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Author Topic: What just happened and why do I feel this way?
BDuBoisFan
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I'm probably not the first to ask about something like this. I also don't know to whom I can fully confide this story. It's a ridiculously long story, I'm sorry about that.
Nevertheless: I met a goodlooking guy earlier this week who seemed interested. I was dealing with a lot of crap since the week after Memorial Day weekend this year and was feeling like a complete loser, not least because someone that I suppose you could call him a sometime lover, just up and wrote me off, and I'd been emotionally invested in him, and I definitely felt betrayed by that. That made me feel like a loser and on top of that, a lot of my social circle stopped talking to me, probably because I was so negative and self-pitying. Suffice it to say, meeting this guy gave me a much needed sense of validation.
We hooked up in my car two days later but the PIV part hurt and I begged him to take himself out of me because he was hurting me. He told me I had to let him because I'd said I wanted it and he'd warned me he was well-endowed (not quite sure why he thought his size was relevant). Even aside from that, he pretty much willfully ignored my verbal and physical cues for things I DID want. And I think he might well have entered me without a condom had I not exclaimed, "Um, dude you need a condom!" to which he said "well? where is one?" and I gave one. (We did use a condom, so that base is covered, at least.) I didn't feel awesome when this was happening. I felt threatened and disrespected.
The thing is, it's my fault. I saw red flags the whole damn time. I listened to him make misogynist comments. I listened to him defend Kobe Bryant on the grounds that he was goodlooking and athletic and thus didn't "need" to rape anyone, and ditto for Ben Roethlis-whatever-his-name-is. I was also operating on my parents' rules (I live in the suburbs of a city and was visting that city-proper). I told him I needed to be home by midnight and we were pressed for time, and he was dismissive of how antsy I felt. I also paid money for a cab to take us to my car that I'd parked in the suburbs AND I bought a subway ticket for him so he could get back (he'd left his cash and cards at home, so he had machismo SANS chivalry). He was all over me in the cab even though I didn't feel comfortable messing around when a third person was present, and I tried to tell him that if I were driving, I'd get irritated if the couple in the backseat messed around. He was dismissive of that.
In general, I brought this on myself. Perhaps I wanted to get laid just that badly. Maybe I thought I could make him less of a misogynist.
Add to that, the memory of it kind of turns me on. It wasn't awesome at all when I had the guy being so disrespectful of me during the encounter, but in fantasies, I was getting very turned on by the thought of being, well, ~ravished. Is this normal? Why am I not feeling repulsed? Why, instead, do I want to hear from this guy again? I'm pretty sure the next encounter I'd theoretically have, I'd get disrespected again and wouldn't be so arousing in real life. I also step back intellectually and think his behavior included red flags for abuse. I'm just feeling really confused and lost and wondering what it is about me that attracts guys who don't fully respect me and why I keep going back for more. I don't even know where to begin sorting this out, and I thought scarleteen would know.

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Heather
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Suffice it to say, working through this is probably going to take us quite a few exchanges, but I'm fine with that if you are. [Smile]

Before I say anything else, I want to make clear that no one brings on something that is UNWANTED themselves. We may or may not protect ourselves sometimes as well as we can, but that isn't the same as bringing something on or, in the awful parlance of guys just like this one sounds to be, "asking for it." You asked him to stop doing what he is doing: his choosing to disrespect that was HIS choice, not yours. If you were not, expressly, asking for him to stop, you wouldn't have asked him to stop. Understand?

Perhaps obviously, I'm going to say this person clearly isn't a safe person. This is someone who has proven they will ignore your limits and boundaries in their actions, and whose words also make clear how he views women. I would strongly advise making a point NOT to see this guys again, especially alone.

In order to talk more about the questions you're asking about what you seem to express is a pattern on this, I'd have to know more about your history. Want to tell me more?

