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Teenage Sex and Masculinity

Friday night — I’m alone.

I’m awake, casually scanning through my Twitter feed and I come across an article by blogger Olivia Cole which I begin to read.

I am stunned.

It was a piece from 2013, commentary on a Guardian Interview in which Chris Brown admits, proudly, that he lost his virginity at eight years old. Yes — eight.

“We were already kind of like hot to trot. Like, girls, we weren’t afraid to talk to them; I wasn’t afraid. So, at eight, being able to do it, it kind of preps you for the long run, so you can be a beast at it. You can be the best at it.”

Somehow this had completely slipped past me. I was shocked, and still remain slightly distressed by that reality.

But in truth, there was a part of my conscience, a fraction, which was not surprised in the slightest, because, like Chris Brown, I grew up as a boy in 21st century ‘Western Culture’ — dazed and confused — a lost soul in a sea of lost boys. I had experienced this exact dilemma, and like Brown, I became sexualised at a very young age, partly as a result of the rapidly growing phenomena of online porn.

I was part of the Beta Generation, the first to be raised in a world of Internet freedom — complete, unadulterated, uncensored freedom — and I am now left with its scars.

I was first exposed to porn at seven years old.

The year was 2005, and I was a child. A pencil marked canvas free from Ink. Yet from that moment, masculinity was looking over my shoulder — dominating, controlling and watching my every move.

About three years later, at the age of 10, I began actively watching porn, and by about 12 years old I was softly addicted. This may seem shocking, but this was, while I was growing up, the norm.

You could tell this was not a subtle sexualization — under the shadow of masculinity, my friends and I would fiercely objectify women on a daily basis — “nice tits,” “great ass,” etc. — and we egged each other on, supporting one another in our tirade of misogyny; our subconscious War on Women.

But we knew no better.

Although my parents did all they could to educate and protect me, we as boys were never taught to be feminists. We were never taught to be feminists. We were never taught consent. So we pieced the puzzle together ourselves. We took from our primary resource — porn — and we used that as a guide while masculinity became our teacher.

Where masculinity would stand at the touchline, telling us to GO, run with the ball and score, we needed someone to tell us to STOP — to think, and to leave the pitch for a water break — to reflect. But he was our coach, and he was loud — always. He did not let us leave the pitch, and in truth, we didn’t want to. We wanted to score, and he told us this was what we had to do, what we must do, to win the game.

At 14, you listen to masculinity’s every word. He tells you how to think, how to act in order to survive. He makes you feel tough, like the world is yours, like you are the master of a tyrannical kingdom, and I let him get the better of me. Although I had loved and respected women all my life, at this moment in time I hated them — and I had no idea why. He had always been my guide, and he was strict in his rules and expectations. This did not stop, and at the age of 14, I lost my virginity. I was still a boy, a child, and I was confused. I was fighting a battle with my conscience, with my emotions, and I was losing.

My first sexual experience was, in hindsight, an attempt to make masculinity proud. I wasn’t ready, yet I knew that if I could make him proud, make him feel like I did a good job, then I was set. I was a Real Man. But I wasn’t. I was nowhere close. I was a boy, a child, and I was scared, alone in the middle of the ocean and unable to swim.

From birth, we were told we must listen to masculinity. His rulebook, his instruction. And through his word, we encouraged our own demise. We became our own poisons, our own worst enemies.

We were never happy, doing what we did. We thought it was right, but in reality, we were suffering.

And maybe, just maybe, if I had broken from his stranglehold sooner, than perhaps I wouldn’t have hurt so many. Maybe I wouldn’t have hurt myself. Maybe I wouldn’t have these scars.

If I could go back in time and talk to my 14 year old self, I would say don’t do it. Don’t let him get the better of you. Stand up to masculinity and fight him off. Fight him to the death and make him bleed. Make him leave the field and never come back. He is a danger to you, a menace, and he will harm you at every turn.

DO NOT TRUST HIM.

Remember, you are the master of your own fate. You will decide your own path. Keep fighting, and one day soon he will step down, he will concede, and just then, only then, will you start to win the war.

Header image credit: Feva TV

Disclaimer: This post was written by a Feministing Community user and does not necessarily reflect the views of any Feministing columnist, editor, or executive director.

North London, UK

Writer from North London, UK focussing on gender, race and political issues from an intersectional perspective.

18 years old, challenging conventions of manhood.

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