When addressing problematic sexual decisions with the boys we counsel, oftentimes the topic of their own early sexual experiences emerges. In these conversations, there are times when they report initiation to sexual behavior occurring at the hands of much older adolescent or adult females. Yet, in these discussions, many of them do not view such interactions as sexual abuse or sexually inappropriate, in part, because our society does not often “permit” our boys access to the concept of it being acceptable to not want sexual contact.
Last year, Terry Crews, came out and discussed his own #MeToo moment. He disclosed his own experiences with sexual victimization. While some praised him, others including the Rapper 50 Cent, in a tweet, and Senator Feinstein, in a congressional hearing, gave a response witch is heard all too often--- 50 Cent viewing Mr. Crews’s victimization as discounting his manhood and Senator Feinstein questioning why a big male such as Mr. Crews did not fight back.
This toxic masculinity, which is the push towards hyper-masculinity and belief in traditional male stereotypes, is prevalent. The current climate which we live in downplays options for healthy development of male identity. Such ingrained hyper-masculinity impacts not only the starting point in which one engages with boys related to what healthy sexual decisions look like, but also in reframing discriminatory selection of sexual partners as being empowering instead of a sign of “weakness”.