Men pressured to have sex

Dear Alice,


Why is it that, in all the movies and stuff about sex, it is always the woman who feels pressured? I felt pressured my first time and no one would believe me if I told them. Any comments would be helpful.

—Sensitive guy

Dear Sensitive guy,

You bring up the beginnings of huge debate about gender stereotypes and societal norms for men and women across the globe. There are men who feel similar to the way you do about your first sexual experience, and often about subsequent sexual experiences. Contrary to commonly held beliefs that men are "too big," "too strong," "too much in control," or "too much into sex" to be pressured or forced into sex, it happens. Exact numbers are difficult to determine because of a lack of research and official records, and men's unwillingness to disclose it.

It is important that both men and women have the ability to choose when or whether to have sex. Pressure from others can, and does, unfairly influence this decision. Also, once a person has chosen to have sex, this does not take away his/her right to say "no" at other times during his/her life. Saying "no" to sex often is a way of saying "yes" to ourselves.

For more information, you can check out Male rape possible?. If you need to talk, or want more information, you can call the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network hotline at 1(800) 656-HOPE (-4673). In New York City, you can also call the Safe Horizon Rape Crisis/Sexual Abuse Hotline at (212) 227-3000. If you are a Columbia student, you can always seek information and support from Sexual Violence Response. In addition, Columbia students can speak with a professional counselor at Counseling and Psychological Services. Appointments are available online, or by calling x4-2878.

Your question alone is one step towards dispelling myths about men's sexuality. Thanks for writing.

Last updated Aug 24, 2012
Originally published Dec 11, 1995

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