’t have the same ones for men. Physiologically, birth control in women works because it tricks the body into thinking that the woman is pregnant, therefore stopping women’s bodies from releasing an egg.
There is not really much of a way for a man’s body to stop sperm production or stop sperm from being released. At least not as easily as taking a pill everyday. Another reason is the side effects. Although women can have serious side effects from birth control, and those need to be addressed, for the most part birth control is highly successful.
Birth control doesn’t work in all men and it causes impotence, which would prevent sex in the first place. A vasectomy is an option but most doctors won’t do it unless the guy is older and a hundred percent sure he doesn’t want children, as it’s a procedure that is rather hard to reverse.
The last reason is the social norms society has put in place. Women are provided with the ridiculous burden of having to be careful during sex. They’re expected to be on birth control, because women are the ones that society has demanded deal with anything that has to do with children. Also, it goes back to the fact that women are seen as second-class citizens in society, and it’s not expected of men to deal with those children he may have created.
This view is fundamentally wrong and should be destroyed.
Women already have extra responsibilities placed upon them when it comes to sex, but it’s time for society to hold men accountable and make them responsible for the choices that they make as well. We need to stop seeing men as just “being boys,” and the saying “boys will be boys” needs to be cut out of our vocabulary. We must start seeing men as the accountable adults that they need to be.