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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BDuBoisFan
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Well the thing is, I'd been rearing to hook up with him. Have casual sex and utterly meaningless sex, even. As I said, I did in fact want to get laid, and there's no point in denying that, although when the guy picked up on that, he'd use it as a weapon against me. When I consented to hook up with him, I'd done so expecting to have more input of my own. So now I'm thinking consent is so, so, so much more complicated than simply "yes or no."
The guy I was trying to heal from was someone I knew for three years, and three and a half months ago, he started to give me the cold shoulder and I tried pathetically to maintain some semblance of ties and wait for him to come around until I decided to spare what little dignity I had left to sever all cyber-ties. I don't think he ever treated me as well as he should have, but he wasn't possessive or controlling and he was awesome about consent and being generous in the bedroom. But he was VERY manipulative and dishonest and uncaring and that's a post in itself.
I've had a few one night stands when I was an undergrad which were fine and dandy and uneventful, albeit enjoyable, though some of the ones I had in first year were problematic. I'm well past those by now, I think. Or maybe not.
My third year I dated a guy for a month who pressured me into having unprotected sex, telling me that it was okay because couldn't I just take the dose of emergency contraception I stashed in my room? He then completely wrote me off after I told him I'd had a pregnancy scare and wanted his assurance that he'd be there for me in the event that I actually got pregnant. He refused to entertain that discussion. And then he never even talked to me again. And the part that bothered me the most in all that? That he didn't want to talk to me. Not that he was willing to put my body on the line.
In my senior year of high school, I got with a guy (he was 24, I was 17) that I found really hot. I made out with him in the backseat of my car, then he whipped out his penis and grimaced and said "Oh God" in an exasperated voice when I wasn't willing to put it in my mouth. I did after a fashion because I didn't want him to hate me. It was only for two minutes or so, his aim could not have been to get off from it. After the fact he told me to keep my mouth shut because even if I were 18 instead of 17, he still had his reputation to worry about, and all the parents who knew him would hate him for hooking up with someone that much younger. Again, all this bothered me less than his giving me the cold shoulder the next day.
Oh Lord, this goes on, but I hope I've shed light upon a little more.

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BDuBoisFan
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And yes, I'm game for a long exchange. Thank you for your prompt reply. I always like reading what you have to write, whether in this thread or the site at large. [Smile]
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Heather
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Is casual sex or "meaningless" (I put that in quotes because it's just not a meaningful term, nor can I know what someone means by that) sex the same thing as sex without your consent? The same as rape? In my book -- and according to the law - it's very different.

I agree that consent is much more complex than yes or no, but at the same time, both yes and no are very clear. At a certain point, you said no: that's clear. He dismissed it to get what he wanted, knowingly against your wishes: also clear. In the scenarios you are talking about here, as well, I don't see any lack of clarity. I see people who have disregarded your nonconsent, not misunderstood it.

Looking at your history, I hope you're okay with my plainly pointing out -- as you may already know -- you seem to have a history of date rape. When someone has sex without a limit you placed -- in the one case, contraception -- that is a sexual abuse, that is sex without your consent. When someone guilts, shames or pressures someone else into sex, same deal.

I'm wondering if part of what might be going on here is this: have YOU ever really dealt with and acknowledged some of these things as assaults? had any kind of counseling around any of this at all?

Sidestepping -- for now -- the very tricky and thorny conversation about rape fantasies, or being turned on by being "ravished," (we'll go there later if we need to), one reason I ask that is that one part of the aftermath of sexual assault(s) for plenty of women, especially those who stay in denial, who haven't done any work to heal, can be to kind of seek -- in some ways, and this STILL does not make that woman responsible for being assaulted if she is -- out ways to reenact the situation. Alternately, some women may find they don't protect themselves in these kinds of scenarios, or knowingly put themselves at some risk, in an attempt to reenact things but not exactly: rather, to try, this next time, to see if YOU can't get/have the power.

Sexual assault, rape, abuse: these are things which also often can really hijack a person's sexuality in some way, where those dynamics can become part of your sexuality, and that's much more likely when someone isn't healing and dealing.

[ 09-12-2009, 09:01 PM: Message edited by: Heather ]

