Columns May 22, 2013 at 4:00 am



Why did lw1 have a boyfriend in the first place if she was a hysterical shrew?
Great job.
Great advice for WSN !! especially staying away from the online comments. We're a vile crew, myself included, with grandiose visions of wisdom & advice.

WSN follow your gut, everything will resolve and you will move on.
"And stay out of the online comments."

Heh. Dan does know us and love us afterall.
@1: Proving Dan absolutely right about the online comment thing, a 14-year old girl gets called "a hysterical shrew" for reasonably asking whether an ambiguous but personally traumatic incident is worth seeking an apology for. Misogynists are so depressingly predictable.
WSN, pay no mind to comment 1 from JimmyBoyz; he's just trying to get everyone's attention.

Your first boyfriend sounds like he did the wrong thing. I wish you the best of luck with getting closure. For whatever it is worth, something that has helped me to get closure on bad experiences has occurred when circumstances allowed me to discuss or do similar activities with a good, safe, caring person. The memories of the new experiences overlay the memories of the older experiences, so that when I think of the activity in question, the first thought that comes to mind is the new, good experience with a person who cared about me. The bad experience is still in my memory, but not nearly as important as it used to be.
I don't think closure will help WSN. I think even if her ex-boyfriend was decent and apologized, she would still feel bad about the situation and how it made/makes her feel, but now she would not have anywhere to vent those feelings except for into herself, and may still not be able to move on from it.

It may be wiser to keep a journal and vent your feelings into it, to help you understand and ultimately move on from the experience.
When I was 14, my boyfriend and I grinded (ground?) at a Bat Mitzvah party. It was the first time either of us had done that (!!!!). After a few songs, he abruptly ran to the bathroom... turns out it had been a little too exciting for him. I certainly didn't realize what was happening: even when all his middle school buddies raced after him, even when they told me afterward what had happened. I tell this story all the time -- it always gets a lot of laughs.

I'm not sharing it here to minimize what WSN feels. But my point is: was this consensual? I did consent to the "dancing," or whatever you call grinding. And though I didn't consent to the ejaculation (nor would I have consented had I been asked), I am fairly certain that he did not consent to it, either.
WSN, if you ignore Dan's advice and read comments: These "I would have closure if this other person did this thing" things virtually never work out. You have certain words and tone in mind, and it is almost guaranteed that he won't follow the script. Better to find closure in things you can control.

And Dan's right that from his pov, this may have been a couple of hot makeout sessions he barely remembers. Or remembers completely differently from you.
Gonna go out on a limb here and suggest that the lady in the first letter has other weird problems from her past that she's not telling us about.
WSN you might want to talk to a counselor about this. Since it is still affecting your sex life, a counselor might help you find closure. As a woman, I can second Dan's advice that this either could have been a generally decent 14 year old boy with poor judgement (and 14 year old boys really do have a tendency to demonstrate poor judgement) or a budding predator who will hurt other women throughout his life. I am sorry he has hurt you, and I hope that you soon find peace in your life.
I think Dan gives WSN a bit of a pass on this. There are two things that jump out at me about her letter: "things went further than I wanted" and "Once I understood what had happened, I felt violated". It sounds like she's got some deeply embedded sex-negative ideas because at no point does it sound like she told her BF to stop (or gave him a priori instructions). More importantly, it is *his pleasure* that makes this a difficult experience for her. If he hadn't let on that he had had an orgasm, she would have been ok with it? Intention counts for something, but here it seems like she would have been perfectly ok with the experience if he hadn't have come. That's not someone taking advantage of you, that's just part of mutual sexual exploration. He's a shit because he got overexcited and ejactulated? Would he have a right to be upset if, through the rubbing against each other (what the hell did she think the rubbing was if not dry humping? trying to keep warm?) *she* had had an orgasm? The thought is ludicrous. So while I'm firmly in the camp of "ask permission for everything and consent is sexy", there is no way that she can reasonably claim any sort of violation without exposing some very dodgy, shame-inducing, sex-negative views.
@5: As Dan mentioned, embarrassing premature orgasms are part and parcel of dating at 14. Further, the fact that he grabbed her boobs once-- and they dated for two months afterwards-- actually speaks well of him. My guess is that she told him to stop and/or not do that any more, and he respected her decision. Because let me tell you, if a 14-year-old boy thought his girlfriend was OK with having her tits grabbed, he'd be grabbing those tits all the time.

I won't defend the phrase "hysterical shrew", especially given its misogynistic etymology. But I will say that a 21-year-old that holds normal-ass adolescent sexual fumblings as great psychological trauma has lived a charmed life.
14 year old boys cum at the drop of a hat, I don't think it's the ejaculation itself that's upsetting her. I think she's upset about the dry humping, because maybe at 14 herself she didn't know what it was and she feels like he was using her as a masturbatory aid, which could certainly feel dehumanizing. For it to still bother her now means it must have been pretty aggressive on his part. He doesn't seem like a very respectful boyfriend if he grabbed for her boobs too, and as a 14 year old girl, you'd feel very vulnerable. I think she'd be best off talking to a councilor. It is a pretty typical experience to have a slightly aggro douchey boyfriend early on and not know how to control their angsty overwhelming sexual needs (or dump them) which really can be scary. I can see how at 14 that could get to you way more than it would at 16, which is when this sort of thing was happening to me. I don't ever recall anyone asking permission to dry hump and in retrospect that is a little sketchy. Especially if I wasn't into it. You'd feel used. It is still bothering her, and talking to someone about it might just help. Talking to female friends about it too might be a good idea as well, I'm sure a lot of people could relate and be respectful listeners about her experience. The former comment about maybe reenacting it in the way she'd have wanted it to happen, or in a positive way seems promising if she can do it without being triggered, she'd be the best judge of that. And she'd have to be in total control the whole time.
If he knew what he was doing and kept going until he came, and knew that she wouldn't want this, then yes he did a bastardly thing. But this woman's reaction is well into the outlier territory and is by no means proportional or typical. She obviously has a lot of other shit going on and I doubt this issue is the source of all that ails her.
@7, I think Dan's advice has the potential to COMPLETELY change WSN's outlook. This may be the first time in her life she's been able to see the event from a 14-year-old boy's perspective. She's been carrying this victim thing around for 7 years, probably egged on by the feminist view that any unwanted sexual contact is a violation. Most of the time that's true... but how guilty can a spindly little teenybopper with an out of control schmeckel be? Neither one of them knew what the hell they were doing. If she just steps back and considers the event with a bit more of an open mind, she'll get all the closure she could hope for. And maybe then, in the words of Carrie Bradshaw, she can truly enjoy feeling "the weight of a man on me."
Hey Punt, how about breaking the ice with your GGG wife like so... "Hey babe, let's watch Bull Durham."

BTW, I want to punch your first wife in the face. Maybe your son should have punched her for telling him something he'll never be able to get out of his head. What a cunty move.
@13: Neither one of us knows what went down. Your guess is exactly that: a guess. She was asking Dan whether or not she should seek an apology for what was personally traumatic for her. She herself set aside what his intentions may or may not have been- it shook her up and lingered in her mind, so she wants to resolve it. My point is it's not known if this qualifies as "normal-ass adolescent fumblings" and it doesn't matter. She was simply asking Dan a question, not screaming rape at what might (or might not) have been a clueless 14-year old boy. I think her response is pretty measured.
Dan, you handled WSN with compassion & wisdom. She seems like in a way, she's torn between moving on, & still kind of being the same person as before. I'm glad she wrote to you, & I hope the other commenters are more like everyone else, except #1. WSN, *if* you ignored Dan's advice & are reading the comments anyhow: move on, woman! It's time, & you can do it.

LW #2, PUNT: You have hit the wife jackpot!

