Conflicted Consent

Cw: Consent, Non-Consent & Sexual Pressure

My date was as hot as advertised and even a little taller than me, which was an unexpected bonus. He met my flatmate and her date while we all hung out on the patio, going back and forth between private and group discussions. He was smart, interesting, and sexy. I was definitely looking forward to kissing him and seeing where this could go. I shivered when he slowly ran his finger down my bare arm.

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Cultural Differences

I’ve been a bit apprehensive about dating in Colombia after being in Berlin for the better part of two years. The cultures are very different and while I’m comfortable in both, the personal growth around consent, my sexuality, agency, autonomy, and relationships that I experienced in Europe made me worry about how I’d feel back in the “dating pool” in Medellin.

I’m worried about how to discuss polyamory and the fact that I’ve not given up my loves in Germany. There’s an ethos of shame and religion around sex here, so it’s not common to have conversations about sexual health and safer sex practices. I recognize that it’s still a difficult conversation/practice in much of the world not just here. I fear that safer sex conversations will be, ‘Do you have a condom?’ while in the heat of passion. 

It’s just that I’ve been very much immersed in a sex-positive, open-relationship having community for a while now, and it’s become part of my norm to be able to have open honest discussions about all of these things.

Also, in South America (like much of the world) there tends to be a very immediate trajectory to relationships. A few dates, maybe only one, and you are in a committed relationship, whether you talk about it or not. It’s just how it is and that isn’t really going to work for me.

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We went into my room to make-out. I felt like a giddy teenager sneaking off into her room, but my flatmate was here with her date and I preferred being in my room to being caught necking on the couch. At first, it was nice. I really do love kissing and touching and we were enjoying some serious making out. But before long, he started to push for more, touching my breasts. I moved his hands away from me. Then he tried to reach under my skirt and touch my ass, I moved his hands away from me.

He was laying on top of me and I wouldn’t let him move both his legs between mine. But once he stopped trying and I felt like he was respecting my boundary- when I was ready- I moved my leg so he could take up the position he had wanted. Was I doing it for me, because I wanted to go further? Or was I ‘giving in’ because I knew he was going to go there anyway and fighting him was getting old quick?

I let him know him when we got as far as I was comfortable going. I was comfortable making out and laying next to and partly on each other, but no under the clothes touching. I stopped him- this was as far as I wanted to go.

He stopped. He told me how pretty I was, how sweet, how rico… and then started kissing me again. I said, ‘Thank you, but I am still not changing my mind.’ He agreed and we kept kissing. I had to stop his roaming hands and mouth again, this time he didn’t stop right away. Eventually, he laid his head on my shoulder, caressed my hair and my face and rested for a few minutes. And started again. I let him. He knew the boundary I had set. I knew I wasn’t going to agree to go any further and the kissing was great.

Now what you should know is that throughout these little sessions of fooling around, I silently came at least three times. It felt great! His knee was in just the right place. Each time I tried to do it quietly so he didn’t know… maybe he could tell, but I don’t think so. But also while we were making out and I was fending him off, I had split thoughts- like I was seeing the scene from above.

“Wow I miss Benjamin. He knows what I like and this is not it.”

“Ah, so this is what we talk about when we say guys push and when we say no they just take it to mean push harder.”

“He’s cute but why is he doing that with his tongue- it’s the same timing he’s using with his hips!”

“Oh no- don’t take off your sh…. oh dang you’re so hot!”

“Oh his knee there feels so good, if I just lift my hips I can come quietly, he’ll never know and think I like it and want to do more…”

“God- I wish he would stop trying to put his hands in my pants!”

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Past Messaging & Consent

After he left, I started to feel guilty. Did I lead him on? Did I do something that gave him the message to try harder? Why are women conditioned to worry about the ways we might cause men to ‘misbehave?’ My mom always told me things like ‘Don’t wear low-cut shirts or you’ll be tempting the boys.’ But she never talked to me about consent.

