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.
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.
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.
I’m worried about how to discuss polyamory and the fact that I’ve not given up my loves in Germany. 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.
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!”
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.
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.”
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.
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!
Originally published on www.elbyrnewriter.com