Fathers' attitudes toward teen sex and the emotional closeness of their relationship with their teen have a sizeable influence on their teens' sexual behaviors, separate from the influence of moms, a new review of studies suggests.
The review showed that dads' attitudes toward teen sexual behavior were linked to the age at which teens first had sex. Teens whose dads approved of adolescent sexual activity tended to start having sex earlier than teens whose dads did not approve, according to studies in the review.
In addition, teens who were close with their fathers tended to start having sex later, the studies showed.
The findings "suggest that fathers may distinctly influence the sexual behavior of their adolescent children," said study researcher Vincent Guilamo-Ramos, a professor of social work at
A better understanding of the role dads play in their teens' sexual behaviors and reproductive health could help researchers identify which parenting practices have the biggest impact on teens, and lead to better invention strategies that include both moms and dads, the researchers said.