Polite and thoughtful, Ryan was also more humble and less sexually experienced than you would expect from such an attractive and athletic high school senior. However, when they wandered further he was rebuffed. A few moments later he tried again, but this time got angry when she stopped him. She asked to leave, but he prevented her from moving. She asked again and fortunately he relented. Ryan, however, did not need this kind of consciousness raising.
He did wonder though what propelled him to use force in a sexual encounter. I had the same question. How can we reverse the message that this behavior is socially acceptable, and teach boys the importance of consent?
Beyond the birds and the bees: Sex, more than any human behavior must be rooted in our values. A landmark study showed that abstinence-only sex education programs were correlated with both higher teen pregnancy rates as well as incidence of sexually transmitted diseases.
We often leave out the fact that sex is fun, and should feel good to both parties. This way he will know that her needs count as much as his. It is really important to explain to your son that any intimate contact, including a random hookup, creates a relationship. Sex changes how two people feel about each other.
One young man told me his best female friend wanted to hook up with him before college because he had more experience. He could not, therefore, understand why after the third time things got weird between them. They also felt more comfortable talking with their boyfriends about what felt good, how far they wanted to go, and what kind of protection they would need when ready.
Why, when it comes to sex, do teen girls in the Netherlands have it so much better than here in the USA? It comes down to how Dutch moms, dads, doctors and teachers talk to all teens about sex. This approach has become even more important in the internet age. I plan to write an upcoming blog about teenage boys and porn. Though these conversations might be uncomfortable, the more at ease you are talking to him, the less awkward he will feel talking to her. Sometimes yes means no: Research suggests that men view consent as a single event while women understand it to be a process.
This is not an outlandish conclusion. If the girl is only up for kissing why would she follow him into the bedroom? However, more likely, she did not know what she wanted. However, once she figured it out Ryan needed to change his expectation. It would have been better for him to talk calmly about his expectations than to act on them. Of course, he also has to be ready to take no for an answer. The mindset that men should dominate women is so embedded in our culture, that for the past fifty years until this past summer it was boldly dramatized in of all places Disney World.
On the Pirates of the Caribbean ride an animatronic auctioneer displayed a woman to a group of pirates. Where women often need to open up before they have sex, men need to have sex before they can open up.
It is seen as a threat to their masculinity, and this is something boys and men always prove. This is why some people say masculinity is measured in numbers—how far you can throw a football, how much money you make, and the most compelling statistic of all, how many women you take to bed.
I welcome your comments. Move to the Netherlands: Making Sense of Consent.