If a cis man responds with a non-verbal "no" when asked to penetrate without a condom and it happens without a condom against his will - regardless of (a) the justification for the action or (b) the length of time or (c) the number of times the penetration happens or (d) his level of satisfaction - is it rape?
After being abstinent for two years, I had an experience that forced me to reckon with this question and my sexual past. I'm starting to think that I've been getting raped my entire life by women who I thought I was having sex with.
The first thing that is happening is a set of questions - that would never come up if the gender pronouns were changed - keeps coming up. Here are a few:
- Is rape ever sex?
- Can I enjoy rape?
- What is rape anyways, really?
- Why am I so deeply embarrassed when the power structure remains the same? I am all the things of privilege but White and rich (which are important but still).
- Why am I having such a hard time calling it rape?
- Why am I diminishing my experience and creating all of these clauses in my head before I think to myself about what happened?
If I were to see these questions and imagine a woman being the speaker, I'd say she's dealing with a ton of trauma due to being raped and society is fucked up for letting gaslighting her into this spiral of self-doubt. Why can't I say that for me?
So what actually happened?