Sexually, I’ve said more yeses than nos in my life.
This can be a good thing, a fun thing! How else do you find out that you like that weird thing that musician is into or that the suity business guy has a pierced nipple? I’ve said before that to me men are like those thrift store grab bags of assorted baubles — often you can’t see the good stuff until you unwrap them.
So I am glad to have said yes a lot, to have experienced the colliding of many different bodies into mine, to have fallen into so many kisses.
But also, at least some of the time, I’ve said yes because most men I’ve encountered will not take no for an answer. I don’t know if they sense my hesitation and poor boundaries, can see that I am malleable and likely to topple if shoved, or if it’s just the shitty sex prince entitlement they’re born to — but in my experience, they will hound and hound and hound you for sex without a whisper of shame.
Who needs to rape when you can beg?
An article on how to stop a hook-up when the guy is already in your house got me thinking about how to stop a hook-up, period. And of course we should all be able to derail the train barreling toward Sexville, but in real life I know I’m not the only woman who has found it’s sometimes just easier to get it over with — to shut him up, to go to sleep, to be polite.
I’ve said yes out of pure self-conscious adolescent delight that a man, any man, wants to kiss me. Which I guess is called low self-esteem, as crystallized in my adolescent thoughts that I had better not say no, because who knew when someone would be attracted to me again?
I’ve also said yes because I took a really expensive cab all the way to his place in Spanish Harlem and what am I gonna do, take one all the way back?
I’ve said yes because he was really really attracted to me and went on and on about how sexy I was and how badly he needed to be with me until I ended up feeling like a one-woman Make-A-Wish foundation. Sure, I’m not too excited about having this sex, but it means so much to him.
I’ve said yes because he had naked photographs of me or other incriminating information and threatened to use them.
I’ve said yes because I was drunk and my head felt so heavy and I just didn’t have the energy and clarity to stop the momentum.
I’ve said yes because, “Oh well, at least it will make a good story tomorrow.”
I’ve said yes many, many times because I didn’t want to hurt his feelings. I was raised, like many women, to be “nice” and “polite” and that has extended to detaching myself from my own body just to avoid wounding the pride of a man I’m no longer sexually interested in.
I’ve said yes because we’ve already started so I can’t stop even though it’s the literal worst, even though his breath is bad or his genitals smell like BO or our movements are stilted and awkward and I feel cold from the waist down.
I’ve said yes because my nos were ignored so many times that I lost faith in them, and also because the word itself was just too hard to get out, and I felt paralyzed in the absence of no, the same way I felt the many times I meant to insist on a condom but didn’t.
Once I went to the home of a couple I had met online with the intention of having sex with them. When I got there, they were on drugs. I loved drugs and was still using them at the time, but the particular nature of their high was foreign to me and a bit unsettling. The girl ricocheted around the room with her face frozen in a manic grin, her pants nearly falling off her clothes-hanger frame. She was tweaking, and I knew this was not a situation I wanted to be in.
I pretended I needed to use the bathroom, and while in there I took a deep breath and considered how to say no. Mustering up my courage, I exited the restroom and explained that I was really sorry, but I just didn’t feel comfortable and I was going to leave.
“Well, would you like some of this, or can I offer you that?” the man, the soberer of the two, pressed on.
“No, I just don’t feel comfortable,” I kept repeating, a talisman I have since clung to in order to get myself out of all manner of awkward situations. Try it, it’s hard to argue with.
That time I was glad I said no. But another time I completely misread a situation and found myself in the outer reaches of Brooklyn with a man who transformed from a friendly fellow I was chatting with in a bar into a sexual predator the moment his friend disappeared with mine. (Just for the record, “Let’s all go smoke some weed at my house” can mean many things.)
Rather than sigh or give in, I resisted his fumblings and he transformed again into a spiteful, angry jerk who had to be coerced into finding me a car service number so I could leave.
And when I was standing on his front porch crying, and when I withdrew over a hundred dollars in a credit card advance to pay for the long car ride home, and when I thought about the twist of disgust on his face when he realized he wouldn’t be getting laid that night, I wondered if maybe I wouldn’t have been happier if I’d just said yes. Again.
What are the stupid reasons you’ve had sex? Have you ever had a man beg you for sex like a little sniveling baby? Dudes, quit it! Have some dignity.