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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BDuBoisFan
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I did get counseled after my instance with the older man and after the boyfriend who wanted to go without condoms. I'm healed from the sexually coercive instances themselves.
To be honest what's really got me up in knots was the emotional mess that the guy I've known for three years put me through. To his credit, he always got my consent, the sex was never an issue. I was never objectified, if anything, I called the shots in the bedroom (although he called the shots the whole damn time in the course of our "relationship"). He was also never controlling or possessive, and as a lover, he was remarkably caring. Unfortunately, that level of care didn't extend outside the bedroom. He wasn't honest with me, and he was manipulative, "deceit incarnate" (think Gaius Baltar in Battlestar Galactica), and I definitely shed a lot of tears trying to figure out what was going on between us. He'd make a big show of not being the least interested in sleeping with women who'd call him when he was out with me, and what do you know, he slept with said women behind my back, and he'd inadvertently reveal it to me much later. He'd also complain about women in his life to me, and reading between the lines, I suspect that HE hurt THEM, not vice versa. And somehow, he'd put the onus on me to reveal where things stood between us when the whole time I was rather transparent about caring for him. And he was somehow immune from being put on the spot. Obviously I'm better off without him, but his spurning of me left a void, and it made me feel like a loser, and it was a void I wanted to fill. THAT probably played the biggest role in this current mess with the newest guy I met (incidentally, new guy was in the Army for for a few years, and the guy I knew for three years is currently in the Army and just returned from his second yearlong deployment). I even lost the desire to masturbate, and until the end of May (when I first sensed that the dishonest soldier was pulling away from me), it was something like a bedtime ritual for me.
But I'm thinking that mistreatment, whether sexual or emotional, and really, mainly emotional, seems to be the thing that I need to heal from. I only began to get counseling over that, but I don't quite feel comfortable sharing the story of the guy from earlier this week for some reason.

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BDuBoisFan
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Whoops, reread my last sentence. I mean that the story from this week that I just told you, I don't know if I'm ready to share that with her for some reason.
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Heather
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Okay. I'm heading off for the night and I'm going to sleep on this, and come back with more responses in the morning.

But I think one thing you might want to think about overnight yourself, and for us to talk about, is why you dismissed or ignored the warning signs about this last guy. It sounds like they were pretty hard to miss, and that you know what they were, too. Again -- I don't mean to hit you over the head with a hammer with this, just want to be sure it's clear -- that STILL does not make what had happened your fault; that still does not mean you "brought this on yourself."

But what it does suggest to me is that you need to figure out -- on top of healing from this now as well as the other incidents/relationships, and also making a choice about if you want to take any action around this last incident -- how you're going to be able to move towards better protecting yourself so you can do all you can to avoid any more sexual trauma moving forward.

[ 09-12-2009, 10:04 PM: Message edited by: Heather ]

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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BDuBoisFan
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Thanks again.
I'll think about this more over the night, but a short answer would be that I just wanted someone to feel SOMETHING - anything, even something with blood-red flags all over, was better than the indifference and cold shoulder that I got from the last guy.
<small>And possibly a fantasy that I could call him out on his misogyny and he'd re-evaluate his views on women and turn into a feminist ally.

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Ecofem
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Hey BDuBoisFan, I was reading your thread and wanted to jump in to ask a question, if you don't mind. [Wink] I see you list your interests as "anything meta, seasonal, or regional; eco-feminism; more," which all look very interesting to me! I find it interesting because, while I really don't know these guys well enough to know their interests, it seems that they are quite different from you in a number of ways even if there are some shared things, of course. (Btw, very brave/honest of you to share your fantasy about the one guy there; that's something we can talk about more later.)

So, my big question is what types of people are you interested in dating? Who are you not interested in dating? Do you find you have a lot in common with the people you do date?

Also, would you be interested in reading some articles about people's experiences with abuse and sexual assault?

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BDuBoisFan
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Honestly, the guys I've been involved with have been my antithesis. Well, the guy who cradle-robbed me was politically liberal - pro-choice even, but that didn't stop him from pulling the stunt that he did.
I don't really know what I'm looking for in dating partners. I don't have a checklist or anything, but I would like someone who treats me with respect, as a human being and as a woman. Misogyny is a deal-breaker with me, but look how that's worked out.
I read Heather's essay "An Immodest Proposal" in the anthology Yes Means Yes, and I actually have more to add on that later - I thought of the guy I knew for three years as I read her essay - he's the one I lost my virginity to and it was everything that Heather was stressing and pointing out is sorely lacking in the common narrative. He and I had a running joke about our "irreconcilable differences." (He's effectively a carnivore, while I'm effectively a vegetarian; he's in the military while I'm effectively a pacifist; he's "deceit incarnate" while I couldn't be less than honest if I wanted to. Etc.) Yet that's tougher to deal with than my experiences with date rape. He wasn't controlling or possessive, after all, he was more like this guy: http://www.heartless-bitches.com/rants/honesty.shtml. ("deceit incarnate", remember?)
What's the word for that kind of behavior? I've read a lot of articles on Scarleteen about abusive behavior, but are there articles about garden variety hurtful behavior?
On an intellectual level, I could talk at length about fantasizing, and the difference between fantasy and reality. It all changes when it becomes real, somehow.

