Melinda Tankard Reist writes for Eureka Street on the phenomenon of boys sexual moaning in class.
The noise greets her the moment she walks into the classroom. The sound is guttural, a low, insistent moaning. It begins with one boy. Quickly others join in, enjoying her confusion and embarrassment when she understands the intended meaning. It is a daily sport. I first became aware of the phenomenon of sexual moaning in our institutions of learning when visiting a large public school in regional Queensland early in 2021. I asked the girls what messages they would like conveyed to their male peers.
‘Please ask the boys to stop making sexual moaning noises in class.’ This was new to me. ‘How many of you have heard boys make these noises?’ I asked. In unison, 300 girls raised their hands.
It wasn’t just in the classroom either, they told me. It was on the school bus. At weekend sport. At a party. In the line-up at Maccas. While walking down the street. Even at home, where an older brother had trained the younger in the art of sexual groaning. But this community was not an outlier.
From then on, I asked every female student in every school I was able to enter in the COVID-disrupted year that followed if they had been similarly confronted. ‘Yes, of course we hear these noises.’ ‘It’s normal.’ ‘We thought we just had to put up with it.’ They think this practice of boys simulating the noise of orgasm at any female in their midst is normal. Not unusual, not rare, not out of the ordinary, but normal.
I added ‘Please ask boys to stop making sexual moaning noises’ to other messages girls routinely asked me to relay, including:
Please ask the boys to stop telling us about the porn they watched last night. Please ask the boys to stop ranking us according to the bodies of porn stars. Please ask the boys to stop making jokes about our bodies. Please ask the boys to stop rubbing up against us in the corridors. Please ask the boys to stop sending us dick pics. Please ask the boys to stop pressuring us for nudes.
These everyday sexual affronts tell us a great deal about how entrenched the objectification of girls is. They also tell us how widespread is the callousing of our young men, the erosion of empathy, the decay of civil behaviour, and the social arson caused by mass pornography saturation.
At a NSW Christian School just before the June 2021 lockdown, girls said boys were filming themselves simulating masturbation using hand sanitiser bottles.
At a Perth public school, girls arrived on their first day back after lockdown to be greeted with photocopies of boys’ penises taped to their lockers. And the most recent story, from a regional NSW public school: boys were masturbating on the school bus in front of girls.
Choking, bruising, bondage, whipping, rape-play: porn-driven expectations
Exposure to pornography has been linked to an increase in sexually aggressive behaviour and adolescent dating violence. Boys wanting to enact the signature acts of pornography on girls has also become more common. More young men expect facials (ejaculation on the face), anal, and oral sex. Debby Herbenick, a leading sex researcher at Indiana University, advises students, ‘If you’re with somebody for the first time, don’t choke them, don’t ejaculate on their face, don’t try to have anal sex with them. These are all things that are just unlikely to go over well.’
More girls tell me boys expect to choke them: ‘He put his hands around my neck without even asking.’ Young women experience fear and some suffer injuries after young men carry out porn-inspired sex acts on them, including anal sex and strangulation. Strangulation is not ‘kink’; it is a red flag for homicide and should be treated as such.
Growing Up in Pornland: Girls Have Had It with Porn Conditioned Boys - ABC, Melinda Tankard Reist