A few male readers add the factor of unconsciousness to the thread:
I’m reminded of an incident that occurred while I was backpacking in South America in 1995. I was staying at a hostel in Chile with a friend, and went out for the night with a couple of local girls, one of whom lived/stayed at the hostel. We got real drunk. We danced and flirted. We went back to the hostel. I woke up with this girl on top of me, basically having sex with me. And to this day can’t remember what exactly happened – I just know it wasn’t consensual (on my part). I just shrugged it off, but it definitely wasn’t OK. If this was a guy (me?!) doing this to a girl, I think that it would be judged much more harshly. I don’t know what this says other than what you other contributors have said – there are a lot of shades of grey.
Well, here’s another similar story for the thread. First of all, this was years ago, when I was in college. And I was absolutely not traumatized by it at all. In fact, it was pretty awesome. But it could have been different …
So, this girl and I were just sort of starting to see each other. Not “dating” per se, but we had had sex once or twice before. In other words, a new, not-yet-committed kind of relationship. (Ultimately, it never really went past this stage.)
We were at her parent’s house for her birthday party. Her parents let her have the place to celebrate – which was actually pretty cool of them. You know, a safe place to drink, etc. And not a crazy-big party or anything. A lot of her friends from high school, maybe one or two others from college. So she was pretty much the only person I knew there, but I was her (informal) date for the party of course.
Anyway, later in the evening I got a pretty bad headache. One of those (thank God) rare ones that makes you not care about anything. So I bowed out and turned in, and assured her nothing was wrong – just a migraine from hell, gotta go to sleep. Sometime later I woke up (no idea how much later) and we were having sex. My headache was completely gone, so – as I mentioned – the sex was awesome. And strange, to wake up in the middle of it like that.
So, it was implicit, I guess, that it was okay for her to have sex with me that night. But really what happened was: she was drunk and horny, and just decided to fuck me. Didn’t ask first, didn’t even wake me up; just moved my boxers out of the way, got me hard, and climbed on top. And then I just happened to wake up. (I mean come on, how could I not? But ‘waking me up’ was way down on her priority list.)
Reverse the roles and that’s maybe-rape, and maybe just creepy as hell. But your previous reader is right – there are all kinds of shades of grey on this topic. And I think in a situation like this – the difference between “cool” and “creepy” – is also the difference between trauma and no trauma. I mean, how society defines this particular act also influences how we, individually, would define it.
Another story, with a different angle:
I am a male. A large male. A strong male. A not “unbelievable pussy” male. I am a former bouncer in a bar, and have been in more brawls than anyone outside of security/bouncing would normally be in. I take martial arts. I can take pretty much anyone down.
I was in a marriage with an unstable woman who became more unstable as the marriage proceeded. For the record, we had two kids and I tried to make things work and get her to go to counseling – which she would go to and work on sometimes, but not enough. My wife would at times demand sex when I wasn’t interested. I knew that the pain that would follow if I refused. She would make the next month of my life a living hell.
I was coerced into having sex out of fear of a month of emotional pain and emotional abuse and screaming and yelling – and sometimes physical violence – from her to me. I never hit her ever, even if it was part of my personality to hit a woman (which it isn’t), my mom would have killed me if I’d ever even raised a hand.
I called myself “the hairy dildo” to my friends as I lamented the demands and threats my wife made. Is it marital rape? Or something in between rape and bad sex?
I know that I feel awful about being used and forced in that context – that sex had the love and connection part removed for her to get her rocks off – especially because if I ever wanted sex and she said no, that was the end of anything; I respect that boundary. The one time in our 18-year relationship that I “wheedled” my way into sex that she really didn’t want to have (but she explicitly said yes to) she took to calling “rape”. After our marriage ended, she told people I had maritally raped her in that instance. When I challenged her on her claim, she said, “but I really didn’t want to, so technically that’s rape.”