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Heather
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Okay, awake. Not full of as much coffee yet as I'd like, but awake. [Smile]

Before I go to anything else, I want to just check in per this most recent incident: do you want to talk at all about reporting, have me help you find any resources on that?

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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BDuBoisFan
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Thanks Heather! I should be good about resources for reporting - I'm in grad school, and we do have a Sexual Assault Services, which I've seen before, it's fantastic. I'm familiar with RAINN too. And I used a condom, and I'm due to get a physical soon, which will involve an STI screening, so my physical health bases are covered.
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Heather
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Okay.

One thing I wonder -- and this is me pretty loosly ruminating, so if what I say feels totally off-base to you, that may be because it is -- is about the fact that in your last relationship, it seems the sexual arena was the ONLY place where things were not controlling or abusive. Do you think it's possible that a) you felt like that place is safe, even with someone who otherwise appears to be a total jerk because it was there, and/or b) that's the place you sought out and went to because it's the one place you still feel resilient in after that last relationship?

I also want to add a personal note about the impact of different kinds of abuses. I think it's a common assumption (one I think is actually sexist, and also steeped in some messed-up attitudes about sexuality) that no abuse will be as bad, or leave as much damage, as sexual abuse. However, both my personal experiences with several kinds of abuse, and what I know from reading on all this, working in this, tells me that that just isn't true. We're all different, our sensitivities are different, and no one kind of abuse hurts everyone more than the other.

For myself, for instance, the emotional and verbal abuse (which contained constant threats around some sexual abuse, but didn't ever escalate to that: perhaps because I left, perhaps just because) I suffered from my stepparent left WAY deeper scars for me, and has been way tougher to get over and heal from, than my sexual abuses, even though one of my sexual abuses was intensely violent (one of those other assumptions: the more violent, the more psychological harm done).

However, I also want to make clear that when we see a pattern of sexual abuse, when it's been pervasive and repeated, especially when it started early, like any kind of abuse, it can also be easier to think we're over it and okay when we're really not. I actually thought I *was* healed from my rapes, even had some years of therapy, and then in my early twenties, it kind of all came back to roost and I did not see it coming at all. In fact, I wasn't even fully conscious of what was going on until a) I trashed a really wonderful relationship and b) I also later put myself right in the line of fire of abusive people. I think the latter was quite intentional, but not consciously so.

What I'm saying is that for sure, the harm from various kinds of abuse is not something we can generalize about, but at the same time, looking at these patterns, I guess I'm also just not so convinced the something you wanted to feel isn't related to the date rapes, and that you might not be as healed as you think. Even feeling unable to share this last one with a counselor who you're otherwise open with seems to give us some information about that, and I think you initially saying you brought this on yourself tells us that, too.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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BDuBoisFan
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You're definitely on to something. I don't know if my last relationship qualifies as abusive per se, and I certainly wouldn't call it controlling - as I said, he never told me what to do or isolated me from anyone - but yeah, the bedroom was the only place where I'd say things were healthy. Sometimes I see dishonesty and headgames in relationship red flag checklists, but more often than not I don't, which is why I hesitate to call it abusive, though a psychology major friend of mine insisted that it qualified.
And I felt confident asserting myself and what I wanted in the bedroom with my last relationship as well as with the couple of one night stands I had when I was 20 and 21, so that was one place I felt like I had some control.
It might well be the case that I got so invested in my last relationship because of date rape-y situations I've been in; at least physically I can say to that guy's credit that he treated me with utmost respect, even if he wasn't so respectful emotionally, so that's something.
You've hit on some really insightful things here. Thanks!

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Heather
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Glad to be of any help.

Do you want to keep talking, or would you rather marinate in all of this for a while?