Dan, I have to be short & boring this week. First of all, 'cause I have such bad strep my head is shaped like a lopsided mushed up claymation character.

Second, your advice was so perfect I've nothing substantial to add.

Thirdly, the other Sloggers haven't yanked my chain, yet. :D
So WSN's boyfriends was a little too excited and inexperienced to couldn't pick up that she wasn't into it, and she wasn't yet empowered or experienced enough to take control of the pubescent ball of lust on top of her. That's not a pleasant experience, but it's also the kind of unfortunate, bumbling miscommunication that happens all the time with early sexual exploration.

Maybe she was holding back some details to spare our delicate sensibilities, because what she describes is the sexual equivalent to stubbing your toe. Yes it hurts, but after a little while you heal and get over it. If instead you get flashbacks and refuse to ever take your shoes off, then there's something deeper than the toe-stub that you need to work through.

I agree with the commentators above and urge WSN to delve into this experience with a counselor. Journal the bejeezus out of it. Take long showers and converse with yourself about your feelings. Because an overexcited 14 year old isn't worth the pain you've been carrying around for a third of your life.
Mr Savage is incorrect. If the BF had been decent at 14 and the incident basically accidental, WSN may get an apology, but it won't be the apology she wants. He may not remember the incident at all, or his version of what happened could be so different from hers that they won't be able to have a profitable discussion; a decent person will be sincerely sorry that he accidentally contributed to her ongoing trauma, but that doesn't feel like enough.

She seems to want - not unreasonably - that he should carry a "fair" share of the burden. I strongly suspect that contacting him and finding out that he hardly recalls the incident at all or doesn't immediately display an ongoing sense of having felt terrible himself all along over what he did might well make her feel much worse than she does now, thus forcing the apology to be a good deal more than what she thinks she needs going in.

I may be a bit harsh, though, as WSN reminds me of someone. "For the most part, this hasn't scarred me too much," immediately calls forth the image of Hyacinth Bucket, who, after making a loud and sudden noise that caused her neighbour Elizabeth to spill her coffee, would generally tell Elizabeth not to worry, the stain would come out, eventually, or that she hadn't damaged the table, too badly.

I'll steer completely clear of commenting about the police.
Something WSN can do--write a letter, actual physical letter on paper to the ex-boyfriend, pour out all the hurt and violation and trauma and misery, seal it, address it (using whatever address she has), and....burn the thing.

It won't be the same as an apology, which still won't address the underlying issues about the situation in the way a good and kind counsellor will. But burning it can be symbolic closure: let the fire purify, and let her get on with her life.

IMPORTANT: Tip for the fellas: If you are the guy from WSN's letter, or a similar situation, and get contacted asking for an apology JUST BLOCK/IGNORE HER. The apology could be used to incriminate you.
@21, Mr. Vennominon, my hopeful tea-drinking friend, someday: you do sound a bit harsh. I'm sure your reasoning is valid, tone determines so much of our perceptions. But although a too-fragile flower, WSN just sounds (to me) woefully inexperienced. I kinda hope she can just work through this on her own, *without* getting in touch with her former beau, in any way. Jeez, 7 years is a long time. Especially from 14 to 21.

Although your afterthought about the police did make me raise an eyebrow; that she'd even mention that is Not Good.

But I'd like to think her writing to Dan - who is known for not holding back - means she genuinely wants to move on. I sure hope so. If I was bogged down by the missteps of 14-year-old me, I'd have gone close to nowhere, by now, with those two digits just about reversed. ;)

Oh nuts. Dan, I slightly disagree with you after all. I think it'd be better for WSN to not contact this guy. I agreed with your kind, no-nonsense tone. She should leave the past in the past.

I'm gay, and so in my whorishness I don't get the issue this woman is holding onto from the time she was 14. These two had repeated make out sessions, but he groped her boobs without asking? Really, you have to ask permission to touch a boob after you have been making out? And the fact that the guy came inside his own pants while she also remained fully dressed was another violation? How do straight people make out? Is it just with lips and no other physical contact? Sorry, but this girl/woman sounds like a perpetual victim to me, a not uncommon type of woman. Thank god I am gay and don't actually have to deal with this shit to the same degree straight men to.
@18: I only guessed about her response to the boob grabbing. I don't have to guess about what the allegedly "ambiguous" incidents were: we have her words that he 1) came early during a heavy make-out session and 2) once grabbed her boob over at least two months of dating. If you read the rest of the comments, you'll see near-consensus that these are not "ambiguous" at all-- they're perfectly normal parts of adolescent sexual exploration.

That the letter writer has blown them up into a sexual trauma indicates that she is extra sensitive, and that she may be better served by recalibrating her own perceptions than demanding an apology for conduct everyone else considers not blameworthy. And that you see the incidents as "ambiguous" suggests that you may want to do the same.
" I wanted to explore my sexuality a little, but things went further than I wanted."

Why do I get the feeling that the boob grope was in the context of her saying "Let's make out, I want to explore my sexuality a little," and then getting mad when sometime during the make-out session he felt her boob without asking "May I please touch your breast?" first? In other words, just like the dry-hump incident.

"He broke up with me a couple months later."

I'll bet he did. She probably confused the shit out of him, and made him feel guilty for desiring her.

@26: My perception is quite clear. I don't know what the boy's intentions were, the LW isn't sure, and Dan isn't either:

While it's possible your ex-boyfriend did this on purpose—he knew you wouldn't agree to it, he went ahead and did it anyway, you feel violated because you were violated— it's also possible that this was an accident.

That's what "ambiguous" means. All the near-consensus in the world isn't going to change that. I'm actually not arguing the case at all, just pointing out that she is reasonably asking what to do about something that affected her. Your insistence that the LW accept the scenario as people who weren't there see it suggests you might want to do some perception-adjusting of your own.
WSN, you can't withdraw consent retroactively. If you were cool with the dry humping until you realized what it really was, bummer. Just consider it a lesson learned the hard way and move on already.
A week into my first real relationship, she was 15, I was 16, the air warm with summer, the sun starting to rise, the two of us up all night, sitting side by side on her porch, intoxicated by the discovery of the joy our bodies and minds could bring, her impossible softness, the thrill of her lips and tongue, my cock aching and heavy, pushing desperately at my jeans, and then that wonderful feeling slowly starting to rise, only this time from somewhere so much deeper...
Sometimes you can get closure by deciding what positive and worthwhile lesson you have learned from the experience. Then the experience becomes part of a story that ends well.
WSN: was the rubbing up against each other consensual? Or did that make you uncomfortable even without knowing that he came?

If the rubbing was consensual, I think you have to forgive the boy. As Dan points out, teenage boys don't have a lot of control over their own bodies, and I bet he didn't realize what was happening until it was too late, either. That's sort of what "exploration" means.

If you contact him, and tell him how hurt you feel, he will probably apologize (unless he takes the advice of the person who points out that you could use that against him) but others are probably right that he doesn't remember the matter the same way you do. He probably remembers that he lost control, not that "he used you".

Now, if he was holding you down, and you were too scared and confused to push him off of you, and finally he came and then he freed you - then you were certainly violated. But in that case, the odds of him apologizing are very low. Because he's probably still a pos.

Either way, I don't think you gain anything by contacting him. I think you would do better to talk to a therapist, or overlay the memory with happier ones, or write a letter to yourself, or, I don't know, almost anything would be better than to drag him back into this at this late date. I just don't see much upside to that.

Good luck.
I think Dan's a little over-cautious in his response. My guess is that your wife won't react badly to your cross-dressing thing. She may or may not agree to fucking you that way, but it sounds like she's highly unlikely to ridicule you for wanting it (especially if you remind her up front how devastating that would be). And I'm guessing getting through that conversation successfully will be deeply healing and pleasurable for you, sex or not. Frankly, I think it's very important to your emotional health to have that conversation.
The water sports thing is another story; why don't you see how the stockings and teddy thing goes, and then proceed accordingly. Rest assured we're all rooting for you.

