Savage Love Letter of the Day: Grindr Etiquette!

Comments

1
Last paragraph makes me think Dan needs a younger guy to explain his grindr convos to him. You can send me a screen shot anytime, Dan. Crowdsource it. We'll keep you sounding fresh. For science, obvi.
2
FFS, if 20 minutes of chatting without the immediate payoff of dick pisses off a dude, he is a shitburger. I am a straight lady and dudes will sometimes unmatch me immediately if I'm not up for a quick hook up. I have dudes who want to chat for hours before even going on a date. As long as no one treats me like shit for having, ya know, preferences, I do not care. I can unmatch too. It's Grindr (or in my case Tinder). Don't be a fucking douchebag and that means don't pout and whine if a guy (or chick) won't bone you. Not just within 20 minutes, but ya know, in general.
3
Hear hear NotYourMom @2. Gosh I recently joined a dating site for the first time ever, one known for it's hookup culture, because I am newly single after a LTR and I wanted to find a casual sexual partner. What a steep learning curve! I had no clue that people actually met and fucked with no preliminaries whatsoever and was so shocked that some guys on the site got angry when I wasn't up for that. Not even meeting for a drink! Some of them were so pushy even when I laid it out really clear that I wanted to meet socially before deciding on the sex part. I was so close to deleting my profile. But I persevered and last night had a date that was really fun AND led to awesome sex, and it even looks like we will meet up again soon. So don't give up - there's bound to be someone who wants the same thing as you.
4
NotYourMom @2/Sandwiches @3: Maybe you're using the wrong app. Grindr and Tinder are specifically for hookups -- but agreed, even hookups should have a "let's meet and see if there is chemistry" allowance. NYM, I've had some good luck with OKCupid, which lets you specify whether you're looking for casual sex, short- or long-term relationships. But yeah, a lot of people think those sites are basically there for ordering women up like a pizza. Human beings don't work that way. Block liberally!
5
@BiDanFan I have been on Tinder for four years. I have had casual dates, casual sex, men who wanted to explore a relationship, men who didn't want to go anywhere near that. Wanting to get a drink before having sex is not an out of bounds request even on a hook up app. But being an asshole to someone who doesn't immediately get naked on request is bullshit.
6
@BiDanFan I just committed the cardinal sin of commenting. I didn't read all the way through your comment. I totally agree with what you said. The funny thing is that I've actually had a better experience with Tinder than OKC. I do believe that apps are what you make of them. I'm going on my fifth date with a man I met on Tinder a couple of months ago and we've literally just kissed. He hasn't even touched my boob yet! (I might be getting impatient 🤓)
7
@6. Have fun, hope you get to 2nd! 👍
8
Did I read this correctly? Because it looks like this to me:

LW: Guys have been asshats to me. One accused me of robbing him of 20 whole minutes of his probably 86-year life. Is this somehow my fault?

Dan: Yes, it is your fault because you never said in your profile that you might want to establish a basic human relationship-interaction before having sex with a stranger whose torso you have seen for a minute or two.

First of all: Dan, did you edit something out of the original letter about the way this lw writes his profile? Because I can't tell what he did or didn't say in it based on the letter as it appears here. Unless you know something more than we do, I don't think you can reliably assume you know how the lw expressed himself in his profile.

You're implying he is baiting and switching, and you're doing him a disservice. This is kind of in keeping with your recent Lovecast question about a woman feeling pressured to get a man off because even though she is not sexually interested in him, she thinks she might owe it to him since he wore her down with his persistence and she happened to have an orgasm. You decided that there were only two things that could be: a pity fuck or a fear fuck. Then you implied that yeah, good etiquette dictates that unless you're being violently raped or have sex because you're afraid might be, if someone gets you off, you really should reciprocate. It's inconsiderate not to.

You seem to be not seeing a lot of nuance in the world lately, I guess is my point. Or you're sort of aligning yourself with some thinking that is prevalent in a rape culture.
9
@8 nocutename

I read it more as "no, you're not wrong, but here are some tips that might help you avoid this situation in the future."
10
BiDanFan I enjoy our discussions because, although they may become passionate, they don't become abusive. I suspect that is because neither of us claim to be infallible fonts of all wisdom. LMAO (unlike DJT ITMFA) Only the insane never question their own sanity, just the sanity of others
11
NYM @6: Apology accepted. I've never been on Tinder, but I do know people who've found relationships through that app. Don't forget that hookups can lead to second hookups, can lead to relationships, can lead to marriage -- there's not a mutual exclusion.

Nocute @8: I agree that Dan seemed to jump to an unsupported conclusion that LW's profile did not say he wasn't looking for immediate hookups. But I've obviously never been on Grindr, so I decided to defer to Dan's superior knowledge of that particular app. (Perhaps LW did send Dan his profile link; who knows?)

Skeptic @10: Indeed, we have approached our discussions on the basis of "Here is a different perspective," rather than "Your perspective is wrong."
12
@9 Yeah, but the subtext that @8 is writing about is still there.
13
@4 Tinder stopped being a hook-up app a long time ago. OKCupid's been bleeding since they were bought out by Match which was what, 7 years ago now? It's passe. It's Flickr, Yahoo, etc. You're "average" young urban person who wants a relly is swiping.
14
Traffic Spiral @9 and BiDanFan @11: I've never been on Grindr either, but Dan's etiquette lesson comes complete with these phrases: "if you're not clear in your profile about what you're doing there, TORSO, guys who are looking for a quick hookup on that hookup app could be annoyed and justifiably so. (The time and energy he sunk into you? Could've sunk that into someone looking for right now.)," and "be prepared for some guys to rightly call you an asshole if you're not clear that you're only there to chat. (Or, hell, even if you are—not everyone reads the profiles. So mention it right away.)"

Someone on a hookup app can "rightly call you an asshole" if you want to get to know them a bit before having sex? I don't know. That doesn't sound right to me.

I guess it was this coupled with Dan's response on episode 550 of the Lovecast from May 9. The caller tells him about some unwilling sex she had: "Basically, feeling coerced into sex by being given an orgasm . . . I made it really clear that . . . I was not interested in moving any further and after a few times of saying, 'no,' I relented and allowed him to give me a really great orgasm . . . I felt obligated to do the same for him, and I did. I didn't want to in the first place, but I felt like it would have been wrong if I'd gotten away with an orgasm and he didn't. . . I was wondering if this was a tactic?"
Dan starts by making it clear that there are only two kinds of sex beyond total mutually consented-to, equally wanted sex: the pity fuck and the fear fuck. Then he says that if it's not rape--which is what a "fear fuck" would be, I guess--"the social compact" dictates that you should reciprocate an orgasm for an orgasm: "Pity fuck, fear fuck: two different things. You don't say . . . whether this was a pity-fuck consent or a fear-fuck consent. Sounds though, like it was a pity-fuck consent. And therefore in my estimation, although he persisted and he asked again and again and he should have taken 'no' for an answer in the first place, it wasn't rape, you weren't raped. You had sex with this dude. You allowed him to get you off. And then the question becomes: are you obligated after someone gets you off to get them off, and the answer is 'yeah, kinda.' Somebody gets you off, you should return the favor. You don't have to return the favor, you can say, 'I'd rather not,' but that's kind of a dick move. . . . you allowed him to get you off and then he had a reasonable expectation that you would get him off in return."

So my question is, why is it only okay to not demand someone work to get someone else off if it happens in the context of fear of violent rape? Dan's two distinctions of unwanted sex as "pity fucks" and "fear fucks" leaves out the kind of sex that happens in many instances of date or acquaintance rape, which is when consent is given under coercion. The coercion occurs as a wearing-down, someone who won't stop. It's not that you're scared you'll be raped violently, and you don't feel sorry for the guy; it's that you just want him to go away and just letting him get what he wants seems like the most expedient way to do that. Or you're afraid of being thought of as a prude or sex-negative. Under Dan's reasoning, if that scenario occurred and the woman didn't have an orgasm, she wouldn't have to be obligated to get the man off. But since she did come, she owes him one, lest she be considered to have committed a dick move. To be fair, Dan acknowledged that the guy's pressuring her relentlessly was also a dick move, and allowed her to reciprocate one dick move with another, but then he doubled back to his reciprocal orgasm rule of etiquette.

It seems to me that in both these cases, Dan's etiquette says that the person who wants sex with a more unwilling partner is in the right to expect to get what he wants and is justified in sulking if he doesn't. That is a feature of rape culture.
14
I think most every app has a variety of users looking for a variety of things. There may be subtle differences in the overall trend of certain apps, but anywhere there are a variety of people, there are a variety of motivations. I've met people on Tinder looking for virtual sex, ONS, occasional hookups, ongoing FWB, casual dating, monogamy, threesomes, group play partners, additional non-monogamous partner, secret affair partner, LTR and marriage.

