Manipulative and/or not quite consensual sex but not rape?

Inspired by this thread on rape. At one point in the thread, Kobal2 makes an interesting point when it comes to rape/consent.

So, I thought I’d open this up–have you guys had experiences that wouldn’t legally be rape but that left you feeling violated? Or that were technically consensual but weren’t quite on the up and up?

In my case that I mentioned in that thread, I did say yes, but it was after about ten minutes of badgering, and I stopped the sex midway through (yeah, that bad). I felt pretty bad about it the next day, and it still leaves me feeling really shitty.

The only other experience where consent was sort of not entirely there was going to bed with another guy, when he was too sleepy to have sex that night, so he woke me up the next day wanting to screw. Since I’d taken a couple of sleeping pills the night before, I was pretty out of it, so I said yes, but was very quiet/sleepy during the act. Sort of weird, but again, not rape.

Have you guys experienced stuff like this?

Yes, while in an (emotionally and physically) abusive relationship that lasted for six months. I was dumb enough to move in with him, too. I would dread the time he got off work.

When I was 17 and dating my first actual boyfriend since junior high, it was definitely an experience of discovering lust for the first time, and I was also just discovering I had PTSD from past abuse, and I really rushed into things. We didn’t have intercourse, but we did… other things. And for the first week or so it felt awesome, but then it stopped feeling good, and I felt like I was being used, and it was a really negative thing for me. I would feel very ashamed afterward. He was extremely emotionally manipulative and he was also a blatant liar. He lied to me about having been sexually abused so that I would feel close enough to him to have sex with him. I never really felt like I could say no. Not because he threatened me, but because it’s a problem I have in general. I’m afraid if I say ‘‘no,’’ one of two things will happen. Either he will stop loving me, or he will not care that I don’t want to and do it anyway.

I should have put a stop to it a lot sooner than I did, but we kept having a relationship for 3 months. That was my first consensual sexual experience and I wish I had the presence of mind at the time to say ‘‘no,’’ but I had run away from home to live with my aunt so I had perfect freedom. I was a newly emancipated minor, I was working full time while attending high school and I was just too overwhelmed emotionally to fight back. I didn’t break up with him until he later got a little violent with me. For some reason the violence was not something I was willing to tolerate.

I’ve never allowed myself to be in that kind of relationship again. He was young and stupid and just like any other teenage boy, so I don’t really blame him and I can’t lie and say I didn’t consent. I absolutely consented. I just shouldn’t have. It made things a lot more complicated when I met my husband, but fortunately he’s a very patient man.

I am so glad that someone made a thread about this, because I have been saying I’m going to for a long time, and I haven’t felt like putting it together.

I know a woman who is a radical feminist. I mean, radical. I have allowed her to pull me a bit closer to feminism with every well laid argument she has laid down.

But there is one topic of conversation that she knows I always resist fiercely on. She believes that it is rape even if the guy conjoles and repeatedly asks the girl, after she says no.

When I admitted to her that I have often done the ‘say no, at first, mean yes’ bit, she harshly admonished me for playing that game, and said that I only play it because I subconciously believe that men are the one that rightfully own my body.

We are going to be at odds on this one forever, but I have always wondered what some female dopers would think of that position.

Obviously, I think it is not rape, or any variation, just because a guy repeatedly asks a girl for sex who has said no.

I briefly dated a guy who did that. And no, I didn’t consider it rape. I considered it part of the general emotional neglect and abuse that caused me to get the heck away from him within a couple of months. He stalked me for a while, too, after I left him.

I suppose the morning I woke up because he was going into me even though I was sleeping could techincally be called rape, since I wasn’t awake to consent. But when I woke up and pushed him away, he stopped. It’s just that I got so tired of constantly having to say no, and having sex with him was physically painful. He would go on and on and I would hurt, and I’d tell him to stop, and he’d keep pushing me to keep going. Finally, I’d literally kick him off of me and he’d stop. He really didn’t give a shit about whether I was enoying the sex or not. It was all about him.

It was a very damaging relationship, and the poor guy I dated next had to be very patient with me at first–I’d sometimes cringe when he touched me. But overall, I just saw it as a stupid dating mistake that landed me with a selfish and manipulative asshole. I’d certainly never end up with someone like that again. I’d pick up on the charming pushiness he used when he first met me as a huge warning sign.

