Is it wrong to rate my date?

University of Leeds
2 min readFeb 23, 2024

‘Me and my mates will often talk about the different people we’ve got with, just comparing and rating our experiences. But sometimes the things that are said and the language that’s used make me feel a little off, and I don’t know how to explain that to my friends. Are we doing something wrong by talking about this kind of stuff?’

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It’s perfectly normal to talk to friends about our sexual experiences, but how we talk about people and the language we use matters.

Thinking and talking about a person in a way that objectifies and degrades them, like rating them on a number scale, isn’t okay. It reduces people to objects there to fulfil sexual desires, and it can lead to a sense of entitlement to someone’s body, time and attention.

Rating people based on their appearance, their body or their sexual activity may seem harmless fun — mainly due to how ingrained it is within our society and popular culture — but it’s actually very harmful. When these attitudes and behaviours are normalised and reinforced, they contribute to an environment where sexual violence can continue happening.

Person sat down on a sofa holding their hands together.
Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

It’s down to us to reflect on our own behaviour and attitudes, and to challenge ourselves and those around us to change how we talk about sex and the people we have sex with. It’s not always easy to confront our own behaviour, or our friends’, when something doesn’t feel right. Just recognising that certain comments or language feels off is a good first step; the next step is understanding why this type of behaviour is harmful.

The pyramid of sexual violence is a good tool to help you understand (or explain to others) how different forms of sexual violence connect, and how when certain attitudes and behaviours are normalised, it’s easier for more extreme acts to occur.

You are not alone. If you’ve experienced any kind of violence, abuse, bullying, harassment, sexual misconduct or discrimination, we’re here to help. Explore support options in our community, including specialist support offered by the Harassment and Misconduct team here at Leeds.

Written by Harriet Cochran, Student Communications