I agree with Dan that it's best to put preferences in the profile, unless the person considers that information private and sensitive for whatever reason. Not to excuse people shaming the guy for "wasting their time" as that's obviously shitty behavior, but to set expectations for the benefit of both parties.
15
@14: futureatlady, I agree with you and Dan that it's always best to put preferences of all kinds upfront in your profile. I also believe people should include any disclosures that might predictably make themselves dealbreakers to many people.

Again, the lw didn't say anything that led me to believe that he was hinting or declaring he was looking for an immediate hookup within the hour, only to be "rightfully called an asshole" if he didn't follow through. I mean, maybe he did, but we don't know. Even if he did imply in his ad that he was up for immediate sex, isn't he allowed, after chatting for 20 minutes, to want to still take more time to get the know the guy, maybe meet in public first for both safety reasons and to ascertain if there's a mutual attraction in person?
16
Nocute @13: Thanks for elaborating, I don't listen to the Lovecasts (maybe I should) but yeah, I completely disagree with that. If some guy is badgering a woman for any kind of sex -- even, presumably, to let him give her oral sex, is my reading -- then he's being a rapey douchenozzle, and if he then demands an orgasm in return, he's being a double rapey douchenozzle. He was banking on women's learned tendency to always be polite and never say "no." All I can say is I hope she liberally used her teeth.

I also agree with you that it seems unfair to imply that 20 minutes of conversation before saying "I don't commit to first-date sex, sight unseen" is an "asshole move." Surely SOME Grindr users are a bit more circumspect. I also don't see how this LW baited and switched. And I also don't think it should be assumed that anyone on a hookup app at 2am necessarily wants to meet right then -- they might be looking for a j/o buddy, for instance.

No one is ever obligated to put out, I think is the point Dan is missing here.
17
Nocute @15: Even stating on one's profile that one is looking for casual sex should not imply to anyone in particular that one looking for casual sex with them. People are still allowed to be choosy.
18
"And therefore in my estimation, although he persisted and he asked again and again and he should have taken 'no' for an answer in the first place, it wasn't rape, you weren't raped."

Uh... then what exactly is the definition of rape? To me, it's "not taking no for an answer."
19
@16, 17, 18: BiFanDan, YES, exactly. Spot on.
20
@16 this puts you in an interesting position on the topic of Reciprocal Oral.
21
Nocute @19: Re-reading Dan's Grindr advice, there are a lot of "ifs" in there, but it definitely reads as though the "ifs" are more like "givens."

Sportlandia @20: Dare I ask you to elaborate?
The issue I see in this situation is not "reciprocal oral," it's "reciprocal douchebaggery." If the guy was douchey enough to coerce this woman into receiving oral, she's entitled to play a douche card and refuse to reciprocate. This is not a situation where oral was freely offered and gratefully accepted. This guy was not playing fair.

And at any rate, I believe there are exceptions to a general orgasm-for-an-orgasm etiquette guideline. If Person A is tired and Person B takes forever to come, then possibly Person A should decline Person B's offer of oral, but is not necessarily obligated to trade five minutes of oral for an hour of reciprocation. Some people are just an impracticable amount of work -- and those people should understand that and cut their sore-jawed/tongued partners some slack.
22
18-BiDan
Can I have your car?
No.
Please, can't I?
No.
I really want it. I'll give you $5
I am not giving you my car for $5. No.
Oh, c'mon.
No. I am not giving away my car.
Why not?
I don't want to. It's mine. No.
Please, please, please, with a cherry on top?
No.
I'll be your best friend.
Oh, okay, anything so you'll shut up. Here's my car. I'll have the papers drawn up to transfer the title to you.
Gee thanks.
(Legal transfer of title is done at the Department of Motor Vehicles.)
Hey! He STOLE my car!

My point: Constant whining, begging, cajoling, and asking for sex does not make one a rapist. That merely makes one obnoxious. There needs to be a threat of harm or force or the reasonable fear that one is being coerced, not worn down. If she had the option of getting up, putting on her clothes, and walking away, it's not rape.
23
Online, everyone has their own rules, and you would be surprised how adamant they can be that their personal rules are somehow universal. For example, I had a woman give me her number, and then when I called the next day told me she couldn't speak. When I called a few days later, she yelled at me for not sending her a text message first, to see whether she would be free to speak at that time, and told me how embarrassing it must be for me to have to be told this before hanging up on me. On Tinder, I've had women not want to meet after texting back-and-forth for a couple of days. On OkCupid, some women want an extended exchange of email before getting asked out, while others lose interest if they are not asked out immediately after an initial exchange of email. In taking things offline, some women want to speak first before meeting, others refuse to give out their number without meeting a couple of times.

My belief is that if you have your own personal rules, you should be as clear about those as possible, and up front about them. If you want to enforce some rule known only to you, that doesn't conform to very basic social convention, that you're understanding if your rule is violated. Lastly, if you're on the receiving end of someone's abuse because you violated their personal rule, block them and move on.

That said, I find it immanently reasonable to want to chat a bit first before having sex. However, I cannot speak about Grindr or gay hookup culture, which may a different set of social conventions than may be the case among heterosexuals.

I did not read or listen to the story about the woman hectored into receiving oral sex, but badging someone into letting you put your mouth on their genitals is gross. Thereafter, demanding oral sex because you made them orgasms is that much worse. It's a bit like the story of Pluto and Persephone, but with oral sex instead of a kernel of corn.
24
So it sounds as though neither BiDanFan or SublimeAfterglow listens to the podcast. The episode is here: http://www.savagelovecast.com/episodes/5… and that call starts at the 30.25 mark.
25
Fichu @22: Does "Oh, okay, anything so you'll shut up" sound like consent to you?
It doesn't to me.
26
Sublime @23: Yelling at you may have been wrong, but I'm kind of on the woman's side with the "text first to ask whether it's okay to call" rule. That's why god invented texting. (I've just been through this with an acquaintance who just CALLS ME in spite of my having asked him to NOT JUST CALL ME. Arrrgh! In my case, though, when I saw it was him calling I just let it ring and then texted to say "please don't call me." But if she didn't have your number stored, I can see why she picked up.)

I agree, though, that one must articulate one's "rules" politely instead of playing guessing games. There's also the point that compatible communication styles are important, and someone who likes to chat endlessly is unlikely to be a good match for someone whose preference is to limit phone calls to "When are we meeting? See you then."
27
I can't see how there can rightly be a symmetrical obligation of reciprocity in sex. It sounds like some baroque ritual or Masonic handshake. Generally, yes, there will be reciprocity and fairness, because relationships are negotiated, and no one should freely put up with a bad deal long-term. But an exact tit-for-that? Why get hung up on that detail?
28
25-- We've identified the pinpoint of our difference in opinion. To me "anything to shut you up" is consent because someone talking at me when I have the option of walking away, hanging up the phone or otherwise ending the conversation doesn't constitute a credible threat. Mind you, anyone who would do such a thing is still an obnoxious jerk, but he's not a rapist.
29
Fichu @28: "Anything to shut you up" in a sexual sense is not completely separate from feeling threatened, though. Particularly when male/female dynamics are at play. If a woman has said "no" verbally several times, and that "no" has not been accepted, she is not really given free choice, is she? He is probably larger and stronger than she is, and she has been socialised to always be agreeable and "nice" to men. If he's verbally escalating, how does she know it will stay verbal? Perhaps she gives in because she's afraid future requests will, in fact, be accompanied by force. Or perhaps he has her "cornered" in some way, for instance, at his place without a ride home. If it's woman/man pressuring, as some of our male commenters have said, perhaps they give in because they fear the woman will tell all of their mutual friends he was gay or impotent. These are real fears and they cannot be discounted when trying to calculate the coercion factor.

Bowing to pressure may not meet the legal requirement for rape -- which is why so few victims report this kind of assault -- but trust me, browbeating someone for sex and not giving them a viable option to say no is far worse than being an "obnoxious jerk." Persistently referring to someone by a nickname they hate is being an "obnoxious jerk." When sex is involved, it's a violation of someone's bodily autonomy. Consenting only because you weren't allowed to not consent is not actual consent.
30
Its very odd to read this comment thread. The question posed has exactly nothing to do with sexual relations involving women of any variety. Its about GRINDR. A hook-up app for GAY MEN.

Heterosexuals cannot resist the urge to turn every conversation into a discussion about themselves. Its like how you assholes took over our bars. THIS HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH YOU. You are irrelevant to this discussion.

Have some fucking respect.
31
@26/BiDanFan: Although I don't consider myself particularly old, I definitely was dating long before cell phone were ubiquitous and text messages had been invented. So when you asked a girl or woman for her number, and said you would call her, that meant having a voice conversation, and I try to be clear about that in my e-mails when I ask a woman out, "Perhaps we can meet one evening after work or over the weekend for a drink. Of course if you prefer to chat first you can give me your number, and I'll give you a call." It also seems to me that if we're hewing to a heteronormative script, than texting is to me a very weak first impression, and more than a few women say just that in their profiles. In any event, I think that if anyone wants a text first before speaking then its easy to say, "Here's my number, but if you wouldn't mind texting first before you called, I would appreciate that."
32
Sublime @31: I agree, if you're going to give someone your number and would prefer that they text, then you should ask them to text. And that she was rude for yelling at you. But I too am old, and I never much liked the phone -- texts were an absolute godsend for allowing communication to happen in a far less intrusive way. Perhaps these women have put "please don't text" in their profiles because texting has, in fact, become the default means of communication, and perhaps you could try making it yours as well? Down with heteronormativity, up with modern technology!

