Consent

I know that I have commented on this before.  I think we have all blogged or tweeted about this in one fashion or another.  I have responded to comments and worked through other’s post and blogs but felt I needed to delve a little deeper on the subject.

I have experienced sex without consent.  Looking back now, more times than I care to remember.  My first sexual experience was with a boy that I barely knew.  We went to the bedroom and were just going to “mess around”.  He was just going to “finger” me.  He wasn’t going to do anything I didn’t want to do.  The next thing I knew his dick was inside me and he was grunting and telling me how pretty I was.  Yep.  that was my special experience at giving my virginity away.  I remember having regrets about what happened and how it happened but I didn’t stop it.  There was a level of relief that “the first time” was over.  Mistakingly I thought the awkwardness was over too.  Silly girl.   I never at that moment thought it was rape.  I realized it was deceitful of him, but rape?  That seemed strong, overacting.   The next time I was in that situation, I did say no.  I was very direct and sure that I didn’t want to have sex in the front seat of Chevy truck after a barn party with a guy that I was seriously crushing on.  I wanted to be with him, but not just like that.  I wanted to be in love,  and be in a relationship and long walks in sunflower fields, and then we would talk about sex.  He felt differently.  The next week at school, I no longer existed.  he wouldn’t be the last boy to leave after hearing the word know.  I saw the pattern.  Fast forward to after years of marriage.  Before children.  My husband at the time was very tame in the bedroom.  This was fine with me.  (Before I found my true self).  I had already lost all of the fairy tale thoughts I had about love and sex.  One night after a super bowl party and too much alcohol, I was passed out in bed.  I woke the next morning to realize my husband had sex with me that night.  I didn’t remember it.  I didn’t remember anything.  I found the courage to ask him about it and he said I didn’t say know.  He thought I was into it.  Months later when this was bothering me, I talked to him about it again.  He still maintained he saw nothing wrong.  A confidant had told me it was rape.  That seemed strong.  Too strong.  After all, I was his wife.  When I mentioned this to him, he was more than offended.  He too, was of the thought that I was his wife and there was no way that was rape.  It was never spoken of again.

Now, in fairness, that was years ago,  Over 25 years ago.  I don’t hold anything against my ex-husband, and that isn’t why he is an ex.  He truly didn’t believe he did anything wrong and to this day, I am sure he prays about it.  Had this happened in this day and time, I am sure I would have a different perspective but I don’t feel I can backtrack through these experiences again, but I can learn from them and apply the current perspective on these types of things.

I had a boss one time that told me if I didn’t roll around on his desk with him, he would fire me.  So, we rolled around on the desk because he said he would fire me.  I was young and scared.  So it happened.  Again, the fairy tales of my youth are diminished.

When I think about my past and my experiences I can only learn from them.  I can only hope that my daughter and those experiencing sexual situations can learn from me and others that choose to discuss these topics and be honest about our lessons.

I think we (anyone having sex) need to understand the difference between consent and non-consent.

  • Before the moment.
    • If you can plan, do plan.  We don’t always think about this when we are getting ready for a date.  We shower, shave, primp, make perfect makeup, make perfect hairstyle.  We plan our wardrobe, right down to the sexy underwear.  We can be 100% sure we are going to have sex.  But what if at some point during the night that changes.  Is there an appropriate way to say no?  Is there a gentle way to say no?   Does it matter if you are appropriate or gentle?  Maybe.  If you aren’t one to be direct (I am certainly not direct) or if you are worried about hurting someone’s feelings (I always worry about offending someone) then maybe you rehearse a small short speech to let them down gently.  I don’t know what this looks like.  Being recently single I am working on this myself.  Some would say, “fuck being nice if you don’t want to have sex just say that”.  I am a little on the softer side, but that doesn’t mean I have to have sex if I don’t want to.  Plan ahead “just in case”.  I have felt sexy as fuck getting ready and then something happens later and I am totally out of the zone.  It is okay to change our minds.  We plan everything from shaving, makeup, and underwear.  Plan an escape route just in case.
    • Know your limits.
      • Emotions can be a big factor.  If you are dealing with something in your past or even in your present, give that time to resolve.  Sometimes something can happen in a moment and before you know it you’ve lost that lovin’ feeling!  That is okay.
      • The environment can be telling.  I have gone to places and walked in and thought it was someplace I shouldn’t be.  Doesn’t mean that the date or occasion was intentionally set up to be creepy.  But if you know where you are going it makes sense to check it out and make sure you are comfortable being there.
      • Alcohol.  This is probably one of those things that need little explanation.  No your limits with alcohol.  Drink what you can handle.  Know what that is.  I can admit I have been a victim of liquid courage.    It isn’t always a good thing.  Use it, but use it wisely.
  • At the moment.
    • Be prepared for anything.  Much of what I said above can be applied here.  Know where you are in your emotional space.  Be able to identify the emotions that will be good for you, and that will hinder your ability to choose wisely.  Watch your environment.  Follow your gut.  Watch your alcohol intake.
    • Be strong enough to say NO!  This is something that sounds so easy but really is difficult for some.  You’re in the moment, you want to but something feels wrong, your gut is screaming that this isn’t a good situation.  Listen to those feelings, pay attention, act on them.  Don’t discard them.  They are just as important as your partner’s sex drive.  You don’t owe anyone sex for any reason
    • Do the research.  There is so much information out there on how to handle these kinds of situations.  I am not an expert.  There are experts out there, however.  You can find anything from a checklist to articles to books about how to handle these kinds of situations.  They each will apply separately and independently so find the one that fits you the best.
    • Read other blogs.  Just like me, there are other people out there willing to share their stories and how the handled it.  Whether it turned out well or badly, they share and we can always learn from others.  Blogs are great because you can start a conversation with most and if that isn’t comfortable for you, I can’t think of one that wouldn’t be willing to have a one on one dialog with you.   I know this is mainly from a female perspective, but do not discount the male perspective as well.  A lot of men have the same issue and the same anxiety around this issue.
    • Talk to other people.  Actually, have a conversation about your feelings.  I guarantee others are struggling too.  And if they aren’t they can offer guidance as well.

Basically, we are all humans.  If sexuality was a switch we could flip we would all be a lot happier.  But it isn’t.  So, take your time and make sure you are in a good place.  Round up your emotions, have a plan.  It may seem like all this work and effort could be what is killing the moment.  I get it.  That isn’t lost on me either.  Once you make the prep part of your routine, you won’t notice you’re doing it.  It will be like doing your make up.  But that eyeliner wing you are trying to perfect is a lot easier to fix than a night that went badly.  Makeup remover can’t fix a situation where you are feeling pressured to do something you don’t want to do.

It is okay to have fun.  Just have fun your way, and with consent!!

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