I got rape cultured on Tuesday

I’ve been absent from blogging for a while. It wasn’t for lack of things to say, but rather lack of Internet on which to say them. Over the last two weeks, I experienced sunshine, bought new clothes, drunkenly made an OKCupid profile, went to Denver for the National Conference for Media Reform, was reinvigorated in my love for Seattle, won free drinks at trivia for the simplest of questions, made homemade pizza, and got laid.

Let’s talk about that last thing first. Family members… now is the time to stop reading.

* * *

I went dancing on Tuesday night at Havana in Capitol Hill. It was ’90s night presented by Hoot N Howl — they of the late, great Black Snake Moan at Unicorn — and I wanted to get out and move my body for a while. Standing at the bar waiting for my one and only whiskey ginger, a short Asian guy with a faux-hawk and his tall, dark, handsome friend start talking to me. I oblige for a few minutes, waiting on the over-extended bartender, then walk away to dance.

Talk, dark and handsome follows. (That description is cliché, I know, but it’s also true and more polite and meaningful than using his real name would be.) I like the attention and am impressed by his fat lips and fancy footwork. We move closer and closer. Then we’re kissing. Then I’m whispering in his ear, “Do you live nearby?” I knew what I was after.

Fast forward to us in his Jeep en route to Bellevue. Bellevue! A testament to how much I wanted to get laid, how much I needed after ending a year-and-a-half long relationship to get someone other than Ben up in there.

Is that fucked up? It’s honest. Of course I have no idea who Ben has or has not been sleeping with since we broke up, but as long as he was my last sex partner I felt some sort of physical connection with him that I had to sever.

The whole car ride I keep thinking, “Holy shit, I’m about to sleep with someone other than Ben. Holy shit. Holy shit.”

We arrive at this guy’s house, in Bellevue; I walk into his bedroom and see his a twin sized bed piled with dirty clothes alongside a naked futon, and then…??? We are both brutally sober and thus unable to slip into that beautiful drunken detachment that bypasses the awkward and mundane and makes memory into a best-of montage. Picture him aggressive and hungry. Picture me awkward and inexperienced, smiling that wide-eyed smile that shows the fear in my eyes and my willingness to go along with whatever is happening because I just don’t understand.

He asks what I like. I reply with a girlish giggle because how the hell could I even begin to think about providing that answer to a strange man about to fuck me? So we do what he wants. Neither of us are fully aroused. It hurts, terribly. I’m eventually able to end it by saying it hurts because I haven’t had sex in so long. He probably thinks his dick is big.

So we stop and I’m decidedly done but he keeps on trying to start things up again and I excuse myself into the bathroom where I cry that I’m with this strange man and not Ben, but I only cry a little bit. I come out talking about how tired I am and eventually convince him to let us go to sleep, though he keeps on trying to start things up again and I keep on pushing him away, but always with a smile because he is bigger than me and stronger than me and I know how easily he could get whatever he wants if he made up his mind in that direction. And he’s promised me a ride from Bellevue to the ferry terminal in the morning and I want to keep that ride.

All night I feign innocence and happiness and kindness. All night I lay naked in his strange man’s bed trying to sleep, letting him cuddle with me for a little while until he tries to start things up again and I push him away. And that’s where the “rape culture” of this post comes in. I could have yelled “no.” I could have screamed “no” and fought and bared my teeth, but I didn’t want to. I didn’t want to turn a night of casual sex and flirtation into me making this man feel like a rapist. He didn’t rape me. He probably thought he was nice. I was DTF and we did and its badness was only surprising because I hadn’t had casual sex in so long.

But just because I “asked for it” — literally — doesn’t mean I asked for everything forever. That’s rape culture. Once I gave into sex, I effectively lost my voice. I had to say “no” and “I don’t want to” and “I’m tired” — I had to push him away and express my disinterest physically, vocally and emotionally — over and over and over. Rape culture teaches that saying “no” one time, in a nice voice, isn’t enough. You need to scream and you need to fight or else it’s your fault, and it’s probably your fault anyway.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I really don’t think fighting with and yelling at a strong horny man is the most effective way to get what you want.

