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According to the research findings of Deborah L. Tolman in her publication, “Doing Desire: Adolescent Girls’ Struggles for/with Sexuality”, adolescent girls with different social backgrounds and sexual orientations face with the biggest challenge of expressing their sexual desires and are always naïve in describing their own sexual experiences. Tolman (2007) hypothesizes that cultural contexts play a significant role in “rendering girls sexuality problematic and dangerous because they divert them from the possibilities of empowerment through ideal sexual expression”.
The research asserts that adolescence is the most critical stage as far as the development of psychological disempowerment for young women is concerned. As girls enter this stage, their bodies take on women’s contour and they virtually lose their inherent ability to openly talk about their sexual feelings, knowledge, perceptions and experiences due to the prevailing cultural pressure. The teenage girls suppress their thoughts and inner feelings to maintain good relationships in the society as required by the cultural standards.
Based on the series of interviews among the adolescent girls from various cultural backgrounds, it is evident that all young women inherently have sexual desires that manifest in different ways. First of all, they are propelled into sexual or romantic relationship with members of different or same sex depending on their sexual orientations. Despite flaring urges to gratify their sexual desires, the young women are prohibited from expressing their sexual desires unless they get into the social institutions of marriage. It is most apparent that the on-going feminism revolution has not changed this perception in the modern societies much.
Nevertheless, the young women are in a constant dilemma of yielding to the prevailing stronger impulses of gratifying their sexual embodied feelings through indulgences in sexual or romantic relationships or suppress their feelings to gain social acceptance. Young women who openly express their sexual desire like their male counterparts are considered as “sluts” in the society. Therefore, the society not only requires women to be silent about their sexual desires but to always say no to male advancements that could possibly satisfy their sexual desires. Consequently, “most young women seem to lose touch with their own bodily feelings and desires”.
The psychological stigma and emotional breakdown expression of sexual desires attract young women in the society is enormous. They often resort to keeping quiet about some of their sexual experiences that affect them in the society for instance sexual violence, transmission of sexually transmitted diseases, unintended pregnancies, sexual coercion, and other undesirable consequences of unprotected sex they suffer from time to time. This cultural reality simply reduces young women to mere subjects whose sexuality can only be expressed indirectly through a masculine worldview in the male dominated societies.
In a separate count, Vaugh, Rupal & Wietmann (2002) places a lot of emphasis on understanding young women’s sexual assertiveness and the importance of encouraging them to express their sexuality in the community. In their reproductive health journal, the researchers are categorical that lack of sexual assertiveness among the female adolescents and young women is the only hindrance towards developing effective interventions that would promote sexual health by reducing sexual risk-taking and violence in the societies.
In conclusion, young women should be liberated from the cultural baggage that prohibits them from expressing their sexual desires, feelings, and pleasure in the society. Lack of openness and communication channels to discuss sexual related matters coupled with the male dominion in traditional patriarch societies predispose young women to contracting sexually transmitted diseases, unintended pregnancy, sexual violence, coercion, and other effects of negative sexual experiences.