Monday, May 12, 2008


I asked a male friend if he wanted to have sex. He said no. I responded like the mature, enlightened, sex-positive, individual-choice-valuing intellectual that I am, and asked "are you suuure?" about twenty times and pawed him in the street and pretty much oozed all over him.

If our genders were reversed I'd be Googling "testicle replacement surgery" right about now, but fortunately Society thinks that a woman overbearingly groping a man is kinda funny, so I'm only deeply, deeply ashamed of myself.

It's not even the first time I've done this. When my first boyfriend broke up with me, my response was to tearfully try to take his pants off. If I can just get to the penis I can fix everything! I'm a creature of simple mind.

I don't take being turned down well. I don't get angry, it's just... it hurts me in my ego and my vagina, and those are my two most sensitive parts. And there's sort of a petulant unreasonable six-year-old in me who just got told she can't go on the rollycoaster even though she wanna. It's sort of unfortunate when your rollycoaster of choice is the bodies of other human beings. I'd like to believe that someday I'll grow into the kind of serenity that lets me take a "no" gracefully, but I doubt it.

I've never been on the opposite side of this situation. I don't remember ever saying no to a sincere offer of sex. Maybe when I wasn't physically up for intercourse I offered a rain check or a consolation prize (as in, "I could console the chrome off a ball hitch"), but actually saying "I don't want to do anything sexual with you"? Not once. I'm mousy enough to not get a lot of offers, horny enough to want as much as I can get, and willfully ignorant enough to always believe we'll both feel great in the morning.

Feh. Much as I love to write about it in hifalutin theoretical fashion, I don't have the sexual morals God gave a bonobo. I'm sad I made such a disrespectful ass of myself, and I'm still sad I didn't get any.

Well. To the Bat-Craigslist! Den of the all too willing and even fucking crazier than me! Thank God for free anonymous sex ads! They fix everything!


  1. Ah, well, at least you took "No" for an answer, and you are highly aware of the female privilege involved in your scenario. Kudos to you for initiating, as well. It was probably not as graceful an experience as could be hoped for, but it never hurts to ask.

    Unlike a man your age, you are not faced with having to initiate constantly, and are never more than a few hours away from an acceptable CraigsList encounter. But it HURTS, especially for those of us who never turn down an offer because we have the impression of never having enough offers. Learning to take "No" with equanimity is one-half the battle, the other half is learning to say it. I don't have a quick fix and I wish I did, but you did something very difficult with a modicum of grace, and I think you deserve to credit yourself for avoiding anger, blame, and entitlement, thus keeping your friend. Groping is only mildly creepy, because it's inscribed in a societal power imbalance that marks you as inoffensive a priori.

  2. This is the kinda post that makes me love Holly....'s blog

  3. Eurosabra - I'm not sure you should be congratulating me so much. I didn't take "no" for an answer, I took it for "why don't you squeeze my butt and grind on my dick and try again". Which is not any modicum of grace.

    About the only grace I have is not making this post about "my asshole friend totally strung me along!" I don't think I get a cookie.

    You're right about the society thing, though, and I think there's two sexist assumptions behind "ha ha, she's groping him against his will, that's not scary it's silly!":
    1) "He should enjoy it, he's a man! They always want sex and don't care who or how!"

    2)"Aw, she couldn't really hurt him!"

    1 is absolutely not true and while I hope to hell 2 is true for me it's definitely not universally.

    Matty - Huh. I guess I should abuse my friends more often.

  4. Yep, you're right, Holly, you didn't behave well. But you could have behaved worse - I did once, didn't give up until he gave in. I still feel pretty shitty about that, years later (also pretty pathetic; basically, I was begging for a mercy fuck from my most-immediate-ex at the time).

    I was going to say that Eurosabra is wrong, that's not female privilege, it's the kind of privilege that's usually tagged as "male privilege" except that it's possible (in a post-second-wave world) for women to have it too (both you and I do, in a lot of respects). True enough, but Eurosabra is still right; we get away with sexual harrassment because there's a kind of female privilege in the two assumptions you note.


  5. I'd like to sympathize with you, I really would, but I haven't said "no" in over ten years. My wife is the only one who says no (but she says it enough for two people) while I'm so pathetic I don't even have to say "yes" anymore. She knows I'm not going to turn her down no matter what.

  6. Um, yeah, well, at least you didn't get angry, hostile, or threatening. I used to take a lot of women who were fairly well-disposed to me and thoroughly alienate them with the logic of "My female friends want me to be happy and that includes sex so if you don't want me sexually, you don't want me to be happy and you're not really my friend." One major growing-up point was learning not to do this, another was the idea--and this is particularly because in a university setting, I was almost always dealing with younger women (not my students or charges, BTW)--that sex isn't an option for reasons totally unconnected to me and my desirability.

    My first thought was that "But I WANNA" is exactly the mindset of a rapist, and I had a hearty, grim chuckle at your expense, because you got to experience your potential partner as obstacle, Absolute Unknowable Other, and grope-able object all at once. You get to be thwarted, experience your desire as objectionable, get slut-shamed and dehumanize ALL IN ONE EASY PACKAGE. :-)

    Eventually the rejection-rage neural pathways burn out, particularly when you come to the realization that your potential partner is often too much hassle even with the sex. But since you are experiencing extreme levels of Teh Horny, while perhaps experiencing more rejection than the average woman, you have a window into the experience of the average man that virtually no female blogger has--and the self-awareness to benefit from it.

  7. I guess my problem is that I don't mind when friends want to use me for sex. Wait, that isn't a problem.

  8. Perhaps you should stop seeing sex as your path to worthiness - then you wouldn't feel so awful when that option is unavailable.

    Feminism should surely provide you with some basic ideas about this.

  9. This is obviously an old post, but I've been reading through the archives and figured I'd chime in on this one to say Hi.

    So hi! I'm also a horny lady, non-monogamous, and not super feminine, and I'm enjoying the hell out of your blog!

    And this. This post. Thank you for putting it out there. I have so been there. I wanted to fool around with this guy (this event took place while I was in high school) (well, not physically in the building, but you get the idea) and I was... much more coercive than I would like to admit. That was years ago (I'm about your age, too) but to this day, I can be a whole FUCK of a lot less graceful when Husband doesn't wanna put out than the reverse.

    So, yes. I'm so glad you put this out there and I can see that.... ya know, at least I'm not the only one who's ever been there. Which seems silly and obvious, but you REALLY don't hear these stories from women! We're all too busy pretending we're the dignified gate-keepers who never commit such ass-hattery. Or... something...

    Alrighty. Rambly comment over!