Meanwhile, I urge you to file a complaint against your so-called marriage counselor. If "blew up" is a reasonably objective description, then loss of license would be justice, and possibly save others from similar abuse.
@28: Ah, the "how can we know anything?" argument. I suppose a high-school level point is thematically appropriate. Here's a slightly higher-level rejoinder: not all possibilities are equally likely, obtaining additional information can be costly, and people accordingly need to make decisions despite lacking perfect information.

The application: the "truth" of whatever happened is lost. What matters is what she remembers/perceived and what he remembers/perceived. If his memory does not align with hers, then contacting him is likely to be very unfulfilling, for all of the reasons other posters noted. And given the near consensus, its much more likely than not that he will not agree with her. The wiser decision is thus to refrain from pinging him.

Since she's not getting an apology, she needs to obtain "closure" on her own. And the best way to do that is through reprocessing the events-- by shifting her perception. Here again, the near consensus is useful in recalibrating, particularly since it leads to a non-traumatic interpretation.

Dots connected yet?
jesus... Lady, if you're all phucked-up over your then 14 year old boyfriend cumming in his pants during a make-out session, you need to talk to a counsellor!
@34: Holy shit. Not the "how can we know anything?" argument. No one is on trial. She was simply asking Dan if it was a good idea to contact him. I can't believe you're making me repeat this, but I AM NOT ARGUING THE CASE. All I have said is that she is being perfectly reasonable in asking Dan whether or not contacting the boy is likely to help her. I'm not arrogant enough to claim to know what happened or how she should feel about, and I'm not presumptuous enough to suggest she "shift" her perception from something that might very well be the truth.
I am with the gay guy. I don't see the big deal. I think she is buying into a ridiculous "I am so violated by anything that makes me uncomfortable" paradigm. So he humped her till he came. Did she ask him to stop? She surely would have mentioned it if she did. Did she tell him in advance she was not comfortable with it? I am pretty sure not. So where is the violation? Do guys have to ask a woman if they may come now?

If she wanted to speak up but didn't, which doesn't even seem to be her point, then let that be a lesson to her. How can he have known?

And did she tell him to never grab her breasts and he did anyway? Doubtful.

So, while it is possible he knew she would not like it and did it anyway, I doubt it.

At my age, if it were clear a woman did not want to have sex, but I wanted to come, I might dry hump or stroke myself while we made out. And I might be hyper vigilant to make sure she was not upset or not comfortable with it. But to expect a 14 year old to do so would be absurd. It is the opposite of if he had taken her clothes off or had non consensual sex. he left her clothes on, did not stick it anywhere and she was willing to hump. And then he did it till he came. Where is the out of line there?

As for the guy with the wife, congrats on having a cool wife. I think there is very little doubt that she would be bothered by either if you presented them in a chill fun way. she might not be into it, but doubtful she would b e turned off in any big way. People with positive kink attitudes like she has generally are cool with such garden variety things.

Now, it is very unlikely. But if she is quite into being submissinve and feminine and really likes him to be masculine and assertive and all male, there is a chance this would be an attraction killer. But I think she would know that by now. And women that are kink friendly are very unlikely to be that way. Into dom sub, sure. But trying to hold a guy to a rigid sex role, unlikely. So, bring it up already. But make it positive and fun.
You really screwed this one up Dan. WSN even entertained the idea of trying to press charges against this boy because at 14 he pressed his pelvis against her while making out and came in his pants.

For you to say that he's either a good person who will apologize or a bad person who won't ignores the fact that every kid that age grinds against one another while making out. That's how kids make out, and I've never heard of someone asking permission first.

She has a serious, serious psychological problem with sex that I do not believe was caused by this incident.
"this girl/woman sounds like a perpetual victim to me, a not uncommon type of woman."

And you sound like an entitled woman hater to me. Cut the misogyny out.

And FYI, you happening to be a gay male is quite irrelevant to your hatred of females. Assholery in the santorum of the mind, it spreads everywhere, haven't you been told ? Most probably you're a shallow asshole to males as well.

@25 Jussmbdy:

"Sorry, but this girl/woman sounds like a perpetual victim to me, a not uncommon type of woman"

Really? So this is "not uncommon" amongst womenfolk, you say? Guess what, gay man: we straight gals are on your side. We are your best pals. For example, many of us worked and work to bring marriage equality to our states, (the overwhelming majority of people in my state who volunteered for this - and made it happen -were straight women).

Try and be a bit on our side instead of making blanket ignorant dickbag asshole statements like this about us, 'kay? Unless you're cool with people making blanket ignorant dickbag anti-gay statements about homos.

Incidents like that which WSN describes is why we need to teach boys about consent too. I mean, I'm not going to demonise a 14 year old boy for accidentally coming during a make-out session - these things happen. However pretty much every woman I know has their story of an early sexual experience that was non-consensual and made them feel violated.

For example, when I was 14, I was making out with a boy, he touched my boobs, which was fine (and I don't think you have to ask permission before touching a boob if it's going that way, that's not what I'm talking about), but then he took my hand and put it down his pants. Now, I know that he was just as inexperienced and confused as I was, and figured that since he'd done something for me that I clearly enjoyed, it was only fair that I do this for him. However, for me this absolutely came out of the blue, and I was scared. Touching a boob is not equivalent to touching a penis. I didn't want to give him a handjob, but I did because I thought that was what was expected and that I'd be embarrassing myself somehow if I said no.

So @37 'Did she ask him to stop?' no, she probably didn't. But that's not as easy as it sounds when you're 14 and you think that in order to please a boy you have to do what he wants, and what you want comes second. Because that, quite frankly, is the message girls get. If we taught boys that they need to check that a girl's comfortable with what's happening as well as teaching girls to say no, these things would happen a lot less. And that's not necessarily about asking for permission before every single thing, but just asking 'Are you OK?' or just taking a bit of notice if the girls seems like she's not enjoying herself for Christ's sake. I don't see why it's obvious that someone older should be 'hyper-vigilant' about making sure a woman's OK with a man dry-humping her or whatever, but 'absurd' to expect a 14 year old boy to do so. It's really not that difficult.

I agree LW appears to be massively overreacting, however I am wondering what else might have been in her letter to Dan, since he apparently edits them for space. If this was truly a case of a 14 yr old coming in his pants on what was maybe his very first hump/makeout session with a real live female - can he really be blamed for that at that age? Grabbing a 14 yr old girl's tits and being rough or harsh or insensitive about it - was this done in public? Out of the blue/outside of a makeout session? If that was the case - and if the girl was especially sensitive/innocent/young for her age then I can see that feeling shitty and feeling perhaps like a violation.

However, context is everything, as is perspective, and maturity. At 21, one would hope she would have gained some of that by now, but she unfortunately still feels traumatized by this experience. Some girls do have traumatic first experiences.

Calling the cops is an insane idea, needless to say.

Hopefully Dan has help put this into perspective for her. How many 14 yr old boys are especially sensitive in a sexual situation? How many of them have any semblance of control over their dicks? Perspective, baby.

Bonus advice: Avoid number two with number two.
41's comments are the most sensible on this thread. There is a fair bit of defensiveness coming across from some comments.

A similar experience would have totally freaked me out when I was 14, and wouldn't be very pleasant now. I don't think it's unreasonable to expect a partner to look for signs of enjoyment, and check in with me if they don't find them, at any age. Just saying, 'but they were 14!' isn't very helpful. It might explain why redress is unlikely to be forthcoming, but it doesn't cancel out the evident unpleasantness of the experience. What's wrong with seeking to tackle difficult experiences, no matter how they were caused?
Ms Hopkins - I'm sorry about that, as I was trying to be reasonably kind. There was someone else of whom WSN reminded me, the mention of whom would have been a good deal more harsh than a comparison to Mrs "It's Bouquet".

