Rape Culture Part 1 – Infantalizing Women

Trigger Warning for discussion of rape, rape fantasies, consensual non-consent, and BDSM. This is a 6 part series that will be updated weekly, focusing on rape culture, rape fantasies, and consent.

I joined a group on FetLife that was dedicated to rape fantasies. My goal was to explore how to reconcile having rape fantasies, and writing rape erotica with my belief that upholding a rape culture is negative to society.

I’m going to be looking at the types of responses, and what I think on them, in parts.

Part 1 – Infantalizing Women

Underneath a lot of the replies was skepticism of feminism, and of the term ‘Rape Culture’. They brought up many things that I agree with — that the idea of continual consent puts the onus on the man to ‘take care’ of his female partner in case she changes her mind and doesn’t inform him. That relying on body language for consent, even if she says yes, is tricky at best, and impossible at worst.

It is a manner of infantilizing women, which I’ve talked about before. If we assume that women are unable to say ‘no’ in sexual situations, and our solution is to tell men that they should watch for our body languages, it puts men in the direct position of having to care for us. It informs everyone that women are unable to consent, and that men must nurture and baby us to ensure we are constantly consenting. Men must be frequently checking our body language for our continued acceptance of the act, and that women are lacking to the extent that they can’t express their own desires.

I agree that this isn’t a simple problem. Women often feel like saying no will ‘disappoint’ the man, and are told that speaking up for themselves is bitchy and aggressive. I believe, though, that the solution to this is encouraging women to take control of their own bodies and actions, not telling men to look after and coddle us. The former will take longer, but it will also be a lasting change that will be passed down from generation to generation.

One commentor used the example of submissives who play a scene with a Dominant, and didn’t like the scene. Despite the fact that the sub didn’t use the safeword, there have been cases of the submissive calling it rape after the fact. To me, that is an issue and it isn’t a problem for men to solve. This is a problem that should be handled by women, and that we should be teaching girls how to handle.

It ties in so deeply to the patriarchy, and to how girls learn to be eager to please, but we can’t treat this by having men care for us.

Hugo Schwyzer wrote a piece last year about how he was afraid he was a rapist after his female sexual partner informed him that she sometimes had sex with him even when she wasn’t in the mood. She never told him at the time, and though her behaviour might have been slightly different, he was never aware that she was not completely consenting.

While this ties in a lot to the fact that women are not taught how to say no, and not comfortable with sex and their sexuality at a young age, we can’t expect our partners to be mind readers. This is something that is pushing people away from feminism, but more importantly, it’s making people –including victims– more skeptical of what constitutes rape and the legitimacy of rape claims. It makes people feel that rape is often used to just express regret after the fact.

There have been times when I’ve been less than enthusiastic about sex, yet still did it, and I would never call my partner a rapist. He feels the same way – there have been times we’ve had sex when he was too tired, or not feeling particularly into it.

Sometimes you meet the other person half way, sometimes you say no and you both respect that.

If either of us says no, that’s the end of it, but that onus is on us to actually refuse. I do not agree that my partner should be taking care of me, or making decisions for me in regards to if I have sex with him or not. I want him to trust my autonomy enough to realize if I really wasn’t interested, I would let him know. I don’t want to be having sex with someone who was constantly checking in to see if I still was into it just because I changed posture or sighed a different way or stopped making sounds.

Other relationships will be different and should be treated accordingly. People should talk to their partner, openly and honestly, about how they want to treat sex when they’re less than into it, and what is a deal breaker for them. If you can’t talk about your limits during sex, talk about it before, and even if you’re not into BDSM, having a safe word could be very helpful to those that feel they may have to change their mind.

Just keep in mind that most men (people) are not rapists. Most people are disgusted by rape, and could never think of committing that crime against another person.

We must teach both men and women to be in touch with their desires, and to be able to properly vocalize their consent or non-consent, and to respect the consent or non-consent of their partners. We shouldn’t put the responsibility on our partners to keep a constant check on our body language, or to be able to read our thoughts.

Upcoming parts in this series:

Part 2 – Male Revulsion at Rape
Part 3 – Women’s Ability to Consent or Not Consent
Part 4 – A Victim’s Desire to Press Charges
Part 5 – Media’s Role
Part 6 – Potential Rapists in BDSM

12 comments

  1. Gareth says:

    I like this article. It’s probably the first article I’ve seen on rape that points out that women can take care of themselves, and that men aren’t mind readers. I like that

    • J. Keep says:

      When Michelle and I first started out together I was a nervous wreck about hurting her accidentally. I was a big strong guy and she was a petite lady. I was overly cautious and I kept asking her if she was alright any time she made a groan or some noise that made me suspect pain.

