There’s been a lot of talk of sexual harassment and sexual assault recently.  I get and understand that.  It’s a huge issue, and it needs to stop and not be taken lightly.  People need to be respected.

Now you know there is going to be a but….

And I don’t mean a but those things are OK….

I mean a but I feel we’ve lost something…..

Here’s my anecdote.  I remember meeting a boy who I liked very much.  I was 18.  I met him through some friends.  We went on a first date.  Through both those things he was totally respectful of me and my personal space.  I wanted him to kiss me.  I wanted him to kiss me so badly.  When he finally did, it was magic and perfect and probably the kiss I want to think about on my deathbed.  It was everything.

Here’s the thing: would that penultimate moment have been ruined if he said “I’m going to put my arms around you and pull you into me.  Is that acceptable?”  “Ok good.  Now I’m going to lean in and kiss you passionately.  Am I breaking any boundaries by doing this?”

Honestly, I don’t know if the kiss would mean the same thing to me.

My city bestie and I disagree with this.  She thinks every move between two people should be verbally documented.  I think this takes the fun out of it.

To what level do we need to consent to being touched by another person?

I understand personal space- I like my boundaries.  I try to be respectful of the invisible wall people put around themselves (which is SO hard in New York where I am more intimately acquainted with a stranger on the subway than I am in bed with my Husband)

But:

Have we inadvertently gone back 200 years when men and women needed to be chaperoned?  Do people need to be chaperoned in order to not be accused of sexual impropriety?  Do we need someone in the room so that we can be sure that every touch is wanted?

Does a first kiss between two people need to be contractual?

What do you all think?  What’s the line on this?  What is and is not acceptable?

All various forms of thought are welcome- I’m still thinking this one out.

 

41 thoughts on “I Feel a Loss

  1. “Through both those things he was totally respectful of me and my personal space. I wanted him to kiss me. I wanted him to kiss me so badly.” Isn’t this the key, respect and the desire that you want the other person to be in that space that is so personal? You also want to know that if, at any time the word no is uttered, that things will stop.
    I think that is the issue, the inability to comprehend that no means no, I am uncomfortable, I am finished, I do not want more. Too many take an initial willingness to mean they now have a free right to more, not that it was a privilege to have had even a small moment and move on.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I get that absolutely, and I think in general this is a reflection of a much bigger societal issue overall between perceived gender roles and the established place both men and women have been assigned. It’s a shake up of major proportions happening between cultures, generations and sexes. Perhaps, in trying to find new ways to simply be human in a changing and often perceived chaotic world we are going to see waves of interesting moral and ethical behaviors over a broad spectrum as balance tries to restore itself.
        The other thing I tend to look at also, given the fact that we know that the same behaviors occurred 200 years ago, chaperoned or not, is to what degree our social media forces play in this current onslaught of men versus women. What role does access to, and greater, daily knowledge of the issues revolving around sexual harassment and assault play into this situation?

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Sexual harassment and assault stem from the need to control and dominate more than romantic desire, and most generally, the “victim” has made it clear they are uncomfortable, and has often said no or stop. The pursuer still pushes forward and ignores the boundaries. I think that is probably the difference. The issue really is about power, not mutual romantic feelings. I think if you have any question at all this person may not be receptive to my physical affection, then one should ask permission first in order to gain some clarity.

    Liked by 3 people

      1. Yes and no, I think. I have noticed the teens these days are more verbal with each other and discuss things I never would have dreamed of saying out loud as a teen. I do tell my son, however, that if a girl even hints that the answer is no to any physical contact he is to RUN the other way.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I don’t think everything warrants documentation especially if the attraction is mutual. I think sexual harassment is crossing the line when the attraction isn’t mutual, space is disrespected, and you verbalize that their is no interest and the person continues to make advancement towards. I also think every situation is case by case and definitely situation by situation. I’m currently going through a sexual harassment incident at work with a parent. It’s not a good feeling when someone stares at you all the time and make sexual comments in front of your young students. I’ve verbalize countless of times that I’m not interested, I’m involved and asked for him to leave after dropping his child off he still finds it funny and nothing wrong.

    Now, if my boyfriend said the thing this guy was saying, I wouldn’t feel disgusted because it’s something I would want to hear from him.

    Now if it’s the first date, you can feel chemistry. You can tell if someone isn’t into you. I think is just being mindful of the person feelings and reactions towards your touches and advancements. I don’t think it’s wrong to ask before you touch it just being respectful.

    It’s better to air on the side of caution now a days.