I have sympathy for the attitude that it is very hard lines when one person carries a huge burden alone after a problematic experience. I see a fair amount of people complaining about various bad experiences in their past, and what perhaps frosts their cupcakes more than anything is when the offending party has simply gone on lightly, tra-la, as if nothing bad had happened.

It reminds me of the reverse of Hilda Rumpole when she didn't want to go to her school reunion. Rumpole is astonished to learn that Hilda has carried a guilty secret with her all these years. She and Dodo MacIntosh used to play all sorts of nasty pranks on one Chrissie Snelling, who has become the reunion's organizer. Hilda can't possibly face Chrissie now. Rumpole briefly becomes He Who Must Be Obeyed, telling Hilda that she must face up to her past and attend the reunion. Afterwards, she is surprisingly grateful to Rumpole. It turns out that, all these years, Chrissie has thought of Hilda and Dodo with sincere fondness, recalling them as being the greatest fun.

I really don't think it will help WSN to learn that, all these years, he's thought of the experience as positive or recalls her as being hot enough to bring about that particular outcome, or perhaps at most thinks that he must have seemed a bit too newbish not to be able to control himself better. For her to get the apology she wants and not just his apology, he'd have to have had a similar experience of the past seven years, unable to be unable to be on top of anybody and triggered any time he's happened to hear the song "J*** in My Pants". Contacting him and not finding an attitude of "appropriate" remorse would likely just make her feel worse.

I am starting to think, though, that perhaps Mr Savage gave the right answer in that WSN may well feel better if she believes her desired outcome plausible.

It was still an interesting letter - a hint of restorative justice at long distance.
I'm with ven on this one.

LW1 if you DID read the comments:

I won't go in too much detail about my own life, but a few years ago someone important to me cut off all contact to everyone in his life (including me). I was really hurt, and all I wanted was to know why he did it, I kept trying to get in contact with him, to get an answer, I didn't want the relationship back, I just wanted to know why

When talking to someone very close to me, he said "you're not going to get the closure you want on this". He was right. A year later the first person came back and gave a completely unsatisfying answer. The second person was dead.

For weeks after he died all I could keep hearing was his voice telling me I'd never have closure.

I understand wanting closure, but the best we can really have is coming to terms with things on our own. No one else can give us that.
Sounds like perfectly normal "dating at 14" to me, ie. things aren't perfectly romantic like in novels. Boys go into teenage dating believing all sort of crap ("donkey punch" anybody?)

What really counts is the fact that he only did it once, that he didn't continue to grope/hump you after you didn't enjoy it the first time.
LW #2, PUNT: I agree w #33, she might well take it well -- you have much reason to hope. And yes, I'd wait until after the cross-dressing thing is old news before bringing up the water play.

Get videos of some of Eddie Izzards performances to watch together -- maybe start with -- let it percolate, and then watch another with her and broach the subject at the end of that.

My husband came out to me as a CD at the age of 65, after we'd been married 13 years. The thought of the decades he had spent feeling alone and like a freak made me cry. At first I didn't want to see him dressed, but eventually, after helping him shop and seeing how delighted he was by his new clothes, I wanted to see them on him. We now do have occasional sex when he's in drag, but the key is that he's been very patient and let me come along to acceptance at my own pace.
Who among us thinks that LW1 will follow Dan’s wise advice to stay away from the comments? Who could resist? So LW1, I hope you read this far. I’m old enough to be your mother, and my early sexual experiences included a lot of negative ones that were in the very large gray area between “rape” and “good fun.” I remember also embarrassment and shame at various events that took a long time to dissipate (and usually had been replaced by embarrassment and shame for other events in the interim) – so I get it.

But I want to encourage you to rethink your ideas about closure and apologies. What you wrote reminded me of something my stepdaughter does that irritates me: when she fights with someone, when she’s ready to stop fighting, she apologizes, and then the other person is supposed to say, “I forgive you” and hug her. If the “I forgive you” and hug aren’t forthcoming, the fight starts up again, because the other person hasn’t responded correctly to the closure ritual that she wants. So she demands forgiveness because she wants closure; you demand apologies because you want closure. She demands closure too soon; you are demanding closure too late. The thing that connects you both in my mind is that you are seeking closure by asking other people to follow a script that you are creating in your mind. What do you want? “A sincere apology.” What does that look like? Does it have anything to do with him, or have you built up in your mind what will count for purposes of “closure” as “a sincere apology”? Let me tell you in advance that whatever he offers will not provide you with closure, because you haven’t seen him in years, and what he says or doesn’t say won’t have any impact on the fact that you live with yourself 24-7, and you are the only one who can let go of this, thereby giving yourself closure. Other commenters have provided good suggestions for achieving closure on your own. I second those, but especially want to emphasize that closure is something you create for yourself, not something you extort from others.

Trust me – this shit gets easier, if you keep working on it. Be honest with other people, but also and especially with yourself.
This does bring up an extremely controversial idea that I've been struggling with for a while, which is whether the current feminist narrative about sexual violation can in some cases exacerbate psychological trauma. It's really hard to bring this up without fearing rape-denying misogynist agreement about 'victim culture' or reactionary feminist anger about the fact that I'm even daring to say such a thing. I absolutely acknowledge everyone's right to their own feelings and interpretation of their experiences, and recognize that denial and repression of the reality of sexual assault is still extremely prevalent. Yet I can't help but think that there's a little too much fatalism and one-dimensionality in the dominant feminist narrative about sexual assault.

First of all, kudos to Dan for responding to WSN's comment in what I think is the most reasonable and compassionate way you could. I think the major messages that needed to be conveyed were perfectly addressed by you, namely: (1) none of us knows what actually went down in that instance, and we couldn't judge the extent of violation even if such a thing could be objectively judged, and (2) an inward attempt to see a difficult experience rom another's perspective can be as healing as any outward attempt to find 'closure.'

So back to the narrative. I don't like the idea that there's only one way to interpret an experience (evil man takes advantage of defenseless woman), or that once some kind of sexual trauma has occurred, you are therefore scarred for life. And while there's plenty of talk about resilience and being a survivor in feminist circles and literature, it still seems a little essentialist. As someone who's experienced sexual assault, I don't want to see myself as a victim or a survivor - I don't want to label myself or see my current experiences through the lens of something that happened to me. Rape is something that happened to me, and it has a heck of a lot more to do with the person who committed it than it has to do with me. I feel like some feminist conversations, or some groups I've been a part of, almost glorify the victim/survivor experience. Glorify is probably not the right word, because I don't think it's held up as a badge of honor or anything, but I do think that it is treated as so important that it may become a larger part of a person's identity than it would otherwise. And I don't think that's healthy.