      It annoyed the living hell out of her.

      I learned to get over my own insecurities and that if I did do something by accident she’d be more than ready to let me know and wouldn’t hold it against me. Communicative partners who are open, considerate and honest are essential to healthy sex I think.

  2. Mr Small says:

    Holy GOD! I have been waiting for a woman in the “feminist” space to make this post for SO much of my life. THANK YOU! Issues like this are quite frankly what keeps me from adopting the label, not because of some arcane bs about “how I really don’t understand what the term means” but because a lot of the “feminist” fixes to the problematic aspects of modern western society are just as broken in many cases!

    The fact tat this post exists, let alone being from a woman, who calls herself a feminist, (who’s link I found on feministe of all places!) gives me so much hope for the cohesion of the genders it’s fantastic!

    • M. Keep says:

      I’m glad it resonated with you :) It’s sometimes hard to put into words what I feel, especially when there are so many variables and circumstances that should be taken into account. That’s why I’m so big on opening the lines of communication between partners, and to try to be open and honest with one another about what they need. This will require us to empower young people to be able to discuss this stuff, and ties in so closely with the way we treat sex, unfortunately.

  3. Well stated…it also made me think about who holds responsibility for the act. In a culture where women are told they, and only they, should ‘protect their virtue’ there is often guilt attached to enjoying sex. One of the things that rape fantasies do is remove the guilt by removing the onus of accountability from the woman. But this too is an act of infantilisation, as one of the basic tenants of adulthood is being able and willing to take responsibility for your own actions. Good post.

    • J. Keep says:

      Very true.

      I don’t believe in holding peoples sexual fantasies accountable, because such things tend to be beyond our control even when we acknowledge where they come from, but it would be nice if future women could grow up without that stigma attached to enjoying sex.

  4. Anonguy says:

    This is a repost from a msg board. http://spacefem.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=28&t=46377

    Being coerced into sex when you’re not in the mood is a form of rape, particularly when you consider the other outside social forces pushing people to accede to the wishes of others. Women in particular are often taught that they should override their own desires in order to fulfill the desires of others. I have some problems with M. Hall’s post which I’ll try to articulate below.

    She says, “the idea of continual consent puts the onus on the man to ‘take care’ of his female partner in case she changes her mind and doesn’t inform him”. I think that this is taking a very reductive and gendered view of sexual violence which just isn’t there in much feminist thought dealing with rape culture, as well as (wilfully?) misunderstanding what is meant by continual consent. She is acting as though continual consent means the man (the implicitly dominant partner in her scenario) has to continually check in with the woman (this is also really heteronormative) in case the woman forgot that secretly she didn’t actually want to have sex. Actually, continual consent is the idea that either/any party can withdraw consent at any time, and that consenting to one thing is not the same as consenting to other things. It is continually being renegotiated through all forms of communication, including body language, verbal cues, and speech. By casting ‘the woman’ in the role of submissive partner and perpetual rape-victim-risk, it is Hall who is infantilising women. Continual consent in rape culture is about empowering people – all people – to say no at any time. There’s nothing infantilising about opening clear channels of communication which go both ways. As she says later in the piece: “the solution to this is encouraging women to take control of their own bodies and actions”. This is what enthusiastic consent is meant to do. It’s not a tool for blame, it’s a tool for positively identifying and seeking to mutually gratify sexual desire in conjunction with a partner/partners. She characterises the notion of enthusiastic consent as “telling men to look after and coddle us”. I don’t see this at all, and since she doesn’t unpack this argument it’s hard to see how she got here. In fact, she seems to be arguing for enthusiastic consent, while accusing the people who developed this concept of infantilising women.

    The point of enthusiastic consent is that the absence of a ‘no’ is not the same as the presence of a ‘yes’. That’s it. I’ve never seen anyone advocate for putting responsibility on partners to constantly check in (outside of the kink community where check-ins are common and normal and necessary) in case a woman forgot that she changed her mind. Hall is arguing with a straw radical, against points and ideas that nobody is making, and the saddest part is that she actually agrees with the people she thinks she’s arguing against. A little more research would have helped a lot in making this article actually useful or worthwhile reading.

