I’ve heard the term rape culture being tossed around, and though I tended to agree with the sentiments around it, it was never one of my top issues. It is now.
I was raped a couple times by my high school boyfriend, but he was a complete jerk, and I always thought it was just him. After that, I trusted myself to say no when I meant it. It became instinctive for me to set soft boundaries so that it would be easier to prevent guys from pushing the hard limits.
The fist guy I met from OkCupid was great. After a long date, I invited him into my apartment, simply to continue the conversation because it was cold outside. The second date, I went to his place and we watched a movie with his arm around my shoulder. We didn’t even kiss until the end of the second date. The next few guys I met pushed soft boundaries, but were respectful of my hard limits. Some actively confirmed consent continually when they knew they were in boundary waters.
Last night, I went on a date with my 5th guy from OkCupid. Though this isn’t perhaps recommended, we did go to my or their place on every single one of those first dates. This one was different. I guess I was less clear up front that I was not willing to have sex, and would really rather keep it a few steps away from there on the first date, until we could have the full safe sex talk/agreement, and I could discuss it with my other partner(s). I probably should have spent more than an hour at the coffee shop before I agreed to watch YouTube at his place. But that’s the point. It shouldn’t have to be agreed on ahead of time! No means no. Period.
We went over to his place, and within 1.5 YouTube videos, he was making out with me. By the end of the second video, he had my shirt off. When he started taking off my skirt, I told him no. I told him no multiple times, but eventually he got it off of me anyway. Same story with a couple more steps. He literally reached into his drawer, grabbed a condom AND OPENED IT. I had to grab it out of his hand and throw it across the room in order for him to get the message. Sex. Is. Not. Happening. I was not aroused, I was not having fun. But I couldn’t keep him off of me. It was all I could do to keep his dick out of my mouth! I said I don’t have sex until at least the second date. He said, “Let’s have dinner. That will be our second date. Then we can have sex.” NO! He said, “Why do you have rules? Rules are to be broken!” Are you fucking serious?
He’s new to poly (though I’m doubtful he will continue poly now that he will never be seeing me again), so over coffee, I explained the importance of communication and negotiation. I didn’t go into detail on boundaries, but I talked about dealing with jealousy and trust. Yet I couldn’t trust you enough to sit on your couch and watch two YouTube videos without taking off my shirt?!
I know I’m in a unique position, being poly, a sex educator, and a volunteer for Planned Parenthood, but it just completely boggles my mind that so many people are ok with having sex without even mentioning STI status. While condoms protect almost completely against HIV, they are only 70% effective against HPV and barely effective at all against herpes. How has our culture come to a point where this isn’t COMPLETELY intolerable behavior?