How low is the bar, dude?
One of my least favorite things about being raped (hahaha, what a weird start to a sentence, right? Like there are favorite things about it, or like you can quantify the bad parts in some kind of order of badness, when it’s all just really pretty darn bad…)… Anyway, one of many things I suuuuper dislike about it, is that even really, really well-meaning, “good” people, some of whom are my friends and “on my side,” have been like “But like, how much did you not wanna have sex? Like did you really, really, really, reeeeeeally really, really not wanna have sex, or did you just like not want to?”
I’ve gotten stuff like, “Quite honestly, it kind of sounds to me like in that first assault, you kind of sounded like the wife that has a headache or doesn’t feel well – like you’re not really in the mood, but the husband does it anyway”… And that’s been used as an argument of why it’s not so bad… (But um… that’s bad!)
I understand the ol’ trope of “women never wanna have sex.” But actually plenty of women wanna have sex (like really, really really wanna have sex!) all the time.
Do we have such a problem in our media, or how we talk about sex or something, that people truly honestly think that women never, or rarely, fully wanna have sex, so every time a woman’s having sex, it’s with kind of a “half-way ho-hum, hmmmm, I guess, uh, maybe” type of attitude, and all we can gauge crossing the line on is how much she didn’t want to? Like there’s some magical percentage in there of “well, if she only 15% didn’t want to, then that’s within the margin of error or something”?
[*wide-eyed shocked face*] Uuuuum, no.
Caveat, I guess: I do kind of understand the idea, I guess, if you’re in a long-term relationship of either partner feeling like, “eeeeh, I am like a little bloated-feeling, or kind of distracted tonight… Maybe I’m not like thinking of sex as the first thing on my mind… But also, of course I’m still pretty horny for you, so like, yeah, I’m into it. Let’s do it.”
And so then, if I think that’s acceptable, what does that mean? Am I undercutting my own argument?
I just think there’s some nuance in the world. And maybe it’s too much nuance(?), and that’s why we have so many problems revolving around assault. But to me, that person in this hypothetical is still at 100%. They’re at like, a soft hundred. They don’t have a neon sign glaring. But they’ve made the decision on their own. And they’re down.
I don’t know that this is necessarily like a perfect analogy, but it’s maybe sort of like if you love working out. There are gonna be some days here and there where you feel more tired than usual. And you think for a second, “I’m not sure I wanna work out today.” But then you see the very inviting gym, asking you to come on in, and you’re like, “Oh, but I love it. I can get the energy up. I know I’ll feel better if I do.” And you workout.
To me, that’s different from someone shoving you on a treadmill and starting it and you’re like, “Whoa, whoa, what?! As you’re trying to keep your footing and not get hurt.”
Obviously the best thing is when both people are not just like, “Yeah, okay,” but “Oh, hell, yeah. Get on me.”
(And in my personal experience with kinda semi-long term relationships, quite honestly, that’s basically all I’ve ever experienced… I don’t think I ever, ever, with either guy that I’ve been pretty heavily involved with was I like, “Eh, I guess” (at least that I can ever remember). But, my understanding of long-term relationships, is that eventually, someday, you will only half be in the mood and you’ll decide you want to go for it anyway (assuming your partner does too). But I dunno…)
And I don’t know the deal is here in America. I don’t know if you’ve felt this too (feel free to weigh in), but most definitely since being assaulted I have felt like I have had so many people come with the mindset that just like, “women don’t like sex that much to begin with, so you’re always gonna get a tepid response. It’s not about if she ‘wants’ to, she never ‘wants‘ to, but she will concede eventually… So, she never actually like wants-wants to, it’s just based on how much she doesn’t want to. If she’s even above around 40%, you’re good… Sooooooo the question is were you at 40?” (Whereas, I feel like the question should be are you at 100…)
So, I don’t know if we change the media that’s being thrown at us about women being boring non-sexual nags, or… I don’t know what we do! I just know that this has kinda seemed like a giant blind spot for me – a huge part of what people think about women/sex, I did not realize until only after being assaulted.