What is Male Sexual Assault?

Christina Edwards

Male sexual assault refers to unwanted sexual contact on a male, which can happen either against his will or without his consent. The victim can be either a child or a grown man, and the attacker can be either be a man or a woman. Research suggests that as many as 10 percent of reported sexual assault cases involve a male victim. This number is often thought to be higher, however, due to a male's unwillingness to report the crime.

As many as 10 percent of sexual assault cases may involve a male victim.
As many as 10 percent of sexual assault cases may involve a male victim.

As with female sexual assault, male sexual assault can happen when a man is threatened or forced. In extreme cases, the attacker may use a weapon such as a gun or a knife. Other times, the attacker may be in a position of power, such as a boss, and perform sexual acts with a person who is afraid to say no. Male sexual assault can also happen when a victim is unable to give consent to participate in sexual acts, either physically, mentally, or legally. Examples of these types of sexual assault include sexual acts performed with a male who is unconscious, mentally handicapped, or underage.

Sexual assault of boys is probably one of the most common circumstances that comes to a person's mind when he hears about male sexual assault. The victim in this case is often a child under the age of 16. Child victims of male sexual assault are most often abused by an adult or teenage family member or a close friend of the family. Occasionally, however, child-on-child sexual assault takes place. In this scenario, one child will be sexually abused by another, usually older, child.

Male-on-male sexual assault is another type of sexual assault. The sexual preference of both the victim and the attacker usually does not matter in most of these cases. Either one may be heterosexual or homosexual, since sexual assault typically has to do with the attacker asserting his power over the victim. Although it has been the subject of many distasteful jokes over the years, inmate-on-inmate sexual assault in prison systems is considered to be a problem, and many of the attackers will use rape to control another inmate.

Female-on-male sexual assault, although scoffed at by many, is also recognized as sexual assault. Since men can get an erection simply from stimulation of the genitals, a female attacker can have a man's penis penetrate her, even if he does not want to have sex. Women can use force or physical threats when sexually assaulting a man, but most experts agree that this is rare. Instead, female attackers will typically use non-violent threats, like blackmail, to force a man to perform sexual acts, or perform sexual acts without his legal consent. Sexual acts can include penetration, fondling, oral sex, or insertion of an object into the man.

Reporting male sexual assault, especially when perpetrated by a female, can often be quite difficult for a victim. This is mainly due to most society's beliefs that males should be strong enough to fend off their attackers. Also, since many people do not believe that a woman can rape a man, many of these crimes go unreported.

Penalties for male sexual assault vary depending on the circumstances. Typically, if convicted, an attacker will get a fine and probation, at the very least. In most cases, however, an attacker will be incarcerated, especially if the crime was committed against someone under the age of consent.

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