Teenage sex

The sad state of teenage sex – young women being coerced into painful anal sex by young men. Read more here.

Thanks for your thoughts, and sorry not to provide more commentary on the article when I posted it up – I’m extremely pushed for time at the moment, thought that folks might find it interesting, so threw it up quickly when I had a spare ten seconds. By way of providing more context/discussion, here are some quick notes in response to some of the thoughts below (and again, there isn’t time to formulate all of what I might want to about this right now, so bear with me):

1) As C. K. Egbert notes, this is being read in the context of other studies/reports about sexual attitudes and behaviour amongst teens. Also, more anecdotal reports from friends who work with young people in various capacities, and my first year students reflecting on their experiences. These all point to a pretty toxic sexual environment, which prevails in at least some sectors of the teen population, where the dominant norms involve coercion of young women, lack of regard for consent, pressure on young men to prove their manliness in the eyes of their peers by getting enough sex, a lack of regard for women’s sexual pleasure, and so on.

2) I don’t care whether teen sex culture today is better or worse than previous generations. I care about the fact that certain aspects of it are pretty toxic. So this post wasn’t intended to bemoan the state of kids today compared to a previous rosy state of affairs.

3) What’s interesting (and worrying) to me, is that the toxic norms exist in a culture where many folks think that equality for women has been achieved and there is nothing more for feminism to do (at least, this is an attitude I encounter often when teaching an intro to feminism course).

4) Quite right, I didn’t mean to suggest that anal sex is always painful or that there is something inherently wrong with anal sex. The worry was instead that some of the young men surveyed thought that it might be painful for their partners but didn’t care. However, I find myself a bit confused now. I can’t help feeling that there is some significance to the fact that the sex being coerced is anal, but I’m not quite sure I can articulate it. Do I think it’s worse than being coerced into, e.g., vaginal or oral sex? No – because any sort of coerced sex is wrong. Is it because I think there is something wrong with anal sex? No. I *think* what’s bothering me is that whilst penis-in-vagina sex can certainly be painful if the penis-wielding person isn’t sufficiently sensitive to the vagina-wielding person, for anal sex to be pain-free (and pleasurable) the person doing the penetrating has to be more sensitive to the person being penetrated. In other words, it seems to me that to be pain-free, it requires more equality of interaction than penis-in-vagina sex, so it seems significant that it’s – according to studies like this – taking place in a context where there is a lack of equality of interaction. Does that make any sense? Thoughts?

Philosop-Her on Gender and Journals

Philosop-Her has opened up another discussion on an important topic: whether quotas could help address gender balance in philosophy journal publishing. (The aim of the post is to start a conversation, rather than to argue for a view about this issue.)

In response to a comment that notes a familiar kind of worry about whether such actions may serve to reinforce prejudice, Meena writes (also in the comments):

Many people argue against affirmative action in the workplace for the reasons that you mention – namely, that it may be stigmatizing. In the end, I’m not sure if this is really the case. Research shows that once people are surrounded by people of colour, for example, and start working with them they start to perceive people of colour differently and more positively. I wonder if something similar wouldn’t apply to the case of seeing more articles by women in top tier journals. Once they are there, we may view the authors and their work more positively.