Polimicks

Leftist commentary from a mouthy bitch

Rape -v- Seduction

So someone in my last post asked about my views on rape versus seduction. And while I think I know what they might be getting at, I have to say that they are pretty much NOT the same thing, even remotely.

Ok, if you read a lot of romance novels, or other genre novels that include sexy bits, you might get the impression that seduction is just coercion dressed up in flowers and silk sheets. It isn’t. Not by a long shot. Those books are fantasy. Say it with me, ‘FAAAANNNN-TAAAAA-SSSYYYYYYYY.’

The person went on to clarify that they meant “tricking” someone into bed, versus, say, physical coercion and how I felt about that.

Well, I’m kind of… I don’t really know how to answer that. Because I don’t think I’ve ever been tricked into sex per se. I mean, I’ve wound up having sex with people I didn’t initially intend to sleep with, but there was no trickery involved. It was more a matter of they finally got tired of my having NO CLUE, and very bluntly propositioned me. And since I’ve always been game for a good roll in the hay… So I’m not entirely sure how one actually goes about “tricking” someone into bed. You ask, and they say yes or they say no. Where does the trickery come in?

I mean, I’ve read romance novels and watched Lifetime movies and after school specials on teen pregnancy, so I kind of intellectually get the concept. But the whole idea that someone could “trick” you into sleeping with them if you didn’t want to, I don’t get. I understand people who have a chemistry or pheromone that if you aren’t with them you just don’t find them the least little bit sexy, but when you’re together… WOW!!! I’ve known a couple of guys like that.

Maybe it’s because I have a traditionally “Guy” view of sex. I don’t know.

Granted, I also think you should always be honest with your sexual partners about pretty much everything.

I don’t know, maybe if you guys could give me some examples of being “tricked” into bed, I might be able to dissect them and build a case for or against. But it is so far outside the realm of my experience, that I just don’t know what to say.

I guess misrepresenting your intentions towards the relationship would count as trickery. If you’re telling someone you want to be with them forever to get them in the sack when you have no intent of sticking around for fifteen minutes after the deed, then I suppose, yeah, that is trickery. Not rape, definitely not rape, but, yes, unethical. And how many women does that shit actually work on? Fewer and fewer every day, I would hope, although the plethora of self-help books about such things does not give me hope.

So, do I think lying to someone about your future intentions and conning them into bed that way is rape? No.

Do I think it is at all ethical? No.

Do I think it is seduction? No.

And coercing someone into sex is also not seduction, I don’t care how many flowers you buy, how silky the sheets are and how sexy you are. Coercion = Rape.

So, yeah, I guess that’s where I stand. I hope this helps at least a little bit. If not, feel free to ask me more questions and I’ll try to expand.

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37 comments on “Rape -v- Seduction

  1. icprncs
    August 14, 2008

    What do you consider to be coercion? (Aside from physically overpowering or restraining someone.)

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    • sirriamnis
      August 14, 2008

      Threatening their livelihood or child custody. Blackmail. In addition to intimately “physically” restraining them, something like driving them out into the middle of nowhere and refusing to drive them back unless they put out. In cases of long-time emotional abuse there are going to be other coercive activities that some people may not consider as such normally.
      Is there anything else you’d like me to address or that I should think about?

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      • zabieru
        August 15, 2008

        I don’t think there’s a hard line you can draw… I mean, “threatening your livelihood” shades into “promising to be together forever” when the promiser is a doctor and the promisee is a C-average communications student. I think you’ve correctly identified the ends of the scale, but I think it gets a lot fuzzier in the middle.
        For instance, in the above example, there’s a clear difference between threat and promise, but what if, say, you quit your job and you’re having health problems and your COBRA deadline is coming up but you don’t pay it because I was leading you on about how we’d be together and I’d take care of you? I’m not threatening something you already have, but in promising something I don’t intend to deliver I do end up depriving you of something you’d otherwise have had. Still not rape, but a lot murkier and nastier, particularly if it heads down a “oh well don’t you want us to be together? Yes? Good, bend over” line.

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      • icprncs
        August 15, 2008

        I mostly just wanted to be sure I knew the definitions you’re using, so that I don’t go off about something that isn’t what you think. 🙂
        In the past couple of years, I’ve seen “rape” and “coercion” used several times to describe a circumstance in which two people are in a stated relationship, one party doesn’t wish to have sex, and the other verbally badgers the first party until consent is given–there’s no physical violence or outright threat, there’s just being given no peace until the one with the desire gets what they want. I’m still uncertain in my own mind whether those words are accurate descriptions of such circumstances. I think I can accept “coercion” for it, but get really wibbly about “rape.” But if coerced sex under any circumstance is rape, well, then, I don’t know why I’m wibbling.

