[OPINION | Dash of SAS] Of sexual predators and sexual klutzes

The lecherous sexual predator. The sexual bully who alternately uses pressure and affection to weasel his way into your pants. The bumbling sexual klutz who doesn’t know what to do with his hands or other body appendages. The Casanova who makes your back arch and your toes curl.

Every woman who has ventured into today’s loose, murky dating jungle has met one or all of the above men.

The dating/hook up scene amped by technology and put into overdrive by dating apps has set up a scenario where the foreplay for a romantic interlude is built on SMS and doesn’t always live up to real life expectations.

That’s why the New Yorker’s "Cat Person" and the Aziz Ansari stories have gone viral – precisely because they are so relatable. Every dating woman, at one point or another, has found herself in that situation: that uncomfortable, uneasy point where you thought you wanted to have sex but changed your mind or sex was awkward or unpleasant but she went through with it anyway for whatever reason. It could be a sense of shame ("Cat Person") or some feeling of threat to your personal safety that the encounter could escalate into something more if you didn’t have sex so you just chose the lesser of two evils (Aziz Ansari).

It can be anything that can trigger that change of heart. Maybe he was a bad kisser. Maybe he didn’t take off his socks before took off his pants and the comical sight just left with you a feeling of dismay. Maybe he had body hair where he shouldn’t have body hair – or worse, body odor. Maybe his attempt at sexy talk was littered with grammatical errors. Whatever. You get the picture. There are many reasons why you want to keep your best performance underwear to yourself.

Throw this all too real scenario and the #MeToo movement plus the many conversations it has sparked together and you have every woman re-examining her hook up history and asking herself: was it sexual assault or was it bad sex?

It isn’t an easy question to ask yourself or get answers to especially with confusing alternative voices moving the goalposts on consent and this white feminist view from French women that all women are perfectly capable of saying NO to a weird sexual encounter, calling a cab and getting her home as quickly as possible so she can shower.

Comedian Samantha Bee put it best when she said: Women can tell the difference between a rapist, a sexual predator and an Aziz Ansari but we don’t have to be happy with any of them.

Precisely because any form of sexual harassment or sexual coercion is traumatizing and simply unacceptable.

Some men need an education. Some men need prison.

To make this clearer. There are sexual behaviors that – no matter what era, what circumstance, what setting – are just criminal. Masturbating in front of a woman, appearing in nothing but a bath robe and asking for a massage are right up that alley.

Men like Harvey Weinstein need prison but men like the sexual bully who only thinks of his own gratification, the sexual klutz and all those in between need re-education.

The #MeToo movement highlighted the urgent need for that re-education to take place, starting with the basics.

Consent

One of my most favorite think pieces on the #MeToo movement is about the need for empathy in sexual relations. That means being attuned to your partner’s needs and reactions and reading them at every stage of your date. Tedious, you might say. But necessary and also normal since you are both still feeling each other out and getting to know one another.

Empathy highlights the need for consent.

Consent and the need for it hasn’t changed. There are no shortcuts to consent. It must be enthusiastically given. Every. Single. Time. Accepting an invitation out on a date or to someone’s apartment isn’t an all access pass to sex. Also, this apparently needs to be spelled out: Just because a woman has sex with you once, it doesn’t automatically mean she will again.  

Fuck like a feminist

Again, quoting Front Frontal host Samantha Bee, “If you label yourself a feminist, fuck like a feminist”. That to me, means pushing for gender equality in the bedroom starting with recognizing that women can and do want to have sex just as much as men do. As so wonderfully stated in this VOX article: sex is for women, too.

Sex is not something men take and women give. Sex is not a game where wearing down a woman’s resistance through bullying or intimidation constitutes “winning”. Pleasure and sexual satisfaction are equal and mutual pursuits and the parameters around them like condom use, sexual boundaries and personal quirks and preferences need to be negotiated and agreed on.

#MeToo in the Philippines

In the Philippines, what would have ushered in our own #MeToo movement when sexual harassment in the indie music scene and the art world was exposed, feel short. What started out as a revelation of an open secret and what many hoped would turn into our own conversation about sexual boundaries and consent fell into an cavernous silence.

It is disappointing but not entirely surprising considering that the only sex education we get is that sex is bad and that boys will want it and it is up to girls to make sure they don’t get it.

We have a long way to go before we even reach the stage of admitting to ourselves that sex is pleasurable and that the main reason people have it is because it feels good. But maybe we can start by acknowledging that sex is a mutual exchange where two consenting adults can chose to have sex and be assertive in negotiating sexual relations.

And when we say we two consenting adults, that includes women. – Rappler.com