    • J. Keep says:

      This is a rather strange comment, and I get the impression whoever originally made it did not really read the original post fully. Unless M. Hall wasn’t an error and they meant someone else.

      To start: M. Keep was not posing a straw argument. The article contains a link to another feminist writer to which she directly counters, and addresses actual arguments she encountered in a more private sphere of FetLife. She didn’t invent the original argument out of nothing.

      The stuff about heternormativity seems a desperate shot to delegitimize the arguments here. M. Keep drew upon some actual cases she came upon in her experiences with the FetLife community and another blogger which set the tone for her piece, which were exclusively heterosexual by chance, not design. Yes, of course it can apply to other relationships. Though since she had no cases before her beyond these it might’ve seemed disingenuous to act otherwise.

      We tend to write from personal experiences and knowledge, we don’t pretend to be academics, but if that led to someone believing we were being exclusionary than we’re truly sorry.

      Michelle’s a busy lady, busier than I. Maybe she’d have more to say but I’m afraid I don’t see much more to add, since this comment doesn’t really address much of what was actually said here.

    • M. Keep says:

      Hey there,

      So I wanted to clarify a few things in regards to this comment. Firstly, when I say ‘male’ and ‘female’, I’m speaking of gender and not sex.

      Firstly is the ascertation of the fact that women in particular are often taught they should override their own desires in order to fulfill the desires of others. That was, pretty much, my point. I specifically said in the post that this is an issue, and it needs to be solved, but that expecting men to read our minds isn’t the proper way.

      Tying this into the claim that I was being heteronormative. I don’t refute this – my post was about men and women and how they interact in relationships. The entire point was to discuss rape fantasies, how they tie into rape culture, and why people at large don’t accept the belief of rape culture. One of the reasons is because of this pervasive feeling – whether feminists intend it or not – that we expect men to stop if they feel, at any time, that we’ve stopped consenting.

      The post focused heavily on gender roles in male/female relationships. One of the reasons is that this is a dynamic I know and understand, because I am a bisexual who has been in exclusively heterosexual relationships. While rape, in reality, occurs in many different ways, the fantasy is usually fairly similar from one person to the next. While there are some men that fantasize about being raped by a woman, for instance, they’re vastly out numbered by the number of women that fantasize about being raped by a male.

      Discussing and presuming traditional gender roles was imperative to the post, since I was focusing on rape fetishism as a broad concept, and that usually comes with very traditional gender roles.

      As well, I do not feel qualified or comfortable discussing the specific, and very different gender dynamics at work in non-heterosexual relationships. I feel that this is better left to people who have a more personal, vested interest in portraying their relationship, and the unique nature of it, themselves. While I have some gay friends, there are none I know of that have rape fantasies or issues with consent or continual consent.

      The original question of continual consent was brought up in the rape fantasy group, and was discussed at length. The ideas that they had about what continual consent was – that is to say, consent to everything that happens, continually, throughout foreplay and into aftercare – were in line with my own experience in the feminist communities I frequent.

      That is to say that they believe you give consent to one act, and that doesn’t imply consent for the next act. That you need to receive constant consent for each action you take (i.e. kissing doesn’t mean you consent to fingering, fingering doesn’t mean you consent to sex). The only issue I took with this, and the conclusion I came to was that I didn’t want this to be the default.

      In my example, I discussed a piece by Hugo Schwyzer. Whatever your feelings on him, he wrote about a friends with benefits arrangement in University. The woman consented to making out, and never withdrew consent through sex. She felt her body language was sufficient to express to him her disinterest, but he took that to mean she was stressed about something outside of the sex, or just had a lot on her mind.

      She later told him that she sometimes had sex with him when she didn’t want to, but didn’t know how to say no.

      I don’t want to talk about fault or blame in that scenario. However, it’s clear to me that the solution was to empower her to say no, to feel comfortable enough to say “I want to make out but I don’t want to have sex.” The alternative is to say he should have paid more attention to the body cues that she thought were obvious, but he did not.

      I feel for both people in that situation. It must have been horrible for her, wanting to say no and not knowing how. Not wanting to disappoint him. I’ve been in that situation a few times, and it’s horrible.

      It must also feel horrible for him to hear that he was having sex with a woman that he thought was willing, but wasn’t. Can you imagine how much that must hurt as well?

