This is a comment by Æther on the post “I Thought You Were Like a Ken Doll“.
“Daniel, I’m sorry your friends are embarrassing you like this. I’m also sorry for this other guy who’s telling you you’re basically less of a man for not sticking up for yourself. That takes practice. Being born with testicles doesn’t mean you were born with the innate knowledge & skill set to effectively “shut people down” who are violating you. That is a learned skill. It’s not right for your friends to grill you in public (or private) when it makes you so uncomfortable. They are most likely acting from inexperience. You absolutely do not have to just sit & be embarrassed by anyone through any social gathering. You are still young, and I’d say it’s very “normal” for a man to not have chosen or have had the right-for-them opportunity to have sex yet. Don’t let their ignorance or inexperience shape your self-esteem.
“The first step to having the kind of sex you do or do not want is being able to know & speak aloud your desires & boundaries. It’s awkward & takes practice, but gets easier with time. This is a perfect opportunity to practice this with your close, platonic girlfriends when they start going outside of your comfort zones of conversation regarding your sexuality. When you’re ready to pursue a relationship & sex, you’ll have some practice with talking about what you want & when to say ‘Yes!’ or ‘No, thank you.’ or ‘not right now, maybe later.’
“There are few things in life that need to happen right in the moment. Except for talking about running from a fire or other emergency, there is little need to have any conversation you’re not comfortable having whenever someone is pressing. All time-outs & postponements are completely legal. Here is a good formula for speaking your desires & saying ‘No,’ without too much shaming or invalidation of your friends if, ‘I can’t talk about this now. We can talk about this later, maybe.’ doesn’t work. This ‘formula’ is scalable for asking for just about anything or saying ‘no.’
- Describe the situation, & express your feelings.
- State what you want or say, ‘No.’
- Validate their side & their feelings.
- State consequences, if any, if they don’t do what you ask or respect your ‘No.’
- Offer a compromise if one of your objectives is keeping the relationship.
“Here’s a possible script of that: ‘Your talking about my sex life in public makes me uncomfortable & needs stop. I can tell you’re trying to be my friends by being curious & hoping for good things for me, but the way you’re going about it is not demonstrating respect for me, my feelings, or my privacy. What you just said about me being a Ken doll is frankly nasty & hurt my feelings. I don’t think that’s your intention. If you can’t keep these topics to private spaces, I’m not going to want to keep going to lunch with you, or continue to feel comfortable sharing anything personal with you. Now, tell me about [change the topic immediately.]’ or whatever you think you need to do to get them to understand that they are crossing the line with you.
“If they attempt to ask more or an explanation, be strong and don’t answer. If your friends are not interested in caring about interacting in a way that is caring, compassionate, & in consideration of your feelings, then you’re hanging with the wrong people. This may be very hard to do at first, but I promise afterwards, you’ll feel good about standing up for yourself and speaking your truth … and the opposite sex appreciates someone who will stand up and say, ‘No.’
“Your sexual activity does not make you a man. Things like compassion, honor, & honesty do. You may be telling yourself that you don’t want to pursue a relationship, but you also say you were possibly interested in one of these women. I wouldn’t want to pursue a relationship if I were constantly fearful of being grilled by my peers about things I didn’t necessarily want to talk about. Stick to your personal values & hang with people who are considerate of you. You’ll start to attract the kind of potential partners you’d like.”
Photo credit: Flickr / prayitno