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  2. bigdonkeyretard
    August 14, 2008

    Do you remember my post a few years ago about what I call “passive rape”?
    Maybe it’s not the same thing you are talking about… not sure….

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    • sirriamnis
      August 14, 2008

      I don’t. Link please.

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      • sirriamnis
        August 14, 2008

        Sweetie, you were crying and saying no repeatedly, and unable to leave. There was nothing passive about it.

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      • bigdonkeyretard
        August 14, 2008

        Well, I felt that my actions were passive, if that makes sense.
        It’s just that a lot of people think of rape as a violent act… there isn’t always struggle and fighting.
        I feel like I got tricked, so I thought I might be relevant to your post.

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      • sirriamnis
        August 14, 2008

        Yes, but you weren’t the rapist. There was nothing passive in what he did.

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      • bigdonkeyretard
        August 14, 2008

        Well, I suppose so.
        But my actions were passive in order to not get hurt any further.
        That’s why I call it that. I didn’t fight. But I didn’t have a choice.

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      • sirriamnis
        August 14, 2008

        That wasn’t a trick. Seriously, crying and saying no and he went ahead anyway, that isn’t a trick. Not in anyone’s book.

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  3. ayeshadream
    August 14, 2008

    Yup, one of my friends is going thought this now. Messy divorce, crazy ex insisting that he’ll cooperate only if she’ll give him “one more night”. While they were together sex always seemed to be a control issue. If she wanted it, he’d go masturbate to computer porn, if she was super stressed out, studying for a final, etc. he’d want sex and want it now.
    Sex is one of those things that unfortunately sometimes isn’t just about the physical desire. People can get is mixed up with love, hate, control, violence, self worth. Etc. ad nausium.

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  4. javagoth
    August 14, 2008

    So I’m not entirely sure how one actually goes about “tricking” someone into bed. You ask, and they say yes or they say no. Where does the trickery come in?
    I went to my first BDSM party alone. It was a semi-private party I’d heard about through and organization I’d only just joined. By semi-private I mean there were no DM’s at the party. I hadn’t intended to play – just to see how I felt about it – if I really felt as strongly about it as I thought. It was a costume party so by being someone else I mustered the courage to drive to Seattle (which I really didn’t know well at all) and go to this party.
    I was not prepared for how overwhelmed I would get by just being there watching. I didn’t realize then how suggestible I can get when I’m aroused and my endorfens are pumping. I had only had sex with one person – my soon to be ex-husband – at that point. I was shy and I was not as confident as I am now. A guy pursued me all night. I had seen him there with a partner so I though they were going to play together but that wasn’t the case. I wouldn’t have said so much about myself if I had realized… I don’t think. Hell it was that crazy time just after a long term relationship break-up so who knows! He talked me into playing. He talked me into getting undressed. It was extremely embarrassing to me but I’d seen other fat women in various states of undress so I told myself it was OK. We played. He never asked me if I wanted to have sex. At some point he pulled me onto his lap on the couch and… well OK we were having sex.
    I froze. My brain locked up. I had no idea what to do. All the internal tapes told me I had brought this on myself. He was using a condom at least. A part of my brain even reasoned that I had to have sex with someone not my husband at some point…
    I think that qualifies as being tricked into sex. This happened on more than one occasion in those early days of playing for me. It says a lot about my state of mind I suppose that I actually dated that guy for a month before realizing he treated me like shit and walking out on him.
    I don’t really count it as rape. I counted it as a learning experience.

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    • polimicks
      August 14, 2008

      Ack. Ok, if someone slips their goodies into your goodies that is just… not ok.
      And I don’t… wow… This requires thought, a lot of thought. Because I would definitely say rape now. And I’m sure if this happened now you or I would probably turn around and rip the asshole’s head off for shit like that.
      I hate the conditioning that makes us think that the worst thing we can be is rude.

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      • javagoth
        August 14, 2008

        Yeah – different time and place. And when I said to someone that I felt a little like I’d been raped I got read the riot act about it because it’s not like I’d been screaming no and stuff.
        For me it was such a boundary stretching thing to be playing and nude in a semi-public place already that my brain sort of short circuited and couldn’t take the additional stress of making a fuss over it. I guess I felt like I would be blamed for that situation anyway – the “well if you didn’t want sex why are you naked?” thing…

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      • kaligrrrl
        August 15, 2008

        “got read the riot act about it because it’s not like I’d been screaming no and stuff.”
        BULL-MOTHERFUCKING-SHIT!!!

