Just because your partner isn’t saying “no,” Hugo Schwyzer writes, it doesn’t mean it’s a “yes.”
Note: As with many articles about sexual violence, particularly those that include anecdotes, this may prove triggering for some.
“Sometimes I say ‘yes’ when I’d rather say ‘no.’”
It’s been nearly 25 years, but I can still remember the beautiful Berkeley fall afternoon when I heard those shattering words. Katie and I were sitting in a coffee shop just off campus. What had started as a “friends with benefits” situation had blossomed into a sophomore year romance with this dark-eyed dance-and-philosophy double-major. Katie and I had been sleeping together for more than two months—and saying “I love you” for about a week—when she summoned up the courage to bring up this one very painful truth.
At first, I didn’t know what she meant. She spoke so softly I had to lean across the table to hear her. “I don’t want to hurt your feelings,” she said, “but sometimes I really don’t want to have sex. Sometimes I do, but not as often as you want it. And sometimes I want to tell you ‘no,’ but I can’t bring myself to do it. So I try and send you signals, hoping you can just tell how I’m feeling. But that doesn’t work, so it’s… it’s just easier to say ‘yes’ or just say nothing at all.”
My face flushed. I felt nauseated. I thought instantly of the previous night, where we’d grabbed what I thought was a hot half-hour when my roommates were both gone. Katie had seemed so passionate when we’d been making out, but then gotten very quiet once all our clothes were off. I’d told myself she wanted to have one ear cocked for the sound of a key in the door. I hadn’t considered—or hadn’t wanted to consider—the more obvious possibility: she was trying to tell me that she didn’t want to have sex.
I looked out the window. I couldn’t meet Katie’s eyes. My gaze fixed in the distance, my voice trembling, I asked what seemed the only possible question: “Are you trying to tell me I raped you?”
I was in my first women’s studies course, and just the previous week we’d been reading about sexual violence and the law. In class, where I was one of only three men, I’d felt rage thinking about all of those cruel assholes who didn’t understand that “no means no.” But now a dark and unseen possibility was opening up: not every “no” could be spoken. Maybe, I realized, sometimes even a quiet “OK” could be a “no” in disguise.
Katie started to cry. “Oh God, Hugo. No. Not rape. It’s just… I wish you could tell the difference between when I really want you and when I’d just rather be held.” She began to cry harder. “Fuck. It’s all my fault,” she wept. “I can’t expect you to be a mindreader. I’m so sorry.”
I begged Katie not to apologize; the responsibility was all mine, I insisted. I came around to her side of the table and held her. But something had changed for both of us, and the relationship was never the same. The one time we tried to have sex after that conversation, we were both so tentative (and I had, not surprisingly, a difficult time getting hard) that we gave up halfway through. We broke up two weeks before Christmas.
Most “good guys” take a woman’s firm “No!” for an answer. (Those who don’t are best left to the ministrations of our criminal justice system.) But lots of men are like the guy I was at 19—assuming that while “no means no” anything short of a firm “no” is either a “yes” or a “keep at it, boy, because you just might get a ‘yes’ soon.” Call it male sexual legalism, the first rule of which is “All that is not expressly prohibited is assumed to be permitted.” That legalism can turn many men into accidental rapists.
While the legal standard of rape is increasingly well-defined (and what happened with Katie fell well short of that legal definition), common sense suggests that at its most basic, rape is nonconsensual sex. Too many of us, men and women alike, define consent as the absence of a clear “no,” rather than the presence of a clear, unmistakable, eager “yes.” The opposite of rape, in other words, is mutual enthusiasm.
The root of consent is the Latin consentire, which means “with feeling.” Consent is not just about words “no” or “yes”—it’s about the unambiguous presence of desire. That’s a very different and challenging standard. No, I didn’t legally rape Katie. But her reticence and my sexual legalism conspired to leave us having sex that at least some of the time fell well short of the standard of consent we should all want in our intimate lives.
I’m not putting all the blame on myself, or on men alone. It’s not fair to expect men to read minds, or even to perfectly intuit subtle body language. As I tell the teens with whom I work, a precondition for being ready for a sexual relationship is having the courage to say a firm “No” to the people you love. Overcoming the training to be an acquiescent people-pleaser is hard-but-necessary work, and because of the way we socialize girls, difficulty with saying “no” tends to be much more common among young women.
