Locker room talk

How males may feel pressure to go further

Paulina Gallagher '23, Staff Writer

Olivia Walz ’22

Nowadays, teen sex is so normalized that it’s almost become expected. Not to say that teens exploring their sexualtiy is a bad thing, but when they are only doing so to seek validation from their peers, it raises questions about an underlying social pressure on teens to have sex, particularly among boys. Sharing intimate stories and comparing personal sexual experiences among peers makes young boys feel obligated to have sex, so they can participate in these conversations, regardless of whether or not they feel ready.
According to a study done by the Kaiser Family Foundation, one in three males admit to feeling pressure to have sex, compared to one in five women. Author X, a student at South who chose to remain anonymous, relates to feeling like he’s missing out on something by not having sex.
“My friend group made a bet to see who could lose their virginity first,” Author X said. “I’ve always seen myself waiting to do it with someone that meant a lot to me, but I agreed anyway because I didn’t want to feel like the odd one out.”
For some guys, the pressure is more of a burden, with jokes from peers making them feel insecure about their abstinence.
“I think a lot of guys my age feel (bad about theirselves) if they haven’t had sex, because other boys make fun and tease a bit,” Author X said. “It just makes you want to get it over with to make all that go away.”
Turning sex into a contest, especially with teenagers who are so impressionable, implies the mindset of quantity over quality for sexual partners, which an be harmful.Another South student who chose to remain anonymous, Author Y, claims to have felt firsthand what it’s like to be harassed by peers for choosing to wait.
“I was the only person in my old friend group who hadn’t had sex, and they used to give me hell for it,” Author Y said. “I didn’t know why it was any of their business, but they would try to set me up with people and get really mad when I didn’t want to do it.”
Sex is supposed to be a very personal and intimate act, but with its normalization, the lines between empowering and oversharing can be blurred quite easily. Especially with teenagers, it’s difficult to tell whether or not some have sex because they want to do it, or because they want to tell their friends about it.
“It’s just really sad that something so unimportant can drive a wedge between friends,” Author Y said. “People just need to learn to keep their comments and personal business to themselves and respect people’s choices.”
Keiran Raahman ’23 has noticed that some of his peers have gone as far as to flaunt their hookups, making him question their intentions from the start.
“Sex has become like a competition with some guys,” Raahman said. “It’s weird to hear people brag about hooking up with someone because it just makes them feel like they are doing it to prove something.”
With constant pressure from peers, friends and social media, it’s important for boys to remember that they are entitled to their own choices according to Raahman.
“Everyone should do it on their own terms,” Raahman said. “Boys and girls. Sex is really personal, and you shouldn’t do it because you saw a video about how good it is or because your friend said you’re missing out.”