Was this rape?

So, I got my boyfriend really horny, and I told him we weren't going to have sex anymore today and that I didn't want to be fingered, but he put his hand down my pants anyways. I kept saying no because I didn't want it, but he's stronger than me and ended up fingering me anyways. Afterward, he said he was sorry, but this wasn't the first time, he always does it and he always says but you like it, like that's supposed to make it better. Is this rape or am I in a safe relationship? Because besides when it comes to sex, he's the best boyfriend I've ever had.
Heather Corinna replies:

Rape is when someone forces, coerces or nags you to do ANY kind of sexual activity you don't want to engage in, or when someone has sex ON you or TO you, rather than 100% WITH you.

A partner forcing his hands into your pants and fingering you when you do not want that is a rape. Whether or not it feels good in some way physically, or even brings you to orgasm doesn't make it not rape. What makes it rape is that you said no -- or, more aptly, you did not say yes -- and he purposefully denied you to the right to that no by doing what he wanted to do -- and you did not -- anyway. You say he's stronger than you, which tells me that you feel that not only does he have the ability to overpower you, it also suggests to me that he has: that these instances have been the kind where you feel like if you pushed him away, he'd push back instead of backing off, or that is what has happened.

Saying sorry afterwards also doesn't mean it isn't rape, and if he has kept doing this, he isn't sorry. Someone earnestly sorry wouldn't keep doing the thing they're so sorry for doing.

If this is something that has happened more than once -- really, even if it happened the once -- then in my book this relationship is not safe sexually, it's a sexually abusive relationship. If this is still, even in being abusive, as good as things have gotten for you with a partner, know that because one relationship was sexually abusive and another seems less so, or less frequently so doesn't mean it's good. It just means that you've had an unfortunate history with partners when it comes to sex, so your grading curve is low.

It is NOT safe to be around ANYONE who does not allow you to say no to ANYTHING and respect that no. It is not safe to be around anyone who forces you into any kind of sex. The only smart advice I could give you in the interest of your well-being is to get away from this guy and stay away from this guy. He's not safe.

Now, it's hard for me to know what you mean when you say you "got him really horny." Obviously, if you mean you were playing a game with the intent to manipulate him into feeling a certain way, knowing from the start that you intended to make this some kind of non-negotiated powerplay, then that is something you need to stop doing with people. When someone does that, it still doesn't make it somehow okay for a person to force sex, but it may put you in situations more likely to be unsafe for you, and using sex as any sort of means to manipulate is never okay.

If you don't mean that, but mean that you two simply were fooling around, and he got aroused and then you just weren't feeling like having sex anymore, it isn't your responsibility to satiate him with whatever he wants, whenever he wants it. If he wants more sex any partner isn't up to, he always -- just like you, I or anyone else does -- has the options of using his own two hands for himself to masturbate.

It sounds to me like you do know that this isn't right, and that this is sexually abusive. If you're sticking around this guy because he is less abusive than boyfriends before, and you're feeling like this is as good as it's going to get, know that you're wrong. Real partners -- people who ACT like partners, treating the other person with just as much care and respect as they treat themselves with -- don't act like this, and don't rape. Real partners are very invested in being sure that everything they're doing sexually with their partner is something their partners very much wants to do, feels really good about -- physically and emotionally -- and back off from something very quickly when a partner says no. Bonafide partners ARE out there, you just have to be willing to accept nothing less, and kick anyone to the curb pronto who isn't being one.

If it seems like you're kind of trapped in a pattern of ending up with sexually abusive guys, it can be a good idea to take a substantial break from dating and sexual relationships for a while, to get your footing back, and to be able to really take a good look at those patterns. That can help you to see some warning signs a bit better from the onset, and to give you some breathing room to remember what it's like to not be involved in any sexual abuse.

Taking that time also lets you sort of recharge your own power so that if this sort of thing ever happens with someone again, you feel capable and powerful enough to walk away, the first time, without looking back or sticking around for more. When something like this happens with someone once, it'll almost always keep on happening: the only way to make it stop is to get away from the person doing it, full-stop. Often, too, when a woman comes into a relationship being very clear on her boundaries and very strong and unwavering when it comes to ONLY tolerating being treated with respect, guys like this stop coming around: they tend to want an easier mark.

Lastly? In a good relationship, and a safe relationship, no one aspect of it will seem like it doesn't fit with the others. In other words, with someone who treats you with care, kindness and respect in how you talk, in when you're out with friends and family, in how they talk ABOUT you, in the friendship you have with them overall, the sex, too, will usually be caring and mutually wanted and satisfying. In a healthy relationship, love and kindness are consistent, not limited to only some areas, and absent in others. Someone who isn't kind to you in how they talk to you, for instance, but seems great in every other way, isn't great at all.

It should also be said that in a good many abusive relationships, the sex is still "good" for some abused partners, even though often the reason it is good is because their abuser is getting off on ownership of them, or in how pleasing a partner makes THEM feel like a better person in some way. But if any one aspect of a relationship is not safe, then NO part of that relationship is safe: in safe relationships, it is ALL safe, not just in parts.

I hope that you can get away from this, Samy, and feel as good about it as you should. You say he's stronger than you, but this is a way you can be stronger than he is, by standing up for yourself and refusing to be mistreated by anyone. His muscles or size can't do a darn thing to you when you're nowhere near him anymore.

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