There are plenty of talks parents have to have with their children. The sex talk, the college talk, some of us have even had to start early with a “no licking the dog” talk. These discussions have to be repeated and utilized to form values, principles, and boundaries and serve as a guide to aid children as they grow into adults.
Many girls and young women have more serious talks to worry about. They’re often warned about rape and becoming teenage mothers, but boys have an equivalent issue that deserves its own talk to avoid immeasurable trauma and life-long pain. They need a “How To Never Get Trapped by a Pregnancy” talk.
Trapping a Man Is Openly Accepted by Women
We’ve all heard jokes about man traps. It seems cartoonish and absurd to imagine that anyone would believe that a pregnancy could actually fix or encourage a relationship that isn’t working. Unfortunately, the ugly truth is that most women shrug it off or excuse this behavior, and boys and young men need to be aware of that.
Both my sister and I experienced this first-hand when we reached adulthood. When I hit a snag in a long-term relationship, an aunt straight up told me, “Just get pregnant, that’ll make him commit.”
I laughed this off, but when my sister got engaged and her fiancé pushed their wedding off for seven long years, every woman we knew encouraged her to stop taking her birth control pills. Friends, co-workers, family members, even his own mother told her to go off the pill without his knowledge. These women varied in age, race, religion, and income level. It seemed as if all the females we knew secretly thought this was actually acceptable behavior.
Friends, co-workers, family members, even his own mother told her to go off the pill without his knowledge.
But why? It seems so deceitful and irresponsible in black and white. The number one reason women admit to doing this is because they’re afraid the man they love will leave them. Instead of questioning whether a man who won’t commit is truly the one for them, they lie and get pregnant on the sly.
What’s worse is that if their partner uses condoms, the old-fashioned tactic of poking holes in it isn’t the only way some women pregnancy trap a man. There have been actual situations where women are said to extract sperm from a condom after sex. This is done using a turkey baster and insertion to get pregnant.
It would be hilarious if it weren’t a reality. Thankfully, this isn’t often attempted or successful, but it’s such a breach of trust and a violation of a man’s reproductive rights that some men compare it to rape. It may be less violent, yet the after-effects can lead to life-long poverty, depression, and even suicide.
This especially concerns me since I have two sons of my own. I’m determined to drill it into them that, although they will want to have sex as they mature, women who want to sleep with them without commitment are dangerous and need to be avoided.
Consent, Child Support, and Suicide
After the #MeToo movement exploded, concerns about sexual consent have been openly discussed and addressed. So why hasn’t the issue of pregnancy trapping been exposed and condemned?
If we’re honestly going to fully explore reproductive rights and reproductive health, then women need to speak out against this behavior instead of keeping it hush hush – like Harvey Weinstein and everyone who backed him did. Just as women face serious issues when it comes to sex and society, men face their own “systematic oppression.”
My husband has two kids from previous relationships. Both were “surprises” with women who “forgot” to take their birth control. One openly admitted (after the fact) that she intentionally did it to “save his life,” because he had mental issues and addiction problems when they were dating.
Whether her intentions were good or not, she brought a child into the world without his consent and now he has to pay for it, literally and figuratively. It has not helped his mental issues, but only added to them because now he has the conflicting issues of loving his son but also struggling to care for him and provide. Additionally, my stepson has grown up knowing that he was unplanned and seeing his biological father suffer because of this. That’s a lot to put on a child.
We do see him every so often, and I’m glad he’s here. He’s a talented artist and a smart kid, but the other child from my husband’s previous relationship is unknown to me. We never see him.
It’s such a breach of trust and a violation of a man’s reproductive rights that some men compare it to rape.
My husband has been forced to pay child support for a boy that the mother has kept from him for over 10 years now, and the court system doesn’t care. They ruled that if he wanted them to intervene, he would have to have weekly counseling sessions with the mother for an allotted period of months, while paying for not only his own counseling bill, but hers as well. This is all required before he can maybe have them grant him the legal right to go get his son for a visit whether the mother likes it or not.
