Sex and the Rights of Man

  • Alan Greig
Volume 37 Number 5
Published: October 1, 2006
What can men’s interest be in the social and sexual revolution being proposed by advocates for sexual rights? The first answer to this question is to recognise that some men’s sexual rights have long been violated. Those men who ‘betray’ their gender through their ‘feminine’ representation and/or sexual relations with other men are especially vulnerable to such violation. Violence maintains the gender and sexuality hierarchy by keeping the men ‘who are not men enough’ in their place. But what about the men who appear to be, or strive to be, ‘man enough’? What can be said of their sexual rights? Perhaps the most basic demand of advocates for sexual rights is that people be free to live their sexual lives without coercion. Even men who do conform to stereotype may suffer sexual violence, as shown by figures on non-consensual heterosexual experience reported by boys and men. Furthermore, gender socialisation may inhibit men’s ability to experience joy, dignity, autonomy and safety in their sexual lives. For example, gender socialisation dictates that men should be confident and take control in sexual relations, leaving no space for admission of the anxieties that many feel.


  • Gender
  • Sexuality
From Issue: Vol. 37 No. 5 (2006) | Sexuality Matters