No Means No

Back in my late 20’s before I even knew what blogging was I had a bit of a wild streak. I was always a very good girl up until then. I went to 13 years of Catholic school which should tell you something. (Take that as you will.) I was on a couple of dating sites and was basically having fun with it. At one point my friends requested a flow chart because they couldn’t keep all the guys straight. I was not, for the record, sleeping with all of them but yes, I was probably making out with many of them. I might go on a few dates with them and things would be perfectly fine but there’d be no real spark. Or we’d meet and it was only the beer goggles that got me through the date. There was the guy who had the same name as my Dad (weirded me out) who showed up with gold bling everywhere and an electric blue leather jacket who insisted on trying to kiss me in the first 15 minutes of meeting me and then gave me the excuse that he was “just needing some of my chapstick.” Yeah, off my lips. I handed him the chapstick from my pocket and told him to have at it.

Back then I made a lot of poor choices and went on dates with men I knew in my gut were not a match for me. I’m sure a big part of it was ego-stroking. I liked the chase, the flirting, the making out. I didn’t like commitment. I didn’t want to fall in love.

A few times things turned sour. I once met a guy for drinks and as the night wore on we shared some pretty frank stories of our sexual past. Later, when it was time to go home he claimed he was too drunk to drive himself the thirty minutes home and asked to crash at my place. I said ok as long as it was on the couch and that we would not be having sex. (I had no tact back then.) When we got home he stripped down to his boxers while I was in the bathroom brushing my teeth and putting on pajamas. He was in my bed in his underwear when I came into the room. WTH? I reiterated that we were not going to have sex and I’d be more comfortable with him sleeping on the couch. He whined about it being small and I was tired so I just said “whatever” and climbed into bed. After the light was off, the hand drift came. I removed his hand empathically and reminded him that we were there to sleep, not fuck.

A few minutes went by when he pushed his entire body up against mine and tried to kiss me and shove his hand up my shirt. I pushed him away and said in an angry tone for him to knock it off. That’s when he laid into me calling me a cock tease and claiming that I shouldn’t share about my past sexual escapades if I wasn’t trying to tell a guy I wanted to have sex with him.

What?! People actually think that if you mention sex you mean you want to have sex with them? These are the same people that think kissing is a direct signal that you want to have sex. Um, no. How many times have I told this guy that wasn’t going to happen? And now the fucker is in my bed harassing me?

Stupid, stupid Sizzle.

I jumped out of bed, flicked on the light and in no uncertain terms told him to get the fuck out. That guy had “potential date rapist” tattooed on his head. It just took certain lighting to see it clearly. He kept pushing my boundaries. He manipulated the situation and tried to shame me. He wasn’t taking no for an answer so the time for being “nice” was over.

He cussed at me as he threw on his clothes and stormed out the door. I was shaken but relieved. I think I just sat there stunned realizing that things could have been much, much worse. And I was a self-defense teacher at the time! I really should have known better.

I think too many of us have experienced situations where signals got crossed, boundaries were pushed, playful fun turned into a very scary situation. I consider myself lucky that I have never been raped or physically attacked but I know too many people who live with the memory of such trauma.

I am participating in Kapgar and Carly Milne’s Grassroots Blogger Book Marketing Campaign, a month-long awareness campaign on behalf of Rape and Incest National Network (RAINN). The topic of sex will be smattering my posts throughout April. You’ll find a link at the bottom of each sex-related post encouraging you to give to this very worthy cause. Please be sure to write “GBBMC2008″ in the “More Information” box and indicate that you came from Sizzle Says when you donate.

It’s not too late to get involved! Participants can sign up through April 15th. Won’t you join us?

Donate Now.


40 thoughts on “No Means No

  1. Whew! That was a close one.
    I have had my own “uhoh” moments when you know it was a bad, bad idea. I consider myself very fortunate that it’s never spilled into the “date rape” category, but that was after some pretty fast talking on my part.
    So, yeah, whew!