Between both of his child support payments, he can’t afford to pay for his own counseling, let alone his ex-girlfriend's. And this is not uncommon. Men who are trapped by surprise pregnancies often struggle to make ends meet.
These financial woes are related to an outdated court system that assumes the mother is always right and the father is a deadbeat. In addition, child support payments increase if a man’s income does, but they can never go down. This means that if my husband works his way up at his company, he must shell out more money for his other children, but if he loses his job, he’d better find a way to make money fast or he will be faced with legal repercussions, like having a lien put on him or even being sent to jail.
Plenty of famous actors have dealt with this phenomenon. Brendan Fraiser, Eddie Murphy, and Tom Cruise all have astronomical child support payments. As their careers plateau and jobs are harder to find, the payments don’t go down, whether they can afford them or not.
Actor Dave Foley opened up about his own personal struggles. His story alone displays how men are extorted for money by court systems and the women who accept these unjust rulings.
Child support payments increase if a man’s income does, but they can never go down.
Many judges cite their reasons as being that even if the father’s income has decreased the child must retain the same standard of living. This is a ridiculous philosophy. If my husband and I take a financial hit, we must tighten our belts, and it’s important for our children to understand this. It’s simple cause-and-effect. Prosperity doesn’t always last.
Because our court system doesn’t care about this truth, fathers who struggle to make ends meet contemplate or even commit suicide. Financial hardship, unemployment, and/or homelessness make them 20 times more likely to kill themselves, and unfortunately, there isn’t much information available that has measured the link between suicide, financial strain, and child support payments.
Thankfully, there’s an organization working to expose this societal problem. Fathers for Equal Rights publicize not only Child Support Tragedies, but also materials and information for legal aid for men who wish to be a presence in their children’s lives, even if the mothers do not. It’s a start, but it’s not enough.
Keeping Our Sons Away from Pregnancy Traps
Like with most issues, prevention is key. There are more birth control options available to the public than in any other period in history. Anyone can walk into a clinic and get free condoms, yet unplanned pregnancies still occur every day.
Why? Because some people just don’t care. Some people don’t take sex seriously. Then there are women who want to trap a man. Whether they’re doing it out of “love” or because they see a man as a paycheck, it’s wrong and our boys need to be prepared.
Just as so many of our daughters are taught about sexual assault and teenage pregnancy, boys must be taught about the gravity of sex and the dangers of pregnancy traps. Sex isn’t a game. It may instigate some fun dirty jokes, but in truth, it’s a biological act of procreation and there are women out there who will use it for their benefit, women who will get pregnant on purpose to trap men and create a different kind of prison for them.
Don’t sleep with women you wouldn’t want to have a child with.
I won’t ask my sons to act like religious hermits and avoid all women and physical pleasure, or look upon sex as something dirty, wrong, or sinful – sex is natural and has many positive effects when two consenting adults engage in it with the same goal in mind – but boys need to be prepared and know the full repercussions of their actions. To simplify this, there are a few rules that lay it out clearly:
Don’t sleep with women you wouldn’t want to have a child with.
Avoid easy sex. Nothing easy is free.
Never trust birth control. Know that no matter how you try to prevent a pregnancy, if you have sex, one may occur.
These are simple tactics that give young men some ground rules to follow. But these rules alone won’t provide enough insight. Mothers should personally explain why they’re a good practice and how pregnancy traps are a life-long struggle once a man is caught in one. The conversation needs to be ongoing.
Offering insight from the female perspective will help boys to better understand the entire issue. Instead of questioning whether or not their father is being unfair or misogynistic (if this talk is solely left up to dads), they will be more likely to listen and understand because it’s coming from a woman.
Whether we acknowledge it or not, pregnancy traps exist, and our sons could fall into them. To save them from the pains and personal tragedy of being taken advantage of, we have to teach them to save themselves.
It’s not old-fashioned to teach young men self-control from an early age. Discipline is a teaching tool that should be learned and exercised throughout adolescence. As they mature, they will be more conscious of pregnancy traps, and hopefully avoid the life-long struggles that are attached to these schemes.
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