What’s a casual-sex-haver to do? Although I’m now put off from sex at least in the short term (and I actually got my period a week early for the first time ever; I think my body was like “hell no is anyone else coming up in here”), I’m sure I’ll want to do it again at some point. For me it’s more sexually satisfying to “be in love” and “make love,” but I’m clinging to my independence with terror in the whites of my eyes and I don’t anticipate giving anyone a chance beyond one night anytime in the near future. Should I discuss rape culture over drinks? Give in to getting mean?

My desire, my feminist utopia, would be a world where a person could go to another person’s house with the intention of doing it (like I did), without using drugs or intimidation or threats of violence (yep), where the involved parties could communicate their sexual desires (my fault), and where signals would be read and communication acknowledged so things could stop when people wanted them to (his fault).

And really, I’m not talking “no means no.” Don’t just keep your ears perked for that all-important word and proceed as planned without it. I’m talking “yes means yes!” I’m talking enthusiastic consent. Because if I had “given in” to the relentless sexual overtures of tall/dark/handsome on Tuesday night, debate could ensue about whether it was rape, but it would be a lonely debater arguing that my “no”s and “I’m tired”s and “That hurts”s — followed by maybe, sadly, a “fine just get it over with” — could constitute enthusiastic consent.

Why would you, how could you want to have sex with a person who didn’t enthusiastically want to have sex with you? Maybe this is a function of me being a fully socialized woman, but if a man ever expresses any kind of lack of attention or interest in me, my insecurity goes up and sex drive goes down. I’m not gonna jump on there unless I’m wanted, clearly, loudly, enthusiastically.

Who’s with me? Yes means yes!


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About Emily Suggests

Pineapple rock, lemon platt, butter scotch. A sugarsticky girl shovelling scoopfuls of creams for a christian brother.

9 responses to “I got rape cultured on Tuesday”

  1. deliciosciphi says :

    The imagery you provide is astoundingly accurate and well depicted, I have to say. I see you mention OKCupid, but I do believe that the encounter detailed here was not actually related to a date found on that site. Nevertheless, the accuracy of your depiction lies not only in what I can possibly imagine, but actually in what I have definitely experienced. You mention you had not had casual sex for some time, and I hope for your sake that you have, on average, better luck, but OKCupid is the goddamn Capital of awkward casual sex on the interweb.

    I speak in earnest when I say that what happened to you in that moment of less-than-stellar intimacy very much mirrors a past date of mine that resulted from OKC. If it is not clear, I am male, so the exact intricacies of the situation do vary somewhat. Still, I was very much put into the position of really preferring that a “Yes I want to continue!” from both parties (mainly from me, in my case) be required and understood as a pretty okay thing to have.

    Of course, I want to emphasize that I cannot precisely relate as I was not with a woman much stronger and larger than me. Thus, I did not have any real fear for my wellbeing. But, she was a persistent and extremely horny.Though we had gone to a bar, we were stone-cold sober. The “consent” was given as I did lead her up to my bedroom, start kissing her, allowed her to take my pants off, etc. However, I had realized much earlier in the night that I really was not into this girl in that way. But… I could tell she was really into me, and she drove 45 mins from wherever she was to hang out with me.

    I really want to shy away from any sort of concept of “guilt” being involved in why I still allowed us to have sex, but there was some force there that I cannot easily identify that led me to feel like I was simply sort of trapped. It was 1am, I had a pretty small bed, she would have had to drive 45 mins to get home, and my perception was that she would have taken the rejection REALLY badly. However, this is where the “a more perfect World” bit comes in. I mean, she didn’t know me too well of course, but I certainly was not giving much indication that I was too into it. My arousal was fleeting at best and a few times during the procedure I would say things like “Do you want to stop?” I assume I was projecting, and I guess I was hoping she would see that. Her only response to all of it was, without exaggeration, “I JUST WANT TO CUM! I JUST WANT TO CUM SO BAD!”

    Even thinking about it now it makes me feel kind of uncomfortable and sick. I would never call what happened rape. Moreover, I really hope I am not making it seem like I am comparing my situation to very REAL rapes or even ambiguous sex acts that tread on the borderline. I guess I just really enjoyed your post because you put into words feelings that I felt but never really knew or even tried to communicate with anyone. I also wanted to share my experience, showing solidarity while also expressing a male’s point of view. Though I do understand it does not lie within the realm of being as physically dangerous as if horny one was physically stronger than the reluctant one.

