Archive for the ‘Rape Culture’ Category

I have to say, I appreciate the difficulty of having honest discussions in a relationship.  Sometimes it’s easier to come up with a lame excuse rather than having an argument about the real reason.

Death and Taxes has an excellent article on the recently viral email sent from a husband to his wife detailing in a spreadsheet the number of times over the course of a month and a half that he attempted to have sex with his her and her answer and (where applicable) reason for not doing so.

Sure have to say, if you look at that spreadsheet, it looks pretty bad.  Bad excuses, multiple times in a row, I mean clearly he has reason to be upset, right?

Except that spreadsheet, with all its detail, is missing one very important element: what HE did prior to wanting sex that most likely resulted in her saying no.  But of course, it’s easier to say “I’m tired” than have an all-out fight about the fact that he did something or didn’t do something that was the likely real cause she had no desire to be intimate later that night.

The radio was even talking about it this morning, pointing out perhaps he was using this as a prelude to an extramarital affair as if to say This is why I’m seeking sex elsewhere.  They were pretty brutal on her, suggesting perhaps *she* is the one being unfaithful on her trips.  But then, they were all guys, and so they see things through his perspective of it’s all about sex (or lack thereof.)

Listening to 3 grown men discuss why it wasn’t okay for a wife to reject her husband that many times (not that they ever condoned force, but that wasn’t really the point) was a bit frightening and sickening both.  They might as well have been talking about spousal abuse for all the legitimacy they gave her reasons.

It’s easy when faced with such “blatant facts” to forget that this is such a small blip in the picture of their lives, that we have no idea what he’s like or what she’s like, we don’t know what he did or didn’t do, or what she may or may not have really felt about it.

It’s unfortunate that such information has gone viral and has prompted some very disheartening discussions in this day and age – where it’s still seen as the wife “owes” her husband sex.

Counseling may be in order.  Or maybe just a long bout of introspection and reflection on his part of what he’s doing to contribute to her decisions not to be intimate.

While sometimes it really is just one person – despite what adults always insisted when we were kids – it usually isn’t.  There’s usually always two sides to every story and both generally contribute – if not equally – to any issues happening in a relationship.

Dear Sir: If you love and value your wife, don’t email her spreadsheets of your perception of her “failures” on her way out of town.  Wait till she comes back and sit down and tell her you want an open and honest discussion of why she isn’t feeling like being intimate with you and how you can help.

Dear Ma’am: I know it’s easier to give lame excuses like headaches and tired and such, but unfortunately that is only prolonging the issues and delaying any kind of resolution.  Be open and honest – however much it may cause a fight – about why you aren’t feeling like being intimate with him.

To all people in any kind of relationship: No matter how stupid it sounds, say what you’re feeling.  Be honest with your partner.  Even if you have to talk like a 4 yr old and say “I feel hurt when you [ blank ].”  And be clear that it’s your feelings involved.  It’s easy to throw blame and accusations, it’s harder to own up to our own feelings.  “I felt vulnerable…” “I feel sad…” “I’m not comfortable with…” “I get angry when…”

Feelings are facts.  You can’t really argue with them, they just are.  What you *do* with them can be constructive or not, but the feelings themselves just are, they aren’t good or bad.  So first be honest with yourself about what you’re feeling, then be honest with your partner.  If you can’t even be honest about your feelings, how can you have a solid relationship??

“Not tonight, dear, I’m still angry with you for being childish and disrespectful to me by leaving your dirty clothes in a heap NEXT to the hamper and making me pick them up for you.”

“Not tonight, honey, I’m hurt that you dismissed my feelings earlier today and made fun of me for crying at something you deemed insignificant.”

“Not tonight, sweety.  Slapping my ass and saying ‘here comes Daddy’ is NOT my idea of a romantic come-on or adequate foreplay.”

Would THAT get the point across, maybe?


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A response to this post, because No, I am not content to silently disagree: no-homosexuality-is-not-like-left-handedness  I’ll never disable comments, because I welcome differing points of view.  How on earth can we ever grow living in a bubble to ourselves?

The above indicates an opinion that homosexuality is wrong because there is no chance of pregnancy.  I will refute one thing, homosexuals are actually just as capable of producing children, just not with others of the same gender.  However, if the topic of acceptable sex is whether or not children are produced…

So to be barren or post-menopausal is similarly to have no right whatsoever to engage in sexual intercourse since a baby can never be the result.  Just making sure I’m clear on sex and it’s purpose, here.  No children = no sex.  No matter the reason, because sex without children is selfish and wrong and clearly a mental disorder.

