This study integrates theories of gender, socialization, and the life course to ask whether fathers of first-born adolescent sons are more prone to risky sexual behaviors than fathers of first-born adolescent daughters. Creating a natural experiment to observe the effect of the sex of first-born offspring on fathers’ sexual behavior and health, the study uses data from 36 Demographic and Health Surveys collected from sub-Saharan Africa between 2003 and 2011—where rates of sexually transmitted diseases remain substantially higher than elsewhere. Compared to fathers with first-born adolescent daughters, fathers with first-born adolescent sons are more likely to report recent sexual activity and paying for sex, and are also more likely to report having genital warts. This suggests that as fathers take an active role in socializing their sons into gendered beings, they bolster their hegemonic gender display, which increases their vulnerability to infection. It argues that fathers of adolescent male children increase their own risky sexual behaviors in an effort to socialize their adolescent sons into young men.
Weitzman, Abigail. (2014). “The Second Adolescence: Adolescent Offspring Sex and Fathers’ Sexual Behavior and Health in the Developing World.” Social Forces.