“Men should act as if the woman’s consent does not matter—but only if you consent to it.”

This is a comment by Jonathan G on the post “Me Jane, You Tarzan: The Politics of Sexual Polarity“.

Jonathan G said:

“I’d say you’re not wrong in wanting to be ravished. I find it totally understandable:  How intoxicating it must feel to have a man desire you so powerfully that he disregards the usual constraints in order to have you, whether those are social conventions or even considerations of whether you consent. All get tossed aside, so great is his yearning. It’s the purest expression of his id, admitting no possibility for artifice or deception.

“But in our society, consent does matter. Consent does not factor in the fantasies, because consent of the fantasist is the sine qua non of her fantasy. In the real world, it doesn’t work because the man should act as if your consent does not matter—but only if you consent to it. Think of how that looks to us men, who hear from some quarters that the only valid consent is explicit, enthusiastic consent. Given that precept, we can try to ravish a woman and then only find out after the fact whether it was rape or not. Obviously, that’s an extreme case. In the real world, guys should only go for it if we have some reasonable signals that a woman would welcome it, and between reasonable partners, the man would stop if the woman decided that she did not consent, and she wouldn’t begrudge the attempt.

“So do you see where that leaves us guys in regards to ravishing women? We have to act like we’re overcome by desire … Except we have to exercise self-control to stop if she should say ‘no’. Except we have to maintain some situational awareness in a rational corner of our brains to look for signs that she may not actually be into it, but doesn’t feel comfortable articulating a ‘no’. And we’re putting ourselves out there by offering this show of burning desire which, ultimately, she can reject. (Imagine that—she still exercises significant control of the situation, which undermines the ‘out-of-control’ feeling, does it not?)

“‘Ravishing’ still happens, of course, but it’s an undertaking fraught with many potential psycho-socio-political pitfalls. You’re aware of many of them, as you feel conflicted about feeling the desire to be ravished. So a little understanding is in order, I think, for the guys who haven’t worked out how to navigate the potential pitfalls successfully to become like Tarzan.”

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  1. Surely no one is good looking enough and worth it enough to persuade you to do things you don’t want or don’t desire? That is not attractive to my mind

  2. It usually depends on the man, his attractiveness/dominance/charm , that to what extent a woman is going to let him get away with.

    Women set different sexual boundaries with different men.

    With one guy a woman might only want normal sex, while with another very attractive man, she might not mind having her boundaries compromised, ravished, used, dominated and degraded in bed. I tell most men that I dont do anal, for instance, but some very attractive charming men got me to do that. Women require dominant and very attractive men in order to bring out their submissive and vulnerable side. Its not something every guy can pull off.

    • So a man who is more dominant acting is actually “allowed” to act more domineering. Its fascinating to me, and obviously a lot of guys get it. I sure don’t. It feels like I’m damned if I do and damned if I don’t. If I ask for consent I will not doubt get a no because what could be more unsexy than bluntly asking. I’d rather ask for consent, I guess I like it “rough” sometimes but I am not into anything that feels rapey. If I don’t ask and just go for it I could find myself being charged with sexual harassment. I don’t read body langauge well, its not something I’m really capable of. And yet women often seem to expect us to read minds, via reading their bodies.

  3. I had a partner who was into the ravishing thing and I don’t mind it (with partners I’ve had sex with for awhile). He started the discussion. “Hey this is what I’m into (and went on to describe it)?” I went, “Hmm sounds ok to me I’ll let you know by saying such and such if I’m not comfortable with it ever.” Conversation over. But we regularly discussed sex and like topics so it wasn’t an uncomfortable conversation.

    And we engaged in the activity with some regularity over the years without issue. Though we continued to do that crazy communication thing through out the years of our sexual relationship so there were also frequent check ins about how is this working for you etc.

  4. “How intoxicating it must feel to have a man desire you so powerfully that he disregards the usual constraints in order to have you”

    What restraints? Your consent?

    Don’t make assumption about things that don’t relate to you, because your understanding is shallow,

    This isn’t actually a well-adjusted response to somebody else’s desire. It’s been shown that many women do not associate their own desire to their own pleasure, rather to being desired by another, which means they have received a strong message from society that their worth is directly related to how good they look and how much a man likes them.

    The problem with this concept of ‘being ravished’ is that the sexual pleasure and experience of the ‘ravished’ is never discussed, their job is simply to be desirable, not to have desire.

    If this is how your long term partner feels,well that sounds great, but it’s not a brush you can paint everyone with.

    The conversation needs to be had with your sexual partner – not a bunch of dudes in a blog room deciding on the rules to them apply to the women.

  5. In general its an interesting comment, with two issues:

    Consent first – personally I don’t usually feel its necessary to get verbal consent each time I want to take a woman. You would hope that with a consensual partner you know pretty well, that you both understand misunderstandings will occasionally occur, and she won’t haul you off to court, or use it against you in the future. Point is that she can, and point taken, then your fucked.

    No not meaning no – I haven’t gone into this much, but I guess you need to have a saveword, and if your not clearly in a role playing scenario, then some tone of voice or other way of knowing the context would be wise.

