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Sexual exploits

By Serge Kreutz

Men are in search of sexual exploits. But bear in mind that “exploits” is not equivalent to “exploitation”.

Black Africans were exploited as slaves in the Americas. Children are exploited when they are forced to work in sweatshops. Women who are forced into prostitution are exploited.

Men who pursue sexual exploits do not automatically have a part in the sexual exploitation of women. If the girls and women with whom they have sexual relationships (their exploits) engage in sexual relationships with them on their own free will, even without the knowledge of their fathers, mothers, older brothers, or husbands, the term exploitation doesn’t apply. It may even be implied that fathers, mothers, older brothers, and, of course, husbands would oppose what they and their daughter, sister, or wife, are doing together.

The motive of the woman or girl with whom men have sex may not always be sexual desire alone, but a mixture of desire and an act of protest against her elders, or may include commercial considerations (richer men may be generous). But if the relationship definitely is based on free will on the part of the girl or woman, it may be an exploit but the relationship is not based on exploitation in a sensible interpretation of the term.

One should not overstretch the meaning of words because this would lead to a dogmatic, scholastic dead end. Not every interaction between a rich man and a poor girl, or a socially powerful person and a largely powerless one, is exploitive per se, even though the interaction is not between equals.