Young men and sexual initiation
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SOME mothers worry about their adolescent sons’ sexuality more than fathers. They worry about girls taking advantage of their boys. Girls nowadays can be brazen when they have their eye on a young man. Unlike bygone days, they are not shy about the fact.

They inundate their desired beaus with phone calls, risqué text messages and other paraphernalia that parents might be shocked to see or know about. In addition to the possibility of a broken heart, mums worry about their sons becoming sexually active and contracting sexually transmitted infections (STI’s), getting a girl pregnant or becoming infected with HIV/AIDS.

On the other hand, some fathers believe it is okay for young men to ‘sow their oats. They see it as a mark of virility. Instead of teaching their sons a sense of responsibility, they give them the go-ahead to have sexual encounters through their complacency.

They might mention the use of condoms but do not enforce the necessity of a sexually healthy lifestyle. Maybe likewise, the father is still ‘sowing his oats’, and his regard for women and girls (which his son inherits) stems from a sexual standpoint and not one of respect.

The first pangs of ‘love’ are bound to be confusing for young people. Affection and a physically emotional connection to an independent person (who is not a family member) can be very powerful and misleading. Young people do not know this and may not listen if an adult tried to explain. They would prefer to interpret their experiences as ‘true love’ or ‘the real thing’.

Love is wonderful, but young people need to understand the difference between like, love and lust. To’ like’ someone gives your mind a spark; you are stimulated and may have many beliefs and thoughts in common with that person. To ‘love’ someone is an intense shared emotion. The connection is heartfelt, warm, gentle and often mutual. To ‘lust’ after someone can be described as hungry, aching and tingling—a hot and spicy feeling. Young love is usually about sorting out which one is which. Mistakes along the way are unavoidable, but the sooner the correct ‘feeling’ is identified, the better.

Young men need support, information and advice about love and relationships from adults to whom they can relate –such as an uncle, father, grandfather or an older male sibling. Adolescents always have questions that need to be answered, but the person they confide in must be understanding and trustworthy. It must be a person who will listen to them without judging their curiosity or train of thought, a person who does not talk down to them or belittle them.

It is always wise to advise young people to grow up before becoming sexually active. The more they understand about life, themselves and their bodies, the better chance they have of making informed or life-long choices.

By the age of thirteen or fourteen, boys see women from a whole new viewpoint. They are fascinated by the female form. They carry intense sexual energy due to the testosterone surging through their loins. However, this change in their bodies is hardly ever discussed with them by parents.

At secondary school, a young man aged 15 was amazed at a group of his male peers. One boy grabbed his scrotums and chirped at the girls as they walked by. ‘Hey red bag’, he called, identifying a particular girl while practising his ritual, ‘I like you bad’. Then the group laughingly indulge in some banter before going their separate ways.

The young observer said, ‘Which self-respecting girl in her right mind would want anything to do with boys like them?’. He is right – it certainly is a tactless way of letting a girl know that you admire her, yet this is the type of behaviour boys pick up from the men in our society.

Parents should teach their sons to be sexually responsible. It is not okay to ‘tantalise’ or ‘trouble’ girls or women for pleasure or fun. They must instil self-respect in their children and respect for others regardless of gender. Heckling or shouting out remarks at girls and women in the street or anywhere should be discouraged.

How would men feel if women jeered and shouted comments at them because they are men? And especially as the majority of remarks are sexually oriented.
A young man’s attitude towards sex is built mainly on what he is taught by his parents, his family and the community in which he is raised. Talking about what is right about sex: e.g. – abstinence, waiting until you are grown, sticking to one partner. And what is wrong, e.g.- having multiple partners, using others selfishly, being disrespectful – should be discussed with boys age-appropriately as they grow.
Nowadays, the internet is responsible for many young men receiving a distorted initiation into a world of sexuality. The viewing of pornography is harmful to youngsters. They often see women being humiliated, tortured and raped and perceive this as normal behaviour – this can seriously affect their sexual development.

Pornography does not involve love, tenderness or caring; it is purely based on self-gratification – watching porn can be addictive. By speaking openly to adolescent males about the dangers of porn addiction and monitoring their internet usage, parents can ensure that porn is not their son’s primary sex educator.
If you are concerned about the welfare of a child, call the CPA hotline on 227 0979 or write to us at

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