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Sexual colonization is the process in which new dominant sexual attitudes and behaviors shape and, in some cases, oppress existing attitudes and behaviors. Sexual colonization can occur when a new cultural group moves into an environment, as occurred when white settlers arrived in countries including the United States, Canada, and Australia. It can also occur when dominant Western attitudes disseminate through the world via the media and internet. It can even occur within a society when an individual’s sexual attitudes and behaviors do not match society’s norms.
Sexual colonization impacts a variety of facets of society, including the perceptions of gender roles, social expectations, and individual sexual expression and experiences.
Cisgender male individuals were dominant in determining sexual behaviors and attitudes throughout history. Women were typically raped by some men who felt it was their right to engage in sexual relations with women. Some researchers even argue that the dominant, sexual violence demonstrated was intrinsically linked to the overall colonization process.
Even today, there is a pervasive perception that these men are freer to express their sexuality than people of other genders, sexual orientation, and races are. The dissemination of the idea that sex is designed for procreation, rather than simply pleasure, is another example of sexual colonization.
Sexual colonization isn’t strictly oppressive, though. As Western society becomes more liberal and accepting of homosexuality and other gender and sexual identities, traditionally intolerant third-world nations are being pressured to adopt more liberal values. For example, international agencies are encouraging the leaders of central African nations to introduce legislation allowing same-sex marriage.
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