I had to stop myself from sending him a text explaining myself. I had an urge to tell him that I was willing to do more with him, but only after I was more comfortable and we knew each other better. Why did I feel like I had to justify my boundaries? Why did I feel bad that before he could come I pushed him off of me? All the thoughts about taking care of the man’s pleasure came bubbling up.

Was I wrong to still say no after I ‘let him give me an orgasm?’ (Though the first three I totally took for myself!) I know the ultimate answer is: Consent can be withdrawn at any time. But there are all these old messages floating around in my head. Ones I haven’t had to confront in a long time because I have been blessed to be in beautiful fully consensual relationships and any new people I’ve dated have been very up to date on consent and understanding.

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The final time we were kissing, it was so hot and my panties were so wet from the bump and grind. I remembered all the times of my youth when the anticipation of sex was almost as good as the real thing. I wanted his fingers in my wetness, but I had already set a boundary and I didn’t think it was a good idea to allow him past it at this point. I was afraid to set a ‘precedent’ for future engagements. We really started rocking against each other and humping the shit out of each other. This time I came loudly and obviously. All the while, his hands kept creeping lower and lower. Just after I came he tried again to push his fingers under my panties. I grabbed his hands, flung them out beside us, rolled out from under him, and said: “Stop it!”

He rolled over, laid next to me, caught his breath and replied, “Wow that was great. I told you-you would like it.”

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I almost went out with him again. I was texting with him as if nothing had upset me. How could I have even considered potentially be treated like that again? What made me think that was a good idea? I already knew he didn’t have the same understanding of consent as I do.

Some of this I had expected to happen here. I just hadn’t expected how I would feel about it now that I understand and know there is a different- better way. Part of me worries that I won’t date at all if I don’t accept this behavior. But after this experience, I think I would rather not date than feel as icky as I felt after he left that night.

I am glad I enjoyed some sexy fun, but not that I felt like I had to fend off his octopus arms all night. I should be able to feel safe and he should have respected my ‘No.’ I know I don’t have anything to feel guilty about. Too bad that I still kind of do.

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Now What?

Since then I’ve had full on discussions about consent with two men, and a full discussion about sexual health practices with another. At this point, I’m not even sure I’ll meet these particular men, but it felt good to find the words (both in my head and in my Spanish) to express my concerns. It felt even better that they listened, validated these concerns, and agreed that their understanding of consent was the same as mine.

It’s good to know that I’ll be able to meet men who have respect for me and for consent. Even if it’s not one of these guys, I’m more confident that there are men out there who I won’t have to fend off when I say no. That makes me feel much more comfortable each time I swipe right on a Colombian cutie!

 

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23 Replies to “Conflicted Consent”

  1. Oooof. I’m so sorry. I wish I could say that every woman reading this won’t relate but we both know we do. I think you handled yourself very well. It’s hard when you want something but not everything and the fun is distracted by that inner monologue. I’m glad you’re thinking ahead and staying safe. Xo

    1. Thanks. Even as I wrote this and know “better” part of me was worried that people would say “I led him on.” Wild eh?
      Thanks for taking the time to comment.

  2. Woah. Girl, I’ve totally been in this position. Where I’ve let it go when I had explicitly said no. Or said stop and then let it continue because it felt good and then said no. A good man halts at the place you say stop at instead of continuing to push. Doesn’t matter what happens after, he has to determine you’re okay before just putting his hands all over. That doesn’t change just because you got off. You deserve to be asked what you want done to you, and for “no not that” to be the answer. Full stop. I’m sorry you had to deal with that

    1. THANKS Girl… yeah it’s funny because I feel like this is how so many of my previous sexual experiences have gone… and now I can’t imagine this being even close to normal.

  3. Gosh, it’s a long while since I had to deal with this, but you’ve just reminded me all the things I hated and felt anguished about. Makes me sad for all dating females that nothing much has evolved.

    I’m sorry that you must be feeling as if you’ve gone back a decade now you’re on the Columbian dating scene.