Wandering @30: Not sure if you're trying to be funny or if you just really need to get laid. Comments threads, as I'm sure you've seen, take multiple diversions, sometimes branching out to topics that have nothing whatsoever to do with the original letter. If they're not relevant to you, feel free to scroll along.
33
@30: Wandering Stars: As BiDanFan noted, comment threads often branch out or do some wandering themselves. I don't think anyone was intending to be disrespectful, or was in fact disrespectful. If indeed Grindr etiquette or the etiquette of gay men in general is vastly different from other dating/hookup-via-the-Internet etiquette, then politely pointing it out and explaining it would have been a nice thing to do. If you tell us your take on Grindr etiquette, you'd be bringing something useful to the discussion. But again, it would be your perspective as a gay man, not the official gay man response, just as the rest of us here, straight or bi, or female as well as gay and male, can only speak for themselves.
34
@SublimeAfterfglow and BiDanFan, re: texting to get permission to call.
Calling someone who's given you their phone number, before texting to see if they want to have a phone conversation seems like a pretty small thing to get upset about. I don't really understand the anger.
If someone calls and I don't have the time or inclination to take the call, I can simply not answer the phone. Voicemail is a thing. Or I can answer, say hello briefly, and explain that this isn't a good time or that I prefer texting to talking.
35
@28 at SOME point you need to have the fortitude to stand up for yourself, right? If you literally make the choice that having sex with somebody is easier than walking away, can you really hold someone else responsible for that? How is your partner supposed to tell the difference?

That type of thinking really leads to a weird chart:

Asking for sex 0 times: Rape
Asking for sex 1 time: Consent, but could be rape too - you'll never know until later!
Asking for sex 2 (or more) times: Rape.

Yikes. Is this the world anyone actually wants to live in?
36
@35 minor clarification: obviously, not if there is a reasonable threat of violence or other type of retribution.
37
@28, 29, etc. (rape v. coerced consent): Just to clarify, when I brought this up @14, I didn't mean that the caller had been raped; I did mean that Dan's response, that unless you are violently raped or consent because you fear you will be violently raped, you should give someone a reciprocal orgasm, because not doing so would be "dick move," represents a way of thinking that enables rape culture (you said "no," but you know you really wanted it--you even had an orgasm).

I think that there is something between sex that's had because you were coerced into it and rape, and it's not the same as someone merely being an "obnoxious jerk." Like most things, rape occurs on a continuum, from the attacker who springs out of the dark, weapon in hand, to violently assault his victim, to the guy who takes advantage of the too-drunk girl he encounters at the party, to the overly-obnoxiously persistent guy who won't take "no" for an answer--who gropes and grabs and pushes on despite obvious rejections until finally the other person acquiesces, even though she doesn't fear violence. That isn't "rape," exactly, but neither is it true consent. It's somewhat akin to being too drunk to give true consent, or the way we as a society believe that even if the 14-year-old says "yes" to the 30-year-old, that consent is not valid because there are forces at work that keep a person that young and in a relationship that imbalanced to be able to truly give meaningful consent. Having sex with that man under those circumstances is neither a pity fuck or a fear fuck, but it still an unwanted fuck, and not merely a "regretted the morning after" fuck. There should be discrete terms to differentiate between the various kinds of unwanted sex. For the record, I have always defined a "pity fuck" as a fuck given out of actual pity--as in feeling sorry for the person--not as a response to nagging. What I feel when I'm being nagged and groped is pretty far from pity. Maybe in addition to "pity fuck" and "fear fuck" we should add a few categories. I would nominate "irritated/exhausted/ground-down fuck" as one, but that name is cumbersome.

If someone grinds you down and wears your resistance down and perseveres in getting you to allow him to perform a sex act on you, you are free to refuse to perform a sex act on him with the goal to bring him to orgasm without it being considered a "dick move" if you don't. You owe that person nothing. Your reasons for acquiescing are not relevant--you don't have to be afraid you'll be violently assaulted to get to not be a dick for not trying to assist someone who has absolutely failed to respect your bodily autonomy.
THAT's where I believe Dan failed on that call.

But Fichu, the comparison of being coerced into sex with someone nagging you to let them have your car is absurd and inappropriate. And even if someone was nagged into letting you drive their car, pushing this to the point where you transfer title is ridiculous. No one coerced into sex declares herself the property of the person doing the coercing. The analogy is not apt.
And Sportlandia, sometimes "walking away" is still not an option (say this happens in your home or in a car miles from anywhere, etc.), without the requirement that you are afraid of retaliatory violence if you try. Sometimes the retaliation takes the form of slander or just being branded a prude. This is a compelling reason to just let him do it for many young women or girls actually. Or the argument that "everyone else" is doing it. Or that you won't be liked if you don't accede. Hopefully, we all mature to the point where those reasons are specious, but when people are young, they carry more weight.

Sportlandia, you ask if the world where someone who asks for sex is considered rape is a world where anyone actually wants to live, but I contend that
A) "Asking" for sex is not the same thing as coercing someone.
and
B) The world you described is not one in which anyone actually lives, but I am damn sick and tired of living in the one where women still have to prove their victim-status because the culture still sees anything short of violent assault to be a case of "blurred lines."

All that is entirely separate to the excellent point that Harriet_by_the-bullrushes makes @27, which is that it is ridonculous and petty to expect sex to be an exact tit-for-tat action every time and under all circumstances, even when it is clearly mutually consented-to sex. Life doesn't always work that way. A show of goodwill and a good faith effort when possible are all that's required.
38
Sportlandia, @35 you wrote: "at SOME point you need to have the fortitude to stand up for yourself, right? If you literally make the choice that having sex with somebody is easier than walking away, can you really hold someone else responsible for that? How is your partner supposed to tell the difference?"

I think that if I couldn't tell the difference between enthusiastic consent, or my partner either initiating sex or happily and eagerly responding to my initiated sexual advances and someone who lies there like a dead fish and if I couldn't tell the difference between initiating sex with either an already-established lover or a new potential lover, or trying to seduce someone and groping and being swatted away or rebuffed and whining or nagging or pressuring someone for sex, that is pretty indicative that
a) I am in sore need of some insight, respect, people-skills training, and therapy.
or
b) I live in a culture which encourages people (read that as male people) to be able to resort to absolutely any tactic whatsoever, including roofies and threats, to be able to stick their dicks into other people (whether male or female people).

In fact, I think that until very recently indeed, we lived in option b culture, and we still sometimes sojourn there.

Seriously, Dude, if you can't tell the difference between an enthusiastic real consent and a grudging "consent" achieved after repeated aggressive attempts, there is a problem (that is the universal, hypothetical "you," not the real personal "you"). No matter how much people delude themselves to justify their behavior, i suspect that on some level they would know the difference in real life.
39
"If you literally make the choice that having sex with somebody is easier than walking away"

Well, but the difficulty level of walking away varies. Some people use tactics to make it as hard as they can arrange.

The risk level of walking away varies. Some people exploit that knowingly. Other people don't really understand that people are letting them proceed out of fear. They don't understand mostly because they don't want to, because this is how they get sex.
40
@38 @39 I say that as someone who did make the choice that it was easier to have sex with someone than to stand up for myself. When I say 'people should do X', I'm talking about me. I regret it greatly. But I regret it because I knew better and chose the easy way out. She was honest about what she wanted. I wasn't. It was never her responsibility to look out for me - that's on me. I learned later on that your damned if you do, damned if you don't. But I remember the times I stood up for myself and the person was angry at me, rude, aggressive, what it cost me - but not nearly so well as I remember when I didn't. I think about that all the time. It was an important lesson to learn. I was 19, I wish I'd learned it earlier, but better late than never.

And honestly, someone has probably slept with me because it was easier than saying no. I wasn't aware of it. Perhaps because I didn't want to be aware of it. But I'm not going to accept responsibility for not having ESP. We're adults. We can stand up for ourselves.
41
@40: 19 seems pretty young to learn a lesson like that. My 19-year-old self was just getting started with self-destructive stuff.
42
Grindr is a tool to be used however you want it. Anyone telling you it's "specifically" for hook-ups is either projecting or delusional. And in the event of wanting to hook-up, it's perfectly normal to want to chat with someone for 20 minutes (or any other comfortable length of time) before knowing you even want to hook-up. Hooking-up, just like dating, can take many trajectories. For some it requires a dick pic and not much more. For some it requires meeting in public first for a drink or coffee date. And for some it requires at least a 20 minute conversation. I've chatted with guys well over 20 minutes and not even known their name. Is that too much to ask because it's too close to "dating" to be a hook-up? No one dates the same these days. It's a giant gray blob of sex and dating you will never make sense of, other than doing what works for you. Sex and dating are defined and practiced differently by everyone and hook-ups are not exempt by any kind of Grindr SOP. There are no real rules. Be respectful. Be up front if at all possible, but plenty of people don't know what they want. There is nothing wrong not knowing what you want and exploring a place like Grindr to try and figure it out.
43
Nocute: Thank you very much, as always, for your reasoned thoughts on this issue.

