With a new documentary, the “Lorena Bobbitt story” is in the media again. Do you remember her – the woman who, almost 30 years ago, was raped by her husband; and then while he slept, she cut off his…with a kitchen knife and tossed it into a grassy field? For a while back then, it was a sensational story.
Today, sex crimes against women are seen somewhat differently. #MeToo. But if you followed the Bill Cosby trials or the heavily publicized confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, you know we aren’t there yet.
Why do so many men perpetrate unwanted sex acts against women? Why are millions of men customers for pornography, prostitutes and sex trafficking victims? For me, the answer is simple. The sustainability of the human species has always depended on men wanting to have sex with women. If men didn’t have such high levels of testosterone, which gives them a strong sex drive, they might have little or no interest in reproduction. So because it’s natural for men to want to have sex with women, a couple can have offspring who become a part of the next generation, and so on.
The problem is, many men don’t balance their often intense desire for sex with compassion and respect for women. In addition, boys grow into men influenced by a culture that communicates male superiority in dozens of ways, offering implicit permission to treat women as sex objects. Without empathy for women, a more powerful or physically stronger man may try to take advantage, because he can, whether or not a woman consents.
Compassion and respect for women are not a natural part of the male biology. These values/attitudes have to be learned. And the best time to learn them is when men are still boys, i.e. when they first begin to feel their sex drive.
Do parents these days help their young boys learn compassion and respect for women? Are they teaching them about self-restraint and consent when it comes to their experience of sexual desire?
Some parents do! But most don’t. And this is why, even in the 21st century, we still have millions of men doing awful things to women (seemingly, we only learn about the few who are already in the celebrity spotlight). Some cultures are making progress, but as a human species we are nowhere near where we need to be. We still live in primitive times.
Moms and dads: please teach your sons about consent and compassion and respect for women. An excellent article about raising boys…
You’ll find some key insights about raising teens in my new book, How Your Teen Can Grow a Smarter Brain.