    Needless to say, I did not go on any more dates with this specific girl. Moreover, back to my initial point on OKC, I still had a couple more awkward and less-than-stellar sex experiences, though in all cases consent was given by both parties. But hey, OKC gave me lots of great sexperiences, too! Really! And more importantly, I made tons of good friends that had nothing to do with sex. Oh yeah, and I am currently in a domestic partnership with someone that I did NOT meet on OKC, though. Yeah, despite all of their algorithms, the longest relationship I got out of that site after 2.5 years of use was about 3 months. Wooooo

    Thanks for reading. I look forward to your future posts, wordpress friend.

  2. Hayley :) says :

    I’m with you, girl!

  3. Matt says :

    From a guys perspective a lot of times society tells us we are the ones that need to seduce, persuade, and lead. I see and respect your point but you went from hot and heavy in his jeep to his bed to awkward and disinterested. In his mind he was trying to find a way to get you back to hot and ready. Not trying to disrespect you, not trying to harm you, and most certainly not trying to rape you.
    I’m not saying you should have given in, I’m just saying that you sent him mixed signals and didnt really tell him “I no longer want to have sex with him”, you told him I want you, then you did it, then you didn’t want it. Maybe he felt as if he hasn’t pleased you.
    In all reality if it was my sister I would want her to leave at the point where you went to the bathroom. Call a cab and get home safe. You made an emotional decision to sleep with tall dark and handsome then your emotions on the situation changed and all he did was get confused and try to find a way to please you into giving him another chance while be was feeling the sting of rejection.
    Put yourself in his shoes. He just wants o know why you went from throwing yourself at him to awkward. Next time it gets awkward leave.

    • Emily Stoner says :

      I appreciate your comment and definitely understand the fact the societal messages hurt men as well as women. I wanted to have sex with him and I did; the problem was that he wouldn’t let things end. If he truly wanted to know why things changed from hot to awkward, he could have asked, we could have talked, he could have LISTENED to me instead of continually pushing for more after I made it clear that wasn’t what I wanted.

      • Matt says :

        I get what you’re saying, asking someone you don’t know those questions is really hard.bthe same as your hesitation when answering his question”what do you like” It can be hard to ask your significant other those questions much less a stranger.
        Can I ask why you just didnt leave? It seems to me that he had out lived his welcome and you had lost interest in being there.
        You went there with the intention of being dtf and when your intention changed… Why not bail? If the cable guy comes to my house to fix the TV he doesn’t hang out after he has done what he came for?
        You are right on here though and societal messages are a huge problem. Add on to that the fact women and men cannot seem to communicate very well in almost any situation and it is just a mess. But, you also tried to rely on your charm as a woman when saying no “with a smile” because he was bigger than you.
        Rape culture to me is what happened in Steubenville. A young lady not able to give consent and 2 men thinking they can do whatever they wanted. while no one stepped in and said this is wrong because the culture said it wasnt/ she wanted it/ she deserves it/ any other messed up message.
        While what happened to you is a mess it is more part of the traditional culture between men and women. We watch Disney movies and the prince pursues the princess, the male is called the courtier and only after he proves himself worthy and brave over and over again is he allowed the princesses love.
        How about the girlfriend that ends a relationship and then calls the man and hangs up. When he calls back she acts disinterested. If he doesn’t call back she will continue to pursue but if the delicate ballet between the two doesnt happen exactly right he becomes a stalker?
        As a man I have been in similar situations. I’m not that persistent though but the thought that someone could see me as a would be rapist is incredibly hurtful to me. As it would probably be to tall dark and handsome.
        Please don’t think I am down playing the situation. We are lucky that you didn’t have to physically defend yourself more. It’s just such a rough situation in our society and one that needs to be resolved. In the next generation men and women are going to become more equal than ever and while that is the reality… Society hasn’t evolved to a point to handle it.
        As for your writing style I spent a good amount of time reading your blog and agree you should be a writer. You are fantasic at it. I’m in no way a fan of a great deal of the feminist movement. Militantism just complicates the message to men but as I sit on the train writing this I have really enjoyed your point of view and how you communicate it in a way that is not overly heavy, you carry a wonderful sense of humor throughout and more than anything else you communicate effectively.
        Hopefully we find an answer to our problems soon instead ill be reading and enjoying the site.

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