If Fichu is still here, I'd ask her to re-script @22 with any other possible ending besides Car Owner (CO) eventually capitulating to Obnoxious Jerk (OJ). OJ probably learned at the age of three that if someone says "no," you keep asking and eventually they will give in. Why do you think they kept asking? Once CO has said no multiple times, the lesson is that saying no will do no good. What are their other courses of action? Shouting "NO, AND DON'T ASK ME AGAIN!!"? Nice idea, except that women are socialised to always be polite, and in relationships, shouting is abusive. Walk away? Are you trapped in his room, or worse, is he in yours, and unable to drive after a few drinks or public transport has stopped running? Using violence, ie hitting the asker to show your no means no? Again, doesn't this make you the bad, abusive guy? When someone does not accept "no," they leave few viable options besides "okay fine, just get it over with." Again, this is not consent.

Sportlandia @35: I want to live in a world where someone can say "no" and the person who asks accepts that answer. Your partner is supposed to "tell the difference" by the fact that (1) you said yes the first time, and (2) you seem enthusiastic about the sex.
Now, you will probably bring up the issue of maintenance sex. In established relationships, it may be permissible to ask a second time. In an established relationship, you probably know whether your partner's "no" means "I am definitely not in the mood for sex" or "I'm not in the mood now, but I tend to enjoy maintenance sex once we get started." Asking more than twice sends the message that "no" will not be accepted. I think the key thing is to send the opposite message: "Did you really mean no? If you did, that's fine." And it has to be fine. No "starting arguments later in the day," that's almost as dickish as not accepting the no.

Sportlandia @40: "And honestly, someone has probably slept with me because it was easier than saying no."
In retrospect, I'm sure this is true of myself as well. I was younger and stupider then (the reason I keep alluding to this sort of behaviour as being typical of people who are young and stupid). And I definitely gave in to sex on a few occasions because "no" was not accepted. In a sense, that made me an accessory to my own rape. Sometimes it's easy to "stand up for oneself"; as you've experienced, sometimes it is not so easy. It's a shitty position to put somebody in and it needs to be made clear that it is unacceptable.
44
@43 i'm sure it happened when I/you/someone else only asked once, or never asked at all. It's not always a "shitty position to put someone in", a lot of times people make the calculation right away.

This is why I think it should be impressed: Never expect anyone else to read your mind. Never assume what someone else is thinking. Assume responsibility for your own actions unless someone actively takes away your options. It's the only reliable way to protect yourself.
45
43-BiDan-- Sure, I can rescript. But recall that I'm not trying to argue or change your mind. I'm only articulating my position. I'm glad that the character in this drama is now OJ for Obnoxious Jerk, not Rapist. That's my point. Obnoxious Jerk may be trying to rape, but unless he uses force or credible threat of force than merely being obnoxious, he's not a rapist.

No.
I'll be your best friend.
No. (Gets into car, slams door angrily, drives away.)
(Next day, phone call.) Can I have your car?
Don't call again. (Hangs up.) (Blocks that number from phone.)
(Next day, text.) (Ignores, blocks number from phone.)
(Next day in front of other people.) Can I have your car?
(Loudly in front of others.) No. Don't ask again. (To others) OJ has been bothering me about my car. He's harassing me. I'm not giving him my car.
Etc.
46
Fichu, I know you're addressing BDF not me, but I have to ask. What is your position on coerced sex? Can you ever imagine happening? I don't mean that you have to consider it rape--in fact, I don't always consider it to be rape, either. I remember once years ago you told a story of a woman who had sex that regretted having later. I can't recall if she'd been drunk when she'd had sex or if there was any other mitigating factor, but you said that she tried to downgrade (or maybe upgrade, depending on how you think of it) the regretted sex to rape.

I know you have categorized sex in at least these categories:
1) Sex with consent.
2) Regretted sex--consent was given but after the fact, one person feels guilty or ashamed or icky and either feels that they weren't really capable of giving true consent, or gave consent but now wished they hadn't.
3) Rape. The sex must be achieved by "force or credible threat of force."

Do you have any other categories?
Do you acknowledge that sometimes people feel coerced into sex. Does that fall under the umbrella of #2 for you? If so, do you think they should try to make that coerced sex as pleasurable for the person who is coercive as possible? Is that person owed anything in terms of sexual satisfaction?
I wish our language had different names for different categories of sex obtained without mutual enthusiasm and consent.
47

When I was 18 or 19, a male friend of mine whom I had been visiting with at his apartment, walked me to my car--there was a man in the area who was assaulting women; his composite sketch was up on fliers everywhere. I asked my friend what I had asked before: "Could you walk me to my car so I don't get raped and murdered?" He wasn't my primary friend, whom I had been close with for years and years, but the friend's roommate. They lived like grownups, renting an apartment at a super-cool condo complex. My friends and I loved to go there because we felt like adults. The rest of us still lived with our parents. But though the one guy was my original friend, I knew his roommate well. We'd spent a lot of time together, going on ski trips and beach trips, playing touch football, listening to music cooking big spaghetti dinners together, having parties--all as a big group. He had been part of the group now for well over a year. I had stopped by to visit both my primary friend and him, bringing cookies I had baked for them both. My original friend had to leave for work, so the roommate-friend and I played a board game with his girlfriend, who then left, and I had to leave, too, so I asked him to walk me to my car.

When we got to the car, he asked if he could hear a song I had on the mixtape that I had in the car's cassette player. I might have asked if he wanted to hear it, actually. I can't remember; it was a long time ago. We sat in my parked car, in the middle of the afternoon, in the visitors' parking lot of his big apartment/condo complex. He tried to kiss me.

Surprised, since that was not the nature of our relationship and he had a girlfriend and there had never been anything flirtatious between us, I moved away. He tried again. This time I said, "hey, what are you doing?" I didn't kiss him. He began to try to grope me. I physically moved his hands. I said, "no;" I said, "stop." He said things like, "Oh, come on." "You're so pretty." "What's wrong?" "Why'd you wear that shirt, then?" His hands seemed to be everywhere. I tried reasoning with him: "You know I think of you as an older brother." Didn't stop him. "What about your girlfriend?" was met with, "She's not here; it's okay."

Nothing seemed to stop him, and then I felt like I had choice to make:
I could treat him as if he were a stranger in the dark--fight: try to gouge into his eyes, break his nose, kick him hard in the groin.
Or I could let him do what he was intent on doing and get the hell out of there.

I don't know or remember why I didn't think to get out of my own parked car and walk away. I'm sure he wouldn't have chased me down. I think it just didn't present itself as an option. But I was a good girl and he was a friend, and a lot of my hesitation came from the sheer disbelief that someone I had viewed as a friend would do this to me, would try to force me like this. I was so young; I was afraid of hurting his feelings. I was afraid he'd call me a prick-tease. I was afraid I'd be branded a frigid bitch, a prude. I didn't want to do anything ever that would make someone I considered a friend not like me anymore. I had never heard of any rape that sounded like this. I wasn't ready to treat him like a rapist, whom I would have resisted. So, paradoxically, I let him have sex with me. I couldn't treat a friend like a monster even as he showed me himself at his most monstrous. I acquiesced. I lay there and let him get it over with. He obviously saw it as a case of continuing to ask until he got the answer he wanted.

At the time, I was filled with self-loathing: why had I worn that shirt? I knew it showed off my breasts. So was this my fault, or at least partly my fault? I knew what violent rape was, and the term "date rape" was just beginning to gain currency. But date rape happened in the context of a date; this guy was my friend, not a date. We'd hung out many times over the past year or longer. I knew his girlfriend. He called me his "little sister." That didn't seem to me to fit the definition of date rape. He was a creep and I was partly responsible. That was my thinking.

I never spoke to him again. I made sure to never be alone with him again, and I found reasons to avoid going to that apartment when I wanted to hang out with his roommate, my original and primary friend. Several years after the incident, I heard the term "acquaintance rape," and it was as if a light had been turned on. I knew exactly what to call it.
30 years later, I finally told my original friend (whom I had lost touch with but reconnected to via Facebook) about this. He was appalled. But then he said that one of his long-ago girlfriends had once said that this guy had "made a handsy pass at her" in the kitchen when he, the boyfriend, had stepped out for a moment. He hadn't wanted to believe her--thought she must have misunderstood the gesture. Now, he said, he thought back to that other night about 25 years ago and was upset that he hadn't believed his girlfriend.