By the by? I'd also be happy to chat with you about some skills and tools for managing and navigating casual sex if you think you'll still seek that out. It really is a different toolbox than the ones we use for sex in other kinds of scenarios, and because it's pooh-poohed, especially for women, so often in culture, often people don't even know where to start in how to deal with it.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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BDuBoisFan
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As this is getting interesting, yes, I'd love to keep talking. [Smile]

And I'd also love to see something about skills for negotiating casual sex, because I do still see myself seeking it out and it's exactly like you say, that people are lost dealing with it, especially women, because it's taboo for women to desire casual sex, but honestly, it's what I'd most prefer, and I don't see how having casual sex and being treated with respect have to be mutually exclusive.

I'm also wondering what your take is on garden variety hurtful behavior that I'm loathe to refer to as abuse. I'm going off what you said about how nonsexual abuse can leave deeper scarring than sexual abuse; I feel like deception, headgames, and the cold shoulder messed me up more than bona fide abuse. At least I can call out bona fide abuse, i.e., possessiveness and telling the other person what to do and isolating the other person from her friends, as what it is - abuse.

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Heather
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Well, seems like a really good opportunity then to go ahead and basically workshop this out for a full article, which I have thought we need for a while. AND we get to talk about that for you, so double bonus.

(I confess was mostly just hoping to avoid the likely crucifixion of penning such a piece, but screw it. This is exactly how things here are supposed to work in terms of us filling needs our users state they have, so there. Done with my internal monologue now, sorry about that.)

We can also talk about things like manipulation, deception and purposeful emotional withdrawal, too -- which, by the way are all kinds of behaviors in emotionally abusive relationship, so there's nothing that isn't bonafide without them. It's also always worth remembering that not all abusive people work on the same schedule, and that some kinds of abuse we experience, or hints it may appear, may well have been behaviors leading to other kinds of abuse or escalation. Some abusers escalate quickly, but others slowly.

My brain is fairly friend for the day today, but I'll make this thread my first stop per work tomorrow morning and dig right into both of those areas for/with you. [Smile]

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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BDuBoisFan
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Thanks again! [Smile]

Crucifixion? I mean, I imagine there will be haters of pretty much anything written on a feminist sex ed site, right? Actually, anything feminist, period. And anything sex ed, period. Just saying. But I also doubt I'm the only one who'd be devoutly thankful to see a piece on negotiating casual sex and/or on more garden variety jerk-y behaviors.

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Heather
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I was playing fast and loose with the hyperbole, and for sure on your response. However, as you probably know, this is a particularly thorny area, especially since there are many people who not only feel casual sex isn't acceptable for teenagers, but not for ANYONE.

Why don't I start with a few things on that topic based on what you've posted here per this last time and sort of troubleshoot. Then we can go into some extra things more.

The first thing I'd say is important is knowing that even the smallest hinky feeling about someone just not being an okay person -- especially when we're talking about sexual issues -- is sound reason to stop, and not continue pursuing any kind of sex with that person. Someone being a rape apologist is certainly on the list: they're all but telling you they don't understand or care much about consent on your part.

(I'd also say someone talking about their big penis is simply showing you they're a child trapped in an older person's body. Not so much a danger sign -- though in this case he was using that to give you a reason why you being in pain was okay, and why you should continue, so in this case, yeah -- as a sign that someone just needs to grow up some more.)

When we have known someone for a while, and also have either been with them sexually before or know their sexual ethos otherwise, we can presume that sometimes someone might say something out of hand, but we then draw on all we know about their character to make choices, you know? But with someone new or casual, you can't really do that, so I think you have to be a lot more stringent.

Someone not respecting a boundary/preference, like in the cab? Same goes. That's someone showing you, clearly, they may be unlikely to respect any boundaries of yours. At that point, you'd want to have the cab take Mr. Yuck to the nearest subway station and go your own way.

Safer sex is another same deal. You two not talking about that -- say, in the cab: that would have been a good place for it -- and his trying to avoid a condom? Not good. For me, that'd be another seeya-moment. I'm glad you were able to negotiate that and be assertive about him using one, but I'd personally say ideally what you want to do in a sitch like that is ditch the sex altogether.

With all of this kind of stuff, too, I think it's common for people to feel far less likely in casual affairs than in LTRs to stop all the action. It is tougher to negotiate casual sex, so if you feel like you are not an ACE at negotiation, like you couldn't, with ease, tell someone to stop, take no arguments, and get them the heck out, in my book, that means casual sex is probably a pretty bad choice for you.

