Note: Accurate statistics regarding sex and sex offenses are extremely difficult to come by. I have included my best guesstimates based on numerous studies but readers should consider that many of these may be far from reality. For example, studies on sexual assaults vary from saying that 9% of women will be sexually assaulted in their life to over 90%. Even the most reputable studies range from 16% to 27%. Which is correct? Revenue for the pornography industry should be easy to determine, but numbers here range from $5b per year to $16b. Sometime I hope to do a post looking at these statistics and where they come from. In the interim I encourage readers to do some of their own research. While doing so keep in mind that some of these reports have agenda’s driving their statistics rather than the other way around and some use differing definitions that cause huge discrepancies.
Now what? In talking with a number of people and crunching through all of this, it appears that there are three things that keep us from reducing sexual assaults; guys don’t get help or take control of themselves, potential victims put themselves or are put in dangerous situations, and guys don’t have a viable alternative outlet. We’ll look at the first of these here and then the other two in follow-up posts.
I – Self Prevention
Certainly the best for everyone is when guys take preventative action on their own; avoiding situations in which they’d be vulnerable and/or going to counseling.
Some guys do this very intentionally. They control their circumstances rather than being controlled by them. Some limit travel arrangements that might put them in a compromising situation, others design offices with windows that limit what can go on behind closed doors. I know two guys who’ve left teaching because they sensed what might happen, and I know several who should have left before something did.
Likewise, many guys go to counseling on their own.
A huge roadblock with both of these though is in the guys mind – perception. Guys don’t want to be viewed as a pervert and don’t want to view themselves as one.
Over the past 50 or 60 years we’ve socially criminalized the normal God-given male sex drive. We’ve made it out to be abnormal and perverted. If you ask the average person on the street if it’s normal for a 40-something guy to be sexually attracted to 15-year-old girls, most will say no, that it’s abnormal. Psychologists though, say that it is normal. God says that it is normal. And for the majority of guys it is reality.
Sit in a café when a girl’s high school volleyball team walks in and watch the guys, especially the ones trying not to look like they’re checking them out. Once when this happened I caught a gay friend doing so. He just grinned and said “oh well”.
Many guys with completely normal sex drives and who fear that one day they may not remain in control of themselves, also fear talking to anyone about it. They don’t want to be classified as a pervert for; their attraction to teen girls, their seemingly insatiable sex appetite, their constant viewing of online porn, their visiting of prostitutes, their inability to refrain from thinking about sex every minute of every day, or their undressing every gal that walks by them.
Far too often these guys become sex offenders – and numerous people get hurt. Talk about unintended consequences.
We need to change this perception problem.
We can’t lock up every sex offender, much less every potential sex offender. Nor is it realistic to require every potential sex offender or even every convicted sex offender to take a libido deadening drug as several women’s groups have called for.
Threat of punishment, through incarceration or public embarrassment, only goes so far. The male sex drive and it’s cravings aren’t exactly good ingredients for rational decision-making, which is critical for any kind of threat to work. As a popular saying goes, too many guys too often think with their little head instead of their big head.
Opening our eyes and acknowledging reality instead of chasing unrealistic and idealistic expectations will go a long way towards helping guys to take the actions necessary to avoid harming others in their quest for sex.