Wow, the "Rape Culture Two" post is taking forever to write. In the meantime to keep the theme alive, here's a scenario that's happened to me many times, and has never been rape, but nonetheless stands as an excellent example of rape culture.
Trigger warning? Probably yeah, trigger warning.
You're a woman. You're out at a public place and you meet a guy and get to talking. He seems awfully attractive, and you're single, and frankly, you're interested. He invites you back to his apartment on some lame pretense like "want to come up and see my platinum record?" (Benny had a platinum record. Not that he'd earned it or anything. He just bought it on eBay from someone. Apparently when an album goes platinum the record label makes a ton of those things and a lot of "assistant to the lead marketing team" type people get them and don't necessarily care. Anyway.) You nervously say yes and follow him to his home. On the way there, all you talk about is tense little nothings.
The instant you get to his apartment, he closes the door behind you, pushes you up against the door, and starts kissing you forcefully. His hands are wandering all over your body and he pulls up your shirt and drags your bra out of the way to grab your breast. He grinds on you and you can feel his erection pressing against your groin. (Or stomach, if you have Holly Pervocracy proportions.)
At this point, things can go three ways.
1. You moan and grind back.
This is awesome! It's passionate and spontaneous and you're powerfully turned on. Hot sex ensues.
2. You go "whoa whoa whoa" and push him off.
This isn't what you wanted. You really did just want to check out the platinum record. Or you really needed a chance to sit down and relax and talk to him for a bit first. Or you don't even know exactly what you wanted, but this isn't it.
And then he:
2a. Apologizes, backs off, and lets you catch your breath before asking what you want to happen next.
2b. Backs off, opens the door, and shows you out, not getting your number.
2c. Doesn't stop.
3. You go cold and don't get into it, but don't push him off.
This isn't what you wanted. But you're painfully aware of option 2c up there. He's a big guy. This is unfamiliar turf. And you realize that you really don't know him at all. If you're getting fucked either way, at least if you go along with it you won't get hurt.
Or maybe it's subtler than that. Maybe what's on your mind is just 2b--can you really trust your own desires here? You agreed to this, sorta kinda; isn't being not-into-it now just fickle? Do you want to be a mean bitch and completely alienate someone who likes you? Sure you're not hot for him and you're not into this, but you're just not steeled for the step of shoving him off you and treating him like a rapist. I'm not sure if this scenario is rape but I think we can agree it's not sexy.
And the solution is so, so simple. The solution is that instead of inviting people up with "want to come up and see my platinum record?", you ask "want to come up and see my penis?"
Alright, it's more complicated than that. But not much. The heart of it is communication. You can't be afraid to ask for what you really mean, and you also can't be afraid to agree to what you really mean. People who agree to the platinum record, tee hee, nudge nudge, but balk at the explicit mention of sex, but really do want to have sex, are also a big part of the problem here. In a world where saying you want to have sex is a taboo that makes men creepy and women slutty, people have to speak in oblique hints--and not everyone can take a hint.
Sex is way too important to go without saying. Platinum records are really boring to look at anyway. Don't ask people if they want to have sex any way other than "do you want to have sex?" and don't agree to have sex any way other than "oh yes I want to have sex."