He Felt Pressured To Have Sex

QUESTION: I'm a male, 20, with a concern I hope you won't laugh about. I feel I was sort of indirectly pressured to have sex when I really didn't plan to.

I was out with this girl on a second date and she just seemed to expect that we'd go to bed. So we did.

But I don't feel good about it, and I'm also wondering if I'm the only male in America to be complaining about this sort of thing, when from the talk I hear every other guy is anxious to have sex as much as possible.

ANSWER: You're by no means alone in this feeling. Many men engage in sexual intercourse and other sexual activity even though they don't want to.

In a Texas A&M University study of 507 male students and staff members, almost ALL -- fully 93% -- said they'd been coerced into some form of sexual activity, including kissing, petting, or intercourse.

More than three out of five of these males reported having intercourse against their wishes.

Societal Expectations

"Many of the men's reasons for unwanted intercourse relate to sex-role expectations," observe the investigators -- Charlene L. Muehlenhard, Ph.D., Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University, and Stephen W. Cook, B.S., a graduate student at the University of Missouri at Columbia.

Many men felt pushed into intercourse by peer and societal expectations that males ought to take advantage of every sexual opportunity.

They Were Enticed

The most common reason for intercourse the men regretted: "Enticement" -- the woman started taking off her clothes, or was flirtatious or physically aggressive.

"Perhaps the male stereotype made it difficult for them to refuse their partners' advances," speculate the researchers.

An Attempt to Gain Experience

Another major motive for men who engaged in intercourse without really wanting to was to gain sexual experience.

Many of the men in the study felt inexperienced, and wished to build their self-confidence, or to "have something to talk about."

Fear of Being Thought Gay

"Male virginity is sometimes seen as a disturbing personal problem among college men," the authors observe. A male might also engage in intercourse for fear the female might think that he is homosexual, they say.

Intoxication played a large role for many. Some reported being so drunk or stoned they hardly knew what they were doing. Also high on the list was not wanting the other person to feel rejected, or not wanting her to feel she was sexually unattractive.

How To Handle This?

If this sort of situation arises again, you'll be in a better position to realize what's happening. You now know why men might succumb to sexual pressures, and that you'll feel unhappy with yourself if you go along against your better judgment.

Remember that a woman's expectation is not your obligation. If she makes overt moves towards sexual intimacy you're not ready for, you can say something like, "I really like you a lot, but I think we're on a little too fast a track. Let's just slow down a bit and see how it goes, okay?" You may find that she's really relieved to hear you say this.

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