IMO, for casual sex to be safe and beneficial for anyone, I think we need to be able to be very strongly assertive, with sex but also just in general. I also think it's important (and learned this the hard way myself a while back) to be in as much touch as possible about what you really want, and if you know or sense a part of you is kind of trying to flirt with danger, recognize that that's something you can certainly negotiate (for instance, wanting to be "ravished" is something that can be negotiated so that it happens safely, and with someone who understands the difference between fantasy and reality), but not something you want to leave unnegotiated or pursue sex with that in your head without some solid panic buttons in place.

So, that's a start.

Per the other issue, again, I don't think what you're describing with your ex is merely jerky. Someone who purposefully manipulates and deceives, who purposefully withholds emotionally to create a power imbalance IS engaging in some emotional abuses. Do you have any sense of why you're so intense when it comes to denying that's what those things are?

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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BDuBoisFan
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Incidentally, you'll be happy to know I did go ahead and tell my counselor this and she suggested that I visit my school's Sexual Assault Services, which was my plan anyway, and I did, and even got a full STI screening. And that was oddly satisfying. [Smile]

And I actually had brought up condoms on the way to my car, or mentioned that I'd had some on hand, but I don't know if it got through to him. Reading what you're writing, what I'm getting is that part of being strong enough to negotiate casual sex is a willingness to accept the possibility of giving up the encounter if it comes to that. That's my problem, I can be assertive up until the point where I have to walk away. I'm just reluctant to remove anyone that comes into my life from my life, in general, and sexually? Well. But that's what stopping the pursuit of sex necessarily entails, and I couldn't get past my desire for having a hookup after so long a dry spell. (And likewise, had I refused to put up with the last relationship's crap, I'd be looking at an eighteen, not seven, month-long dry spell.)

I'm perfectly capable of articulating my desires, and I can call out actions that bother me. But if I'm not actually willing to forego the sex, what does it matter that I called out the sexist comments he made, or even that I insisted on condoms or spoke up at all? In his mind, he got away with being disrespectful every step of the way and still got to <s>rape</s> experience (I'm trying to be meta, I don't know how well it will translate what with the HTML not being enabled) me.

But I'm also so loathe to treat sex as some sort of cookie to hand out as reward and withhold as punishment, because Lord knows we see enough of that in our culture. And that's what I effectively did in the previous paragraph. If that makes sense.

I might hesitate to call it what it is only because I'm only speculating as to the motivation behind the withdrawal, which I can never know. And if he's stopped caring, he's stopped caring, while abuse is deliberate. Regardless, the deception part is undeniable, so by dint of that alone, I suppose it's abusive. But I find the behavior to be despicable one way or another, so I wonder if it even matters what I or anyone else names it - it hurt me, it hurt others, and in the end, I suppose that's all that matters.

Thanks again!

And I hope the bit about treating sex as a cookie gets touched on in your future piece on negotiating casual sex.

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Heather
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I am glad to hear that. thanks for letting me know.

quote:
Reading what you're writing, what I'm getting is that part of being strong enough to negotiate casual sex is a willingness to accept the possibility of giving up the encounter if it comes to that.
BIG yes on this. The biggest, doesn't get any bigger. [Smile] In fact, I'd say that while no kind of relationship = sex whenever we want it, with sex in an ongoing relationship, it's one of those things where it tends to be a bit more likely. With casual sex, unless we sacrifice or potentially safety, it's going to be more of a crapshoot, and we're bound to have more incidents of sex we nix/walk away from.

I'd perhaps question seeing nixing sex as removing someone from your life. After all, you can keep someone you like in your life in many ways that doesn't involve sex. And if someone only wanted to be IN your life in not only aq sexual way, but a sexual way that's all or mostly on their terms, are you sure you want them in your life?

quote:
But if I'm not actually willing to forego the sex, what does it matter that I called out the sexist comments he made, or even that I insisted on condoms or spoke up at all? In his mind, he got away with being disrespectful every step of the way and still got to <s>rape</s> experience (I'm trying to be meta, I don't know how well it will translate what with the HTML not being enabled) me.
I think that's very bravely honest and very deeply insightful, because I have to say, I agree with you. Someone making those kinds of comments is certainly likely to view sex as some kind of reward for them behaving exactly as they did.

