ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – A new study has found that 43 percent of teenage boys and young college men are coerced into unwanted sex or sexual behavior.
According to research published by the American Psychological Association, 95 percent of them said a female acquaintance was the aggressor.
“Sexual victimization continues to be a pervasive problem in the United States, but the victimization of men is rarely explored,” lead author Bryana H. French, PhD, of the University of Missouri, said in a press release. “Our findings can help lead to better prevention by identifying the various types of coercion that men face and by acknowledging women as perpetrators against men.”
Roughly 284 U.S. high school and college students responded to a survey about unwanted sexual encounters. Eighteen percent reported that they were sexually coerced by physical force, while 31 percent said they were verbally coerced.
The study found that 26 percent of the respondents described unwanted seduction by sexual behaviors. Half of the students said they ended up having intercourse, 10 percent reported an attempt to have intercourse and 40 percent said they the result was kissing or fondling.
After being given alcohol or drugs, 7 percent said they were compelled to have sex. The study findings showed that “being coerced into having sexual intercourse was related to risky sexual behaviors and more drinking among the victims, and students who were sexually coerced while drunk or drugged showed significant distress.”
The study found that the frequency and type of sexual coercion varied according to the victims’ ethnicity. Compared with other groups, Asian-American students reported fewer sexual coercion experiences with at 8 percent. Forty percent of Latinos reported the highest number of sexual coercion experiences compared with 22 percent of African-Americans and 19 percent of whites.
Having unwanted sex did not appear to affect the victims’ self-esteem or confidence.
“It may be the case that sexual coercion by women doesn’t affect males’ self-perceptions in the same way that it does when women are coerced. Instead it may inadvertently be consistent with expectations of masculinity and sexual desire, though more research is needed to better understand this relationship,” French said in a press release.
The study was published online in the journal Psychology of Men and Masculinity.
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