Granted, I didn't experience extreme violence or repeated sexual assault, so I consider myself lucky. I understand that a lot of people have to go through a lot of healing just to accept that they are survivors and that what they experienced may have long-lasting repercussions. Still, I don't like the assumption that long-lasting repercussions are to be expected just because a violation occurred at some point. I would really love to open a dialogue with people who acknowledge the real toll of sexual assault, who don't victim-blame or minimize, but who also want to get past simplified explanations of the causes and consequences of sexual violence. Surely, that's happening on the internet somewhere, right? Website suggestions are more than welcome.
someone blowing a load in their pants while they were making out with you should be something looked on with humour, ffs, not something that traumatizes you for 7 years. grow up!
I’m really not trying to be a jerk, but as a woman, I swear I don’t understand the first letter. They were 14. She says she wanted to “explore her sexuality” which is not something most 14 year olds think – I think she is looking at the incident from a 21 year olds perspective. In my whole life I’ve never had anyone ask if they can feel my boobs. If you are making out, fooling around, hands travel. Did she tell him “don’t touch my boobs” before they started fooling around? Did she push his hands away and say “please don’t?” If she did, then he’s a jerk. Similarly, when he was rubbing on top of her (wanting to explore his sexuality) – did she push him off and say “I’m not comfortable doing this?” She says she felt “violated” only after she realized he’d gotten off. Don’t think most 14 year old boys have control of that reaction – it feels good, it happens. Not sure what she’d say to police… “When I was 14 my boyfriend and I were fooling around and he rubbed against me and got off…” They’d look at her and say “and…?”. There was no exploitation and no consent was needed - kids who fool around touch and sometimes get excited. I bet you anything if she did contact him it would turn out he’d totally forgotten about it because it was that insignificant to him – or if he remembers, he’ll be embarrassed because he shot off so fast. I’d recommend counseling for her to deal with her issues, but leave him out – he did nothing wrong (again, unless he held her down against her will or not stopped after she asked him to).
Hey, I can relate to MSN! Once I was making out with a girl and she rubbed up against me and I noticed her nipples were hard! I FELT SO VIOLATED! And her pussy was wet! I am so traumatized and scarred!! How dare she without my permission?? Should I go to the police? I need to contact her for an apology so I can get closure!! /s

The first letter writer makes me sick. Yeah, go ahead, write me off as a "misogynist" and move on to the next comment. Nothing wrong with feeling bad about the situation, feelings are irrational like that. But wanting an apology?? O_o

Men should apologize for their normal biological functions that happen when engaging in consensual 2nd-base petting! These standards only apply to men and not women of course, because 14-year-old boys are all-powerful symbols of patriarchy and magically telepathically know where their gfs boundaries are.

Thank god I am a straight woman, so I don't have to deal with this garbage.

I'm disappointed with Dan savage. If a guy wrote in talking about being traumatized like my satire in the first paragraph he'd tell the guy to get a grip, stop pathologizing women's normal biological functions.
I love this discussion because it brings to the forefront all the inherent contradictions in sexual relationships, therapy, and closure.

No, the boyfriend did not do anything so wrong that he needs to apologize. Maybe an apology in the way you say "excuse me" for accidentally bumping into someone in a crowd, but not in the "I'm deeply sorry for my misdeed and the pain that I've caused you" sort of way.

Yes, WSN feels bad. That doesn't make her a shrew or any other of the horrible names people are quick to call her. It makes her as foolish and mixed up about strong feelings as most 14 year olds, and like so many of us, she still gets memories that make her cringe from things that others have forgotten. Welcome to the human race.

Still, WSN would like to feel better. To achieve that, she needs validation. Here's the contradiction. Her validation depends on blaming the long-ago boyfriend, either by calling the police and accusing him of rape or getting him to admit he did something wrong in the form of getting an apology.

Barring getting an apology out of him, she turns to the society at large for validation. From society (or this comments section) validation can take the form of sympathy, but the flip side of sympathy becomes an accusation again. It comes down to either her being O.K., deserving of sympathy, and him doing something wrong, or his being O.K., just a 14 year old and her having a crazy reaction.

Me, I'd like to offer sympathy to someone who's obviously hurting without implying that men are scum. Therapists are in this position all the time. They have to walk that fine line that involves normalizing, validating, being sympathetic, while not giving a distorted view of reality.

What to do? IPJ in 9 has a good idea when pointing out that a good therapist will tell you that your happiness should never depend on the feelings of other people. It's got to come from within.

Here are other ideas: Try forgiving him. You don't have to get in touch with him. Just think about how you feel, the harm you've felt, and decide that you'll forgive him for your own sake so you don't have to carry around the burden of blame you've been laying on him.

Also, remember that lots of women don't enjoy man-on-top positions. Nothing wrong with that. You may be panicking while flashing on the bad memory, but you might also just prefer some other position because it feels better to you.

There's another idea. Try looking him up on facebook and writing a note because you're looking up old friends. Tell him what you're doing now and ask about him. Don't bring up your brief sexual relationship. For that matter, I'd be very surprised if you hadn't looked him up already just to see what he looks like. You can find out a lot about how things stand without directly confronting old memories with him.

Pay attention to those who suggest that there may be something else causing your panicky feelings than that single incident. Of course, here comes another contradiction. We have this way in our society of equating the person who goes for help in therapy with the person who has done something wrong, the one who is weaker in some way. Don't fall for that. You're hurting; you get some help. It's that simple.

Okay since there seem to be several different points of view floating around about the first letter, I want to throw something out there and see what the commenters think. When I was 15, my 16 year old boyfriend and I were similarly fooling around. I had just gone down on him, he didn't finish, but instead pulls me up so I'm straddling his chest. Fine. I'm wearing little shorts and underwear, which he pulls to the side and we keep fooling around. Suddenly, he's forcing himself inside me. I say nothing, sort of stiffen up, but he's got a pretty firm grasp of my hips. Fairly quickly he seems to realize this ain't really flying and stops, mumbles an apology, etc. We're both virgins until that point. I have always chalked this up to youthful ignorance/ teenage idiocy. Is that fair?
@52 bookaday

Brava! Well put.
Did he "force" himself into you? Or was he rubbing himself against your wet labiae because that feels nice, and because you were so wet he kinda sorta just slid in?

If it was the former, a mumbled apology wouldn't suffice, I'd think.
If it was the latter, I'd consider it forgivable overeagerness.
@52 and @53:
I'm a female old enough to be a grandmother, yet I remember being 14 enough to completely agree with you. Guys coming in their pants during dry humping was usually embarrassing and possibly traumatizing - for them!
This sounds like very very typical awkward 14 year old exploration.
I think if I were 21 and a girl from 7 years ago suddenly asked me for an apology for rubbing up against her when we were 14, resulting in creaming in my jeans, I'd wonder what the hell is wrong with her for continuing to obsess over something so ridiculously minor that happened 7 years ago. I'd probably say "if it helps, I apologize. Now get some REAL help, stop bothering both me and yourself about this nonsense, and move on with your life."
LW#1 is a victim... of poor sex education. The experience she had, at least the best guess as to the experience she had according to the letter, was completely normal. The problem is, nobody ever set her expectations as to what a normal interaction between two sexually inexperienced people might be like.

Our American puritanical values have left virtually everyone learning how to conduct their sex lives through trial and error. The natural consequence of the trial and error method is a lot of error. And some of those error are going to include the parties getting more sexual contact than they would care for.

But... and here's the tip for all you sexually inexperienced folks who are lucky enough to be reading the comments for this column ... you don't have to verbally ask to get permission! I've probably touched one or both boobs in well over 100 sets of boobs. I can't recall ever specifically asking, "May I touch your boob?" It's awkward and most of the time the last thing a girl who really wants you to touch her boob wants you to do is stop and specifically, verbally ask if you can touch her boob.

For virtually any sort of basic sexual contact, you can telegraph your intent and give the other party opportunity to decline. In the case of boobs, make sure you remove the bra first. If there is no bra or it's been removed for a while, slowly run your hands along the skin in the direction of the boobs. If you're going downstairs, don't just throw your hand down the pants; unbutton them first, or if there's no buttons, to a little playing with the waistband.

The important part is, go slow! It gives the other party the chance to redirect you, and a little teasing will likely make for a better experience anyway.

Receiving parties: When hands or other things start going towards areas where you would prefer they were not, that's your opportunity to redirect! Block, or grab and redirect to where you'd like them to go, or just say, "No, grab my (whatever)".