As for the guy I ended up with after him, the sex with him was so damn good that it reinforced to me what a loser the other guy had been. He actually cared about how I felt and wouldn’t push me if I said no. Once I trusted him, which only took a couple of months, I don’t think I ever said no to him. I didn’t want to. Quite the contrary, and I did my share of initiating. :smiley:

I think it often depends. Sometimes it can be part of the “courtship ritual” if you will. And other times, it can be really sleazy and creepy. I definitely experienced it as sleazy and coercive, but not as rape when it happened to me. I’ve heard of anti-rape/sexual assault t-shirts that say things like, “No doesn’t mean ask again in five minutes,” and while I don’t think that’s necessarily rape, after a while I think it can get weird. Like I felt like I gave in because my defenses had been worn down. Same guy also had a history of manipulating/using my insecurities about sex as put downs a lot, but it’s the kind of thing I was too naive to see at the time.

I certainly don’t believe that what you describe constitutes rape on the face of it, though I do believe that it’s the type of thing that can only be judged by individual circumstances. As others have posted, there are circumstances where a technique by which someone eventually persuaded their partner to change a ‘no’ to a ‘yes’ amounted to or was part of an episode of emotional abuse and was intended to be manipulative. I am not sure if that is rape, but I can’t think of it as ‘right’, even if legal.

On the other hand, as you describe, the ‘game’ of saying no but fully intending to allow yourself to be persuaded into a yes is part-and-parcel of sexual relationships for some people - a bit of verbal foreplay, maybe - and these can be harmless provided that both parties understand what’s going on.

Personally, I do not ‘say no at first but mean yes’ because I find it a little on the silly side, but I do not believe that women who do that do so because of a subconscious belief that men own their bodies :rolleyes: . This is the type of ‘feminism’ that makes things difficult for more reasonable feminists.

The only time I’ve done the "no . . . okay, fine, I guess, yes. . . " I regretted it in short order. I wish I’d had the backbone to say no to him, even though I wanted to have sex - just not with him.

We are supposed to be adults. That means taking responsibility for our decisions, not blaming others, behaving in a mature manner, and treating others the way we would like to be treated. Trouble is, if one or more of those factors is missing from the person we’re with, we end up being used, manipulated, and regretful.

I chalk it up to life lessons learned. I understand a lot more now why society was previously so restrictive. It was to protect people like me. I wouldn’t go around manipulating another person into sex. The very idea makes me nauseated. However, it took me far too long to understand that just because I wouldn’t didn’t mean there weren’t lots of other people who would, and who would do so to me given the chance.

However, that protection was also a loss of freedom. Given the choice between some damaged guy trying to manipulate me into sex or safe cage I could never leave, I’ll take my lumps.

No offense, but I don’t see what your point is. How does one get “manipulated into having sex”? Why does someone date a person who needs to badger them into having sex in the first place?

I don’t think it’s really a very uncommon experience. I’m not sure what’s difficult to understand. Not everybody has immediate instincts for what constitutes a healthy relationship. Some of us have to work it out based on experience, and the way the things we do impact the way we feel. I guess if you were standing in my 17-year-old shoes, you had basically become an adult overnight, you had been all but abandoned by most of your family, and you had never been taught that you had a right to say no, maybe you’d understand. I learned my lesson. I felt shame at the time, but I don’t any more, because I see that I was in crazy circumstances just trying to cope the best way I could. Nobody’s claiming they didn’t have responsibility for what happened here, but it doesn’t make the situation any less upsetting, or worthy of discussion.

