Intimacy requires respect

First, a trigger warning. This post discusses abusive sexual abuse and sexual behaviour (within a marriage or otherwise), as well as adultry. If you are uncomfortable reading about such issues, please stop reading now. You can always come back to this post at some later time, when you feel ready for it.

Having said that, I have a few words of advice to every sexually active human being on this planet. Five rules about respect. Five rules for everyone, regardless of gender. Five rules, because the single rule of consent is not enough. Five rules about respect, because SSC (Safe, Sane And Consensual – the expanded version of consent) is not enough either.

A few years ago, I got a 4am phone call from a female friend who was suicidal because of a bad date she had been on that day. He had subjected her to consensual oral sex. She did not want to have any sex with him. He had not forced her. He had not threatened her. No, he had simply spent four hours on patiently INFORMING her that she really does want to have sex with him, and that the only reason she didn’t agree with that is because she’s a repressed little woman. Eventually she gave in because she couldn’t take it anymore, and afterwards she felt totally worthless and used.

Technically, she consented. But it was not a good consent, it was not freely given. This guy obviously didn’t respect her, he was simply trying to use her in a way that he could get away with as far as the law is concerned.

A few weeks ago, I read an interview with a really creepy man who condemned women who are into BDSM. He claimed that such masochists are all mentally deranged, and he expressed contempt for them and their sexuality. At the same time, he bragged about having had sadomasochistic sex with a lot of such women. And how one of them had called the police on him, but they had not believed her. Technical consent at best, the complete lie of an abuser at worst. A total lack of respect in either case.

Then yesterday, I read an interesting article about ”The Dating Game”. That whole thing that women ought to ”play hard to get”. That a woman should say no when she means yes. How else would she weed out any man who would respect her and make sure she’ll manage to get an abusive jerk who won’t take no for an answer?

In my opinion, the weeding out should go in the opposite direction. Don’t get into situations that are not respectful. If a relationship isn’t respectful, then change it or end it. The five rules I suggest are:

1. Never have sexual activities with someone you don’t respect.
2. Never have sexual activities with someone you would lose your respect for because of those activities.
3. Never have sexual activities in a way that you don’t respect.
4. Never have sexual activities in a way that you think is bad for you.
5. Never have sexual activities in a way that you think is bad for the person you are having them with.

(With ”sexual activities” I mean any activities that you, or a person you are doing them with, consider to be sexual. It includes, but is not limited to, various forms of intercourse.)

You should follow these five rules. Because it is the humane thing to do. Because it is the moral thing to do. Because it is a way to avoid harming others, and also a way to avoid harming yourself.

Quite frankly, sexuality is emotional and intimate regardless of whether you want it to be so or not. If you get that close to someone you consider to be dirty, then you are the one who is dirty. You defile yourself. Don’t do that.

I am writing this because I am tired of the hypocrites. I am writing this because I am so tired of seeing people defend shitty behavior or outright sexual abuse by arguing that the victim had it coming.

If you prefer people to dress a certain way, fine. Go ahead and dress that way.
But don’t commit or promote rape or sexual harassment against those who dress differently.

If you prefer people to have sex only within marriage, fine. Wait until you are married, and don’t have sex with anyone other than your husband or wife.
But don’t disrespect this person, yourself and your temporary partner by having an affair. With affair I mean betrayal and deceit. Open relationships is something entirely different. More importantly, don’t do or promote rape or sexual harassment against those who are neither married nor virgins.

If you think certain sexual acts are dirty, wrong, immoral, harmful, whatever. DON’T DO THEM. Regardless of whether or not there is anything wrong with an act in itself, it is truly immoral and hypocritical to do it while disrespecting the person you are doing it with. And again, don’t you dare to suggest that rape or sexual harassment would be okay if the victim has such activities in her past,

Her past”? Well, so far I have been talking about these issues as if they were gender neutral. But these problems are to a large extent really about double standards and oppression against women.

Men and women alike harass women about the way they dress. Sometimes using religion as an excuse, other times not even bothering to find an excuse for their misogyny. Similar harassment is hardly ever done against men. Neither by men nor by women.

Men and women alike blame women for adultry. If a woman betrays her husband, the blame falls on her. If a man betrays his wife, the blame falls on the woman he slept with. Well, there are also those who would always blame it on the man instead. If he did it he’s a pig, if she did it he made her do it. This version is just as bad.

Pick-up ”artists”
One subculture that I really despise is the self-proclaimed ”pick-up artists”. Nothing artistic about that bullshit. The basic principles of this subculture seems to be:

1. You are obliged to get laid: If you don’t sleep with random women, then you are not a real man.
2. However, you must not respect the women you sleep with. They are the enemy.
3. All that matters in the world is your own penis. Therefore, getting laid is proof that whatever action that led to getting laid was a good action.

As you might have already figured out from the second or third rule: Yes, this is the same subculture that just won’t stop whining about how ”all women always make false accusations of rape all the time”. The subculture is known as PUA or MRM: PUA for Pick Up Artists, MRM för Men’s Right’s Movement.

There is something profoundly sad about this PUA/MRM movement. Bitter little men obsessed with social status among men. Always dividing men into ”alpha” and ”beta”, desperately trying to be ”alpha”. They sometimes describe the whole concept of PUA as being about pretending to be alpha so that women will sleep with you. In other words, it turns silent and lonely bitter little men into loud and abusive bitter little men.

These men hate women, and their behavior will ensure that they keep getting more reasons to hate women. This is something very close to the phenomenon i named ”professional bias”. When you try to pick up women but making clear that you don’t respect them, what kind of sexual realations will this really lead to? Well, I can think of three different reactions that are ”positive” in the sense that they lead to sexual activities:

1. The woman who hate herself and is relieved that she finally found someone who realize how worthless she is. She is likely to break down when he abandon her.
2. The woman who is easily bullied and give in without wanting to. Afterwards, she is likely to break down or seek revenge or both.
3. The woman who has her own aggressions to get out. She’s all like: ”Yay, you disrespected me first! Now I can treat you in any shitty way I like without feeling bad about mistreating you. This is my lucky day!”

The so called PUA keeps running into these three kinds of women and keep facing rejection from pretty much everyone else. They will often draw the incorrect conclusion that all women are always like that. When the truth is that it is a reaction they get because of their own behavior.

Disrespect feeds disrespect.
But on the other hand, respect feeds respect.
We should all create good circles instead of bad ones.
We should all lift ourselves and each other instead of dragging each other and ourselves down in the dirt.

Sexuality is a part of human nature, and it doesn’t have to be a bad thing. It requires that we are honest with ourselves and with each other. That we meet each other within consent and mutual respect. The three principles of universal morality applies to sexuality just as much as it does to any other activity or interaction between humans. It requires that we see each other as human beings first. Gender and sexual desirability is secondary.

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