If we had sex education that included basic lessons in sexual communication, we'd avoid a lot of situations like LW#1.
I think the girl completely overreacted. When you were a teenager making out, what did you expect to happen? The fact that you take exception to it after the fact is ridiculous. Besides, even if he does apologize, what does it get you? It doesn't change a thing except that an apology from him will equal an admission of guilt and wrong doing and will likely make you feel worse in your overreacting mind. "See? He really did assault me! He admits it." Grow up. Get help.
@57 Yes, it was definitely forceful. This dude was about 6'4 with 80 pounds on me. But I guess the point is I was (am?) willing to let it slide as a sort of mutual failure to communicate given our relative inexperience. If we were adults, it would be something very different. I'm just wondering if giving one free pass to be a total asshole is fair? I guess the first question just made me wonder if I under-reacted, not that it really matters as it was several, several years ago.
Anyone else think of DFW's "The Depressed Person" while reading the first letter? Christ. WSN needs to pull her self-indulgent head out of her ass, and survey the horror that constitutes daily life for many people in this world, and maybe her problems won't seem so all consuming. It is OK to be disappointed with your boyfriend and creeped out by the experience, but to bear it like a cross for 7 years is fucking insane. You have a hard road to hoe ahead if this is all it takes to derail you. The advice given earlier in the comments to 'journal it' is like giving a drowning person a glass of water. You have wallowed long enough WSN - now toughen the fuck up and put it behind you. If this is the worst thing that ever happens, you will have led a wonderful and charmed life.
@55: I had a similar situation in college, only the girl shifted to cause penetration. She was on top, so it took a fairly forceful grab of the hips and relocation to get her off (as in no longer on).

Never felt an apology was necessary ... learned after that that if you've got your naughty bits grinding against each other and you don't want actual sex you really need to say so as penetration is the obvious next step.

This goes back to my previous sex ed post - if someone moves your clothing to the point that your penis or vagina is exposed and your penis/vagina is anywhere in the general vicinity of the other party's penis/vagina, and you DON'T want penetration, this is the time where you need to say so, because the obvious next step when two uncovered penises/vaginas are next to each other is, well... that's what they were built for.
@55/62, take a look at the advice @60.

> When hands or other things start going towards areas where you would prefer they were not, that's your opportunity to redirect! Block, or grab and redirect to where you'd like them to go, or just say, "No, grab my (whatever)".

Just going on your description of what happened, I would say your partner made a good faith effort to communicate his intentions: stopping you from finishing the blow job, pulling you up on him, and pulling aside your clothing. He had you on top, so you could get off if you wanted to; he stopped when he could tell from your stiffened body that you were upset. Unless you had previously told him intercourse was forbidden, I don't personally see him as being a total asshole here.
further to that, EricaP, when asked if it was forced, she responds with "he was 80lbs bigger than me" without describing anything that sounds like force.
@64 just wanted to say that my uncaffeinated brain read that as two uncovered penises next to each other -- thanks for the happy imagery! Made my morning.
@66 I see the confusion here. I guess my point in describing the physical disparity is that he was so much stronger that he could force me down onto him even though I was on top and prevent me from moving away. The bigger issue is that I guess I was never as bothered as the first letter writer (even though i think what Ive described crosses a boundary even more) because I saw it as a mutual failure to express desires/consent, which I think is probably fair when inexperienced people are involved. I don't know. I guess I'm willing to give a little latitude in gray areas where all involved have no clue what they're doing.
@68 Did he prevent you from moving away?
Maybe if she can see this from a 14yr old boy point of view, she won't need an apology.

It must really suck to be a teenager today. Girls have no idea what is ok and what is not so they perceive this as assault. Boys are just as scared that anything with brand them offenders. And there's things like Stuebenville and rape culture in general to make it all that much more confusing for them.

@Fleur: maybe that was his way of initiating your mutual first time in a sexy way as opposed to an awkward discussion or something? Although,my first though is where was the condom? Not in judge-y way but in a you were 15 and I wouldn't want you get pregnant or an std kind of way. But if I think like a dude which I am not, I think maybe he thought this this would go over as a spontaneous way to initiate your firsts. Either way I don't think you under-reacted.

@60 excellent advice, totally agree with you. Just a few basic lessons on communication would stop understandable mistakes from one party resulting in feelings of violation from the other. There's this whole culture where kids are on the one hand told to not have sex and not talk about it ever, and on the other are expected to know how to act in sexual situations - which leads to a lot of discomfort and not a lot of fun as both parties pretend they know what they're doing when they have no clue.
@PUNT maybe just say a variation on what you said in you letter. "I won't die if these things don't happen, but I would die if I lost your respect, so please don't judge me"

And I'm sorry your ex wife was so horrible. I can't imagine.
@tito I think that you've probably hit on it. I think he was trying to be smooth, I was trying not to show my panic (which incidentally was mostly a reaction to the lack of condom). Basically two people trying to act cool. @erica, yes I walked away with handprints and later a nice bruise from trying to pull away. While that sounds terrible, I'm pretty sure if I'd been less concerned with not appearing "uncool" and had just said stop, it probably would have. The take home is kids are terrible at reading each others' non verbal ques and terrible at verbalizing. I think if the letter writer can see it as a failure to communicate, it might help?
A little later in the game, but oh well. Here I am.
Great advice, Dan, to WSN and PUNT.

Finding closure is so important in also finding peace, off the internet!!!
I'm now very worried I'm going to get a Facebook message from the bed I had in junior high about the non-consensual wet dreams I had.
Meh - I'm with @13 - if she didn't feel violated until after she learned he'd cum - in other words, if the dry-humping/grinding itself was part of 'experimenting' and was OK, then it's difficult to see where she can complain about being violated.

I think @10 is onto something...
This is the problem with parents, schools, etc not properly schooling their kids, but than again who really does talk about dry humping each other. Most likely, she had heard about this, but was enjoying it so much herself she wasn't paying attention. Than again, do young girls realize how quick a young boy can come? Shaming kids about sex adds all this abusive crap to peoples minds & I'm not so sure she is being honest about not knowing what was going on. It's possible she is just upset that he didn't share the pleasure and is more jealous of him getting off and she didn't. Now I know the way that sounds, but after all, they did have their clothes on and he didn't come in her mouth without telling her. Kids really don't get there acts together till there more in their 20's and if it happened at that age I could me more understanding & sympathetic. Was it right, NO. but don't you remember what it was like at 14? Besides, isn't the why they call it dry humping after all?
Can someone play WSN the worlds smallest fucking violin? White girl problems are not a concern of mine. Dan, next time don't be so soft on the little pussy.
.....One more thing. Remember, they still had their clothes on......Do you know how many girls at that age would just love to be able to tell all her girlfriends how she just made this guy, cream his jeans? They would all love it and get a big laugh over it & than would start telling each other all the stories they have. In the end, it's all about attitude and giving your self permission to experiment. Come on.... be a girl already. Sheesh!
I am a man and I love wearing stockings and pantyhose during sex! Here is my suggestion for broaching the subject:

I have had several partners "dress up" for me, but was only comfortable enough with one partner to actually try wearing them myself. Here is how I approached the subject:

Start by commenting how good your wife looks when she wears stockings or tights. Once she know that you are into them, you can 'surprise' her by buying a pair you like for her. Ask her what it feels like to wear them, and then tell her that you have always wondered what it would be like to try them on yourself. I bet that she will be happy to 'lend you' a pair to try on for her! In the grand scheme of things, its fun and not a big deal. Good luck!
Early teens are difficult- I feel a lot of empathy for this girl, actually. When I was in eighth grade (13 or 14, I don't remember which), I was freak-dancing with a guy for the first time, and apparently I did too good of a job, because he came in his pants. He was super mortified, but so was I, and I didn't freak with anyone else for 6 years because it was a little traumatizing. The fact is, while the early teens are when you start feeling a lot like you want to do sexual things, you also have some residual disgust at those things- I distinctly remember having discussions with my girlfriends about how gross blowjobs seemed. Maybe that's the sex negativity in the culture, maybe it's the fear of the other gender, I don't know. And in a lot of ways, imagining jizz or dealing with it obliquely by noticing it through a guy's pants is a lot worse than dealing with the reality. At least if you were doing an activity that was SUPPOSED to lead to ejaculation, you'd expect it, you'd brace yourself for it, and you'd probably find out that it's not nearly as weird as you thought it was going to be.