Oh, you must similarly abhor birth control of any kind, because that allows for sex without the possibility of procreation.  And of course surgically having your tubes tide or cut (male or female) is akin to choosing to be homosexual because you’re now creating a situation where you are having sex without the possibility of procreation, and should be labeled as having voluntarily adopted a mental disorder.

Every time I have sex with my theoretical future husband, I had damn well sure better be prepared to get pregnant and under no circumstances – no matter how many children we’ve already had or what our financial situation – should I attempt in any way to prevent the possibility of again becoming pregnant, or else I’d just better clamp my legs together and say, “Not tonight, honey, we can’t afford it!”

Because before these pesky homosexuals came along, no heterosexual couple ever dreamed of having sex without having a child.  Yes, it was those homosexuals who corrupted us “straighties” into thinking birth control was ever an acceptable choice.

Though I must wonder, if the only function of sex was to have a child, then why would women who are “legitimately raped” have bodies that could have a way to “shut all that down” and prevent pregnancy?

Clearly there is something *wrong* with women who are raped if they can prevent their own pregnancies.  Right?  Just making sure I understand the whole line of thinking here.  Raped women had damn well better be sure to have that child so it isn’t confused with being selfish or having a mental disorder!

Non-sarcastically now: Sex can create children, yes.  Sex also nurtures intimacy, trust, compassion, mental well-being, stress-reduction, and a host of other things that are beneficial to long-lasting relationships.  Having sex for pleasure is as much about your *partner’s* pleasure as your own, while for some, having children can be an extremely selfish thing to do.

To assume that sex for pleasure always equals selfishness and sex for children is always some selfless higher calling is just plain ignorance at it’s … best? worst?

It’s disturbing that this isn’t obvious to more people.

Really, I don’t think it’s Authority you have a problem with, Matthew.

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Don’t touch me.

No, I don’t have to explain why.  This is not a subject for discussion or debate.  Don’t touch me.

Why can’t I say those words?

When someone touches me and it makes me feel uncomfortable, I shut down.  I freeze up.  I laugh with overflowing anxiety and try to step away, and yet they want to know why I don’t want them to touch me.

If I say please stop, they ask why.

If I try to come up with an excuse because the words I really want to say are stuck in my throat, they argue with me as if they can somehow prove that I really do want them to touch me, proven I am wrong.  About my body.  And whether I want them touching me.

Don’t touch me.

I should not have to tell you no for you to stop, you should have to gain my yes before you start.  Why can’t you understand the difference?

Why do you start when I haven’t said you can?

Why can’t you stop when I say stop?

People think I’m strong.  People who know me think I’m so strong that they don’t understand this is where I’m weak.  This is where I seize with fear and try to get away but they won’t let me because if I really wanted to get away, surely I’d *make* them stop.  Because I’m so strong.

Get me off this fucking pedestal, I’m afraid of heights!  Stop putting conditions on me, stop acting as if the burden is on me to make you stop.   Just stop touching me.

Why won’t you just stop?

Why should I have to dress for battle because I decided to leave my house?  Why should I have to wage war for the right to own myself, my body?  Why should I have to make you stop touching me?

Why can’t you just stop?  Why can’t you prevent yourself from violating my boundaries?  Why can’t you understand that when I pull away, it’s because I don’t want you touching me?  Why can’t you understand that if I don’t enjoy this, continuing it isn’t going to make it more enjoyable.

Why can’t you understand that the default condition of my permission is not yes.  Why can’t you see that you don’t own a single part of me, you aren’t entitled to my body, you aren’t entitled to receive one ounce of pleasure that I don’t want to give you.

Stop touching me.

Why can’t I say it?  Why can’t I be that strong?

Just stop touching me.

Sometimes my PTSD gets in the way of the words I want to say.  You don’t need to know my whole history to know that when I stay stop touching me, you need to stop touching me.  This isn’t about what happened to me when I was 6, or when I was 14, or when I was 17, or when I was 27.  This isn’t about my last relationship or my relationship with my parents.  This isn’t about therapy or your best friend or the last one who wronged you.

This is about me telling you to stop touching me.

So don’t touch me.

No, I don’t have to explain why.  This is not a subject for discussion or debate.  Don’t touch me.

There is no excuse to touch a person who does not want you to touch them.  I don’t care if it’s a hug, if it’s a tickle, if it’s a caress, if it’s hit, if it’s sex, if it’s you trying to force them to touch you.  I don’t care if it’s a man to a woman, a woman to a man, a man to a man, a woman to a woman. There is no excuse to touch a person who does not want you to touch them.

How do you know if someone does not want you to touch them?  Ask.  If they can’t answer, assume the answer is no.

Yes is not the default.

Okay is not implied.

Permission is not unspoken.

Consent is not silent.

Victims are not at fault.

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