I remember late one night when my dad and I were out drinking. These were my younger years and dad was really cool to hang around. This was before the drink really took hold and sent him into a cloud of his own reality. Anyway, I remember there was a crowd of us sitting around the table next to the bar. A couple of dad’s friends and a few women that he knew. A tall, frizzy-haired blonde lady walked in, with a beautiful face and body to match. I remember thinking to myself, “mmmmmm.” As a young man would. My dad looked at me and he said,
“Don’t think about it Raymond, she’ll chew you up and spit you out”
I didn’t think much of it at the time. I remember him specifically referring to that girl as a man eater. I had already discounted her anyway because I thought she was far too beautiful, and would never even think about looking at someone as low as I was, but dad had a point. We should be teaching our sons to be wary of certain women in the world. If you’re like me then I grew up with the wondrous naivety that all women were perfect people and men were bad, and that’s not a healthy mindset. There’s too much people telling boys to be better to girls but nowhere near enough emphasis on teaching boys to be safe.
I remember the first few weeks I started hanging with my soon to be best friend, Ben. He was dating a lady that he had been seeing for a good several months. They had a holiday planned together and just as Ben had paid for it they split up. Well, she ended it with him to be exact. Of course Ben had three brothers and a strong father figure in his life, and Ben was no fool. He paid the holiday by cheque and before it cleared he cancelled the cheque before it went through. It seemed his lady friend was only there to see what she could get from him. This is a common occurrence. Young boys need to be aware; it was just lucky Ben was the youngest of a family of four boys and he had their experience to fall back upon.
I’ll say I was lucky in dating. I know I had a bad start but when I met my wife I had absolutely nothing to my name. Hardly any skills, no money, and not even a relatively clean flat. I often wondered what the hell she saw in me. My wife on the other hand had savings, a Degree, a very impressive resume, and had travelled extensively. At her point in life she was looking to settle down and I was the one she chose. There’s absolutely nothing I had in the way of possessions or safety I could have given her, but alas, that was a long time ago. I have plenty to offer now. I did back then too, I just wasn’t able to see it.
The focus on me as a child was readying me for that perfect woman to come along. I wasn’t taught sexual safety; hell, I wasn’t even taught some basic keeping myself safe in situations where I feel I was a bit too out of my depth, and there have definitely been a few of those. We never think of the man as being uncomfortable when it comes to sexual mastery. We hear in the halls of the changing rooms about how many women the big chieftain of the boys has made scream in the bedroom, and other men will rally to his cause and praise him, even if some of us don’t think what he’s doing is brilliant. We never stop to think that the boy that’s screaming it from his lungs may not be the greatest role model to look up to. We try to copy them; we try to imitate them in our later years and find the methods that were once deployed by these alpha males are now saturated, too dated, or just pure fiction for the women we are trying to attract. Yeah, men get uncomfortable too, and often confused.
Most of the time we don’t have a clue what we’re doing in our early years, and if we’re lucky enough to date a lady that’s kind enough to be communicative during sex then that’s fantastic. But a lot of the time we’re winging it, and unless we’re being accountable for our actions then we can get a bit out of our depth. Like the first time I lost my virginity. I was drunk, and well, she wanted to have sex, and after a lot of mental games and manipulative persuasion from her side I managed to do the act. I was very out of my depth and I had NO CLUE what the hell I was doing. It was a sort of a fumble in the dark with no discussing needs and wants whatsoever. I used to think of sex as a means to an end, and it wasn’t as enjoyable as it should have been at all.
Some boys think they NEED to have sex, even when they don’t want to. Like for me I wanted to have my first sex with someone that I really liked and had been in a relationship with for a little while, but through pressure from my dad, my friends, and the girl herself I just went and done it anyway — for which I was mocked afterwards for it. We need to teach our Sons that if it doesn’t feel right then under no circumstances should you feel pressurised into it. If you do, then remove yourself from that situation.
My friends were good friends. They always wanted the best for me, and in that moment in time they wanted me to lose my virginity because they thought it would be good for me. It wasn’t though, it was a drunken fumble in the dark with a lasting experience that any sex from now on was going to be a means to an end. We often forget that what is good for us, or what we enjoy, or the success that we attained may not necessarily be good for other people, or anyone for that matter. Sometimes our own successes and failures are only suited to ourselves.
I’ll say the we as men (and young boys) need to drop the incessant bragging rights. I’ve been in circles of men where the testosterone has been high and all we’ve talked about is sex, sports, and women. Yet I often wonder what these circles would be like if we all dropped the facade and talked more openly and honestly to each other about our sex lives. I’ve had a few men do that with me already and I must admit it’s been therapeutic for not only them but me as well. Because I don’t have this lingering feeling that something is constantly wrong with me, and other people go through the same stuff.
So yes, I’ll be teaching my son personal and sexual safety. I’ll be helping him navigate the treacherous waters of dating and relationships; I’ll teach him to grow a bubble around himself and that only he allows people to go inside it, and he is responsible for making those decisions. I hate peer pressure. I know that I can’t eradicate it completely but I hope he’s raised with enough confidence to understand that when he feels like saying no then he should absolutely do so.