Saturday, August 25, 2012

Bad Sexual Etiquette

Warning: this post is about rape issues.

If you are affected by rape issues you may wish to visit the Rape Crisis website (England and Wales).

It doesn't really matter who he is. Maybe he's your boyfriend, of weeks or months or years. Perhaps he's the old schoolfriend who you met again a few hours ago downstairs at the party. Perhaps he's a "friend-with-benefits" who you've known for years. Maybe he's your husband. Maybe he's the man you don't want your husband to find out about. Maybe you've had sex with him before, maybe not.

It doesn't matter. He's a nice guy. You have no reason to think badly of him. Your taste in men is surely not that bad. You've dumped plenty of idiots and refused to even consider dating plenty more. This one has passed the filters, and you want to have sex with him.

That said, you want to use a condom. Again, it really doesn't matter what your reasons are. Maybe you want to avoid disease. Probably, you don't want to risk getting pregnant. Perhaps you're feeling aware that it would, for whatever reason, be awkward for you to try and get hold of the morning-after pill. Maybe you're on the everyday pill but you missed one, or are just wanting that extra layer of reassurance.

So you're kissing him, and both of you are enjoying it, and you want to have sex, but you slam on the brakes and one way or another you raise The Condom Question. And despite the hormones and desires and excitement, you refuse to go any further until he's agreed and there's a reassuring square foil packet sitting ready on the bedside table (or the dashboard, or the refreshments trolley in the company boardroom, hey, whatever works for you).

Then, with gleeful abandon, the brakes, and the rest of your clothes, can start coming off. You're excited. You're aroused. You are spread out, relaxed, enjoying all sorts of foreplay and eager to have wonderful, enthusiastically consensual, penetrative sex.

And he's between your legs
kissing his way up your body
amazing kisses
making you feel fantastic
and suddenly
no, he can't be
he's pushing into you
he wouldn't
and the little foil packet is still sitting there, unopened.

"No!" you say, and your voice sounds like it's coming from a long way away, so you try again, "no, we need to use a condom..."

"It's okay," he says, his familiar, nice-guy face smiling over you.

"No, it's not okay!" you shout? whisper? not even sure any more and you try to push him away but your muscles won't work properly even as he caresses your useless spaghetti arms and gently, almost lovingly, but quite firmly enough, holds them down over your head, and tells you to relax I would relax if you would just put the bloody condom on because he's not going to come in you.

As if that makes much difference. You were awake in sex-ed class, you had it drilled into you that pregnancy and disease are possible from pre-ejaculate. You're certain that at this point in your life you don't want to deal with the mental and physical strain of a pregnancy, or an abortion, or childbirth, or raising a child, or giving a child up for adoption. This is not a risk you wanted to take.

But "no" hasn't worked and I can't move and my mind is whirling too much to give a lecture on sexual health issues...

His face is still over yours. He's still smiling, still kissing you, mistaking your panic for pleasure. He tells you that he wants to feel you orgasm like this orgasm? I'm not even turned on any more and with a shiver you realise that if you can't physically force him off you then the only remaining option is to fake it, get it over with, quickly as possible, minimise the risk, get him off me.

So you breathe, and you try to ignore the little voice that's screaming getoffme getoffme getoffme and you say oh, mmm, yes, NO! and flex your Kegel muscles as best you can until oh thank god he's convinced, and he withdraws, and the smile on his face tells you that your faked orgasm has reassured him that you actually really enjoyed that experience when in fact you're lying there still and boneless and in shock, trying to process what's happened.

He didn't come. Do I still need the morning after pill? Would I even be able to get hold of it without admitting what's just happened? Am I prepared to take the risk? How do I arrange a sexual health screening without anyone finding out? What's an abortion actually like? First things first, what's the date, how long until my next- WHAT THE FUCK IS HAPPENING NOW?

What is happening now is that he's pushing into you again, and this time he's wearing the condom, and you are expected to be grateful for this can't be happening, can't be happening, can't be happening you feel sick and your stomach muscles clench and you gasp for breath and this is also interpreted as excitement and finally he comes and he withdraws and this time you practically leap off the bed and get your clothes back on and you're out of the room in ten seconds flat even though your arms and legs still aren't quite doing what they're told.

He follows you. He's the clothed, smiling man who not half an hour previously was an entirely nice chap, talking to you and making you smile and showering you with affection.

He doesn't think he's a rapist.

Do you?