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      • javagoth
        August 14, 2008

        Oh and on top of the rest he tried to do the surprise butt sex thing too. I finally found my voice to say “no” to that so that’s something I guess…

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  5. sarmonster
    August 14, 2008

    Eh…Lessee if I can articulate this:
    We all have that person we’re attracted to, but know it’s a BAD IDEA For whatever reason: You live with them, they’re ‘not your type’, you don’t want them to fall for you, vice versa, your best friend has the hots for them, you swore off sex for a year after your last breakup(You’ve already covered the marriage thing).
    You have a couple of drinks, you end up alone together, and are overcome with the worst case of Teh HORNEEE you can remember, and wow, here’s this perfectly attractive potential partner who may or may not be nuzzling your ears, or talking in a husky voice about…say…the evolutionary reasons behind the mating behavior of weaver birds with his shirt half-open and a Han Solo pose(woops, OK, that’s MY fantasy). The reasons you had for not engaging in a great rubbing of parts seem distant and tertiary at best.
    NOW, imagine this person -whom you may well consider a friend- has deliberately created this situation.

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    • sirriamnis
      August 14, 2008

      Seduction, yes. Trickery… not so much. Far too transparent to be trickery.
      Ethically… kind of sketchy.

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      • polimicks
        August 14, 2008

        Errrr… maybe transparent is the wrong word.
        However, in THIS case, I am going to say if you’re really, really determined not to shag this person, then at some point you either need to decide that and say NO, or say ah screw it and leap in enthusiastically.
        I went through this several years ago when I slept with a friend’s ex. I didn’t INTEND to. But he was horny, I was horny… And I did it. I even said no, once, really weakly, before I lunged at him and yanked his jeans off.
        A friend who had heard the incredibly weenie “no” I uttered before I yanked him into his bedroom and tried to suck his tonsils out, tried to console me later, as I was beating myself up in my truck, by saying, “I heard you say no.”
        I hadn’t meant it. I totally hadn’t meant it, and told him that.
        I wound up confessing to that friend later about banging her ex, and she was totally ok with it. Thankfully.

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      • sarmonster
        August 14, 2008

        Really, we’re dealing with getting laid, I think any attempt besides an outright “Wanna fuck?” “Sure!” might fall into ethically sketchy.
        So how DOES one acquire a sexual partner ethically -leaving out the biblical BS, of course- Maybe that’s what needs to be said.
        I with you, I don’t think there were victims in that case, if it’s that big a risk, stay the fuck away from that person.

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      • sarmonster
        August 14, 2008

        And cross-post this shit on Valerie, will ya?

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      • sarmonster
        August 14, 2008

        Well, the only other thing I can think of otherwise is switching off the lights and having your intended switch partners on you in the dark. You thought you were having a roll with X, when its actually X’s friend Y. X listens in the dark & laughs.
        Trickery.

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      • sirriamnis
        August 14, 2008

        AND rape. Because you didn’t agree to have sex with Y. You wouldn’t have had sex with Y.
        I would be livid. There would be blood. Seriously, that is so fucking not ok.

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      • sarmonster
        August 14, 2008

        Yeah, double homicide, coming right up.
        OK, so, same deal? Every homophobe’s nightmare, though I doubt this happens ever:
        You meet an attractive, intelligent woman; she’s all on about the kinky, intriguing, she says she has a new toy she’d like to penetrate you with, maybe even shows you the toy. Sure! You say. Go back to her place, lights go out, or maybe you’re just bent over a counter, and Surprise! Not a girl. Not a toy.
        Rape? Yeeeeah. Hold up in court? Probably not.

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      • sirriamnis
        August 14, 2008

        This is a tough one because:
        Because while you did not consent to be penetrated by a penis, you did consent to be penetrated by this person…
        However, then you get into the same issues you get when a girl agrees to one form of sex, but then is forced into another against her will. The guy agreed to one act (penetration by toy) and another was forced on him without his knowledge (penetration by cock).
        So, yes, rape.
        Not real likely, but not impossible either.

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    • sarmonster
      August 14, 2008

      -That’s about the best I can do as far as trickery… Manipulative and not a good thing to do to someone, yes. Rape? No.
      Maybe its too mild an example.

