Vice recently posted an article about the comeback of embattled comedians Louis C.K. and Azis Ansari. For those who haven’t been paying attention, last year Louis C.K. apologized for masturbating in front of a number of female comedians.
The controversy surrounding Azis Ansari is a bit more complicated. The comedian, actor, and author who literally wrote the book on modern romance was accused by an anonymous woman of what is, at best, sexual coercion.
On his first and only date with the much younger woman, the rich and famous, and by extension powerful, man spent the entire evening trying to convince her to have sex. She made it clear physically and verbally that she was not interested, asking him to stop because she doesn’t want to hate him.
After multiple attempts to end the encounter, including fleeing to the bathroom, she reluctantly performs oral sex. Apparently pleased with his conquest, he ends the encounter by telling her, “Doesn’t look like you hate me.”
Sexual Coercion: There’s no such thing as token resistance
Sexual coercion uses pressure, trickery, or emotional manipulation to get someone to agree to having sex.
According to the Facebook comments, most women do not put Ansari in the same category as Louis C.K. It’s not surprising, but I was a bit sad to see how many woman dismiss the allegation of sexual coercion as nothing more than a bad date.
Bad date is a term women use to describe everything from a boring dinner to violent sexual assault. The women who support Ansari set a shockingly low bar for men, and themselves, when they characterize a man who won’t take no for an answer but stops short of violent assault as nothing more than a bad date.
It can be difficult to know what makes a good sexual encounter, in the age of pickup artists who instruct men to push past no and box office hits that belittle women’s anger and normalize abuse.
What makes a good sexual encounter?
Let’s begin with a very important point. There’s no such thing as token resistance. Ignoring a verbal or physical “no” is a recipe for sexual assault. Here are a few things you should look for in every sexual encounter:
- Consent. Sex should be a joyful act between individuals above the age of consent. The absence of no does not imply yes. Every sexual encounter, whether the first or the last, requires an enthusiastic yes. Consent can be withdrawn at any time.
- Respect. Whether you’re in the office or in the bedroom, mutual respect is the foundation of any good relationship. Some guys go out every weekend looking for a hook-up, then degrade any woman who gives them what they want. Learn to spot them so you can avoid them.
- Trust. You can’t say truly say yes if you’re not free to say no. You have the right to withdraw consent at any time, but you need a trustworthy partner who accepts your boundaries.
- Honesty. Be honest with your partner and yourself about what you do and don’t want. Sometimes you don’t know where your boundaries are until you cross them. If you’re uncomfortable, speak up. If your partner doesn’t respect your feelings, protect yourself from sexual coercion by leaving immediately.
What do you think makes a good sexual encounter? Let me know in the comments.