  6. The basic rule of thumb here should be, is this a stranger I picked up in a bar 30 minutes ago? Then obviously no means no, and in fact, lack of yes means no. However if this someone you have been dating and are going steady with and they have expressed that they have “ravishing” fantasies, that is a different story. If you are in a grey area in between then you aren’t in a position to decide for her, any more than you are in a position to decide who is going to win the Stanley Cup in September.

  7. I had to go back to the dictionary definitions, and the synonym of ravish is actually rape.

    So, for starters I think we should find a different name to replace ‘ravish.’ Because just by admitting that you’re ravishing her means you’re admitting to raping her. All relationships have issues and at one point or another they are on the edge of breaking. Woe unto you if she recalls, at such one point, that one time you ‘ravished’ her. Even if she consented and wanted and desired and participated in the whole ravishing act, when the swords are drawn during a relationship ‘low’, you’ll be in Very Big Trouble. Secondly you don’t have to ask for permission just before you indulge. You can include it in normal everyday sex and conversation. Ask what she likes, what she doesn’t. Casually explore her fantasies and keep them in mind. Then one day just jump onto it and indulge her deeply, passionately in only the things you’re sure she would love. Remember your boundaries and don’t try negotiating in the ‘heat of the moment’.

    Meanwhile, let’s make suggestions to replace the word ‘ravish.’

    • As the original article says David Deida: Love is the difference between ravish and rape.

      Re: insane legal risks, Luckily, I don’t live in the US, and here in Australia the laws and the culture is not quite as bad as the US yet. For you US guys that have to video everything in case its used against you – I guess you need a video of her consenting to you, that occasionally you do not need to get consent!!!
      Totally insane, but thank the lawyers, feminists and puritans.

      @ Really?
      This is not so much about role playing, as the cultural acceptability of a man occasionally passionately & sexually taking a (long term?) consensual partner, without asking consent first.

  8. Seems like there’s a lot of hand-wringing and oh-nozs! about what’s really some pretty tame role-playing. There’s a reason you’re a lot more likely to hear “ravish me” in bed than “rape me.” The dictionary definition of the former includes the latter but they are not synonymous. So, lighten up a little.

  9. Not all women even find the act of “ravishment” that desirable. The only way to tell if that is something that she’d be into is to actually TALK TO HER. For those of you who say that takes the “magic” out of it, consider that the order of events does not need to be “conversation establishing consent –> ravishment.” Come up with a safe word, and then surprise her with it later on. If you are in an established relationship (not just dating), this should be really easy to do. Absurdly easy. Past the point of this conversation even being necessary kind of easy.

    There is a reasonable, consensual, and safe way to do this.

    • Not buying it says:

      What magic , most guys cannot see what women see in it & the one’s that do nowadays are usually scared of it, the problem is they don’t know how risky it is even in long term relationships, it is definitely a very risky proposition, I witnessed a friend of my Uncle go throw it, although it was proved in court in the end that it was a revenge tactic his wife used on him after 16 yr marriage.

  10. courage the cowardly dog says:

    Ok she says yes, you do it. She has regret and she says she didn’t consent or she didn’t consent to what you actually did, maybe anally penetrated her or something she hadn’t contemplated. Guess what you are now an alleged rapist, better shell out about $5,000.00 for a good defense lawyer, because if you don’t you could be the one getting ravished by a really big guy named Bubba and guess, he really doesn’t care whether you consent or not.

    • WTF? Go through a rape kit and court case cause you regret having slept with someone? This MFA urban legend needs to die. Although Bubba would be with you on the ‘suprise’ anal penetration.

      • Mr Supertypo says:

        yeah if she’s normal, but with all the psychos around nowaday, you can never be to carefull….

      • courage the cowardly dog says:

        Believe it or not it happens. I have provided pro bono legal services to those so speciously charged and if they don’t have the $5,000.00 to get a decent defense lawyer they get a public defender or a volunteer like myself, whose specialty is not the criminal law. I have seen it happen, don’t think it doesn’t. You can’t be too careful.

  11. Agree, that’s why I never want to ravish any women, even my girlfriend. Why taking a risk to rape woman ( even if you don’t want to rape, but ravishing a woman who dont know how to said no is same as rape for me) when you can have vanilla sex between two willingful lovers?

    Maybe I’m a coward, but I rather be a coward than a rapist

  12. Safe, sane and consenual that is the mantra that people should follow. The act of ravishment is consenual if she desires it in her mind and communicates so. (whereas the act of rape is non consensual).

    I suggest a safe word.

    • Not buying it says:

      “Safe, sane & consensual that is the mantra that people should follow ” !!!!

      “Blah, blah & safe “, everybody with honest intentions knows that.

      the point here is role playing, ravishing or otherwise comes with great risk, more than any relationship is worth, it’s actually contradictory to (consent at every move & action during male & female interaction sexually ) , which is what understood to be the only accepted & approved interaction by (NOW), & many other feminist at large world wide.

  13. That is an unfortunate situation to be in. I have heard that for those sort of sexual role-play scenarios is it vital for both partners to discuss boundaries and the like beforehand. (Though perhaps that isn’t always possible?)

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