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What Today’s Teen Boys Really Think About Sex, Toxic Masculinity, and #MeToo
Conversations around toxic masculinity, consent, and the ways boys are taught about sex and relationships are extremely prevalent today. How have these conversations affected boys’ real lives? Or are they still dealing with the same trappings of masculinity and rape culture that they were 10 years ago?
Boys still brag a lot about how they “never cry.”
Brené Brown calls emotional vulnerability the secret sauce that holds relationships together. So, if we cut boys off from the ability to feel or express that, we’re basically cutting them off from the ability to have, establish, and engage in healthy relationships.
I started noticing how often boys used ‘hilarious’ or something being ‘funny’ — those were the words they used — when what they really meant was that something was disturbing, that it violated their morals, that it was reprehensible, that it disgusted them. Hilarious or funny were a default position. If you see something as hilarious when you don’t know how else to respond to it, then you won’t be targeted or mocked.
It’s another way that boys are disconnected from what they truly feel. Their heads are disconnected from their hearts. Among other things, that also undermines their compassion for the target of whatever is hilarious, which, in a situation of sexual misconduct, is a girl. I noticed some of the really high profile assault cases with high school boys as the perpetrators. What those boys said when people said, “How could you have done this horrible thing?” They’d say, “Well, we just thought we were being funny. We thought it was hilarious.”
How to Talk to Boys About Porn, Consent and Sex, According to Boys & Sex Author