I read your comment in this thread, and was nonplused. I’m a guy (I mention it because many posters get it wrong) and I had sex with my partner because she was insisting on it (not necessarily in words, but simply by not being willing to let me alone), despite not being in the mood, or like you when I would rather sleep and so on. In this instance, you just have to concentrate so that you won’t “fail” (not a problem for women), or alternatively find another way to satisfy your partner’s urges, all the way hoping that it will be over soon so you can sleep or do whatever else you feel like doing. And I’m sure that many a time my partners had sex with me when really, they would rather have slept.
Not only I wouldn’t equate it to rape, but I wouldn’t even compare it to rape. I would compare it to eventually agreeing to watch a movie you know is going to bore you out because your partner really, really wants to see it.
The problem in my opinion, is that some people think of sex as a really, really big deal, when actually, it isn’t. People have sex all the time with their partners, sometimes enthusiastically, and sometimes much less so, they are involved together in tons of activities sometimes enthusiastically and sometimes much less so (“We really should pay a visit to my parents over the weekend”), and all that is just part of being a couple. Sex sure is an important part, but not something that should be over thought as in “Do I really, really, really want to have sex and should I abstain if I’m not 100% sure?”, “Should I feel violated because his genitals were in contact with mine for the 462th time in two years, except that this time I’d rather have read a book instead?” “Is it attempted rape because it’s the third time he asks in a row, when I told him I didn’t feel like it?”, and so on.
If you wouldn’t give it a second thought if it involved whatever other mundane activity your partner was insisting on, then you shouldn’t give it a second thought when it involves sex, either. If you’re not wondering if eventually giving in and watching the boring movie at the theater is akin to kidnapping, then you shouldn’t wonder if eventually giving in and having boring sex is akin to rape, in my opinion.

I know this violates the stereotype, but I’m willing to bet that most MEN have had sex, at one time or another, when they didn’t really feel like it, just because their spouses/girlfriends were very aggressively horny.

So, if the definition is vague or broad enough, most men can probably claim to be rape victims.

And if a woman can claim to have been “raped” after giving in to an extremely pushy seducer, after telling him no several times… well, can she also claim to have been “robbed” if she finally buys a time share from a pushy salesman, after she’s said “not interested” or “I can’t afford that” several times?

I always chalk that particular relationship up to me being young and stupid. I was in a small, isolated town far from home and under a lot of work pressure. Very charming, gorgeously handsome man starts pursuing me. He was older, and I was in awe of him, but not really interested in him in some fundamental ways. But I was lonely and isolated, and he seemed very sweet, and the physical attraction was there.

Until the first date, when he wanted sex, and I wasn’t sure. Most guys will be persistent to see how far you’ll let them go, but when you stop their hand from going wherever, they stop. And then they’ll try again–the next time you’re with them. This guy would try again about five minutes later.

And that’s where I say I was young and stupid. I didn’t have my own transportation–and there was no safe way for me to leave. There was nobody for me to call to come get me, and home was too far too walk, and it would have been dangerous to try.

I got very confused about his advances. Because I did want to have sex with him–I’d been wanting it those weeks he’d been trying to get me to go out with him. But I didn’t want it that night. I was looking for a relationship to develop, and I was looking for him to be like every other guy I’d been with where the hand would stop, and he’d try again the next time. Which always increases my interest if I’m interested in the guy–I’d never ask guys to not be persistent. It’s just that asking again five minutes later is obnoxious, and he was making it out to be my hangup that I was being reluctant. He knew what had me feeling so lost at the time, and he kept using that–he was there to help me, if only I’d let him. And that felt really weird and not right, but he’d been so charming when he was trying to get me to agree to a date. I kept waiting for Mr. Charming to reappear, and he never did once I’d agreed to go out with him.

If I’d been looking out for myself and not having so many other problems at the time, I would never have gotten myself into that situation in the first place. And I certainly wouldn’t have gone out with him a second time. That’s why I don’t see it as rape. I recognize that ending up with him was me being messed up enough at the time to end up with an asshole. Was he criminal? No. Selfish jerk? Yes. And stupid me for not taking care of myself. I learned from it, though, and it’s not a mistake I’ve ever repeated.

A generally abusive relationship isn’t the same kettle of fish as an occasional unenthusiastic sex act in an otherwise healthy relationship as per the OP’s example.

I must be interpreting this thread very differently, because I don’t see where anyone is calling these experiences rape. In fact, the title of the thread includes the words ‘‘not rape.’’ Every person here seems to be aware that they were responsible for their own actions at the time. * Nobody is claiming being pressured into having sex is the same as rape* (except Nzinga’s friend, who isn’t here.)

clairobscur, I don’t think sex can be compared to watching a movie. For some of us, what we do with our bodies is a big deal. I respect that that’s not the case for you, but try to wrap your mind around the fact that to some of us, it really matters. And there’s nothing in the OP that suggests the guy was a live-in boyfriend or that this was a domestic situation. Maybe it was, but maybe it wasn’t.

