Young people should understand what makes a positive relationship and what makes a bad one. There are benefits and risks involved in relationships depending on the degree of sexual intimacy. Before we can formulate our own view without being coerced by undue pressure from others, we need a minimum level of maturity, experience, self-esteem and self-confidence.
Children should understand the importance of standing up for themselves. They should be given guidelines for dealing with negative behaviours, such as online and face-to-face name calling. They should understand how actions such as making sexual comments and sharing sexual pictures, either in person or online, may cause shame and affect someone’s reputation.
Behaviours that can offend or upset others include sexual insults. These can be verbal, written or communicated by gestures. Name calling is particularly hurtful when a person knows that they belong to a social group that is victimised in society e.g. women, gays, ethnic minorities or social underclasses. The person making the insult has a sense of superiority and confidence from knowing they have the support of the society around them.
Children should be taught when to stand up to bullies and when to ask for support from adults. A bully is not a strong person. A bully feels successful if they are able to victimise someone who is more vulnerable than they are. Teenagers should be informed about the emotional impact and legal implications of different types of harassment and abuse in relationships.
Teenage girls especially can be highly sensitive to remarks made about their appearance. Men like to imply that women should want sex for their own orgasm as if women have male sexual urges. Many women of any age translate eroticism into dirty (disgusting or objectionable). This causes women to feel ashamed of their sexual role of facilitating male orgasm. Women may need support in knowing how to reject sexual invitations or other unwanted intimacy. We all need to think about how we deal with rejection, feeling shame and feeling used. Girls can be just as hurtful as boys.
Bullying behaviour comes in various guises. Some approaches are cloaked in sentiments of love or even affection. A man may use a woman’s love for him to make her feel obliged to give him the sex he needs. Men can’t understand why women are not more willing to cooperate with intercourse. Men get frustrated because women control their sexual opportunities. Men often use any means available to pressure their partner into obliging them.
Ignoring what someone says is a form of bullying. One person promotes their own point of view thereby implying the invalidity of the other person’s until they give up. Once the second person has been silenced, the first person claims victory. Thereafter the first person concludes they are right because no one objects. When someone is trying to keep you happy or they need your support, they may agree with you just to please you. If someone is making money out of you, they will agree with almost anything you say.
The male propaganda suggesting that everyone should love sex is an implicit bullying tactic. There is no should about sexual pleasure. A person either enjoys sexual activity naturally (probably because they are easily aroused) or they don’t. Pornography and erotic fiction give young women the impression that they are supposed to engage in activities like oral sex and that they should enjoy such activities. But these are activities that men enjoy and that men hope (in their fantasies) that women will perform for them.
Women can travel alone today if they travel with others. But as soon as a woman is alone with a man (in a taxi or boat for example) she is likely to feel vulnerable. A man could easily threaten her (even passively by leaving her in the middle of nowhere) to force her to hand over her valuables. Some people feel that women should never take the kind of risks that are routine for men. But in civilised societies it is not right to limit every woman’s freedom just because of the anti-social behaviour of a few dangerous men.
Sexual harassment including stalking is most usually (but not always) perpetrated by men with women as the victims. If men are victims of sexual abuse, they may be reluctant to get help because of the shame of being a victim. Many women put up with sexual harassment because they are too embarrassed to complain or they don’t know how to deal with the conflict.
Women expect so-called civilised men to restrain themselves. This attitude is evidence that women never experience a sex drive as men do. Women don’t understand that sex drive cannot easily be supressed. Young women rely on the protection of society to tease men by behaving in a provocative manner but never having to face the consequences. This is the equivalent of a gazelle prancing around in front of a hungry lion knowing that the lion is not allowed to get at it. It is hardly moral or right. Any man who attempts a sexual advance is accused of sexual harassment. Women want the right to tease but not to deliver. Men’s sexuality needs as much respect as women’s.
Your partner’s not there to service you, it’s not their job to keep you sexually satisfied. You’re together because you love each other and want to make each other happy. Constantly hassling the for sex does the opposite. (Tracey Cox 1999)