    I’m glad that you are participating in RAINN awareness. Awareness and support are key.

  2. Having two daughters who will dating some day scares the heck out of me. You are doing a very good thing by participating in this. Thank you!!

  3. Very cool Sizzle. Such awareness is ALWAYS important. I can’t stress that enough. I’m very thankful I haven’t had any date rape or violent experience. But as women, we always have to be careful, no matter where we are. Thanks for doing this.

  4. It brings to mind a time I’d rather not ever remember, but you’re right — it’s an important topic we need to be mindful of and one we especially need to guard our children from.

  5. It’s absolutely amazing and horrifying how many women have stories like this, myself included. Mine got a little more ugly than yours and I ended up decking the guy. He totally deserved it. Great post and great cause. I may jump on board.

  6. Ever since you mentioned posting about sex, I fantasized about you all night Sizzle. No? You mean you weren’t sending me cyber signals?? Te-He

    Being more serious: OMG, I cringed when I got to the part where he was in your bed and you told him you guys were not going to do it. How many times have we heard, we can just cuddle, then let’s just “grind”, then I won’t put it in..etc (sorry for being so grafic) Like you said, intuitions are on for the most part. I had a similar story. Except I was at his house-with my son.
    I’m glad nothing happened because few weeks later he was arrested for sexually assualting his ex and beating the crap out of her Friend. And you know the funny part about this story.
    A week before this incident, he was all over the local TV and newspapers for winning an award for stopping a robbery in progress. He was a Police Officer.

  7. I don’t even have words. I feel a little nauseated (Which is a good testament to your writing). This brought back stuff I haven’t thought of in a long time.

  8. Thanks for sharing this story. I think a lot of us are reluctant to talk about these experiences because we (mistakenly, crazily) blame ourselves for ending up in the situation…

    I have been date-raped. And I still struggle to this day to realize that it was not my fault, that just because I was making out with him, kissing him, did not give him license to tear into my jeans and invade my body.

  9. I’ve fortunately never found myself in any danger, but I was once at the club with 4 other women and was THE ONLY ONE who had not suffered any sort of rape or sexual abuse. How about them apples! Education and smarts are key! Preach it sister!

  10. Yuck. I’ve had similar creeps try to take advantage in those sorts of ways. That’s awesome that you’re doing this.

    I really don’t think you were being tactless by giving it to him straight about your expectations, I look at that as just being upfront. But maybe that’s because tact is an area of my personality I could totally work on.

    This, to me, is exactly why when we are raising men, we MUST teach them what the word “No” means, and not just in relationship to sex, but in all situations, no means no means no. If I say, “no, you cannot have a cookie, i must not give in 5 minutes later and give the cookie”. Or, at least be very clear why you have changed your mind. I think the passive push over parenting is not helping with the rape situation. Well, that, and women in this country are just generally looked at like succulent pieces of meat. I’ve certainly felt like sporting a burka while walking down the street, in order to not get hassled. Shesh.

  11. Electric blue leather and “needing some chapstick” are phrases I haven’t read in a while.

    Thanks for sharing your stories. I think it’s great you’re participating and I’m glad I get to follow along.

    (I’m also tempted to share my Stupidity of My Late Twenties stories but then I remember that’s, um, NOW and I am not really ready for that.) 🙂

  12. Great post, Sizzle. Thanks for revealing this side of you. It’s intimate and raw and real. You’re a better person than I for being willing to go “there.”

  13. WOW!Um…you are so lucky that you were not a statistic. I’ve put myself in stupid situations that could have been very bad too and have no clue what I was thinking. errr..if at all.

    great post!

  14. I could feel my heart rate increase as I read that. So glad you got that stupid jerk outta your place!

    Great cause too – off to take a peek!

  15. Okay, that’s not the kind of sex post I was envisioning with your tease yesterday. Still, it was a very relevant topic and I’m glad you stood up to that behaviour. Nobody deserves to be treated like that.