I think it’s rarely about “what people do with their bodies” because if it were the case, we would have threads about partners who insist all the time on cuddling and hugging, or kiss you on the neck when you don’t feel like being kissed on the neck, and whether this should be considered assault and battery or not. We don’t have such threads. It’s not about bodies, it’s solely about sex.
And I do know that many people think of sex as being a big deal. That’s why I mentioned it. And I still think that’s the problem. That’s unhealthy. Sex is a fundamental element in a relationship, but there are many others : cuddling, emotional support, listening to whatever the partner feels the need to share, etc… An emotional leech isn’t particularly better than an extra-horny and pushing partner. But nobody compares emotional leeches to criminals.

I believe she mentioned it in the other thread. But I might be mistaken.

I think the point of this thread is not to compare being pressured into sex to criminal behavior, but to share opinions and experiences related to said pressure. I think this thread was spawned by the rape thread, but I don’t think the implication is at all that this is the same thing as rape. There are plenty of threads about dealing with emotionally leechy partners and how unhealthy it is… why not one about dealing with physically leechy people as well? Nothing described in this thread was criminal behavior, these men cannot be called ‘‘rapists’’ with a straight face. But they can in the majority of cases be called selfish jerks, and we can in the majority of cases call ourselves young and stupid.

I think even in a domestic situation there should never be any pressure to have sex, so even if it was the case that this was her live-in boyfriend, I would sympathize. No always means no between my husband and I, and I would assume that any partner who continued to pressure me after I said no didn’t respect me. Maybe because sex is not as big a deal to you, you don’t see it that way, and I can respect that it’s not murky ground in your world. But sex, particularly around the area of initiation, is treacherous territory for me, so my boundaries are different.

I think all this thread is about is sharing those experiences of regret at having allowed oneself to be manipulated. Nobody here is calling that criminal. We are simply calling it regrettable.

I don’t have a cite for this because it’s an article I found by accident while looking for something else*, but a while back I read a study of 20-something men and women from the 1980s that said that far more men than women reporting having had sex when they didn’t really want to. A very common reason for these young men was peer pressure – they didn’t want their friends to hear that they’d turned down sex with a willing woman. Peer pressure was very rarely a reason women gave for having sex.

*I’m not seeing that anyone in this thread has said that a woman can claim any such thing. The OP was specifically asking for stories about sexual situations that are not rape, and it doesn’t look to me like any of the women in this thread are confused on this point. I’m not sure why a few male posters want to try to turn this into yet another “women lie about rape!” thread.

*I was searching for a specific article about Jane Austen, oddly enough.

For me, it was a boyfriend but we weren’t living together. And I do reiterate that I’m not calling it rape or comparing it to rape, but just saying I really didn’t want to be there at all. I’m not sure why I gave in–part of me was thinking, “Why is this such a big deal–I should want to have sex with my boyfriend, etc.” and the other part was wondering why he wouldn’t just let me go to sleep. I chalk a lot of it up to just being naive and not realizing when to just cut and run. It wasn’t so much that I felt like I was being forced, but just that I felt like my wishes were being completely ignored, and that was just generally a bad feeling.

I’ve occasionally had sex with my parntner at the time when I didn’t really want to, but it wasn’t because I was being pressured. It was because, even though I wasn’t really into it, I wanted to please my partner. At least half of those times I ended up enjoying myself after all. :slight_smile:

The one time I was pressured into having sex, it was actually the guy’s friend who was doing the pushing. The guy hadn’t been laid in a long time, and was kind of depressed about his lack of luck with the ladies (he was reasonably attractive, but tended to come on waaaay too strong). The guy’s friend was actually a “friend with benefits” of mine that I fooled around with from time to time, so he knew I didn’t have a problem with screwing someone I wasn’t in love with. On the whole I would have been ok with it (it wouldn’t be the first time I gave someone pity sex), but the way he was pushing me about it kind of made it feel like he was pimping me out to his friends, and it weirded me out. He just didn’t understand why it bothered me though, and kept pushing until I finally gave in. I felt pretty ashamed of myself afterwards, but I never blamed him for it. He was a bit of a jerk about being so pushy, but I was the one who made the decision to go along with it.