Please


Sex is not quite like tea. It’s a lot more viscous.

Teach your children that consent training is not enough. Because there are bad actors out there. As well as good people who may be under the influence of drugs and alcohol, or who may not hear what you are saying.

Certain activities are low risk — meeting for coffee. Other activities are medium risk — for example, an invitation to watch a movie together may turn into Netflix n’ Chill. Two activities — getting in bed and getting naked with someone — should always be considered high risk. That’s the problem with this video.

It is charming and funny, and also kind of wrong.

It assumes a world where everybody listens to what you say. But how often does that happen in real life? If we lived in that world, Russia wouldn’t have invaded Ukraine. If we lived in that world, you could drop your wallet on the ground and always get your money back.

Yes, it describes the legal standard. And yes, you absolutely have the right to change your mind about wanting to have sex — at any time. You may have luck pressing charges after the fact, or you may decide that you don’t want to. But you really, really don’t want to get raped.

Here’s what happens after you experience sexual trauma:

  • You can’t stop thinking about the events — every hour and every day.
  • You experience related symptoms such as irritability, insomnia, fatigue, inability to concentrate, depression, numbness, and anxiety.
  • You have trouble enjoying sex with other people.
  • You constantly blame yourself, thinking back to everything you could have done or said differently.

This happened to me. It took me three years to get over it. And by “over it,” I mean that while I still think about the events a lot, they don’t trigger much emotion. It’s a part of my story now. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.

I have gotten a really harsh reaction in the past from sharing this perspective. People have accused me of “blaming the victim.” But learning basic principles of risk assessment and taking adequate precautions make you less likely to be a victim. How can that be a bad thing for feminists?

So if you feel ready for sex, that’s great! Go for it. But if you haven’t made up your mind yet, that’s fine too. Don’t put yourself in a situation where you lose your ability to choose.

“Please,” a blog post by Rose Cheval, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. The work may be viewed in its entirety at https://rosecheval.wordpress.com/2022/04/03/please/

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