A few of my favorite bloggers have been writing a lot about rape culture and consent. Libby Anne has been writing about Pride and Prejudice and the highlighted quote has sparked a few days of thought.
"A No is just a Yes that needs a little convincing!"
The thing is, I've done this, and I am a woman.
When my husband and I were dating we were attending a traditional evangelical church. We were committed to not having sex until we were married. Since I'd already experimented sexually in almost every way except for intercourse (and homosexuality) before he and I started dating, I couldn't give any of that to him as a wedding present anyway, so I figured there weren't any real consequences to experimenting sexually in other ways while we were dating. The problem was that he didn't agree. He wanted to be the spiritual leader in our relationship. He wanted to protect my purity. He had been raised Catholic, so the spilling of seed without any openness to procreation was deeply ingrained in him as a sin.
I felt like his physical distance from me was symbolic of emotional distance from me. This scared me. I worried he didn't love me as much as I loved him.
One night he stayed home from a college group event. He sounded distant on the phone. I took that personally. (I now know he was depressed, but I didn't understand depression yet at that point in my life). So after spending the whole college group event stressing about the state of our relationship I drove to his house. He was in bed. I climbed in with him. He was startled, but apparently he had taken a sleeping pill so he was a little loopy. I needed comfort so I kissed him. He responded. We had dry sex that night for the first time. I left feeling comforted and secure. He stayed awake for hours feeling guilty and wondering what just happened.
There were other times farther into our relationship where he would be fresh from a men's bible study and after hanging out he would tell me he wanted to "be good" that night. Sometimes I would respond by lying down on his bed in my sexiest pose with my sexiest look on my face. He would groan and come join me. I felt happy and satisfied, he felt guilty and depressed.
I apologized to my husband for this last night. It wasn't the act itself that was wrong. I don't believe that it's wrong for two people in a loving committed relationship to have dry sex at the age of 20 years old. But I was wrong for not respecting his boundaries. Whether his guilt was logical or not, it was still REAL. He still felt bad. He said "no" and I didn't respect his "no". I believed his "no" was just a "yes" that needed a little convincing. I cared more about my needs than his and that is not love. So 10 years later he finally got an apology.
The first story sounds a lot like rape to me....well we kept all our clothes on, so I guess that changes things a little, but...still... My point is that I'm sorry. I get it now. And that young women need training in consent just as much as men do.
What do you think? Is seduction a violation of consent?