Some Guys Are Really Awful, But It’s Not Your Fault [Sexy Time]

In the wake of the Steubenville rape trial, there has been increased dialogue about the importance of consent. Unfortunately, the societal narrative around consent is so muddled, distorted, and harmful. There’s a ton of emphasis on the absence of no and not nearly enough about the presence of yes. There’s the idea that we (usually women) are “asking for it” via our clothes, the amount we drink, our previous behavior…basically everything except our words. And then there’s this idea of “blanket” consent – like, if you’re okay with being naked with someone then you’re okay with having sex, or if you’ve consented to oral sex then obviously you’re cool with vaginal sex, and so on and so forth.

Recently, I saw a horrifying sequence of posts on a Tumblr I follow featuring stories of women who’ve consented to vaginal sex with a condom, and at some point during the act, the dude discreetly slipped off the condom without telling his partner. That in and of itself is disgusting enough, but on top of it all, when some of these men were called out on it, they were completely nonchalant. They accused the woman of being uptight or told her to calm down or claimed they didn’t see what the big deal was. This is a violation on so many levels and it’s sickening that there are men out there who don’t see it as such.

There are really valid reasons people choose to have sex with a condom versus sex without. That latex is not just ornamental penis flair. That condom could mean the difference between an empty and an occupied uterus, or the transference versus the non-transference of an STI. They also solve the problem of wet sheets. Basically, condoms serve a really important purpose. So when guys think it’s okay to remove one without their partner’s consent, they are implying at best that they’re ignorant of the significance of condoms, and at worst they don’t value their partner’s health or bodily autonomy. What is really scary is that guys who do this don’t realize that this is a form of sexual assault, that this is such a violative act, that it wouldn’t really be out of line to even refer to them as rapists.

Rape has a connotation of aggressive violence, but one doesn’t have to be violent in order to disregard consent. Which makes me wonder if guys do these predatory things because they honestly don’t realize what they’re doing is wrong, or if they’re exploiting our society’s rape culture, banking on the fact that a lot of women won’t know how to process their aggressions. It’s probably a combination of both. I have no idea how to stop predators from being predatory, but if the sex ed that was taught in school actually focused on the intricacies of sexual relationships and really defined what consent is, there would probably be a lot fewer creepy things going down in bedrooms around the world.

Regardless of why dudes do the heinous things they do, it’s really important to remember that it’s not your fault. It’s not your fault when you get drunk and a guy gropes you. It’s not your fault when you keep saying no and he keeps pressuring you until you finally agree to have sex with him because it’s easier than trying to escape. It’s not your fault when you agree to have sex with a condom and he takes it upon himself to remove it and continues to penetrate you without your consent. It’s just not your fault when guys do shady, sketchy, messed up things and you’re the one who has to deal with the mental and/or physical consequences of his actions. Sex puts everyone involved in a really vulnerable position, and when one person reneges on their end of the deal to be safe, consensual, and considerate, it totally strips power away from the other person. There are only so many precautions one can take, and ultimately, you should never take responsibility for someone else’s moral failings.

[Lead image via stetsko/Shutterstock]

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