    Like

  4. I’m going right down the middle on this one. Let the kiss instigator lean in, with no advance verbal warning, but let’s have taught him/her that ANY signal—a pulling back, a flinch, a tensing—by the recipient might signal that the touch is unwelcome and to adjust accordingly.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I think the difference between the two shows up perfectly well in your post. The example of the boy you wanted to kiss was on a date. That’s a date – the expectation is that there will be kissing involved (and / or other stuff). In the context of a workplace, for example, it would NOT be expected. And the presumption should be therefore not acceptable.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. my Momma always said to treat a woman the way you would want someone to treat your sister or your daughter. I always told my young guys when I was in the AF to remember these simple rules:

    1. Never mess around with anyone who’s married.
    2. Never mess around with someone that you work with.
    3. Never forget Rules ! & 2.

    being a male in the workplace can be pretty hazardous. you have to be pretty careful what you say, who you say it to and how you say it. there are some women out there that are just waiting for you to screw up so they can file complaints just like there are men out there willing to prey on women. one has to be very careful these days.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Woo Who?

    And what a question, and forgive the punishing pun. I want to argue that a necessarily due and doe eyed empathy has taken a backseat to the hyper-individuality of what had been a shared sense of our collective coming of age stories.

    Where the first blush of romance was a right of passage step to adulthood, late capitalism fell in lust with the forever young, making a mutual march to maturity old hat, and a mundane vibe, as full blown adult purchasing behavior could be bad for the bottom line.

    And with preputial adolescence has come the shrieking cry of I want what I want and when I want it.

    Well, that’s just old man bull shit. You know how I know? For the first time, in my long life, I can’t remember the name of the young lady whose kiss I want to again savor on my death bed.

    Thoughtful and timely post.

    Regards,
    Doug

    Like

  8. I fully believe there is a difference. If you have two consenting individuals, then no not every action has to be spoken. However, if it is going beyond the normal… then yes, you should make sure it’s still okay. In most cases, the victim has made it clear (or was unable to voice their consent at all due to alcohol, drugs, or anything other reason where the person isn’t really there) that they aren’t wanting to move forward. Essentially, communication is a necessary thing at times.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. My father had seven daughters. He always told us it is up to women to set the standards because guys will try to get away with as much as they can. I’ve followed this advice and found it to be true. If a woman doesn’t want a man to kiss or touch her, she has the right to say so. As for asking for permission to kiss on a date. No. If someone doesn’t want to be kissed, she can make it abundantly clear.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Its a toughie isnt it? agree. I dated my husband and at no time did he say can I do this or that, but there was a totally mutual respect between both of us that he didnt need to. My teenagers on the other hand… I agree with your other readers,they have to know that you talk about these things and its ok to do that. But on the other side of the coin you dont want them never to experience that romance that we did. Not everyone out there is a sex mad rapist. I just hope Ive taught them enough to know when something doesnt feel right get out. Oh, I dont know. Im going around in circles!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I needed to ask you, we are travelling to NYC in December and wanted to take the kids to see something on Broadway. I know I’ve left it really late but as a local, do you know if there is an easier/cheaper way to obtain them?? Thanks my friend x

        Liked by 1 person

  11. I too feel like you, we were only talking about this the other day. I remember when I was young it was acceptable in a crowed bar to place your hand on another persons elbow or shoulder as you said excuse me and pushed passed to get from one side of the room to the other. This is now an ‘invasion of their person’ It is now unacceptable to call someone bab, chick, love which in some parts of this country are words that are used the same as Mr or Mrs. But as with all things PC the world has gone mad.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I think this is incredibly contextual. In your situation is you had suddenly panicked, would you have had time to back away when he was moving in for that kiss? Would you have been able to break it off and feel like he would respect you? Would you have been able to maybe talk to him about it afterward? If the answer is no, then something was wrong with the situation. If the answer is yes though, then I think his behaviour to you was sufficient communication. Sure there are plenty of opportunities for misunderstanding someone’s non-verbal queues, but it’s what we DO when that happens that really matters and what we learn from our mistakes.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. In my situation I sent non verbal clues that I wanted more intimacy and he picked up on them. But what if someone is not great at reading cues? I don’t know the expectations of people on dates now. What is acceptable? Should kisses always be preceded by a “may I “?

      Like

  13. Things have become so complicated today I have no answers. Thankfully I never felt threatened by a man I was dating. There was always a mutual respect of boundaries. Lines were never crossed. I don’t know what’s with folks today. Sheesh.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s