So yes, she should get over it, but all the people who are going "oh this is perfectly normal and I can't believe she felt so weird about this" are thinking about it without filtering it through an insecure 14-year-old's mind. She's probably matured in most other ways, but this one aspect is keeping her back.
good call IM85

or how about just dressing up as a "joke". big deal. keep it easy-breasy
For Q#2, I want to add some perspective in the role of wife #2. I am very happily and deeply involved with a man who had 10 year marriage starting when he was 18 based on both of their religious upbringings. It ended mutually as they both grew up and away from their religious upbringing. As far as I know, there was no ridicule in sexual exploration, but it certainly wasn't done at all.

I was always adventurous in theory, but had never had someone that I felt connected to enough to explore all of the things.

Now that we are together and being honest and open about all of our desires and interests, I've tried things that I had never even thought of. Some of them turned me on initially and some of them just turned me on because they turn him on. We are both surprised by just how much there is to explore out there. There are things that I've suggested and he's ended up as much if not more into than I am and vice versa.

So, my actual point is that just suggesting that you do a drive by on this and watch something together and see her reaction might give you a biased view of her reaction since it's not something she's aware you are even asking. So you watch Eddie Izzard and she doesn't react at all to the cross dressing, then what do you do? What if you don't watch porn together or the idea of watching strangers pee on each other turns you off, but doing it in the context of a loving relationship is fine.

Just tell her, it sounds like she certainly won't ridicule you or think poorly of you even if she's not thrilled by it, so worst case scenario is that she says she's not into it and you move on and best case is that you actual get to experiment.

Also, I'm the one that has a hard time admitting stuff and I'm totally guilty of starting out my descriptions with, "So I had this dream...". We both know and we both laugh about it, but it gives me a bit of distance.
@62, I think @65 is right, and that basically it wasn't assholery if he paid attention to your response/reaction and acted accordingly (stopped).
For Q#2, I want to add some perspective in the role of wife #2. I am very happily and deeply involved with a man who had 10 year marriage starting when he was 18 based on both of their religious upbringings. It ended mutually as they both grew up and away from their religious upbringing. As far as I know, there was no ridicule in sexual exploration, but it certainly wasn't done at all.

I was always adventurous in theory, but had never had someone that I felt connected to enough to explore all of the things.

Now that we are together and being honest and open about all of our desires and interests, I've tried things that I had never even thought of. Some of them turned me on initially and some of them just turned me on because they turn him on. We are both surprised by just how much there is to explore out there. There are things that I've suggested and he's ended up as much if not more into than I am and vice versa.

So, my actual point is that just suggesting that you do a drive by on this and watch something together and see her reaction might give you a biased view of her reaction since it's not something she's aware you are even asking. So you watch Eddie Izzard and she doesn't react at all to the cross dressing, then what do you do? What if you don't watch porn together or the idea of watching strangers pee on each other turns you off, but doing it in the context of a loving relationship is fine.

Just tell her, it sounds like she certainly won't ridicule you or think poorly of you even if she's not thrilled by it, so worst case scenario is that she says she's not into it and you move on and best case is that you actual get to experiment.

Also, I'm the one that has a hard time admitting stuff and I'm totally guilty of starting out my descriptions with, "So I had this dream...". We both know and we both laugh about it, but it gives me a bit of distance.
Oh another reason some teenage girls need a gay BFF... When i was about the same age as the L1, my best friend fag hag (she used the word and proudly still does) liked a boy. one night they had their first make out session and he starts humping her while they kissed. Later, when she was telling me all the details, she told me about the humping and i told her he was "dry humping" she was a agast, but then we both burst into laughter. Teenagers at 14 do not know what their doing but it helps having a friend to talk about it (and for 14 year girls a gay friend is even better when you need to talk about boys.)
@lolorhone, I think the chances that WSN's boyfriend was actually abusive are pretty slim. She takes the trouble to write a letter to an advice columnist about a boy who deeply traumatized her, and this is the worst she can say about him? That he once - ONCE - touched her breast without asking first, and the dry-humping incident? I think the fact that she only got upset after she found out he'd actually achieved icky, messy orgasm during a sexual activity so well-established that it actually has a name is pretty telling. She thought that she was "exploring her sexuality" on her own terms; that is, without ever actually getting close to anything resembling actual sex. When she found out that all that sexy rubbing up against each other was actually simulated sex, and that her boyfriend had had a totally unsimulated orgasm, she freaked, but it wasn't the boyfriend who'd violated her. WSN chose to explore her sexuality when she just wasn't ready to do that yet, and for 7 years she's blamed her boyfriend for the fact that she couldn't admit to herself that she was the one who made a decision she wasn't ready for. It's normal to be in denial about your own culpability in something that made you so uncomfortable when you were 14, but 7 years later? Not normal, and clearly destructive. WSN needs serious therapy, not an apology.
I agree with #41, very much so. I don't think the boy in L1 was doing anything maliciously. But it's not too much to ask that a sexual partner, of any age, look and ask (directly or indirectly) for signs of consent.

Also, I saw someone else comment that she may have felt that she was being used as a "masturbatory aid." I agree. She was very young, she wanted to explore her sexuality in slow, gradual steps, and the next thing she knows, her boyfriend has dry-humped her and orgasmed. To a 14-year-old girl, who may or may not have ever orgasmed herself (female masturbation still being less accepted and widespread even today), this probably seemed like a huge deal. The event went from "shy, early sexual explorations" to "adult sex" in her mind.

While it seems that all of us here in the comments are aware that 14-year-old boys ejaculate fairly frequently (and often without much control), to her, it seemed like he had deliberately taken the encounter from something very mildly sexual to something quite extremely sexual. And it's silly to judge her for that conclusion. Everyone has different boundaries of comfort. But she would probably feel better if she had the opportunity to talk to a therapist. He/she would likely point out what we've all pointed out (that it was likely an accident) and help her get a little closure.

I agree with most of the commenters that she shouldn't reach out to him. I doubt it would be satisfying at all. This is really the kind of thing she should work out on her own (and/or with a little therapy).
Hey WSN. I am a gay woman who dated boys while growing up, before coming out.

I would also like to second that, unless we are missing some very significant information, what happened during that make out session seems like a fairly typical teenage sexual experience. Having someone rub themselves against you when they are on top is pretty common.

The guy would probably have expected you to know or realize what he was doing. Don’t contact him. Desiring women myself, I can see how he could react, not only with embarrassment or concern, but also with anger, particularly about the mention of the police. Reading your letter makes me remember how important it is that parents talk to their children about checking-in with their sexual partners.
#89 "She thought that she was "exploring her sexuality" on her own terms; that is, without ever actually getting close to anything resembling actual sex."

So, in your mind, it's not legitimate for a 14-year-old to want to do mildly sexual things (such as kissing) if they're not willing to do more advanced sexual things (such as dry humping)? You're not allowed to do it in steps, it's all or nothing? That's ridiculous. It's healthy for young people to take sex one step at a time, and decide for themselves (hopefully with the guidance of some sexual education) how far they want each step to go.