But guys have work to do also. Too many play what I call the stoplight game. Traffic signals, of course, have three colors: red for stop, yellow for caution, green for go. Good drivers are taught to stop on “red,” which functions as a “no.” But of course, even at the busiest urban intersections, no light stays red indefinitely. If you wait long enough at a stoplight, every red will become green. And when all we do is teach young men that “no means stop” when it comes to sexual boundaries, we often send them the message that if they just wait long enough (or pester, push, nag, beg, play passive-aggressive games) they’ll get the “green light” they’re so hungry for.
In both traffic and the bedroom, the most misunderstood light is yellow. Though driver’s ed classes teach that yellow means “slow down,” most of us see it as a warning to speed up to get through the intersection before the light turns red. Sexually speaking, the yellow means what it ought to mean on the road: “slow down, son.”
Most of us are good at saying “no” to something or someone we don’t like. Most (sadly, not all) find it easy to flash the red light at a creepy guy who doesn’t interest them at all. But it’s tougher to say “not yet, I’m not quite ready” or “slow down” or “maybe later” to someone to whom you’re genuinely attracted. Reflecting on the sex Katie and I had so often, I realized that she often felt rushed and pressured to go to intercourse every time. She knew how to tell me when she wasn’t in the mood to do anything sexual at all, which was when she could “flash the red light.” But on those not-infrequent occasions when she wanted to make out and “fool around” but nothing more—she had no vocabulary for that. And over and over again, I took her reticence as a sign to “try harder” rather than to slow down. The blame for that rested on both of us.
Determining what another person really wants isn’t as easy as it should be. It’s further complicated by the reality that many women (and more than a few men) want to make their partners feel good—even if they don’t desire sex itself. Distinguishing between the desire to be desired, the desire to please a partner, and the desire for sex itself isn’t easy for any of us. Sometimes we need to do more than talk about what we want—we also need to clarify for ourselves and our lovers why we want it. That’s not easy, but it’s essential. We deserve that clarity.
Katie and I lived on different sides of campus; we each walked home separately from that devastating conversation in the café. I remember the guilt and the sadness I felt on that walk, but I also remember the determination I felt. I liked sex—I loved sex—but I knew I’d rather never have it again than have it with someone who was only doing it to soothe me, to please me, or because she couldn’t find the words to say “no” or “not now.” To the best of my imperfect ability, even at my most promiscuous, I have sought to live up to that promise I made to myself on the long walk home through the Berkeley streets.
I knew I hadn’t committed any crime. But the sense of sadness—tinged with disgust—at what Katie and I had conspired to allow to happen made me feel very much like an accidental rapist. Years of working with other men around issues of consent and sexuality have taught me I’m not the only one to have felt those feelings.
We all deserve better.
Thanks. I really needed this tonight. Was thinking about some shitty stuff from my past, and this helped me put it in context.
trim down club
The Accidental Rapist — The Good Men Project
“he in retrospect — either while talking to her in the coffee shop or in that article here — ‘rapes’ her for making that explicit to him…” I disagree with this. The author seemed deeply shocked and aghast, sick in the pit of his stomach, to learn that his partner had not only not been enjoying but not wanting sex. Going back through the whole catalogue of sexual memories with a person and having to ask, “What about then? What about then? Should I have noticed this or taken that as a sign?” to me would warrant a sort of… Read more »
Yeah, well, there were times when my wife wanted to visit her family and I didn’t really feel like it, but I did it anyway. There have been times a girlfriend has wanted to go shopping while we were together and I didn’t really feel like it, but I did it anyway. Likewise, I know there have been things I’ve nonsexual things I’ve wanted to do that my wife or subsequent girlfriends didn’t want to do, but they did them anyway. A relationship–or, at least, a healthy or healthy enough relationship–is, in part, about compromising and occasionally giving in to… Read more »
Are you talking to me?
