I recently read a post by Ophelia outlining some experiences she had involving being raped by men one of whom she considered to be a very good friend. In both situations there was no violence, nor did the men consider that coercing a woman into having sex simply by not accepting no and sneaking their dick into her vagina was wrong.
I am fortunate that I have not had an experience where I felt as violated as Ophelia. But I think there is not a woman on the planet who has not agreed to sex with a man, based purely on her desire but simply because she got tired of the nagging and saying yes was easier than enforcing her initial no. It can be argued that many women are not very good at saying no and I am a very vocal supporter of the idea that mothers have just as much responsibility to teach their daughters to say “no” clearly and confidently as they do to teach their sons about respecting “no”. In the past I have been privately very critical of women who give out mixed messages and then complain about men who don’t get the hint. I try very hard to be honest and up front with my partners and many of them have commented on how easy it makes life to know where they stand. Recently however I had an experience that made me question my approach.
I met The Fireman initially through an online dating website. We chatted but nothing came to pass until I became part of a Facebook group he was hosting. He was a very sexy guy and I was definitely very keen. We met up a couple of times and the future looked full of fun times and fantasies being fulfilled. However he turned out to be, putting it kindly, a bit of a flake. Plans always seemed to be massaged, Mr Jones and I were left waiting in bars, and on one occasion fully stood up. As time went by he seemed to lose interest and I moved on. Then out of the blue, he was back again. The conversation went something like this;
F (Fireman): Hey guys
G (Gemma ): Hello
F: sends dick pic -do you miss him, he misses you
G: Oh a penis (I resisted the urge to add “how cute” )
F: I love your mind and your sexy body. Do you miss me?
G: I did a while back. It has been a while (again I showed restraint and didn’t add that last time we met it had taken him so long to get his shit together and turn up that our play time had to be cut short to about an hour)
F: sorry Hun (OMG! I am sooo not your Hun) I have been busy with my business
At this point I mentioned a couple of Facebook posts that seemed to indicate he had a girlfriend for a while, something he denied, but I didn’t believe him. I asked him what he was looking for and he said a regular threesome/ hotwife arrangement. He has a thing for that role play and although he has the body for it his cock is not anywhere up to specification. So I said “we have a regular play buddy at the moment” which is the truth
F: oh 😢 I guess I missed the boat. Is there room for another?
G: No we are happy with what we have right now, sorry.
There was a bit more to the conversation because he wanted to be petulant and comb through reasons etc. I resisted the urge to vent about his flakiness and lack of respect for my time but I stood my ground quietly and honestly. In the end he said thank you for your Homestay and wished me well. I thought that was that .
I was wrong. In the couple of weeks that followed he contacted me every few days saying hello and making conversation. There was never an actual request for sex but he was blatant,y trying to get in my good books. I resisted the initial urge to be rude because I believe very firmly that being rude just creates unnecessary bad karma. I was also clinging to the misguided idea that I had made my position clear and he knew where he stood.
Of course I was wrong. After a few weeks when he felt that he had charmed me enough he again asked for sex. When I reminded him that I had told him he wasn’t interested he relied with ” but I thought you were”. Why? Because I replied when he messaged me? Because I told him that the posey, staged photos he was sending me were not the best way to impress people? Because I was polite? I was irritated enough to be quite blunt with him, I maintained my resolve to not be rude but I made sure my reply pointed out some of his flakiness in detail and very clearly in kindergarten language said “we are not interested”.
Of course this is not as dramatic as the events Ophelia described but is quite typical of the way a lot of men, particularly those who consider themselves attractive, operate. It is like they have some kind of filter in their ear that translates all of the negative responses they hear into a signal which says “I am really interested, you just have to chase a bit more”. I am sorry but no! When I say no, it means no. I am the mother of a teenage boy and I am also an educator of teenagers. I have made it part of my life mission to educate the young people in my charge about consent. The best description is this video that compares sex to tea.
It is easy for people to understand when someone doesn’t want tea you can’t force them to drink it. The thing the video can’t make clear is that trying to change a persons mind after they have said no is a version of forcing them to drink the tea. Like all the other versions of forcing them to drink the tea it is not OK. As humans we have a responsibility to accept no for an answer. We also have a responsibility to protect the integrity of the no response by using it in a very clear, straightforward way. By this I mean not being that person who says no when they mean yes or the one who encourages the chase by saying no initially. It is not a simple thing to solve but coercing people less powerful than us, usually women, into sex has to stop!
When I say no it means no.