Fear of being pilloried for your past sexual misbehavior

September 21, 2018

This one is for the guys who are looking at the accusations against Trump’s latest nominee for the Supreme Court, Brett Kavanaugh. You dudes who are standard issue American heterosexual male-identifying people of at least minimal success with satisfying your sexual proclivities. You. You who are now worried that some incident in your past might have been perceived then, or eventually, as somewhat other than you perceived it by the target of your dubious affections.

Yes, you.

Please consider this is post in need of a Trigger Warning, it’s going to be about sexual assault.

A recent highly scientific poll tells us, my friend, that you are totally correct.

The negotiations that lead to a successful (from your perspective) sexual experience have not typically been, and still are not, crystal clear.

And the slippery-slope style response from women you know and from the occasional white knight about the internet is total bullshit. You know the one. The type of argument that says that you should always be in zero doubt that your desired sexual partner has consented to your ham fisted attentions. The type of argument that says short of the demand to “fuck me now”, there are a myriad of ways that consent has been communicated to you.


(and if any of my women type and internet white knight type readers are still here, I do mean this. It’s bullshit.)

The cues and nonverbal communication that are preamble to your typical* sexual encounter most often fall short of absolute surety.

At least from the perspective of the usual American heterosexual male**.

Which means, my dudes who are concerned about being accused of an attempted rape like Kavanaugh just was, I can understand why you are hesitant.

Why you are looking to minimize the actions themselves, to place them in “context”, to covertly think there is a nonzero chance a woman has, shall we say, slightly reconstructed events. Why you are very nervous that #metoo might just come looking for you one day because some woman, entirely unbeknownst to you, actually had a pretty shitty time that one time. And thought that you pretty much assaulted or molested her.

The risk is real.

Because the negotiation of sexual congress in this here Great country called America is conducted at a level far below the explicit, when it comes to consent.

You are 100% right.


But, but but.

This doesn’t change a damn thing. You are still going to have to take the hit for your various actions.

Life is a fucking risk. Some aspects of it are more risky than others. You can choose to play it safer or you can choose to play it riskier.

Every time you enter into that negotiation about gettin busy, yes even with your monogamous spouse of many decades, you are at RISK of being a sex pest criminal. Because I know what you get like, my dudes. Entitled and shit. You are in the news for this. You express this in your hesitation to believe. In your fears of being “misconstrued” for workplace leering. In response to any of this harassment and assault news…you reveal yourself.

So. Do some introspection. Please. Think about the fact that there is usually a very, very high threshold.

I argue that your standard average American woman who identifies as heterosexual is AMAZINGLY tolerant of us standard average American men who identify as heterosexual when it comes to our fumbling need to get it on. Amazingly.

Also amazingly tolerant of leerage and line-skirting behavior, particularly in the workplace.

It is no coincidence that the vast majority of the cases of a man in power being busted for sexual harassment features a large number of disturbingly similar behavior. That, my dudes, is what it typically takes to get busted. And even when an apparent single incident is at hand, it takes extraordinary circumstances for the accusation to affect the man.

Take the Kavanaugh. The only reason this is coming up out of the confines of the alleged victim’s psychology sessions is because he is up for one of the very highest honors on the planet. We’re apparently the only country that enshrines a life-time appointment to a highest court. This is in the realm of inherited monarchy. It’s big stuff. Otherwise Kavanaugh****, if he did it, would have lived his life entirely unaffected by this alleged one-off attempted rape as a teenager.

Look, I don’t want to have my life blown up because some prior sexual partner viewed my actions as criminal. And again, I agree with you dude, it is never 100.0000000% certain***** that someone didn’t experience things differently than we did. But…that’s life. That is a risk we take for our desires, needs (lol) and fumbling interpersonal skills.

So we need to stop letting that bullshit pollute our reactions when women come forward to say some other guy stepped over the line and assaulted them. We need to stop letting that bullshit block our ears from hearing when someone alleges workplace harassment against our science hero. And we need to stop letting that bullshit engage our psyche’s need to protect ourselves from any slight suggestion that maybe we injured someone.

*non professional type, that is

**of a certain age. I don’t know much about wtf is up with y’all millennials and now the post-millennials***.

***my kids are kinda close lipped about this shit. as they should be.

****I mean the guy did clerk for Judge Kozinski, found to be a chronic harasser, enrolled in a college frat with rapist views and had a team who groomed his own prospective female clerks for being conventionally attractive but I’m sure that is totally unrelated to anything.

*****hey, if you want to do some sort of AA amends kind of thing and call up your prior sexual partners to ask if you ever stepped over the line, feel free. maybe that would be useful in all of this?

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