I don't see myself as either a victim or a survivor, but I do consider myself to have been raped. I do believe I bear no responsibility for that sex, even though I ultimately submitted to it. I don't consider that sex to be merely regretted sex. And I never thought he would hurt me. I had the power to walk away. But things are more complicated in real life than they are theoretically from the comfort of our own sage and safe positions.

48
Of course I believe that coerced sex is real. The situation you describe is coerced. A man who is stronger than you pretty much held you down and gave you no options for anywhere to go. Ideally, in hindsight, you might have run for the police, but I understand why you didn't think you could.

I'm not sure which situation I wrote about before, but I can think of a friend who had built it up in her head that the guy she was dating had more money than he did. (She had a history of going out with guys so they'd take her to expensive places to impress her.) They'd slept together before. She went to visit him. He was to pay her back for expenses. She was tired after the trip and didn't feel like sex. He got handsy with the naked woman in his bed. She wasn't drunk or otherwise impaired, just tired and grouchy. She said she didn't feel like it once. He tried again. That time she said go ahead. In the morning they argued. He thought she was being awfully bitchy when he was doing his best to show her a nice time. She thought he hadn't taken her to a nice enough place for dinner the night before. The argument escalated. He saw no reason to pay for a trip for a woman to visit him when she was evidently just in it for the money. She cried rape and expected everyone she knew to feel sorry for her on the order of the way you feel sorry for women who have had guns held to their heads. (This was after she let him pay for several more expensive meals and entertainment.) She was angry enough to bring down this guy's whole professional career. Meanwhile, he was baffled. He'd liked her enough to want to continue dating her and didn't know what switch had flipped.
49
@47 I think that reasonably sounds like rape; he actively closed off some of your options. I think, at least when I'm talking about "coerced" sex, I'm not talking about something nearly so menacing. I'll describe a situation I was in as way of illustration:

There was a girl I would occasionally hook up with in NYC. She slept around, basically couldn't help herself, had a number in the 200+ range by age 25. Anyhow, we're hooking up, I'm at the point where I want to 'get it in' as they say. She demured. I was a little flabbergasted, it was the only reason i was there and we both knew this. I pressed her on it a bit. I mentioned that she should have told me we weren't going to have sex before I came over, etc. She eventually admitted she was sore from an encounter the previous night. We shared a laugh and ultimately ("omg u slutbag!") didn't have sex that night. It was fine.

To me, this is "repeatedly asking" looks like, or more or less should look like. Did I take the first no for an answer? No - but I didn't make it impossible for her to stand her ground either.
50
@49: Oh Sportlandia, that story is so cute, really! It sounds like your expectations were reasonable, given the already-established relationship, and you asked for an explanation or tried one more time, then took her "no" for an answer in a way that I think probably did no ultimate harm to your relationship.
For what it's worth, I think when most women here "repeated asking" or "repeated attempts," etc., they are envisioning something a lot closer to my experience than to yours. There is nothing remotely wrong with what you did and it isn't in the least bit rapey.

But I want to make clear, to both you and Fichu, that I never felt scared. If I had gotten out of that car (which would have been hard, as you've both noted: he was much bigger than me and pretty much on top of me from the get-go, but still), he would have let things be. I am 100% positive that he wouldn't have choked me or stabbed me or beaten me. I wonder what would have happened had I screamed at the top of my voice. He probably would have been so startled that he would have stopped. I believe that he had been socialized to expect girls to "put up a bit of a fight," and that nice girls started out by saying "no," but that that "no" usually turned into a "yes," if you persisted. I don't think he saw himself as having done anything wrong, much less as rape. I bet if he remembers it at all, he remembers it as that time he had sex with me in my car, not that he coerced me into having sex. But for me to scream like that when I didn't feel physically threatened by violence was too much to ask of my young self especially when I thought of him as my friend.
51
I guess what I'm trying to say is this: when you live in a culture where men are encouraged to try as hard as possible to have sex with whomever they can and women are told to monitor themselves because men can't monitor themselves, and when a noted sex and advice columnist tells a woman who was, as far as I can tell, coerced into letting a man she didn't want to have any kind of sex with, have sex with her, that if she doesn't want to be seen as pulling a dick move, she should reciprocate an orgasm by working to provide him satisfaction because etiquette says she owes him since it wasn't a "fear fuck," then you're looking at rape culture.

You have women, especially young women, stopping themselves from getting up and walking away. No one had to hurt her for that woman to end up having some kind of sex with a man we should all be regarding as a rapist. If you read my story and see my former friend as having raped me, there is no reason why you and I and Dan shouldn't see this man as having violated this woman's bodily autonomy.
To recap, she said, ""Basically, feeling coerced into sex by being given an orgasm . . . I made it really clear that . . . I was not interested in moving any further and after a few times of saying, 'no,' I relented and allowed him to give me a really great orgasm . . . I felt obligated to do the same for him, and I did. I didn't want to in the first place, but I felt like it would have been wrong if I'd gotten away with an orgasm and he didn't. . . I was wondering if this was a tactic?"
And here she is asking if she owed him something, and there Dan is saying, "yeah, kinda." And when I ask about it, both of you--a straight man and woman--talk about personal responsibility and having the power to walk away, and when I share my story, which explicitly asserts that I didn't fear violence, and could have walked away, you both try to soothe me by telling me that I was more physically restrained or dominated than I probably was. If rape means not taking "no" for an answer, one "no" should be all it takes. There should never be a repeated attempt. That "no" shouldn't be worn down to a "yes." Would either of you teach a son to do that?

In a society like the one we still live in, women can do the self-coercion all by themselves.
52
@50 it was a non-issue in our relationship, which went on for another year or two. Both of us found real boyfriends/girlfriends and settled down a bit.

Anyhow, it seems like we're in a similar boat, although I kind of suspect you were more at risk than even you know. The sex I had wasn't really about power; it seems more like this guy was making a dominance play (perhaps over you, but maybe it sounds like the real target was his roommate, who he could dominate through you. The roommate got "cucked"). If you were the means to and ends, escalation doesn't seem totally out of the picture.
53
@51 I see a strong difference. In your case, there was no exchange. You didn't let him get you off then say ciao when he wanted his turn. You got cornered and pressured until you gave in. You had an implicit threat made on you. When he was done, if you had said "hold up, I didn't get off. You got off now it's my turn" would you have considered yourself the "real rapist"? it'd certainly cloud the issue but probably not.

In the case of the woman who wondered if she owed her guy some sex, they were making an implicit exchange and she didn't plan on "honoring" her end of the bargain. Going back to what I said in @52, it seems the "power play" dynamic wasn't in place in that case, which fundamentally recasts it to something more akin to maintenance sex than rape, at least in my book.

As to what I might teach my theoretical son... Probably that confidence is sexy, and nothing will attract more women then projecting that you don't need them (although... this is kind of a dick move, classic PUA material but oh my word does it work). So if you can't take no for an answer, it's because you aren't confident that they'll be a yes (perhaps from someone else) later. Sex is a marshmallow.
54
@52: I think he was a horny young guy who had been told by his culture to keep trying, that sometimes a "no" is a "yes" in disguise. He made a pass at his girlfriend's 14-year-old sister, I found out later. He grabbed his friend's girlfriend. I don't think it was about dominance over another man--I think it was simple horniness and a culture that told him rapists were violent criminals so of course he wasn't one and what he did wasn't rape and see? She had a good time or see? she really wanted it after all.
This was our world until about 20 years ago, and in many ways and in most places, it still is.
That's why women slut-shame more than men. That's why schools have dress codes for girls and not boys. The women are expected to be the gatekeepers and if sex happens, it means they weren't vigilant enough--unless it's violent rape, and even then, if the woman had been drinking or was dressed sexily, or was in any way not being a "good, pure, chaste" girl, she bears a portion of the guilt. That's why men haven't had to be taught not to rape by coercion. The only rape they recognized as rape was violent rape, jump-out-of-the-bushes-rape; the only rapists were monsters. If a girl really doesn't want sex, she'll shut it down; if he didn't hurt her and she didn't shut it down, she really wanted it after all. She just can't admit to it from the get-go.
55
How can it be "maintenance sex" if they aren't part of a couple?
She never says that she was in a relationship with this guy. It seems to me that they barely knew each other.
56
Am I wrong or did the commenters just make it all about the straight lady online experience, totally ignoring the LW's context?
57
@nocute @37 (and more): Thank you. I think that there's something important about acknowledging the confusion, and this level of subtlety--for both girls and boys. It's a disservice to pretend everything is totally good/evil--black/white. I have a similar story, in which I never thought myself in physical danger, but somehow couldn't think of a good way out of the situation given the guy was a friend--and ended up with something like acquaintance rape--I don't know what to call it even now. Even when things are happening that you are really truly not okay with, it's pretty hard to pull back and say "rapist!" to a guy you thought you knew five minutes before.

