COLUMBIA, Mo., March 25 (UPI) -- Four-in-10 U.S. high school boys and young college men say they were coerced into sex or sexual behavior and 95 percent said a female acquaintance was the aggressor.
"Sexual victimization continues to be a pervasive problem in the United States, but the victimization of men is rarely explored," lead author Bryana H. French of the University of Missouri says in a statement. "Our findings can help lead to better prevention by identifying the various types of coercion that men face and by acknowledging women as perpetrators against men."
The study involved 284 U.S. high school and college students who responded to a survey about unwanted sexual encounters.
The study, published in the journal Psychology of Men and Masculinity, finds 18 percent report sexual coercion by physical force; 31 percent say they were verbally coerced; 26 percent describe unwanted seduction by sexual behaviors; and 7 percent say they were compelled after being given alcohol or drugs.
Half of the students say they ended up having sexual intercourse, 10 percent report an attempt to have intercourse and 40 percent say the result was kissing or fondling.
Being coerced into having sexual intercourse was related to risky sexual behaviors and more drinking among the victims.
However, having unwanted sex did not appear to affect the victims' self-esteem.
"It may be the case that sexual coercion by women doesn't affect males' self-perceptions in the same way that it does when women are coerced," French says. "Instead it may inadvertently be consistent with expectations of masculinity and sexual desire, though more research is needed to better understand this relationship."