  16. I really should have known better.

    As far as I can see, you and everyone else has the right to assume that their very clearly stated wishes/boundaries will be respected. No one “should have known” that they won’t be.

    You were fine. The only one who should have known better was him. Period.

    I think it’s very important that we who have been subject to victimizing behavior don’t put the blame on ourselves even a little bit.

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  18. I shudder to think of all the times I narrowly escaped bad, bad situations (and – well, the times I didn’t). Having a daughter now makes it all even more real to me and this cause is especially close to my heart. I just may join this one.

  19. I really feel the need to respond to #29 — while it’s true he’s the one responsible for his behavior, Sizzle was right when she said she should have known better… she should have! No “blame” lies with her, but letting a virtual stranger into her house/bed was not smart (sorry, Sizzle, you know what I mean). I was in a much worse situation and although it was FULLY AND COMPLETELY HIS FAULT, a little caution on my part would have dramatically changed what happened. In hindsight, it’s so blatantly obvious — I was NOT SMART.

    I’m only trying to clarify so that as women, we may be vigilant in protecting ourselves. There are so so so many creeps out there, we HAVE to take responsibility in making smart choices… it could mean all the difference in the situations we find ourselves in.

  20. Been there, Sizz, and I’m glad it turned out well for you. It’s hard, walking the line between being a nice person (see: not wanting someone to drive while wasted) and a self-protector (see: keeping strange boys away). It’s hard, because there’s always a leap of faith at some point…

  21. Hi Kristi,

    I understand what you are saying, and I am all for going with the gut and doing what one feels safest with. However, I look at it a bit differently than you are. I feel we can never know how a situation will turn out or would have turned out–either better or worse–if we behaved a different way. Women who have done what many people think are all the “right things” have been raped. Women who have repeatedly done what others think are “foolish behaviors” have never been raped. There is no predictor for what behavior will make you safe or unsafe. In fact, many women will blame diametrically conflicting things for their rape–being too pretty and feminine vs. being too butch. Being too flirty vs. being too disinterested. Being too trusting vs. being too bitchily rejecting. It seems we’re so willing to label ANYTHING we do as a “NOT SMART” behavior.

    I think it’s important to understand there IS no “right thing.” Assault situations are never “completely obvious,” when people are in the middle of them. That’s why they happen–the signals are conflicting and ambiguous. So looking back on a situation when you were confused or scared or unsure or being pushed or manipulated–and then comparing it to what you’d do or notice as “obvious” when you’re NOT under those conditions–well, I don’t think there’s a comparison, nor do I think the comparison is productive to our healing from the situation. Your brain sometimes can NOT think that way under such traumatic scenarios.

    Sizzle had just as good–or better–a chance that the guy would turn out to be a decent human being than a potential rapist. Most guys are decent human beings. Her choice was just what it was. So was your choice in your situation. And so was mine, in mine. It wasn’t smart or dumb. It was simply the best you could do in a confusing situation.

  22. Yeah, that guy could have been a lot worse — but he should have been no where near that bad.

    That’s why I “fuck off” at the drop of a hat. And I’m sure I’ve missed out on sex because of it. But I’ll be damned if I’m going to be that guy, or anywhere close to him.

  23. I have a story like that. Mine was a very close call in a foreign country with too much alcohol and a language barrier. I sure sobered up quick when I realized how bad it could have been.

    Thank you for telling your stories and participating in such a good cause.

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  25. Sizz, I’ve been meaning to comment on this ever since you read it, but I’ve been pretty bogged with stuff… at any rate, I wish I could remember who this author was, but he was on Oprah (natch) and said a line that stuck with me ever since I saw the show: “When men say no, it’s the end of a conversation. When women say no, it’s the beginning of a negotiation.”

    Chilling, and I also think true. I think we have a hard time with using “no” because we don’t want to be seen as bad or not nice or whatever… but I think the more we tell stories like this, the more we encourage the generation behind us to learn how to use “no.” And mean it.

    Oh, and btw? You’re not stupid, stupid Sizz… you learned from it.

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