Men admit to having unwanted sex with women to ‘prove they are not gay’ or ‘weird’
An increasing number of men are admitting to having sex with women, not because they want to, but to prove they are not gay.
Jesse Ford, a PhD sociology student at New York University, interviewed 39 college-aged men, from a variety of backgrounds, who said they have had unwanted, non-consensual sex with women.
The study was published by Oxford Academic, and was inspired by the lack of men who have come forward during the #MeToo movement.
Ford explained that “unwanted” sex was very different from sexual assault, as it is not forced upon someone and they have the power to stop it. She clarified: “All sexual assault is unwanted sex, but not all unwanted sex is sexual assault.”
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Of the men she interviewed, Ford said: “These men were reluctant to call their experiences sexual assault, and were more comfortable with terms such as ‘unwanted’ and ‘non-consensual.’”
The student quickly noticed a pattern as to why the men had unwanted sex with women, with many revealing they felt pressurised.
One participant said: “There is this social pressure that men like sex a lot and women can choose yes or no. So I guess it makes you unmanly if you don’t want to have sex.”
Another explained: “When a girl comes on to you, you’re just like ‘OK, I’ll accept this’ because that almost never happens. That was a lot of why I went ahead with it.”
And a third said: “I even said ‘thank you’ afterwards even though I didn’t really want to have sex. I was still playing the role of someone who wanted to be in that moment … I didn’t want to give off any impressions of weirdness.”
Ford writes: “Many described having unwanted sex in order to project an image and to take advantage of a sexual opportunity. They worried that saying ‘no’ to sex might be strange, immature, offensive or emasculating. A looming fear was ridicule, and they didn’t want to be talked about as the kind of man who rejects sex with an attractive woman, lest others might see them as a ‘virgin,’ an ‘idiot’ or someone who’s ‘gay.’”
She concluded by highlighting that there could possibly be a large chunk missing when we debate sex.
“I do think it’s important to understand how and why it happens. And it does make me wonder if it’s a missing piece in the overall debate over sex in our culture.”