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Can Women Force Men to Have Sex? High Percentage of Young Men Report Unwanted Relations

First Posted: Apr 21, 2014 10:50 AM EDT

Unwanted sex is typically viewed as a man forcing himself upon a woman, which is likely a majority of such cases. But a new American Psychological Association study finds that the opposite is common as well, despite it going unnoticed.

The American Psychological Association is the largest scientific and profession organization representing psychology in the United States. Their study, "Sexual Coercion Context and Psychosocial Correlates Among Diverse Males," was published in the APA journal Psychology of Men and Masculinity. The study revealed that 43% of high school and college men report being involved in "unwanted sexual contact."

The APA study sought to explore sexual coercion in men, and if or how they're influenced or affected by female behavior. The researchers noted, "sexual coercion that resulted in sexual intercourse was associated with greater sexual risk-taking and alcohol use. Verbal and substance coercion were associated with psychological distress, and substance coercion was also associated with sexual risk-taking," in the study.

Among the 284 young male participants, 95% reported that the female acquaintance was the aggressor in their sexual encounter,  which ranged from kissing and fondling to intercourse. Although the sample pool was relatively small, nearly half of the young males said they ended up having sex against their will, with 10% reporting sex was attempted and the other 40% noting the encounter resulted in only kissing or fondling.

The students surveyed were from the Midwest between the ages of 14 and 26. For college students, 46% were White, 21% African American, 18% Asian, 10% Latino, and 5% multiracial. Among high school students, 42% were White, 17% African American, 15% Asian, 15% Latino, and 11% multiracial.

Dr. Bryana French, coauthor of the APA study, said that male victims are not as willing to describe their unwanted sexual encounter. But her study showed that when the males are asked about their experience, they're more willing to share and acknowledge what happened.

You can read more about the study, which was reported in this Time Magazine article.

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