I just had to chime in and give a male perspective here. There have been plenty of times that I haven’t been in the mood for sex when a girlfriend did. What did I do? I’d have sex anyway, of course. Why? Well, if I love the woman, I want to give her pleasure. But there’s a second very important reason…..I don’t want to look like an emasculated wimp who can’t sexually please his partner There’s a ton of social pressure on men to be DTF 24/7 robotic f*ck machines. Don’t get me wrong…. I’m not complaining because I do… Read more »
I agree with smilingpistachio… it was rape, but only in his imagination or wishful thinking… She clearly wasn’t hot for him (at least at that time and place and in that situation) and he in retrospect — either while talking to her in the coffee shop or in that article here — “rapes” her for making that explicit to him… “maybe”, “ok” or no protest from a receptive partner often means just what it says: well, it wouldn’t be my greatest desire or fulfilment, but there is that natural or social pressure that sex is supposed to be fun etc.… Read more »
This article is yet another example of male-female rape being mansplained.
She: ‘No, I didn’t mean “rape”. What I’m trying to say is…’
He: ‘Darling, you don’t understand. Let me ‘splain to you: you were RAPED by me, although accidentally.’
Of course men should be more considerate of women and what they want. That being said however, this ex-girlfriend sounds like a very PATHETIC and WEAK people pleaser. A strong woman would be able to say to her partner (assuming he’s not threatening or coercing her), “Honey I’m not in the mood now.”
I take an issue with the part of the article that talks about men not being able to read body language-the fact to the matter is, that some men, for whatever reasons or scenarios, are desensitized to body language, NOT clueless or poor readers of body language: huge huge difference. If a woman tries to push a man off or cover herself and never says no or does not verbailize a no, it’s still rape, and this is something rape victims have to face. Women are raised in ways that bind them with invisible chains, very frequently emotionally abused and… Read more »
“The root of consent is the Latin consentire, which means “with feeling.” Consent is not just about words “no” or “yes”—it’s about the unambiguous presence of desire” 1. “consentire” is a verb, not an adverb, silly! 2. “consentio” and “consent” share a definition that “feeling” and “desire” are entirely absent from 3. “consentio” has another meaning which the english didn’t espouse: to plot, conspire. food for thought. 4. etymologically speaking, “consentio/ire” is of “con” (with) and “sentio/ire” (to hear, feel, or smell, ie. to sense). consentio does not mean “with feeling”, “with smelling” or “with hearing”. 5. if you don’t… Read more »
Powerful writing; thank you for sharing.
Why people still make use of to read news papers when in this technological world the whole thing is presented on net?
I’ve always told people that direct communication was way more practical than hints and body language.
And I was always met with the argument that people just should learn to read people better. And even though that is valid a LOT of misunderstandings could be avoided if we as people in relationships were more supportive of bluntly saying what is on your mind or heart.
@d’artagnan, also a lot of misunderstandings can be avoided if you *ask* what is on someone’s mind/heart.
One more thing. Responsibility for communication aside, there is still the subtle discourse operating that women are default people-pleasers, or should be. This makes it more difficult for them (us) to assert ourselves, whether that’s by enthusiastically engaging in sex (whore) or choosing to refuse it (prude, or cold). This seems to me to be the backdrop for this conversation. Once at least for myself I’ve addressed this tendency or expectation, I can feel freer to act as others have called for “woman” to do, with respect to speaking up.
I really enjoyed reading this article. I was raped by man who was and still is my best friend and I plan to this show him. My hope is that he might find some comfort and closure in realizing that he’s not the only person out there who has “accidentally raped” someone they cared about. I’d like to make clear that legitimizing a category of rape under the title-veil of “Accidental Rape” is not okay. Attempting to legitimize what really is and isnt rape is to go forth with the underlying assumption that women and their experiences are not to… Read more »
@ Lora Hughes
You were & still are best friend with a man you believe that had raped you.!!!
There is something wrong with that, specially when you are able to talk & show him this article to inform him that he raped you & hopefully he will find some comfort & closure in this article since he is not the only rapist. !!!hmmm.
There is something wrong with that & if you can’t see it then understanding what constitute the definition of rape is the least of your problems.
Hey, not buying it: language is messy. I think what Lora was saying is in her case it was accidental rape, i.e. nonconsensual but also somehow at the time unclear.
Also, please, no need to attack. Especially in this sort of conversation.
