Sex has been on my mind recently. Okay- sex is ALWAYS on my mind. As a healthy and horny twenty-seven year old, I think about sex as much as a pre-pubescent boy sitting in health class. I love sex and am not ashamed to admit it. But lately, I’ve been questioning the raw act of it and what it means to be sexually moral.
“Girls.” Have you ever seen that show? If not, you should. It’s incredible. I swear I’ve had the same exact conversations, word-for-word, that the main characters have had. I’ve also learned a lot from the show, especially about sex and its positive and negative consequences. A few weeks ago, one of the episodes featured a graphic sex scene in which the male lead, Adam, brought home Natalia, a young woman he’s casually dating. After bringing her home and making flirty small talk, he makes her crawl on her hands and knees, pulling her hair, leading her to bed. After a couple of quick thrusts and a frightened look on her face, Adam ejaculates on Natalia’s chest. She tells him that she didn’t like that (I assume that she didn’t like the whole sexual session) and he freaks out, going into a defensive tangent about them possibly breaking up. The whole scene disturbed me.
I’m with a great guy now who listens and slows down whenever the sex we have gets too rough but in my past, I have been with men who don’t care. They assume that a girl who comes up to their apartment to hook up is down for anything. They ignore the scared glances and painful moans in order to get their rocks off. These boundaries are blurred. Sure, the Natalia character could have shouted ‘NO’ at anytime during the sex but I wondered if that really would have mattered. I can recall an experience where I went home with someone, got into the act and right before he came, I realized that I made a bad decision. But since I was naked with him in his bed in his apartment in a part of the city I wasn’t familiar with, I grew passive, decided to stay and let him finish (I also blame my lack of confidence and self-respect but now I know better). Were me and Natalia “gray raped” (gray rape: “sex that falls somewhere between consent and denial (Cosmopolitan, August 2007).”)? We wanted to have sex but we didn’t get the sex that we wanted. Can the exact opposite be said about the guy who wanted to have rough sex and instead, made slow love to a woman? Was he “gray raped?” What about the times we do a sexual act for our significant other that hurts and is painful but brings our partner pleasure (i.e. spankings)- do we do that out of an act of love for them or is that “gray rape,” too?
It’s a sad fact- “gray rape” happens more often to the women that we know and love. Rape should be a straight black and white issue (let alone, it should not exist); it’s either it happened or it didn’t. It doesn’t matter if it happens with your boyfriend who you’ve been dating for the past four years or the stranger you meet at the corner bar. If it feels wrong, it is wrong and you have the right to say, ‘no.’ ‘Yes’ means ‘yes’ and ‘no’ means ‘no,’ no matter what situation you’re in, clothed or naked. If you do find yourself in this position, dear reader, please have the courage to say ‘no.’ Sure, his heart may be broken but at least your body and soul will remain unscathed.