Girls think, boys think
When it comes to sex and teens, there are two different gender-specific worlds
(Getty Images)
Boys and girls are educated and socialised differently on sexual matters, so here’s what your teens – and their opposite numbers – might be thinking.

In a girl world

  • Most girls are reared in what is essentially a sexually restrictive society in that their sexual interest, and certainly sexual behaviour, is neither sanctioned nor ignored by adults.
  • Girls are expected to be nonsexual in childhood and adolescence.
  • Sexual interest, curiosity and, especially, sexual experience cause girls to be devalued by family and peer group alike.
  • Sexual innocence, inexperience and ignorance are cultural values for girls.
  • They are permitted to express curiosity and receive information about their future reproductive function as their gender role is programmed.
  • Sexual intercourse is presented as the gift they are to give the man they love -a marital duty, necessary for impregnation.
  • They are led to believe that they might, on occasion, enjoy it, but the pleasure aspect is reportedly dependent on love and is not considered sufficient reason for their engaging in sex. (Men have sex because they love sex, women have sex because they love the man).
  • Girls are taught to withhold and begin to use their sexuality as a negotiable commodity. Concurrently, they are taught to devalue women who sell their sexuality, the prostitute being held out as the greatest threat to the sanctity of female virtue and family values.
  • Girls are expected to be the guardians of cultural mores by restricting or diverting the male sex drive.
In a boy world
  • Most boys are socialised into a heterosexually permissive culture.
  • There is some expectation that “boys will be boys,” which includes sexual experimentation and behaviour; and as long as they do not blatantly flaunt their sexual interest and activities in front of adults, they receive little censure.
  • Boys are taught that it is their nature and their right to pursue sexual gratification, but that girls who, like themselves, seek sexual experience and pleasure, are less valued in society than girls who deny them sexual favours.
  • Boys may be more egalitarian in their attitudes about their “sexual partner,” expecting them to be uninhibited, willing and responsive.
  • Although they appreciate and enjoy sex with a responsive partner, they expect them not to engage in sex with others, even though they may give themselves permission to do so.
  • Often, without conscious awareness, they devalue the sexually responsive girl and dedicate themselves to a relationship of sexual frustration with a girl who uses her sexuality for secondary gain.
Megan de Beyer has a Masters degree in Psychology. She practised in both Cape Town and Durban and has run many successful parenting workshops at high schools.

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