      Both people blamed themselves and they drifted apart because of this. That’s hard.

      I explicitly stated that each relationship will be unique, and that it will require unique conversations that start before the sex does. I encouraged people to be open and honest, and to become comfortable talking about sex and consent with their partner.

      While most of my post focused on traditional gender and sexual roles, that advice is universal. One of the reason my post focused so heavily on traditional gender roles is that often, when someone wishes for a rape fantasy, it is in the‘’traditional’ sense that we are taught that rape occurs.

      If the point of enthusiastic consent is that the absence of a no isn’t the same of the presence of a yes, then I don’t understand how that negates anything I’ve said. It still expects that both partners will continually be checking in with one another, and continually saying yes.

      That isn’t to say it’s not sound advice because for some people, it’s going to be the basis of their relationship. I explicitly said that it’s going to be the right option for some people.

      My entire argument was against the idea that people can say no using body language. That’s not always enough. The comment describes continual consent as the ability to say no at any time, that the presence of a no isn’t the same as a yes, that any parter can consent or not consent at any point during sex, that consenting to one thing isn’t the same as the other, and that consent is constantly being renegotiated through all forms of communication including body language, verbal cues, and speech.

      My point was that I wouldn’t trust body language or verbal cues to be enough to withdraw consent, and that I personally wouldn’t feel happy having sex with someone who thought my body language was saying no when I really didn’t want them to stop. I wouldn’t want the mood to be broken by them asking if it’s okay, and that is what personally works for me. I would constantly be worrying about what my body was doing, what my verbal cues were telling them, and stress about the fact that I wasn’t acting ‘into’ it enough and that they might stop.

      I’m not talking about people who are too drunk to consent, or are sleeping, or are otherwise incapable of saying no. I’m talking about people who are capable of saying no but choose not to, whether because of their upbringing, their desire not to disappoint their partner, etc. These people should be empowered to say no, and we should not expect people to be able to read another person’s body language during sex. Some people do strange things during sex that would seem to be a lack of consent – crying, whimpering, closing their eyes, etc.

      I’ve gone overboard in explaining and clarifying, so hopefully it’s made some amount of sense. In summary, consent and lack of consent should be verbal whenever physically possible, consent should be discussed before sex, and what works for one person will not work for another. My partner won’t stop having sex with me unless I tell him to, because he knows that anything else is implied consent, and that’s what works in our relationship. The same goes for the reverse.

      Truthfully, this is the reason I can’t bring myself to blog on feminism anymore. I’ve taken the past hour to write up a reply to one comment in order to elaborate and better explain my point, and that was after taking several hours to research and write the original post. It’s exhausting, and while I still consider myself to be a strong feminist, and someone who needs people to be treated more fairly, I’ll leave it to the people who have more time and ability to commit to it.

      I love blogging, but I constantly feel as if my point is being missed, or misconstrued, and I don’t feel comfortable writing for all people but don’t want to bog down my posts with addendums and disclaimers and qualifiers.

      Hopefully the people who read this will understand the point I’m trying to make. I have multiple posts waiting in the queue, but I just can’t keep doing this. Sorry, all. <3

      • Anonguy says:

        I understand that this kind of argument can be draining, that if you slip up even a little then the teeth will be at your neck. However this article was good boots on the ground feminism. I was really looking forward to part two of this and really do wish you would reconsider.

  5. Carmen says:

    Hello,

    I agree with the point of this article, and glad the writer pointed out women have trouble saying “no” because they are socialized to be passive, and to please men. I disagree that this is “a problem with women, not with men.” It is a problem with both, as it is a part of a patriarchal culture perpetuated by both men and women and which hurts both men and women. (Obviously if this were less of a problem, fewer men would feel unjustly accused, and fewer women would feel possibly violated or used; and both genders would be less apprehensive about the whole thing).

    However, I think that not only are we babying women–not giving them enough credit to know how to say “no”–but we are babying men.

    Let me be clear what I mean. Many women, when actually attacked (or when they believe they are under attack), freeze up. This is a limbic system response of some people. Whether or not is has to do with biology, past experience, or social conditioning, or some combination thereof, is arguable. But that is the case. I have experienced it myself, despite the fact that I have no issues standing up for other people, and can handle myself, physically speaking; when attacked by a man–regardless of his size, though of course being attacked by a large man is scarier–I am always so completely taken off guard, so shocked, that I have nothing to say. I freeze up, in a sense; become like a statue. Of course I have been kicking myself for this for a long time, and trying to figure out how I can control my physical responses in such a situation, as no matter what I do, I seem completely unable to stand up for myself (this is something that requires brain retraining, not physical training). Only once did I shout “stop” (because of the pain), and it did not, of course, make any difference, as he knew what he was doing all along; he did not stop.

