When a woman says no, believe her

You know about the games people play a man can be shrewd to get his own way.And a woman can be sweet, a sexy baby doll,
given just a taste, when you hunger for it all.
And you know when the music gets into the soul,
tryin’ to take our time,
then passion takes control.
Fantasies of a faraway, exotic place…
feelings runnin’ wild, laughin’ through the chase…
so How ’bout Tonite?
When we get home.
We’ll make mad passionate love, when we’re alone.
There ought to be a new standard — a high standard — in sexual relationships: When a woman says no … she means it. No does not mean maybe. No should not be a tease game, or for the man, a challenge. If women are saying no, but really mean maybe, then they need to check and balance their use of the language. But what a woman does should have no bearing on what a man does in his interpretation of the word “no.”
I don’t care what a woman does in the game of “chase me.” She can tease you — and when I say, “you,” I’m referring to men — all night long. She can bring you to the brink of orgasm 20 times. She can wear tight clothes, bend over at the right time, give you looks and then take you home.
While you’re in her apartment, she can slip into her soft pink panties and pour wine down her front. I don’t care what she does, how provocative, how erotic. When you reach out to kiss her, or touch her, and she suddenly says no … you stop. The pursuit is over.
Being brought to such a high point of arousal, and then sudden rejection, will undoubtedly make you angry. You might have a right to be angry, but you do not have a right to act on that anger. You are on the prowl. You are a hunter in the pursuit of sex. You are seeking pleasure. In this game, you have no rights.
You have no right to say things like, “but I thought … “, or “you can’t do this to me!” or, “ah, playin’ hard to get, huh?” You can ask her why. Why would she play you for a fool? You can tell her, in a civil way, you think her behavior was wrong. You can even ask her if she’s sure when she suddenly says no. If her response is still a flat no, then you are to take that at face value. You then politely say thank you, grab your pants and shoes, and quietly walk out the door.
You can sit in your car and sulk, but that only reveals your immaturity. You can go home and take a proverbial cold shower, but that reveals a lack of control over your own state of arousal. What you cannot do is run to the nearest bar and try to make up for lost time. Nor do you run to the bar where your friends are and start ranting and raving about this bitch you were just with. They will chide you and ride you and will do so because you are a fool. You went after a woman for sex, and you didn’t get it. Sorry buddy, your loss. No one is going to shed tears for you, nor should they.
If there are court cases — and I’m no legal expert — where a man was acquitted of rape because the defense somehow managed to convince a jury that the perpetrator was misled, then that case ought to be stricken from the annals of law. The case is decidedly male-biased and demonstrates not only the need for men to dominate, but their weakness in such a need. Undoubtedly, the woman’s behavior needs to be seriously looked at. Why is she doing this to men? Why did she lead him on?
That’s great for psychology class. But whatever her reasons were for teasing him to the point of a sexual breakdown were not reasons enough for him to lose control and proceed with taking sex against her will. Her willfulness is questionable, to be sure, but when she reaches a point where, for whatever reason, she decides to say no, then that no ought to be taken literally.
If a man completes the sexual act and then the woman charges rape, that’s a different story. But she will have little ground to stand on as long as the defense can prove she was a consenting adult. But consenting adults are exactly what this is all about.
If it is necessary, a man should carry a legal contract with him whenever he goes in pursuit of sex. This contract explicitly requests the woman to give a firm yes to the consent of sex. If she says maybe, or no, then the deal is off. And women have no less responsibility here. If you want to have sex, then have the courage to say yes. If you, the woman, are at all unsure, then say no.
The sex game is socially constructed, and the foundation is rotted when one looks at rape statistics, yet alone sexual harassment cases. When men celebrate getting away with an abuse of power, or that the courts act in their favor, they are celebrating their own weakness.
Women should be free to be as sexy as they want. They can walk down the street and flaunt themselves in such a way as to leave a trail of tongue-wagging desperados behind them. She can stick her body parts in your face and say, “I know what you want.” And there you, the guy, are, a victim of desire. But that’s exactly what you are: a victim of desire. You are not a victim of the woman. You are not a helpless little boy who can’t control himself.
There is one rule in this game of sexual pursuit and satisfaction, and that rule is a woman has the right to say no, at any time, anywhere, under any circumstances. And her responsibility in this game is to be forthright, and know the difference between the words “no,” “yes,” and “maybe.”
Do you want to have sex but are too shy to say yes? Then say no. Are you unsure, and perhaps even conditioned by the world you live in that doesn’t let you know if you want sex or not, and the man is supposed to make the decision for you? Then hop on the feminist bandwagon and get yourself straight. You do not let someone make sexual decisions for you and then turn around and expect anyone to apologize for taking advantage of you.
But even more importantly, a man who knows a woman is struggling with this dilemma, must not attempt to conquer or coerce his “prey” into thinking she does want sex, especially when he suspects there is even the slightest doubt in her mind. Any man who takes advantage of a woman in this way is not a man.
There is a recent article in the October issue of Atlantic Monthly called, “Unwanted Sex.” Stephen Schulhofer argues the legalities involved in the meaning of the word “no.” Schulhofer paraphrases the current court consensus: “A woman’s right to bodily integrity and sexual autonomy — her right to sexual choice — simply does not exist until she begins to scream or fight back physically.” He then cites a number of examples where men were acquitted based on this premise. Well, lucky them. They managed to slip through the courts, but they’re not fooling Schulhofer, the women who were raped, or me.
I don’t care how persuasive you are or how charming you can be. If your manhood depends on how well you can manipulate a woman, then I call you on your manhood. How about testing your manhood by how much respect you have for women? How about gratifying your ego only in knowing a woman wants to have sex with you because you’re a wonderful guy, not because you’re a crafty con artist.
You know when you’re being persuasive or coercive. You know when you are taking advantage of someone’s vulnerability. And if you are doing this, then shame on you. In my eyes, you’re not a man.
–Jerry Flattum is the Opinions Editor at the Minnesota Daily. Send comments to: [email protected]