People stick by others n forgive them for all sorts of crimes n wrongs. Cheating, rape, abuse, it’s up to the victim to decide for themselves who they want to know. Rape is a serious crime but from the sounds of it the rapist had no intention of raping, a fuckup in communication? I class people like that far different to people who willingly know they are raping. You can accidentally rape someone if you’ve both been drinking and the alcohol kicks in during sex for your partner past the point they’re able to consent, and reading various blogs there… Read more »
I was sexually assaulted by my boyfriend and we are still together. It required a lot of work and time to fix things, and we still have issues over it sometimes, but every survivor’s story is different. Please don’t generalize or accuse.
Did you really learn your lesson, Hugo? Did you really, truly understand that many women, particularly young women, have a difficult time articulating their boundaries, comfort levels, and consent, especially given the enormous pressures placed on them by society and by ignorant young men? You claim to have learned from your sophomore experiences. But didn’t you (by your own admission) to continue to sleep with co-eds long after you were made a professor? What is your excuse there? Did you not also admit to having sex with a women clearly not in a position to give consent- you know, that… Read more »
See, here’s the thing. I’ve been the girlfriend in this situation, and I will be the first to say – I should have spoken up. It is NOT the man’s exclusive fault, and it is NOT rape. But, as Hugo rightly points out, that doesn’t make it right or healthy. What I think is basically being said here is that women are told, even today, to basically “lie back and think of England.” Literally every facet of society tells me that I owe my boyfriend sex, just like how every facet of society tells my boyfriend that he owes me… Read more »
What we have is some partners who do not want to say no to sex, but want to imply it and be assured they are understood. I think it is more a case of poor communication than accidental rape. Considering consent can only be given by an emotionally mature person, perhaps these partners should not be engaging in sex until they can make plain what they do or do not want.
Isn’t what he did classed as coersion?
Your situation is a complicated one because it was her responsibility to give an answer, though it is in both party’s responsibility to pay attention to what their partner needs/desires instead of being blinded by their own. I had a boyfriend that didn’t listen to “Not tonight, please. Can we just ___ because I love spending time with you.” He laughed and said, “C’mon” or turned it around to manipulate me, saying I obviously wasn’t attracted to him and what could he do different. Even if I explained that it wasn’t a problem of attraction, it wasn’t something I wanted… Read more »
Rape doesn’t leave room for an option. Rape doesn’t give you the chance to say yes or no. Your girlfriend had the opportunity to say yes or no, but refused to act. You aren’t an accidental rapist. You did not accidentally rape her.
Samantha, WTH are you talking about? You people with your simple-minded concept of what “rape” should be annoy the hell out of me. You are not allies, you are assholes who deserve to be put in your pretentious corner. The author most certainly did rape her when he decided paying attention to her “NO” wasn’t an option therefore removing her option to not have sex with him. That’s rape, genius! She didn’t want to have sex and she didn’t act as if she did either hence your “refused to act” comment is nothing more than a bunch of victim-shaming BULL.… Read more »
pops, As a chronic people-pleaser who’s been in the author’s girlfriend’s shoes, I have to agree with Samantha on this point. If a woman is actively reciprocating, deliberately making the decision to continue having sex, it just plain isn’t fair to give all the blame to the guy. You can’t say “she wasn’t being enthusiastic in reciprocating, so she obviously didn’t want it.” What counts as enthusiasm? Does she have to be porn-star-moaning before it’s consent? Does she have to be smiling? What if she fakes both of those things in an attempt to please the guy? Labeling him a… Read more »
No, this concept of checking if your partner(s) is into everything that’s going on is not just reserved for men, so there goes your straw-feminist tropes. The idea of “enthusiastic consent” is for all partners to ensure that people they’re with are enthusiastically consenting/continuing to consent to everything that’s being done.