    No should always be no, the more vulnerable party (usually the vulva owner) is in a position to renegotiate if they deem suitable, but yeah you’re right it would have made him doubt your seriousness if you had to call a halt a little further down the line.

    I hope things improve, but I offer you high 5 for having several sneaky orgasms while just dry humping – Respect! Thanks for sharing.

    1. I have had since then some wonderful conversations about consent and this issue. I am fully confident there are men here who I can totally date and feel safe and respected. Thank goodness!

      LOL @High 5!!

  4. I wish the word that springs to mind about your dating wasn’t “brave”. I act as host to au pairs (17 to this point) and I usually have male au pairs for all the vulnerabilities you have found and dealt with as a confident, educated, self-determined woman. Acting in loco parentis for a young woman, without the language, but potentially without the skills you have had to negotiate the different cultural and social mores of dating fills me with dread. I know something could happen to the guys, but I feel both they are more equipped to extricate themselves a situation and that their parents would hold me less responsible.. It shouldn’t be this way… but for now it is. Good luck with the Colombian cuties.

    1. Thanks for the comment. I feel confident that my experiences will get better. It can be difficult even as grown ass women- I don’t know how we did it as young women and I don’t know how younger women do it today. So many of them do it even better than us, yet so many are still put in such crazy positions. Sadly, I think we still have a long way to go.

    1. I hate that so many of us can relate to this. And yeah- I was surprised at how stressed I was after because there was a time I didn’t think there was anything wrong with this behavior. It was more normal than not.

  5. Argh! I am raging on your behalf especially when I read … “He rolled over, laid next to me, caught his breath and replied, “Wow that was great. I told you-you would like it.” Urgh! I personally think you handled yourself really well and I am sorry that some of this experience wasn’t as pleasant as the good parts. I am pleased you got to chat with some men who seem a lot more with it in terms of consent and I very much hope you get some more sexy fun too but without the pushiness xx

    1. Thanks, Floss! ME TOO! I feel like there was very much a learning experience here, a reminder, something to take with me going forward. And I am glad I have met some other men who are lovely and on point in this regard too! <3

  6. I hate that as women we even have to reiterate our stance and limits. Why should we have to grab crayons and the drawing board for grown men anymore, where is this evolution in sex and why is it taking so damn long to become the norm?? I am glad you stood your ground and he listened, albeit begrudgingly by the continued attempts to get you to say yes. Trust me If I don’t say yes you continuing is apt to having me toss you out totally instead of allowing you to remain and simply snuggle and kiss.

    1. Thanks for commenting. I guess every time we speak up and write about this stuff, hopefully, it’ll bring more and more light to the subject and people will start to get it! I definitely had moments where I thought to myself, I should just send him packing right now. (but alas, I didn’t…)

  7. Wow memories – dating always brings up conflicting feelings, and I so have been that person who would have sent that “explain myself” text if mobiles had been around when I was dating – why the need – I agree. Ingrained I suppose. Glad you got your pleasure, though he sounds like one of those dinosaurs who think that black is white and that “no” means “yes” …

    1. yeah- Thank Goodness I have grown and didn’t send that text, but honestly if not for a few conversations with my BFF, Nikki and Kisungura… I just might have anyway! OY!

  8. This reminded me of dating in high school. Blech. But I think your strategy of talking about consent before anything happens, setting your boundaries early on, is good. That way, if they violate them, uiu can just kick them out because they knew better. This guy seemed to be navigating from a place of idiotic sexual hope and wayward ego. He really reminds me of a high school boy, not a man. A youngster who has difficulties controlling his raging desire. That isn’t sexy.

    I do think part of it is culture, but you have every right to expect respect your way when dating anywhere. They will just have to learn…or miss out.

    1. YES! Dating in high school/college is the memory here! Lord knows they WILL be missing out on this fabulousness! LOL Thanks girl for your thoughts! Much appreciated!

  9. UGH…both to the messages we still have in our heads of guilt, explaining ourselves, and even apologizing…and also for any guy (regardless of culture) who doesn’t think he has to fully respect boundaries.

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