On Sex, Online Harassment, & Personal Privilege

A friend shared a story of sexual harassment with me today. A hapless girl’s pictures and contact information was shared within a group encouraging sexually inappropriate behavior and remarks. It didn’t matter that she was fully clothed, or that she was a human being deserving of respect. People in the group (and like-minded individuals) wasted no time in objectifying her, harassing her over private messages and the like.
Why is this so?

People still believe that unrestricted, consequence-free sex & reproduction are a right, not a privilege.

Many people have a singular reaction when it comes to meeting attractive members of the opposite sex: they want to f*ck them. Preferably in a dominant position, with the target of their affections in a submissive attitude to their clear (often unwarranted) superiority. They want to be lavished with intimate, sexually charged attentions solely on the basis of their assumed status: their gender, their financial capacity, their generosity … the list goes on. The idea that the situation could be different rarely occurs to them, and when it does, they choose to vilify the individual as a knee-jerk reaction. It’s not them, it’s the person! They deserve this!
The allure of having an attractive sexual partner (or partners, as is the case with some people) regardless of age, civil status or financial capacity is an El Dorado that many people seek. The desire is quite evident, for the social status it bestows cannot be discounted. The individual’s machismo and social rank are suddenly elevated, and he/she becomes the object of curiosity by many within their social circles. They will be perceived as wealthy, their sexual prowess the stuff of gossip. It caters to the subconscious drive that people possess to be superior to others, even if it violates moral and human standards.

People are not educated about sex and prefer to stay that way.

Ask these people about safe sex, safe words, and any sexual position that isn’t the missionary (or featured in a porn video), and they’ll be clueless. They want to be the one having fun, the one whose sexual demands are satisfied all the time. Their lack of knowledge is not their problem, nor is their regard for consequences. Children, STDs, birth control, and impotence are taboo topics, to be avoided at all costs.
When these do arise, they panic. They choose to be heedless of the fact that while humans are meant to procreate, the biological and social assumption is that the children can be properly taken care of. Others choose to force their desires onto their target, heedless of things like consent or responsibility and blaming the victim for the act.

People prefer to avoid the challenge of starting and maintaining the social requirements to be considered attractive to the other gender.

Why exercise? Or brush your teeth? Or divorce your spouse? It’s so much easier for people to take pictures and stalk their targets online these days rather than exerting the effort to improve themselves. Satisfaction of the biological norms to attract the opposite gender is no longer a priority, especially since doing so avoids the issues with commitment and infidelity.
The accessibility of the Internet has accelerated the process further, with people short-circuiting their risk-reward centers by overly indulging in pornography without grounding themselves in realistic situations. Soon everyone becomes vaguely attractive, their every move an illusory invitation for self-satisfying sex. And should their urges be condemned, they’ll blame the system, or the victim, or anything else. Just not themselves.
So what now?
Humanity can master its sexual urges and act responsibly. But it is a choice that many prefer to irresponsibly avoid making. When you encounter them, correct them.
This was originally posted here.

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