There’s been a media firestorm in response to XXL magazine publishing a “fatherly advice” video by rapper Too Short. In the video, he graphically advises young middle school and high school boys how to finger a young girl’s “hole.”
“You push her up against the wall,” he explains. “You take your finger and put a little spit on it and you stick your finger in her underwear and you rub it on there and watch what happens.”
Sex education at its worst.
Of course, numerous cultural critics and sex educators have been on the attack, from calling for the resignation of XXL Editor-in-Chief Vanessa Satten to highlighting the rapper’s advocacy for the sexual assault of young women. The video was disgusting, and it’s clear that Too Short is not fit to give sex education advice to young men. But when it comes to youth sexuality, conversations are never easy. Very few sex educators or elders have been able to provide our young people with comprehensive, realistic guidance that not only warns our youth of the health risks that accompany sexual activity but also teaches them that a desire and curiosity for sexual pleasure at that age is normal.
While most adults would prefer to cover their ears and not listen to the realities of youth sexuality, it is true that young boys and girls are exploring pleasure whether it’s through fingering, oral sex, or sexual intercourse as pre-teens and teenagers. Youth sexuality is our unspoken fear, but with silence comes consequences or unfit rappers becoming go-to experts for “fatherly” sex education. Arguably, XXL magazine fails on multiple levels in empowering human beings sexually, regardless of age. But it’s a particularly delicate situation when our young men become their target students for sex advice.
The sexual empowerment of young men needs redefining, mainly because aggression and manipulation are informing their exploration of pleasure and manhood. Of course, our young women also need instruction, particularly as they’re often the recipients and facilitators of this behavior; they lack the tools, at the fault of their elders, to say no. But often it is our young men who are receiving negative advice from their slightly older peers or unfit elders. And like a domino effect, young men and women start their sex lives destructively and disempowered.
To sexually empower our young men, they need to understand that
- Girls are human beings; treat them as such. There are better ways to expend your sexual energy that don’t involve pushing them into walls and fingering their “holes.”
- Masturbation, kissing, and healthy relationships are much healthier options to explore. But there is more to youth than all of the above. Sexual urges are normal, but you’ll miss out on some of the best years of your life if you allow them to control you and worse, end up hurting others.
- Contrary to what pop culture, your misguided peers, and unfit “elders” tell you, rampant, destructive sexual behavior is not the path to true manhood. Respecting young women’s bodies, agency, and dignity will bring you stronger friendships, relationships, and pleasure. There’s nothing manly about force.
But of course, it’s up to us to start initiating these conversations and honoring the fact that youth sexuality does exist and needs more discourse than just abstinence advocacy. It’s not up to the media to educate our youth about their bodies and how to handle pleasure. They’re just an echo of our complacency to madness and destructive behavior.
How can we redefine the sexual empowerment of young men and women? Weigh in.