A year later the guy (who had since moved away) called me in the middle of the night, drunk, crying, wanting to know if I "thought he had taken advantage of me," and I didn't know what to say even then. In fact it took my boyfriend at the time, awakened by the phone, to muster the appropriate outrage. I had pushed the event from my mind, and when it was brought up again I was still baffled. I sometimes wonder what brought on that phone call. He also said that he wished that I had just said if I was attracted to him. But I wasn't! And why didn't I say, then, in the phone call, that I hadn't said such a thing because I wasn't attracted to him? That I had hung out with him because I still thought men and women could just be friends?

I don't really blame him. We were both subject to all sorts of bullshit societal pressures and lies. I'm just glad I'm finally old enough that I know how to say what I mean. Mostly.
58
Ms. Cute, I really want to thank you for persistently arguing the case for coercion. My sister ended up pregnant at 15 because she agreed to go for a ride with a guy she knew who was 24. He took her out in the woods in a rural area, knowing she was afraid of the dark and had no way to go anywhere even if she wanted to, and threatened to leave her there if she didn't put out. She ended up pregnant, and this event has had a huge impact in her life and every relationship since then (she is now in her 30s.) The prosecutor refused to bring charges because his birthday was 2 months before the legal definition of statutory rape, and they claimed it was a case of he said/she said.
Bi@ 43 I see your point, but we really need to ingrain it in girls that in the context of someone trying to violate your boundaries, shouting and even physical violence are not abuse, they are self-defense and you should use every available means to protect yourself. If you can walk away, do. If you can't, like in one of your examples, than do whatever you have to to ensure your own safety.
59
Fichu @45: The Obnoxious Jerk in your hypothetical is not a rapist because they were trying to get a free car, not sex.

Rescripting with an actual rapist:
No.
I'll be your best friend.
No. (Gets into car, slams door angrily, drives away.)


What car? He's in her room, she's invited him back for a drink and to chat. She's not going to leave her own apartment, get in her car, and drive away.

(Next day, phone call.) Can I have your car?

Next day? He didn't give up that night. The continued sex pestering does not take place over a period of days, it takes place over a period of minutes or hours. And if he doesn't get the sex, he's not going to call her the next day.
(I'm using "he" and "she" pronouns but of course rape also works the other way round.)

(Next day in front of other people.) Can I have your car?

Rape attempts NEVER happen in front of other people. They happen once the rapist has isolated the victim. Or possibly they happen in front of other people who would be more likely to urge the victim to give in, fraternity brothers for example.

You see why your analogy does not work?
60
Fichu @48: He got handsy with the naked woman in his bed. She wasn't drunk or otherwise impaired, just tired and grouchy. She said she didn't feel like it once. He tried again. That time she said go ahead."

Do you see how that is completely different from your car-seeking OJ who is asking several times? And for that matter, completely different from the situation Nocute describes?

If your friend had said no a second time, would her date have stopped? Or would he have kept pestering her until she agreed?

Sportlandia @49: That is not what I would call "repeatedly asking" at all. You DID take no for an answer, once she had explained why she didn't want to have sex. Please re-read Nocute's story and see how different it is to yours.

Sportlandia @52/53: "The roommate got cucked"???? WTF! Nocute was not even involved with the roommate. Jeez. This guy is a predator, with no regard for established relationships or boundaries. He takes advantage of situations because he knows that (many) women will be too polite or flustered to say no.
I agree with Nocute that "maintenance sex" only exists in relationships. What happened with this woman on the Lovecast was a coerced bait-and-switch. What the guy wanted was a blowjob, but he did not ask for a blowjob because he knew she would say no. So he badgered her into accepting an offer of something he thought she would be more likely to accept, something that was less disagreeable to her, ie laying back and passively accepting sexual favours, just to shut him up. I can pretty much guarantee that the implication was not that she would then have to reciprocate; I've had men saying "I just want to please you," and then voila, afterwards, there they are with their boners out. (Then again, I've had men who genuinely wanted only to give cunnilingus; how was this woman to know which type her assailant would turn out to be?)

In the car example, let's say you're broke, and I offer you a ride to X. This appears to be a freely given offer. I'm just being a nice person. I was going that way anyway, and it was no trouble. After I drive you to X, I then demand you give me $20 for gas money. It was implicit that I'd want money, wasn't it? But I knew you don't have any money and forking out $20 will be a hardship, and most importantly, that if I'd said "I'll drive you for $20" you'd have said no. But now that you're at X, you feel compelled to unwillingly hand over your last $20. That was a pretty dishonest way for me to go about getting $20 off you, wasn't it?
61
Tachy @58: "we really need to ingrain it in girls that in the context of someone trying to violate your boundaries, shouting and even physical violence are not abuse, they are self-defense and you should use every available means to protect yourself. If you can walk away, do. If you can't, like in one of your examples, than do whatever you have to to ensure your own safety."

Agree entirely. Sadly, there is theory and there is practice. Recently online a male friend of mine asserted that any woman he knew would kick a guy in the balls if he tried "stealthing" or taking off a condom and continuing to fuck them. I pointed out that while absolutely, we would all want to do that, in reality a lot of us would feel too vulnerable to do anything besides ask politely. (The article is here: http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/…)
62
@60 so - I didn't take the first, or even second 'no' as a no. Now, I didn't escalate things, but I was persistent (and to be fair, we were both already naked and "foreplaying", so it wasn't a 0-to-60 situation and we had an established sexual relationship). If she had decided, the second time, that it were easier to give in then to stand her ground, I would have been none the wiser. To me, those other stories are pure bad-guy stories. Maybe not prosecutable, but ethically low.

Personally, I'm not too concerned about the fate of those guys - they know they're doing something wrong, they know they're taking advantage of a vulnerable person. Generally speaking, they're not being over-punished. I'm concerned, well, about people like me, who might unwittingly find themselves on the wrong end of a rape accusation despite having no intention of doing anything wrong.
63
Cocky @56 - Yes, the original thread did get sidetracked. It happens a lot in the Commentariat, and in this case it most likely happened because the most frequent posters are not gay men and do not know what gay men generally expect when a newbie starts up an online conversation on Grindr. If you can provide us with that perspective, please share!
64
Bi@61, I'm glad that your friend knows assertive, confident women (or at least he sees the women he knows as those things.) I don't know if I would kick a guy, but sexy fun time would definitely be over, and so would any relationship short of legally merged finances. Hopefully, maybe, things are changing. My barely teenaged daughter was being sexually harassed at school, until she chased a boy down and punched him in the face for grabbing her ass. She also called the police on a guy who sent her an unsolicited dick pic, after she told him she was way to young. When he asked if it was big, she told him no! It is sad that she isn't out of middle school and has already learned that boys respecting you is not a given and that you have to make them, but maybe they will think twice before attempting that kind of stuff with other girls in the future. Her friends have also backed her up, turned her so her back was against the locker when they saw these boys approaching, etc. so I hope that assertive mindset is becoming more widespread as younger women become more outspoken and more independent in their thinking.
65
Sporty @62: "we were both already naked and 'foreplaying', so it wasn't a 0-to-60 situation and we had an established sexual relationship"

So in other words, yes, your situation differs from the Lovecast and Nocute situations in a few fairly significant ways. Firstly, in your case, both parties had a reasonable expectation based on past history that sex was on that night's menu. Secondly, from your description, "sex" (though not PIV) did take place. Saying no to a particular act due to soreness or other physical impairments is not the same thing as saying "get your hands off me." You do admit that you do see the difference, so I think your post @35 was an intentional mischaracterisation of what Nocute was talking about.

Yes, people should say what they mean and mean what they say. But re @44: it IS shitty to put someone in the position where saying no to sex is not presented as an equally viable alternative to saying yes.
67
@65 What we've been talking about has shifted a few times in this thread. I wasn't intentionally mischaracterize anyone's post (nocutename didn't tell her story until later in the thread). But basically, nocute et al's stories to me, read as unambiguous rape. Reread my second paragraph at @62.

FWIW, I'll say this: In a power-neutral scenario, I'd have to say, asking multiple times for sex; badgering or pestering for sex; are generally "OK". You could fairly or unfairly judge someone as dickbags for doing so, but I'd put the onus on the askee to continue to enforce their boundaries. "Wearing someone down" can be iffy, because it usually relies on the other person to be in a state of emotional vulnerability (say, a recent break up, death in the family, home drama, whatever). I'd probably say that sex in those scenarios is usually ethically wrong, but probably not criminally wrong (depending on the asker's knowledge of the other persons mental state). By the time it's "enjoy your long walk through the dark woods" or having someone physically cornered, we've entered rape territory. Anywho, that's where I stand.

Next thread?
68
Sportlandia, I can't tell you how much it distresses me to hear you say "asking multiple times for sex; badgering or pestering for sex; are generally "OK". You could fairly or unfairly judge someone as dickbags for doing so, but I'd put the onus on the askee to continue to enforce their boundaries. "

So do you think it's okay to badger or pester people about other things they do with their bodies?
Why should someone who doesn't want someone else to touch them sexually have to "enforce their boundaries," while it's perfectly fine for the one who wants to have sex to continue "badgering or pestering?" It sure sounds like tactics used in a ground war of advancement to me. Maybe you think of sex or even of all interactions between men and women as a sort of war.