"When she found out that all that sexy rubbing up against each other was actually simulated sex, and that her boyfriend had had a totally unsimulated orgasm, she freaked"

"They" weren't rubbing up against each other, HE was rubbing up against her. She didn't realize that he was simulating sex until he came, and didn't consent to it before or after his coming.

She was ready for the part she consented to. She wasn't ready for the part she *didn't* consent to. The conclusion is that they should've communicated more. But while her trauma might not be entirely his fault, it's surely not *hers,* either.
@73 thanks for explaining, and I agree with your assessment.
That marriage counselor was a complete piece of shit. I wonder if it was it a real marriage counselor who was bad at his job, or a parallel-Christian-universe "marriage counselor"? Not sure which is worse, really.
WSN seems to be a bit of a throwback to me. I dated very Catholic high school girls far too many winters ago, and WSN sounds like she had the same frame that they did:
"(1) I do or may want sexual activity as much as you do.
(2) I cannot in any way communicate or even admit this, because then I'm a Bad/Sinful Girl.
(3) My way of addressing this is to let you take the initiative, and I may ... or may not ... tell you at the time what I find acceptable (and, to be fair, sometimes I don't even know myself). You must guess.
(4) If whatever happens is wrong or upsetting for me, you're bad and I'm not. You're the one that Acted. I bear no sin, because I left everything up to you. [The connection to Pontius Pilate should have been more clear to Catholic girls, but it wasn't. ;) ] I have abdicated responsibility, so that keeps me morally pure because I left myself entirely in your hands."

Note that this doesn't require even a whit of bad faith or meanness on the girl's fault. It is, rather, a psychologically useful self-serving framing of events, one which rests on a 14 year old boy bearing the sole bearer of opprobrium and the imposition upon him full responsibility for his actions (with the implied assumption the he knew far better than she what was going on) and a 14 year old girl being a naif with no control over events whatsoever.

WSN, I don't think that you're a bad person. I do think, though, that if a bit of bog-standard Grade 9 fumbling has you traumatized then you badly need therapy. That isn't a criticism, just a simple fact. And I don't think that you should ever, ever, ever call the boy. I doubt that even the most progressive man would welcome a call from almost a decade ago accusing his stupid, ignorant 14 year old self of being a quasi-rapist who has caused untold psychological damage, and I doubt very much that it would help you. Rather to the contrary: it will reinforce the notion that you weren't an actor in what happened, but only a passive victim. Trust me, feminist counselling can be every bit as ideological and judgmental and determinative as Christian counselling, just at the other end of the teeter-totter: it will have less to do with you -- as a person, a patient and a human in need of help --than it does with validating and reinforcing the underlying ideology which spawned the therapeutic model.
Note, too, that in an age of teenagers on sex offender registries and lawsuits over events long past the boy in question, however kindhearted or stonehearted, would be ninety different kinds of fool to even discuss this with her. If he has a brain he should assume that there's a tape rolling and it the odds are excellent that it will bite him in the ass.
@89: I going to tell you the same thing I told I Hate Screen Names: I'm not arguing the case, just her right to feel as she feels and seek advice on how to find closure. Everyone is free to project whatever bullshit sexual absolutes onto this scenario if they want to; I'm just not interested in validating the "It must have gone down this way because when I was 14..." school of thought.
When I was about 14, I was making out with my girlfriend. As we were grinding away, aka dry humping, I pulled down the top of her leotard--she didn't mind--got a glimpse of an actual, honest-to-god nipple, and promptly jizzed in my jeans. I had no idea it was coming and I was shocked and terrified. I was humiliated and I got up and ran away. The point being, yeah, 14-year-old boys have no control over that. Even the dry humping was just a natural escalation of the make-out, not some premeditated thing. So WSN, cut a 14-year-old kid some slack.
dashwoodstole @41:
So @37 'Did she ask him to stop?' no, she probably didn't. But that's not as easy as it sounds when you're 14 and you think that in order to please a boy you have to do what he wants, and what you want comes second. Because that, quite frankly, is the message girls get.
This is one-sided nonsense. My sexually formative youth years were in the late 70s to mid-80s, and I got it both ways: my religious upbringing hammered on me to respect women's chastity (even when they didn't want it respected) and that era of feminism was all about "in any boundary question it is entirely up to the man to back the fuck off, always", which was messaged as and understood to mean that any girl who didn't light up a neon "Take Me Now!" sign was out of bounds. I had two girlfriends dump me because they wanted to get laid AND told me that they wanted to be virgins for marriage, and got tired of not getting (a) because I respected (b) and so went off to find someone who would reverse the order. In the end, it worked out for both sides: I got to keep my sense of integrity, and never became a rapist, and ended up in bed with girls whose desires and "messaging" were on the same page. They, in turn, were much happier with boyfriends who listened to what they wanted instead of what they said. Win-win. In short, the message I got six ways from Sunday was "in order to please a girl you have to do what she wants", so kindly cut the crap that this was a one-way gendered street. People are entitled to be confused-to-paradoxical in their teen sexuality, and it is complete and utter crap to pretend that only one gender is labouring under wrongheaded social conditioning.

Any effort to solve the problems inherent in this letter must be aimed at the youth of both genders. Trying to Fix What the Boys Are Doing infantalizes the girls and places an undue burden on the boys. Clarity, Communication and Consent apply to both teenage boys and teenage girls. I've had a sneaking suspicion for years that the one thing guaranteed to have girls and young women take greater ownership of and control over their own sexuality would be boys, upon hearing, "I don't think I want to do this" saying "oh, okay!" and not doing anything else sexual, period, until and unless she initiates it. As long as we retain the dated notion that Boy Approaches then Woman Accepts or Rejects (or Approves or Disapproves) then shit like stuff described by LW1 will continue until the end of days. If you want a room in a colour you like, help choose the paint and pick up the brush, don't kvetch afterwards.
I'm a male. When I was 10 an Airforce fighter pilot stuck his hand down my pants and fondled me. When I was 17 a buddy of mine put his hand on my crotch in the backseat of a VW Beetle.

I got over it. Not trying to be mean, but move on. People have had much worse. See a shrink, talk it out, but move it on down the road already.
twofortheshow @8:
I tell this story all the time -- it always gets a lot of laughs.
Weird. One girl I had a teenage sexual experiences with did something embarrassing, and all I have done is kept quiet about it for three decades now instead of mocking her for the amusement of my friends. Ah, well, I always knew that I was a freak compared to decent people like you.
First comment here ever.

Violation is not OK. Consent should not be ignored, nor should lack of consent.

With those statements as a given, acknowledging that even the best boundaries leave a world of grey area, I see another factor in play here: Despite what helicopter parenting, grade inflation, and money-back guarantees on everything would suggest, nobody gets a perfect life.

The words we use to describe sexuality--experiment and explore--imply uncertainty and the possibility of unsatisfactory result. That's the risk. But it's also part of the joy when things go well. Eliminate all risk by plotting every possible move in advance and you also drain the experience of its life. This is the purpose of boundaries, not to constrain us but to FREE us to enjoy the experience.

Once those boundaries are established--realizing that they're movable if anybody gets uncomfortable--surprises and even dissatisfaction can happen even if you're still operating in "safe" ground. That's not a crime, nor even a huge failure. That's a learning experience and that's life.

Sometimes a product doesn't live up to your satisfaction after you've lost the receipt. (14-year-old boyfriends often qualify.) Sometimes you get a B- or fall off the slide. Eliminate those experiences--or get trapped into fear and remorse as a result--and you never feel the exhilaration of going on a bigger slide than you ever dared and making it all the way.

Establish boundaries. Obtain and give consent. But then judge the experience by the process and the chance to learn, not just by whether it turned out exactly like you wanted.

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