    That is my point. Men, when they attack women, know what they are doing. They do not need a “stop” or a “no.” We are not giving them enough credit, either, if we don’t think they can’t tell the difference between a willing and an unwilling women. Men are not idiots about body language, as they are often made out to be in popular culture; this trope excuses men who rape and insults men who do not.

    Only once was there a situation in which I felt it was rape and the man may not have realized how I felt. He had picked me up when I was very drunk–having been out celebrating with a friend, who went to the bathroom for five minutes–we were at a “ladies’ night” that had ten cent wells before we went to another bar, and I didn’t drink or go out much, and had little tolerance. He came in, sat next to me, bought me a drink. He was with two people, a couple, who said there was a party at his house. He asked me if I wanted to come, and before I could reply he grabbed me by the elbow, took me outside, and put me in a cab.

    I was very drunk, and didn’t entirely know what was happening. After this “party,” which I only vaguely remember, I passed out and woke up with him on top of me, pinning my arms down and pinning me with his weight (he was a large man). He was looking right into my eyes, and I thought he could see the fear on my face. Then I passed out again.

    In the morning he was acting shady–to my mind–he told me to “be good” when he dropped me off, and was extremely unpleasant to me.

    In his mind, maybe he’d been drunk too, and it was a regrettable one night stand. In my mind, waking up and not knowing how I’d got there, it was a different story. I thought his behavior with the “friends” and the waiting taxi cab, coming into a bar around closing time when girls are likely to be drunk and taking a girl by the arm from the bar after speaking to her for 2 minutes–when she’s said “I want to wait for my friend to come back”–all of this seemed to me predatory.

    Later, when I confronted him, he seemed shocked and said I “hadn’t said no” and he thought I wanted to (and didn’t know how drunk I was). He did admit to me he was angry that evening as his fiance had just left him for another man–he admitted, essentially, that he was behaving badly; and under the definition of rape of “a woman too drunk to consent,” it was rape. But I accept that he, perhaps, did not intend to do that, even if he was behaving in an entitled fashion.

    However, in every other incidence, it was pretty clear that the men meant to do it. I was sober, clearly terrified, and stayed still as a statue, most definitely unaroused and uncooperative, bleeding, in some cases, from their efforts; one of these was a boyfriend who slammed me into a shower wall and attacked me without warning; one a stranger who got into bed with me in a hostel in a room where I was alone when I had a double ear infection and bronchitis (which he knew, as he’d seen me around), and was too sick to even speak; one–the one I screamed “stop” to–a “friend” trying to get back at another “friend” by raping her best friend. All of them knew exactly what they are doing.

    I would posit that boyfriends know what they are doing, too. Sometimes people do meet us halfway–though in my experience of boyfriends, because of men’s sense of entitlement and their easy ability to flatly refuse, the few times I have wanted to but they didn’t they did not meet me halfway nor did I continue to try to make them meet me halfway (whether out of pride or respect, I don’t know). But boyfriends know, if they want to, and a girlfriend says no, and they wheedle and whine for half an hour, or threaten to get angry and make a big fight out of it, they will wear her down. This is called “coercion.”

    For boyfriends who are good boyfriends, and don’t engage in this sort of behavior, I also suspect that if your partner just lies there, is not aroused, does not engage, does not respond, looks away, etc., either she’s not into it (or she’s just a really, really terrible lay, which would pose constant questions about consent, and probably not be the most fun relationship to be in, either). If your partner is acting this way, back off. Ask her what’s wrong, does she really want to do this. If she says “yes” but continues to act this way, don’t have sex with her; she doesn’t want to, she is saying she does because she doesn’t want you to get mad or she’s being passive aggressive. Even if she didn’t want to have sex, if she does want to “meet you halfway” and genuinely wants to please you, she won’t just lie there and “think of England” and let you do all the work while she looks off in the distance; she’ll make an effort to put on a brave face and get involved. And, as far as I’m concerned, if she does that, it’s her choice, and she has no right to feel “coerced” or at all “violated.”