I would ask you how much enjoyment you could get from sex that you had to badger and pester someone into, but I have a feeling you'd say that you don't really care whether or not your partner was enthusiastic about having sex with you.
Issues of rape aside, I cannot imagine enjoying sex with someone whom I knew I had to badger and pester into having it with me. I want to feel like my sex partners want to be having sex with me.

@62, you write off men who coerce women into having sex, and worry about guys like yourself who "might unwittingly find themselves on the wrong end of a rape accusation despite having no intention of doing anything wrong." You've said over and over that you see nothing wrong with "badgering," "asking multiple times," and "pestering" someone who is reluctant into having sex, rationalizing that unless you have physically cornered someone or are threatening them with imminent harm ("enjoy your long walk through the dark woods") that behavior is "OK." Well, I have to say that I think most rapists rape through coercion and don't see it as rape. That is what a rape culture means. Sure, there is that one guy who pesters women into sex more than the others. Is he a predator? Is he an opportunist? I would say "yes," to both, but I understand that he doesn't see himself as a predator and may not even see himself as opportunistic. As far as he is concerned, he just tries. If rebuffed, he keeps on trying. If she really doesn't want to have sex with him, she is free to walk away. She should enforce her own boundaries. I contend that saying "no" is enforcing one's own boundaries, a boundary-enforcement you choose to ignore.
After one of the regulars on the Savage Love comment thread kept denying that there is such a thing as rape culture, and repeatedly chose only to see rape as an act that occurs in the context of violence or the threat of violence, who also described sex as a constant pushing of boundaries to see what you can get away with and until you achieve your goal, I decided that he has likely raped via coercion before.

Now I hear you, after several women (besides me) told you stories of coercive rape, continuing to cling to your attitude and I hear you say @53 that you would teach the same attitude to a son of yours, and I have to conclude that you are also a rapist. Ignorance might have initially been a defense in this case, but you are no longer ignorant. That you have been told these stories and choose to dismiss them because they don't support your worldview, which seems to be "try to have sex with a woman by whatever means necessary; it's on her to stop it if she doesn't want it," is not only the sign of a rapist, it's fucking deplorable.
69
@68: Sorry--I really had meant my last comment @68 to be my last word on the subject, but Sportlandia gave so much to work with @67, that I must continue.

Sporty said: ""Wearing someone down" can be iffy, because it usually relies on the other person to be in a state of emotional vulnerability (say, a recent break up, death in the family, home drama, whatever). I'd probably say that sex in those scenarios is usually ethically wrong, but probably not criminally wrong (depending on the asker's knowledge of the other persons mental state)."

First if all, you're still bringing in particular emotional distress, so that the only kind of wearing down that's wrong is the wearing-down of someone who is in an unusual state of "emotional vulnerabliity"--how socially Darwinist of you. Every man or woman for him- or herself. If you don't want something, you have to fight hard to have it inflicted on you. If it still happens, that means you didn't really try hard enough; it's on you. Or taken a reasoning step further: if it still happens, that means you weren't trying hard enough, which really, deep-down, maybe subconsciously, means you wanted it to happen. Maybe you just said "no" and kept saying it because you feel that's what you have to do. Because society judges women who want to have sex, especially those women who aren't in love and a committed relationship with the person they have sex with. (Because women are both wanton sin-bags who drive men so wild with lust that the men just can't help themselves, and also ladies: virgins, sweethearts, wives, and mothers, who don't really want sex, but love. But that's a digression.)

So back to your point that sex-by-coercion isn't rape-by-coericon, that it might be unethical, but it's not criminal, well, more about that in a minute.

If it isn't currently treated as criminal all the time (it has been and can still be, depending on our law enforcement agency's and judiciary's interpretation), and the only thing that keeps you from doing it is because while you acknowledge it is unethical, you only care about breaking the law--and that not out of a sense of right and wrong, but because you don't want to take the consequences, well, then: Bam!: you're a rapist. And you know it. Because rape is a crime because it is unethical.

And don't count too firmly on coercive-sex-without-fear-of-violence being not coercive rape all the time just yet. The times, they are a'changing.
70
@68 I think we have different models of what badgering/pestering mean, but whatever. I was badgered/pestered into having sex. I don't think my partner did anything particularly wrong. Reread my post @40.

And yes, it is "everyone for themselves" out here. No one else is going to step up and enforce our boundaries for us. There's no other alternative. There's no magical forcefield that will appear to save us. God isn't real.
When I lost my virginity, in the aforementioned incident, I distinctly thought to myself: "You can't take this one back. This will always and forever be how you lost your virginity" (I, of course, a good-boy romantic, wanted my first time to be special). That was a sad thought to have. I didn't choose to be a victim, but I realized I was the only one who could prevent myself from being a victim, if that makes any sense.

71
In my experience, whether it's "everyone for themselves" or not depends on what kind of people you are around. Good people can fail yo look out for you as well as themselves, because we're all fallible. But they will *try* to look out for you as well as themselves.
72
And I'm with nocutename on this, you don't have to be exceptionally emotionally fragile to be vulnerable to certain kinds of boundary crossing. Being socialized to avoid confrontation can be enough. Being socialized to be accommodating makes you more vulnerable still.

If the only boundaries you're entitled to are the ones you can single-handedly enforce, bye-bye any pretence at civilization or ethics. Neither of those requires there to be a god. They just need there to be people that aren't dicks.
73
@72 those are, in fact, the only boundaries you are entitled to. What planet do you live on? What precisely are you entitled to?
74
@73: Sounds a bit might-makes-right-ish, though, to say the only boundaries you are entitled to are the ones you can enforce yourself. Don't you think? As a society we've decided that people have rights that we, as a group, enforce, even if they, as individuals, can't. Otherwise it gets a bit medieval, ya know.
75
Sportlandia, for fifteen odd years of one's life, boundaries are being enforced on each of us because we have to grow from being babies to being adults.
Seriously, you push to impose sex on another person? Why would you do that, and why would you want to have sex with someone who really doesn't want to have it with you.
76
@73 Sportlandia, I live on Earth, Northern Hemisphere (lost of planets have a North), 2017 CE, in an imperfect but more or less ruled by law liberal democracy.

You appear to be living in the state of nature as set out by Thomas Hobbes, who made it explicit he was talking about a thought experiment scenario that had never happened for real in a consistent way anywhere.
77
@76, that should *lots* of planets.
78
@nocute
After reading your posts a few more times, I'm a little annoyed. To use someone else words, I think they're a "intentional mischaracterization" of my words. I'll try to go through them one-by-one:

>Now I hear you, after several women (besides me) told you stories of coercive rape, continuing to cling to your attitude

My attitude of the stories you and others have been told is that it's rape, and clearly inappropriate. Are you disagreeing with that assessment in some way I'm not understanding?

So do you think it's okay to badger or pester people about other things they do with their bodies?

More or less. We get badgered and pestered every day. It sucks. I noted in that comment that it could make you, "a dickbag". But that's a personal judgement.

Here's an example: There was a girl I knew, she was quite a bit younger than me, and undergrad at the school I went to grad school at. I always attempted to flirt with her, but I never sensed she was interested. Well, this one night, she was flirting back, pretty hard. At some point, I asked her "so, are you going to come home with me?" she gasped and responded "I'm not that type of girl!". We keep flirting for awhile. Eventually I stepped outside the bar and she comes with - 'to get some fresh air'. She's leaning against me and we're talking. I kiss her, she's kissing me back. She tauntingly pushes me away and tells me "don't think you're getting anything more out of me, mister". I look at her incredulously and said "I don't believe that". She stopped for a moment, and said "well, it is your birthday...." (it was my birthday). I took her home and we had sex. Everything was good. I enjoyed the sex, she (presumably) enjoyed it; at very worst she was an active participant. I don't think I did anything wrong. But i did pester her, and I did "refuse" to take the initial no's for an answer. What do you think pestering looks like? It took me months to get to "first base" with her, but eventually it "paid off" or whatever. If you think that's coercive rape, then, well, I might have to reevaluate things.

As far as he is concerned, he just tries. If rebuffed, he keeps on trying. If she really doesn't want to have sex with him, she is free to walk away:

Ain't this how it's supposed to work?

Why should someone who doesn't want someone else to touch them sexually have to "enforce their boundaries,"

Because otherwise their boundaries will be violated.

I contend that saying "no" is enforcing one's own boundaries

That's not enforcing a boundary - that's stating a boundary. Enforce is a verb, you have to actively enforce it, not rely on someone else to heed your request. It's a tough world out there - it turns out Darwinism is in effect if you believe in it or not.

