I am so passionate about the subject of human sexuality. I have always struggled- not struggled- thrived with an overactive sexuality. But the belief that everyone is like me, that my priorities and life choices should apply to everyone one because of that small thing about the-world-would-be-a-better-place-if-more-people-did, that's not what I think.
There is value in sharing your body. I believe that it is empowering and cathartic and connecting and that the world would be a better place if we were more eager and willing to share bits of ourselves with each other. But what would make the world an even better place would be respecting and really internalizing that what anyone chooses to do with their own body, and not at the cost of anyone else, is their choice. In fact, I am so adamant about that belief that I am willing to walk miles in support, chanting songs of union and holding posters of protest- just for someone's right to decide to do something different. To the man waiting until marriage to share his body with someone: I support you. To the woman choosing to wear a dress with a slit up the leg to the height of her waist: I support you. These are your bodies! Who is anyone to judge your self-respect, your "modesty" *cringe*, your purity. Your shell, your energy, they are real and worthy and uniquely contributing to my world. And I am completely head over heels in love with that (and your green hair, and your scarred breast, and your misspelled tattoo). Thank you for your existence.
But the root of the issue at hand, the importance of the birth of the sexual revolution, is the somewhat unspoken belief that women do not enjoy sex. When we had renown psychologists like Freud saying I will spend my entire life envying that shaft between his legs and Biologists like Darwin publicly stating that women did not have orgasms (ah, yes, the vestigial clitoris), but prostitutes everywhere where trained to moan in ecstasy- the message had always been that what is between my legs exists only for a man's pleasure. It is easy, then, to see, why we created a culture of persuasion.
Cut to the guy in red Camaro, dropping off the girl after a date. She motions for the car door and he pulls her arm. She turns to him. He plants his mouth on hers.
Every other scene of that movie- the drive in, the bedroom upstairs at the house party, the high school prom- it's always him insisting. At some point, she will get tired and give in. Because that's definite what she was wanting anyways, to really feel desired. This is exactly where rape culture stems from. Of course our teenage boys (now grown to adult men) slide their hands up our skirts and then laugh in a trailer about how you can get away with anything. They just don't know they want it.
The culture that has always been about the chase- that culture implies that, because we don't want it anyways, men can and should make us change our minds. Dates, diamonds, opening doors, bait, lure, attack. Harassment is key. Assault is subjective. Don't you get it, silly girl? You might as well say yes now.
It seems logical then, that so many people go further.
If you have to convince her in the first place, how do you know she doesn't just need a little more convincing when you are feeding her an extra glass of wine, or putting a pill in it, or carrying her to your car?
I exaggerate of course, but these are all small escalations. So, how exactly does talking about sex solve this? First of all- and hear it loud- talking fixes everything. The recognition of a female sex drive and of the fire that fuels women's desires teaches the exact opposite of pursuing. It teaches men to listen and to believe the words women say. To see things at face value. If we start talking, there is no need to guess. Boys raised in a generation of women announcing their likes and dislikes will simply respect women more, and will do the things that someone they are attracted to has proclaimed that they like. They will break traditions that are instilled in the very fabric of "manhood". If a woman loves sex, she does not need to be convinced. This has been widely studied in matriarchal cultures that exist even today- safe-feeling women want to have more sex. And more sex leads to safer communities. You talk, they listen.
I was told recently that a man who is witnessing a woman share desires will automatically assume that she is willing to share her body with him; that it would put her at a higher risk for assault if she is not. But we are people. We have minds capable of storing information, of creating patterns and analyzing data. These men would quickly learn that the only thing that means these women want to sleep with them is the explicit request to go to bed. And would it be so bad if, while we are changing the roles we play, we also learned how to come up with beautiful ways to directly ask for sex?
If you feel inclined, share some ways you have been explicitly propositioned (or have done the propositioning) below!