Can Boys Be ‘Coerced’ Into Sex? (article from Daily Beast)
(Link): Can Boys Be ‘Coerced’ Into Sex? (article from Daily Beast) by L. Crocker
- The notion of teenage boys as sexual aggressors is so engrained, the results of a new study, which reveal that they are being coerced into sex by girls and young women, will surprise many.
- … So why the media scrum? Because the authors concluded that “43 percent of high school boys and young college men”—yes, boys and young men—“reported they had an unwanted sexual experience and of those, 95 percent said a female acquaintance was the aggressor.”
- In a press release, French pointed out that “the victimization of men is rarely explored” and concluded hopefully that her team’s findings could “help lead to better prevention by identifying the various types of coercion that men face and by acknowledging women as perpetrators against men.”
- The idea that boys (those sex-obsessed little monsters) could be victims of “sexual coercion,” while young girls (so often on the receiving end of clumsy and aggressive sexual advances of the sex-obsessed little monsters) could be perpetrators is, to many, both counterintuitive and unlikely.
- “This is such an under-discussed topic,” clinical psychologist Dr. Barbara Greenberg told The Daily Beast. “We’ve been grossly negligent when it comes to talking to teenage boys about sex because society makes the assumption that young adult men are sex-crazed maniacs. But men and teenage boys have tender feelings too, and we often neglect them when it comes to sexuality.”
- That females can be sexually aggressive—and young men and teenage boys can sheepishly submit to sexual aggression—is considered peculiar because “coerced sex” is narrowly imagined as violent or forced sex. But according to French’s research, only “18 percent [of respondents] reported sexual coercion by physical force” while 31 percent said “they were verbally coerced [and] 26 percent described unwanted seduction by sexual behaviors.”
- According to French, “unwanted seduction” of young men by women is largely overlooked in existing academic research but “was a particularly pervasive form of sexual coercion in this study, as well as peer pressure and a victim’s own sense of an obligation.”
- Indeed, 95 percent of those surveyed said they were sexually coerced by girls or women.
- French told The Daily Beast that a “broadening of the definition” partially explains the rise in sexual victimization amongst young men and boys. “I think that’s a large reason why we’re seeing numbers come up more [and] I think we need to have more conversations about what consent looks like across both genders.”
- But it’s not a redefining of terms alone that explains the increase, says Dr. Greenberg. “I really do believe that girls are more aggressive sexually today than they were ten years ago, and I haven’t seen the same trend in boys. I think it has a lot to do with the hook-up culture where there’s this permission to get involved physically without getting involved emotionally. Boys were always expected to be the sexual initiators, and now girls are doing the initiating.”
- …. “It’s usually a girl that’s a little bit older and the boys feel embarrassed to say no because they feel their friends will make fun of them,” says Dr. Greenberg. “And they have a lot of shame about it because they weren’t ready for it and they feel cultural pressure that they should have been ready for it.”
- The University of Missouri researchers were vague on the long-term effects of female “sexual coercion,” though French was careful to suggest that “it may be the case that sexual coercion by women doesn’t affect males’ self-perceptions in the same way that it does when women are coerced.”
Those are just excerpts. If you want to read the whole thing, use the link at the top of this post to visit their site