Here's another story: I was mugged once on Christmas eve. Two teenagers. They said they wanted my wallet and my phone and that they had guns. I said "oh yeah? Show me and I'll give them both to you, no problem. Just pull it out". They didn't. One tried to reach into my pocket to grab my phone, I pushed him away. Again - "just pull out the gun and the money is yours, I'll make it really easy". Well, they didn't have a gun, so they tried to tear off my jacket to get my phone. We fought. They ran. I kept everything, except the fried rice i'd just bought from the Chinese restaurant. That's enforcing a boundary. Enforcing your boundaries SUCKS, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't do it.

It would have been easier to just give them what they wanted, sure. But what, I'm supposed to roll over every time? I didn't secretly want to be mugged. I don't believe you or anyone else secretly wanted to be assaulted or raped. That's useless hyperbole.

It sure sounds like tactics used in a ground war of advancement to me

I've never been in a ground war, I don't know about their tactics.

Maybe you think of sex or even of all interactions between men and women as a sort of war.

I have to say - this is probably projection. That'll happen when you hypothesize what "someone else" is thinking. It turns out we only have one brain and cannot escape it.

I think i'm on the record as believing that there are plenty of win-win scenarios out there for men and women together. Now, I don't read any MRA-type sites out there (Slate is as far right as I go), so I'm not too sure where they stand, but I read Jezebel with a dim view when their editors treat Feminism (as they frequently do) as a Zero-sum game - I don't think it is, zero-sum folks in general tend to strike me as unimaginative, thinking-wise. I think there's a lot of space for mutual advancement. Here's my bias speaking: We'd all be happier if more people, men and women, thought like me. But isn't that what we all believe?

79
@74 "Society's decided". As we can see, in the stories here, in our political system, that our society can't decide shit. All society can do is punish people after the fact, it can't protect you in the present. I'm not trying to be laid up in the hospital talking about "but I had right of way".
80
@74 to whit: My brother was killed when he was 22, he was proscribed some medicine that had a known conflict with another drug he was taking. Eventually, his wife got a lot of settlement money. She bought me a car.

But dang if you knew it, that car never made up for it in my mind. There were laws and rules in place. The doctor paid or fine or was suspended, whatever. Society worked. But my brother never did rise from the grave, even after 15 years. It turns out there are no protectors. Just you, your one life, and all the things that happen in it.
81
@78 Sportlandia, the rebuff/persist model is only "how it's supposed to work" where saying you want it is proscribed or considered a turn-off. If people aren't socialized to use "no" to mean "keep pushing", you can actually use it to refuse, and use "yes" to accept. And that doesn't have to mean you can't both still be playful.
82
Also, if you don't mind sharing, aren't you in North America somewhere? That's not all Lord of the Flies territory, is it?
83
@82 I grew up in Seattle. All over, but the important years were Ballard and Lake City.
84
@Sportlandia, this might be semantics, but I think people are entitled to some basic protections under the law, and this is as it should be. However, the only rights you actually HAVE are the ones you are able to enforce, and that sucks. Lots of people don't get things they are entitled to, but it doesn't mean they aren't entitled to them. Here's an example. Under U.S. law, you are entitled to life (not just because of things like murder, but because of charges like involuntery manslaughter, etc.) People still get killed if they are unable to defend this right, but they have the right to live.
85
Sportlandia @67: In a power-neutral scenario, I'd have to say, asking multiple times for sex; badgering or pestering for sex; are generally "OK".

No, no, a thousand times no. Asking, badgering, pestering for anything is generally not OK. Badgering shows a complete disrespect for the badgeree's preferences, agency, decisions. If you have no intention of "unintentionally" badgering someone who you don't know lacks the psychological fortitude to turn you down multiple times, don't ask multiple times. Don't want to accidentally commit a rape? ACCEPT NO FOR AN ANSWER.

I go back to Nocute's continuum of rape @37:
from the attacker who springs out of the dark, weapon in hand, to violently assault his victim, to the guy who takes advantage of the too-drunk girl he encounters at the party, to the overly-obnoxiously persistent guy who won't take "no" for an answer--who gropes and grabs and pushes on despite obvious rejections until finally the other person acquiesces, even though she doesn't fear violence. That isn't "rape," exactly, but neither is it true consent. It's somewhat akin to being too drunk to give true consent, or the way we as a society believe that even if the 14-year-old says "yes" to the 30-year-old, that consent is not valid because there are forces at work that keep a person that young and in a relationship that imbalanced to be able to truly give meaningful consent.

The whole point is that you don't want to fall anywhere on that spectrum. NONE of these things are okay.

Just because you don't think any real harm was done to you by the person who badgered you into sex, does not mean that every badgering victim feels the same way. You cannot speak for everyone when you assert that little harm is done by these scenarios.

What, may I ask, is so wrong with only having sex that all parties involved are enthusiastic about having?
86
Okay, @Sportlandia @79, 80: I think I see what you mean. And I agree that society doesn't actually enforce for us; we have to do that ourselves. But when I think about having to enforce my own boundaries (sexual or otherwise), the scenarios I imagine mostly have to do with someone else being an asshole (in varying degrees); and since that's how I feel about it, I would never want to be the person that's causing someone else to have to be their own enforcer. Ya know?

That said, I also would never want to be the sort of person who sent the type of bullshit mixed signals that make someone else think that badgering is the right way to find my boundaries, and lots of girls/people do engage in that type of behavior. So there are many ways to behave badly.
87
Bi @85, I've been thinking this same thing:
> What, may I ask, is so wrong with only having sex that all parties
> involved are enthusiastic about having?
and the only thing I can think of is that you and I, as females, are on the side of the supply/demand spectrum that means that we mostly can have sex where everyone is up for it, without too much effort. (Not necessarily with ideal partners, etc., disclaim disclaim, but still). And maybe for some men, they believe the options are sex where one person is iffy about it or no sex at all. And so they opt for the former.

I dunno, I am just making things up, but that's the only reason that I can think of.
88
@85 What do you think of my example @78? Is it "on the spectrum"?
89
@88 Sportlandia, I don't see your example @78 as being the same thing at all. You are describing flirtatiousness. You are describing a situation where the woman and you took a long time to get to sex.
I think most women are thinking about meeting a man at a party or something. The two of you talk. You (the woman) are down maybe for some kissing because after all, you just met. And the next thing you know, he's coming on too strong He's trying to kiss you or touch you, he's backed you up against a wall and he's pressing his knee between your legs. And you say "um, hey, I don't want to do this yet." And he keeps at it, both with words and gestures.
I think in that case, that statement should have been enough. You are describing something entirely different. Can't you see the difference?

If that woman had said she didn't want to have sex with you that night in those terms and not followed you outside to get some air, would you have dropped it? I assume you would (or I like to think that you would). It's different.
90
Nocute @89: I agree. I do not see badgering or pestering in that story at all. I see flirtatiousness, I do not see any pressure whatsoever. I see someone who, left on her own to form her opinion of Sportlandia, grew to see him as someone she was in fact attracted to. I see someone who initiated sex, with the knowledge that Sportlandia would undoubtedly say yes. I don't see repeated no's, I see playfulness. I see the "no" changing almost instantly to a "yes," via her own free will, not via badgering. I see each "no" being taken for an answer, albeit with the hope that the "no" might change. If the "no" had been firm, Sportlandia, you wouldn't have pressured her, would you? I don't see any pressure. I don't see you forcing her to "enforce" her boundaries; I see her putting up a playful resistance, trying to make up her own mind. The decision was hers; you did not force or coerce her in any way. You didn't drag her out of the bar; she leaned against you; she kissed you back; she invited you home with her. If you've described this situation accurately, it was a seduction, not a coercion. I think you do see the difference.
91
Ciods @87: I think you're on to something. To expand on that thought, I see a lot of men have been taught that sex is something that only men want, that they need to convince women to "give up," and that badgering is therefore not only appropriate but the only way they are going to get sex. These same men, upon discovering that women do want and sometimes initiate sex, tend to slut-shame these same women for not playing the game of refusing sex until adequately convinced/compensated. It's a toxic system all round.
92
@90 (& @89) i think the part we're missing is that I have no real way to know the difference until her opinion actually changes. The difference between flirting and pressuring is the eye of the beholder. Perhaps her playful taunt and push away (I read it as playful and hindsight 20/20, i was correct) could have instead been her drawing the line. I wouldn't necessarily know the difference, and telling her I didn't believe she'd stick to the boundary she made could have been interpreted as menacing rather than fun. Now, I believe myself to be the type of guy that wouldn't coerce someone into sex because the alternative was worse, but you don't know what someone else is thinking. If she had felt pressured, would my intentions and knowledge have mattered?

So this is why I say: badgering and pestering is basically OK. I did it, it worked for everyone, you guys both seem to be in agreement that it's OK. What am I missing?
93
@Sportlandia, I am so sorry about your brother. I've lost people to malpractice too. Short of a legal system with time travel, there's no real fixing that. The most that can be done is try and deter more cases. But that is being done, however imperfectly. And I rely daily on other people to not kill me, rob me, assault me, and for the most part they do. That's more protection than many have, but it's not out of the ordinary, either.