But I'd also be cautious as to how you internalize that and frame it. No matter how he behaved up to what he did, and no matter how you interpreted that behaviour, he did what he did regardless. Know what I mean?

So, HE probably saw this is a cookie, but it doesn't mean you need to. How I'd suggest looking at it, instead, is that someone gets to share a sexual experience with you if a) you want to share it with them and b) they are someone who you think can share an experience, for real, and someone who is also safe for you. How someone is in bed -- and maybe there's some disconnect for you here b/c of the ex -- usually isn't radically different than how they are as a whole. So, someone who is being a big jerk outside of bed is likely to be a big jerk in bed, so you have to ask yourself if that's really what you want and also what you want to risk.

I think too, sometimes when thinking about this, it can be helpful to flip the script and consider what someone who is considering US as a partner should be considering, should have as their criteria. For myself, for instance, I very much hope that anyone who chooses to be sexual with me feels safe, knows they are and I see them as my equal, and that they make choices about sex with me based on what I have honestly put out there as my character, which they have decided is a character they want to be intimate with, including in more casual scenarios. I also would be really mortified, myself, if I discovered anyone I was with or had been with sexually ever felt like they were not very sure that at any time, they could ask me to stop something or change something up and be certain I'd be responsive. I certainly don't want to wind up either engaging in sexual abuse OR what is effectively a D/S scenario that was not mentioned or negotiated by anyone.

That's a bit scattershot, but I think you'll get the gist.

quote:
But I find the behavior to be despicable one way or another, so I wonder if it even matters what I or anyone else names it - it hurt me, it hurt others, and in the end, I suppose that's all that matters.
I'd agree with that, absolutely.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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BDuBoisFan
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<quote>I'd perhaps question seeing nixing sex as removing someone from your life. After all, you can keep someone you like in your life in many ways that doesn't involve sex.</quote>

Well I'm just drawing parallels between how I am with Platonic friends of both genders and how I am with lovers. For example, I'm loathe to write off friends even if they, say, flake out on me too often, or react in a less than compassionate way to some story or other. And likewise, a potential lover could say something horrible and I'm still loathe to write him off as a lover.

<quote>And if someone only wanted to be IN your life in not only aq sexual way, but a sexual way that's all or mostly on their terms, are you sure you want them in your life?</quote>
I should not want them in my life at all, and the same goes for non-sexual relationships, which brings me back to my original parallel.

<quote>How someone is in bed -- and maybe there's some disconnect for you here b/c of the ex -- usually isn't radically different than how they are as a whole.</quote>
I normally agree wholeheartedly in this, actually. It's like you said though, the ex threw a wrench in that.

Thanks for the insightful convo, and I'm looking forward to your casual sex article very much! You've been immensely helpful. <3

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Heather
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So, let me suggest this:

If a friend forced or coerced you to do something that involved some core, root part of your person (which sexuality is) you didn't want to, and something that could create some very serious problems in your life as a whole, would refusing to do that thing be "writing them off?" Would refusing to do that thing be forcing them out of your life?

And you're very welcome. [Smile]

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Heather
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Just wanted to check in and see how you're doing, BDuBoisFan.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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BDuBoisFan
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Ah, I'm touched! Thanks for asking. [Big Grin]
Yeah, I'm all right. Confiding in a couple of friends, throwing myself into school and work, socializing, netsurfing, checking Scarleteen and other sites I frequent, window shopping, generally doing and thinking things I enjoy when I'm not doing things required by school/work. I really want to start masturbating again though, and I just can't until I heal or something, I suppose. No need to rush, I suppose.
In another ten days, I'll be getting STI results though I'm not worried about those, and I'm figuring out low-cost counselors in my area.

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Heather
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I'm glad to hear you're hanging in there and participating in the things you enjoy. Thanks for letting me know. [Smile]

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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BDuBoisFan
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So I had a bout of creativity as I dealt with what happened to me, and got inspired to write this story, which should be marked with a trigger warning, given its inspiration. I've been wanting to subvert nastily the bodice-ripper trope, and then I got the inspiration for it.
I don't remember how, but I remember reading that you've written erotica fiction so I thought you of all people would appreciate it. Is there a medium to send it through?

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