Roughly one in four teen girls become pregnant at least once by age 20 and fully half of all pregnancies in the United States are reported by women themselves as unplanned. Not too good.

By posting some intemperate thoughts about sex, love, relationships, pregnancy, childbearing, the media, public policy, our dogs, and other topics, we hope to spark a two-way discussion about how best to bring down the high rates of teen and unplanned pregnancy in this country. And who knows…from time to time, we might even offer up a few cogent thoughts that will be helpful.

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20-Somethings, Bedsider, Men, Unplanned Pregnancy
October 21, 2014
Men Playing Football, Bedsider, Pregnant Pause


“What about men?” This is a question those of us who work on the program often receive and it is a question that I’ll address at a session of the upcoming American Public Health Association annual conference in New Orleans. Without a doubt Bedsider’s focus is women and, as a recent evaluation—details of which will be soon published— showed, the Bedsider program improves knowledge about contraceptive methods, and results in less unprotected sex and fewer unplanned pregnancies. Yay! But the question remains...because men are such an obvious part of the equation, what are we doing to reach/serve them?

Apart from the important fact that most birth control methods are made for women’s bodies, our initial research in 2008 into the reasons people weren’t getting their birth control right showed that most men were at a different stage of behavior change than women. Attempting to create one intervention to serve two audiences might have produced a result that worked for neither group. Women, we found, were already using birth control but were unaware of the full array of methods, ill-prepared to deal with side effects, and in need of motivation to find the method that best fit their body and stick to it. Many men, on the other hand, weren’t active participants in the decision-making about birth control and often didn’t even want to engage in any conversation on the topic; it wasn’t “their thing.”

Bedsider was borne out of those initial insights (and many more) and became a successful tool for helping women become better informed about and users of their birth control. Demographic data, however, show that 30% of the visitation to is by men. Who are these men? These are the men who are already taking an active part in decisions regarding birth control and are at a stage of behavior change that Bedsider serves. The preponderance of images of women on the Bedsider site apparently is not a barrier to men’s learning about birth control.

So what about the other 70%?

We realized that, to reach the men who aren’t ready for Bedsider’s main offerings—those who are not at the right stage of behavior change—we needed to do something else and that something else turned out to be humor. Laughing your way to learning—especially about difficult or taboo topics—is a common educational method. In fact, research suggests that humor produces psychological and physiological benefits that help people learn. So, we invented the Guy’s Guide, a video tour of birth control that uses humor as a way to capture and keep the attention of men; it’s designed as a guide for guys and the women who love them.

We are  pleased to report that visitation to the Guy’s Guide shows that it is indeed reaching the target. In the last year there have been more than 300,000 views of the videos and half of all visits are by men. The success of the Guy’s Guide and the positive reviews about it in men’s outlets has convinced us that we are on the right track. We will continue to use humor—especially on other channels that reach men—through video. The goal is to move more people from one stage of behavior change (or state of readiness to learn)to another where they—man or woman—become the perfect candidate for Bedsider.

Authored by: Lawrence Swiader

Lawrence Swiader has spent his career studying the intersection of technology, media, education, and how it can better people’s lives.  Currently, as Senior Director of Digital Media at The National Campaign he leads the Bedsider program which makes use of digital media to improve the reproductive health behaviors of young adults in the U.S.  For 10 years before that, he used technology as a tool to teach about the history of the Holocaust and to motivate people to act to end contemporary genocide.

In his second home of Athens, Greece, he has consulted on various projects for clients including the Athens Metro and museums of Greek history.  Lawrence graduated from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University in 1989 with a degree in Television, Radio, and Film and in 1993 earned a Master’s degree in Instructional Design, Development, and Evaluation from Syracuse University’s School of Education.

Lawrence has a 13-year-old daughter and finds inspiration from playing tennis, sea kayaking in Greece, art, and a good book.

Other Recent Posts

October 17, 2014
Authored by: Jessica Sheets Pika

Jessica Sheets Pika is the Director of Communications at The National Campaign. In that capacity, Jessica is the community manager and content strategist for The National Campaign’s award winning websites, (the Campaign’s corporate website) and (the Campaign’s teen website). She curates and writes content, manages consultants and content contributors, handles both sites’ social media presences, and develops new activities and content areas for both sites. In addition, Jessica handles press initiatives, spearheads the design and creation of new National Campaign materials, and provides general communications and editorial guidance to all program areas of the Campaign.

Jessica joined The National Campaign in 2006 and has more than 10 years of experience in the non-profit healthcare world. She received a Bachelors degree in Communications and Political Science from Wake Forest University and lives in Northern Virginia with her husband, her adorable son, and their dog, Cora.

The Washington Post: "Is Sex Only for Rich People?"Catherine Rampell (@crampell)America has decided: Sex is for rich people. Non-procreative sex in particular. How else would you explain the trap we’re laying for poor people who deign to get it on?The Atlantic: "Why Kids Sext"Hanna Rosin (@...
20-Somethings, Contraception, Popular Culture, Teens, Unplanned Pregnancy
October 16, 2014
Authored by: Amy Kramer

Amy Kramer is the Senior Director of Entertainment Media at The National Campaign. She came to the Campaign in 2007 after more than fifteen years as a television news producer and communications consultant.

Amy’s role at the Campaign is to advance the organization’s mission by working with entertainment media executives, writers, producers, and others to help them incorporate teen and unplanned pregnancy prevention messages into the content of their work. She consults and advises on many television programs and websites, writes episode discussion guides for parents and teens in order to help them watch TV together and talk about it afterward, produces Campaign PSAs and other videos for educational and promotional purposes, and works with outside experts on the media goals of the Campaign.

Prior to joining the Campaign, Amy was a producer at ABC, CNN, and CNBC. She began her career at the political Hotline, a daily news wire service covering state and national politics, and then started in television as a political researcher for CBS News. As a communications consultant she worked with corporations and foundations on issues such as drug abuse, education, health care, aging, and employee/employer relations. She has moderated focus groups, written surveys, and provided analysis and direction on public opinion related to these topics. She has also worked as a political campaign press aide and a summer camp waterski instructor. Amy graduated magna cum laude from Lehigh University with degrees in government and journalism. She lives in Maryland with her husband and dog.

Teen Mom 2’s fourth season finished last night with the second part of the reunion finale special. As always, the season was filled with lots of drama, tears, triumphs, and reminders about why parenting before you’re ready is not easy or glamorous. The moms—no longer teenagers but rather young...
Media, Popular Culture, Teen Pregnancy
October 15, 2014
Authored by: Laura Sessions Stepp

Laura Sessions Stepp is a senior media fellow at The National Campaign and a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist. Prior to her arrival at the Campaign, she worked as a reporter and editor for The Washington Post for 26 years. Most of her writing has focused on millennials from the time they started school until the present. She contributes columns to and The Huffington Post and has written two books published by Riverhead/Penguin: Our Last Best Shot: Guiding Our Children Through Early Adolescence and Unhooked: How Young Women Pursue Sex, Delay Love and Lose at Both. Laura has twice been a visiting scholar at the Board on Children, Youth and Families, an arm of the National Academy of Sciences. She is married and has three grown children.

Source: Huffington PostLatinos are just as concerned as other Americans that too many young people are having babies too early."Maybe the large baby showers seem like there is an acceptance of teen pregnancy, but my grandmother came here with four kids under 12 as a married 30-year-old. She didn't...
Latino Initiative, Parents, Popular Culture, Teen Pregnancy