Six months later, this blogpost is still compelling. I consider myself a feminist. Feminism is nothing if it does not empower women to speak the truth, and then expect or demand they do so. Goodguys are not at fault for their actions when their partners fall short of clear communication. Yes, of course, nonverbal communication is non-trivial, and on occasion can be quite clear. Most of the time, however, nonverbal channels suggest rather than state. They generate hypotheses rather than certainties. In my own opinion, for what it’s worth, Hugo’s guilt is unjustified, yet it reveals a subtle gender bias:… Read more »
This is about becoming more in tune with your partner in general. Instead of assuming nothing but screaming a panicked no at the top of her lungs is a yes, asking her if you’re unsure. Being aware of negative or less enthusiastic changes in body language when you move on to new forms of affection. Communication on both ends. What goes against biology is the assumption that someone is always interested in sex at all times. Cycles of increased and decreased sexual interest is a well documented phenomenon that happens depending on ovulation, age, health factors, stress brought on by… Read more »
What I should have clarified is in her eyes I am nothing but a paycheck. When we were first married we seemed to have all those things, but it seemed to decline until we are at this point now. I treat her with respect, but the rejection of affection is so painful. We have children,so I don’t want to divorce. Perhaps her condition is medical. I don’t know. Thanks for the advice.
This is crazy. Look, when I married my husband I consented to being sexually available to him at all times (barring injury, illness, etc). There is no, “I didn’t feel like having sex but did it anyway and now I feel used.” He is absolutely entitled to any part of my body at any time, and I fully consented to this when I let him slip the ring on my finger. It’s a permanent, one-time-accounts-for-all-future instances consent. I don’t give it then take it back as I choose. Likewise my husband gave full present-and-future consent to provide for me. Can… Read more »
Whoa…..that sounds suspiciously like him paying you to use your body or some kind of BDSM arrangement ;0. Relax relax…I’m using hyperbole here and certainly not actually accusing of of that but it was my first reaction. When people get married they aren’t giving full and total consent for either person to pay for things or to give it up sexually unless they specifically negotiate that. What they are doing (generally) is choosing to live a life together as partners. They support each other in many ways, including monetarily which means that if one partner cannot earn money for some… Read more »
Well, I’ve been with the same woman for 18 years. We have sex when we both feel like it- she doesn’t own my body, or I hers. Less quantity but DEFINITELY more quality when both want it rather than just “going along with it”. As far as money goes, well . . . whichever of us has more money helps out the other. We’ve kept note of who’s helped out when- some times I’ve owed her, other times she’s owed me. Reason for that is that we trust the other to be in a state where we can pay it… Read more »
“He is absolutely entitled to any part of my body at any time, and I fully consented to this when I let him slip the ring on my finger. It’s a permanent, one-time-accounts-for-all-future instances consent.”
That is a disgusting argument. So you no longer have any agency because you’re married? Please, let’s go back to the 10th century when that was normal. Put yourself in the shoes of a woman who MARRIED and abusive man and then try to imagine telling her that she was consenting when he held her down or threatened to beat her.
Just because you feel this way about your own relationship does not mean you should speak for all women. Please stop trying to elevate yourself and impress men by bringing down other women. It’s a tacky and obvious ploy for male approval and a glaring example of low self-esteem, probably brought on by being convinced you should be subservient to men all of your life. If you choose to be in a relationship were your body is used like a sex toy that is your business, but you are condoning the rape of thousands of women who are not ok… Read more »
My wife and I haven’t had sex in over a year. I have asked her what,if anything,I can do to change this. I am kind and thoughtful. I give her back massages and treat her well. Last month she told me it wasn’t my fault , and she has never had a big sex drive. I have never,nor will ever, force her, but I don’t think I should be forced to become a catholic priest either. The pain and hurt of this is almost unbearable for me. I am nothing but a paycheck.
The lack of or diminishment of a sex drive does not in any way mean that you are only a paycheck to your wife. That would imply that the absolute only reason that you married her was for sex. I would assume (I would hope) that rather you two decided to get married out of mutual love, regard, and affection. If there is a medical reason for your wife’s low sex drive, she should see a doctor. In any case, you two should probably see counseling, perhaps both separately as well as with a couples therapist, potentially with a sex… Read more »
“That would imply that the absolute only reason that you married her was for sex.”
Sex is a normal, regular, and important part of a married relationship. Your comment was a shamming response for JJ to tolerate his wife’s neglect and disregard for him. If the woman lacked a sex drive she should have let him know that upfront. JJ could have been happily married to a woman who sexually connected with him.
I wrote JJ when I meant to write jonw1.
