This is a comment by Jonathan G on the post “Me Jane, You Tarzan: The Politics of Sexual Polarity“.
“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.”
Photo credit: Flickr / Alaskan Dude