Old man with young girl

The main subject of my query is the current cultural mayhem over what’s moral sexual behaviour and what can be safely deemed as “harassment” without demonizing the sexuality of a particular subset of people. The main concern being specifically the age of consent and whether it should be lowered to 14 and a cultural commotion of sexualizing or objectifying young teenage girls. While I am familiar with some literature on male sexuality which says they have greater sex desire and desire for sexual variety and I completely want to respect this, but sometimes women are just reduced to their body parts and the desire in general as portrayed in media (outside of pornography) is also objectifying women. While this is true many arguments have otherwise insinuated that women themselves revel in wearing clothes, applying makeup and making themselves be sexually desirable and thus have no ground to cry about excessive sexualization and objectification, claims which have a truth to them. A clear manifestation of this dilemma is street harassment. Many women feel uncomfortable about stares and comments on their body on streets, but men don’t see the same behaviour as harassing when it happens to them, showing clearly that it is a female perception. Amidst all this mayhem, sir, I would like to know whether sexual objectification is actually real or is it a myth and if so then how can women stop feeling objectified or used for their bodies or harassed on streets.


  • Michael Castleman says:

    You suggest that the age of sexual consent might be lowered to 14. As I discuss in my recent book, Sizzling Sex for Life, age of consent was set as low as seven to 10 well into the 19th century for free-born people, with slaves (and most household servants) totally sexually available to their owners/employers at any age. By the 1870s, concerns about child sexual exploitation led much of Europe and most of the states in the U.S. to raise their age of consent to 16 to 18, where it is today. Should it be reduced? That’s a matter of opinion, but given the current prickliness of our culture regarding childhood sex abuse, I don’t see any state legislature reducing age of consent to 14.

    You ask how to avoid accusations of sexual harassment. It’s complicated and evolving. But I would say: Never make sexually loaded remarks on the street or anywhere to women you don’t know, or know only as acquaintances. In work situations, always deal with everyone professionally, and treat them with respect. And be sensitive to other people’s discomfort. If you suspect something you did or said made someone else uncomfortable in a sex/gender way, ask if you offended, and if you did, apologize immediately and do whatever is necessary not to make the same mistake again.

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