But saying that she only married him for the money is comparable to only marrying her for sex. Him commenting here behind her back about something that is a legitimate physical issue is neglectful to her and disregards her feelings. We don’t know all of the circumstances like their age, years of marriage, etc. But if she is old enough, it’s common for women to lose their sex drive and when it wasn’t on warp speed before (but apparently still satisfying for him), how can anyone expect it to still be on that level when that changes? Does sex make… Read more »
If your wife has no medical or psychological reason for not having sex with you, then you should tell her that if she cannot change, then you will have to get it elsewhere.
I understand. It seems as if she doesn’t regard sex as a valid part of the reason to get and stay married. You are an adult man and you are entitled to enjoy physical passion with a wife or female partner. I would discretely speak with a qualified male divorce attorney and a male therapist to help coach you through this time. Ignore those comments from any woman trying to manipulate and shame you that your complaining about the lack of sex suggests you only married her for sex.
Nobody is entitled to sex with anyone. That is completely false. You are entitled to pleasure yourself and anything beyond that is up to what another person wants to give you. Using the word entitled is making you sound like a rapist so I suggest you choose your words more wisely.
He may not be entitled, but a wife does have a responsibility to TRY engage their partner in all aspects where necessary for a decent relationship, including sex (and yes the husband too). People who are dating should be trying to keep the passion alive, if you purposely continually avoid intimacy (apart from health issues) with your partner then you quite frankly don’t deserve a partner.
Whoa. Wait, are you the same Archy who was insisting forever that women are the invisible giants on the partner-abuse scale? And now you say this? Nobody has a right to sex from anyone else. Nobody. When you marry, you don’t sign a contract saying “I will ignore my own body and needs and allow the guy to stick his willy inside me and grunt away and come as often as is statistically usual in marriage. Also, I will help him feel good about doing so even if I’m miserable about it and want to kill myself afterwards. If I… Read more »
“Yeegh. So glad I’ve got a boyfriend who takes these things for granted. I can’t believe we still have to debate things that are this obvious and fundamental. Or that men who claim victimhood all the time are still willing to get on message boards and try to shame married women for not feeling horny (or at least faking it). Shame on you.” Yes I am so glad to have you misread my comment and then try shame me for it whilst being dismissive of male victimization, and insult me because I speak the truth that men too suffer domestic… Read more »
I know that many of the commenters feel like you are being over dramatic, but speaking from your girlfriends perspective I can completely relate to this article and I’ve been looking everywhere for another person who was able to put into words how I felt so thank you for doing that. I am 20 now, but I was 19 like you when a similar thing happened to me. It was with my first boyfriend (I was his first also) and he had a bad habit of pressuring me until I gave in because he knew full well that I hated… Read more »
Well Rainy day, there’s a big difference between repeatedly pressuring someone and simply not noticing that she isn’t into it.
How so? Both take not caring enough about what your partner wants to put their need to not have sex above your desire to have sex. If you’ve started having sex with someone who didn’t even have the opportunity to turn you down there is a gigantic problem there.
This is textbook abusive behavior in all honesty. He’s not just a jerk, but an abusive boyfriend. This isn’t behavior to shrug off.
The motto of only yes is yes is a starting point for learning how to sexually or generally communicate boundaries. But “The opposite of rape, in other words, is mutual enthusiasm.” is a useful guide as well. If you don’t feel free to give a no, or a slow down, there is an accumulating trauma. No, it’s not nasty words and broken bottle at your neck Rape, but that doesn’t mean it’s not violation. It’s a different situation than a power gambit of violence to intimidate but it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t cause pain and fear and isolation and… Read more »
But if a man initiates sexual interaction with a woman and the woman reciprocates and gives no indication that she does not want it, then how is a man supposed to know she does not want to do it? Are you suggesting that men should never initiate sexual interactions with women and should always wait for the women to do it? Then what about men, couldn’t a man not want it and go along with it anyways? Good luck trying to convince any woman that she is an “accidental rapist” for making the moves on a guy without him doing… Read more »
A woman who doesn’t want sex always gives an indication. Does it take a loud, angry “Get off me, I don’t want to,” to get it across to you, or would her lying there unhappily not clue you in?