    If she tells you to go ahead, but still stays completely non-participatory–no return thrusting, little to no lubrication, lets you kiss her but does not kiss you, etc.–stop, and tell her you don’t like it when she doesn’t tell you the truth about something as important as her sexual feelings. Make sure she knows this. Women should not do this–say yes when they mean no, and then continue to transmit “no” with their bodies–it’s passive-aggressive and they will use such instances to justify their resentment. This is not a good game to get involved in.

    However, if she says “no” and you kiss her and playfully beg a little, and she acquiesces, and you take the time to get her aroused–which may take longer if she wasn’t originally in the mood, but which you should do, as the partner who wants sex, and as a good guy in general–and she responds and participates, and the two of you have sex, even if it doesn’t turn out mind-blowingly wonderful for her, she gamely chose to participate of her own free will, and there is nothing wrong with this scenario at all.

    But if you make sexual overtures at a woman and she freezes up and doesn’t move, this is the time to back off. Obviously in the case of a stranger–she may very well be terrified–and it is never a good idea to sleep with a drunk stranger, either; don’t sleep with a drunk girl you’ve never slept with before, and if you don’t know if she’s drunk or not, err on the side of caution (i.e., if you were with her the whole night and she had two or three drinks, it’s fine; if you arrived at a party late and have no idea how much she’s had to drink, well, it could turn out fine, or maybe not, as in my case–she might have no idea how she got in your bed in the morning). And in the case of a stranger when there is no alcohol involved, if you make sexual overtures and she looks away, seems to cower, goes completely stiff, etc., she does not want to, she is afraid of you and afraid of what will happen is she says no.

    And in the case of your girlfriend, she might not transmit that fear sense, but if there is no response–none at all–listen to what her body says, not her lips, and back off.

    And women: don’t do that. If you really, really don’t want to, don’t tell him to go ahead. But men: it’s also a dick move to have sex with your corpse-like girlfriend, because yes, women do have trouble saying no in our cultures, often especially to their boyfriends.

    On the whole, I think this is all completely common sense, and just as it babies women to think men must “take care of their feelings all the time,” and constantly “check in with them,” it insults men to imply they can’t read straightforward, obvious body language.

    Of course, BDSM and fantasy sequences are a whole different ballgame. Subs should not get involved with doms unless they are willing and able to use safe words, as body language could just be interpreted as part of the game. And, no offense, to some extent, they should expect safe words to be, well, not entirely safe, unless they know their dom well and trust them–of course this inability to trust a new sexual partner is not exclusive to the world of BDSM, and perhaps doms are not more prone to ignore partner’s wishes to stop than other men, despite their self-proclaimed title. And it does happen in relationships too…but you must trust some people, otherwise life would, well, suck.

    Just my two cents.

  6. Carmen says:

    And, quick follow-up, I know not all men are as easily able to say “no” when they don’t want to as my boyfriends have been (and not all women give up so easily, for better or for worse). So of course everything I said holds true for women too–it doesn’t matter if he’s erect, if he’s said no, and he’s just lying there, looking away, obviously not wanting to, it’s coercive and in some sense violating and on the whole very, very selfish and not loving at all. Women can read body language too, and men are not in a state of “constant consent,” as is often assumed (the flip side of gender roles that make women out to be always the victims).

    And yes, some people have odd behavior during sex; but because it is odd, unless you know the person well and they always do this during sex (in which case, in fact, a lack of such behavior might be odd), if your partner is crying, I think it’s okay to ask “if you are okay?” It’s worth the risk of ruining the mood to avoid the far worse risk of accidentally violating your partner. It’s of course very important if you’ve switched sexual activities (say from vaginal to anal sex) with or without verbalization–if she starts crying, stop for a moment and ask if she’s okay. People do weird things, yes, but by definition weird is “out of the ordinary” and so worth asking about.

    And I don’t think the vast majority of people’s “weird things during sex” includes lying there and acting dead. And if so, I think you need to inform your partner up front that this is how you are–you lie there and don’t participate, but in fact you would like them to go ahead, if it is okay with them (i.e., if it doesn’t feel too weird to them). Women, do not be sarcastic if you say this, men may very well take what you say in the literal sense and then the onus is indeed on you!

    Mostly common sense, I think. Most “miscommunications” are actually one or the other partner being selfish/resentful and lying about it in the aftermath, either to themselves or to their partner or both.

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