I actually HAVE tried to initiate sex when my boyfriend didn’t want to. I asked him if he didn’t want to, he said he wasn’t really feeling it, and I backed off. What’s to stop men from doing that too?
If men backed off any time the woman looked the least bit disinterested there would be hardly any sex after marriage. What about wives who give their husbands vouchers for sex a few times a month, are they selling themselves into sexual slavery? And if so wouldn’t that sort of minimize the horror and the trauma of actual sex trafficking?
How long do you wait after backing off? Are you allowed to try seduce them/foreplay n try get them in the mood or are you mean to call it quits for the night? I’ve heard many say they want more foreplay but if she isn’t interested in sex then wouldn’t initiating foreplay be pushing her?
How about you ask her that? I can’t give you a definitive timeline because I am not every woman and not every situation is the same. So if you really want to know, ask. “Is this a no to sex but making out is cool? Do you want me to get you in the mood or is it out of the question tonight? ” There are a whole lot of ways YOU can communicate to ease your confusion and she’ll probably appreciate that you actually give enough shits to not make assumptions.
But you don’t see that, when you fail to put your foot down, express your actual feelings, and silently acquiesce to being fucked, the violation is self-imposed? You’re putting your self-possession in the hands of another person, instead of taking responsibility for it yourself. If you can’t be expected to do that much, then the central tenet of feminism (that women are equal to men) is false; you’re barely a step above children, and the relationship is not one of equals, but of stewardship by men.
Women are equal to men, but feminists acknowledge that women are socialized to be people-pleasers and that it takes time to overcome the programming that tells you you’re a “bitch” if you express what you want. But I suspect that you’re just trolling because you don’t believe in equality anyway.
“Women are equal to men, but feminists acknowledge that women are socialized to be people-pleasers and that it takes time to overcome the programming that tells you you’re a “bitch” if you express what you want.” Wait, what? How does that make them equal? Are you implying women are coerced into actions more than men in regards to sex? Society is raising women to purposely please their men to the point it’s against their wishes? Wouldn’t that mean men have more agency unless men are also raised to be people pleasers? There is a comment here about young women being… Read more »
It is up to the person to ensure that they are not violating their partner and not the other way around just as it is up to any other criminal to ensure they are not committing a crime and not the victim to make sure a crime is not committed against them. It is never ok to assume someone is ok with something because it’s too easy to let what you want color your idea of what they might want. It’s better safe than sorry to ask them questions if you’re unsure. And don’t equate the idea of faking an… Read more »
But you don’t see that, when you fail to pay attention to her tentative/cold/negative body language when you go from fooling around to initiating sex, ask her questions when you’re not sure what she wants, and decide what she wants for her, the title of rapist is self-imposed? You’re putting your identity as a kind and decent non-criminal in the hands of what your dick is saying, instead of taking responsibility for it yourself. If you can’t be expected to do that much, then the central tenet of egalitarianism (that men are equal to women) is false; you’re barely a… Read more »
“If you don’t feel free to give a no, or a slow down, there is an accumulating trauma. No, it’s not nasty words and broken bottle at your neck Rape, but that doesn’t mean it’s not violation”.
If anyone violated the ‘woman’ in your example it is the woman herself and not the man. If a woman feels dirty and wrong for masturbating herself does that mean her hand violated her? Obviously many women including yourself need to grow up and start being accountable for your own decisions and actions.
Your argument is pathetic. If a man can’t be bothered to fucking ASK if his partner is interested in sex, he is behaving like a child who just wants what he wants, everyone else be damned. And it sure is the man who does the violating when he pays no attention to the feelings of the person he is physically invading. Obviously many men including yourself need to grow up and start being accountable for your own decisions and actions.
Yeah, the man’s being oblivious, but is the woman not also behaving immaturely by failing to speak up for herself? If she plays along, kissing and spreading her legs, and can’t even be bothered to open her mouth and say “not in the mood, honey,” should she not be held accountable for her own actions?
I say this as a woman who’s often been in this position. Literally all it takes to prevent your own “violation” is a simple “Not tonight.”
Exactly, Kat. What he’s describing is the very definition of a bully and he wants the bullied person to take responsibility! I’m loving Hannah’s and your replies; so patient.
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