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  6. javagoth
    August 14, 2008

    Thinking on this more…
    I hope it’s OK that I’m doing some noodling in your journal. I think that the example I gave in an earlier post is part of why it IS so important that blaming the victim not be condoned and why arguments like “she was wearing sexy clothes” and “she was drunk” are the very thing that cause more date rapes to both happen and go unreported.
    When I realized that guy had pulled me on his lap to fuck me (and honestly this only worked so well for him because he was THAT small that it didn’t cause me pain) part of what ran through my head is that if I made a fuss — which was unlikely because bringing more attention to myself was the last thing I wanted to do (we were in a much less populated room and I was blind folded – which was the only way my being nude worked much less anything else), I figured people might be less than sympathetic. I mean – I was naked in a private BDSM party – what did I expect. I dunno. Not that. I’d gone there in a sexy red dress. Sure it was a to the knee dress and I had pantyhose, and slimming briefs (a girdle really), a bra, and a hat with a veil but still… I let a stranger talk me into letting him restrain me and whip me when naked. As far as I was concerned I’d have been laughed at if I suddenly said I had an issue with sex. Looking back I now know this would not be the case. However right about then his partner came back and wanted to leave and was annoyed to find him engaged so she loudly snarked “She said she wasn’t going to play much less have public sex!” I was mortified.
    Then he left before I was dressed.
    So I stood there feeling very lost and then I slowly gathered up my clothes and I got dressed. Then I helped clean up. I was very confused when I went home and then the endorphin crash happened. I still have a lot of shame issues around sex and at the time my brain screamed at me that I was a slut and deserved everything that happened.
    But, no, it wasn’t exactly rape. There was no screaming and fighting. I could have stopped it… That’s the theory anyway.
    Just like emotional abuse isn’t really abuse… No I wasn’t physically injured but emotionally – I went through all the stuff I’ve heard rape victims went through. This is part of why I support the CSPC and hope there is always a place like it around…

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  7. kurosau
    August 15, 2008

    Thanks for your take on my question. I don’t have any examples of what I was talking about, because…wait, I do.
    I was thinking of stuff like Cyrano de Bergerac, not that I’ve ever seen it. We’re talking totally pop culture education here. Imagine if the woman had slept with the hunk, not knowing she was falling in love with the man with the big nose. She finds out later, and is horrified. So, that was where my question started out.
    I had one other question to ask of you. Do you see any useful difference between molestation and rape? Obviously there’s molestation without penetration, but there’s are times when I’ve heard molestation or pederasty used to describe what I’d call a rape case.

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    • polimicks
      August 15, 2008

      Cyrano De Bergerac. Ya know, in spite of the many remakes of this film (Roxanne, the Truth About Cats and Dogs, etc…) this just doesn’t seem feasible to me because in real life, people fuck up. They can’t keep the secret.
      I do not, to the best of my knowledge know anyone who has been Cyrano-ed.
      As for “pederasty” and “molestation.” They’re just words to candycoat child rape. Now, pederasty is a very specific form of child rape, however, the word has lost much of it’s sting over time because of over and misuse.
      Molestation just doesn’t sound as bad as rape, does it? I mean, the guy just molested his daughter, it’s not like he forced a child to perform a sexual act… Oh, wait… he did.
      Even if the asshole doesn’t put his dick in, (or if the asshole’s a woman, vice versa) doesn’t make it not rape.

      Like

  8. kaligrrrl
    August 15, 2008

    hmmm. two things I’d like to see you write about:
    1) “real rape” is violent and if the victim did not fight/struggle/yell/scream/say no, it was not rape.
    2) BDSM dynamics, specifically “sub space” and how to think about doms who take advantage of subs–talking someone into/verbally coercing, deliberately triggering “sub space” in someone without negotiating it first or generally playing with someone without negotiating, etc.

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  9. mojrim
    August 15, 2008

    I’m glad you took this one up; the idea troubled me from the moment it was broached and it took me a bit of time to figure out why. To define rape as anything other than involving direct coercion, while perhaps satisfying to potential victims, carries a tremendous cost for the rest of society, particularly women: infantization.
    If seduction, ethical or not, is classified as rape, then we are saying that anyone who can be persuaded to have sex is a child that needs protection. A person who cannot say no to something they don’t really want, be it sex or anything else, is one of two things: an adult who learns from the experience or a child who needs to be guarded. Such an interpretation reverts us to 19th century rules; I will keep my daughters at home until they are married because they can’t say no to some cut-rate Cassanova.
    The same applies to threatening someone’s custody or livlihood. That is blackmail or extortion; the coin of payment does not change the nature of the act. The difference is that the victim not restrained from seeking help, specifically from the police.
    I, for one, do not want to see women classified as permanant victims.

    Like

    • polimicks
      August 15, 2008

      You do realize this shit happens to men, too, right?
      Including the coercion, physical force, blackmail, etc…

      Like

      • mojrim
        August 16, 2008

        I do, but we have to go with the odds here, and with general public perception. If we, as a society, say that seduction is rape, the response will be the schoolroom, and coming out parties (not that kind), and all the impedimentia of 19th century match making. And it will all fall on the girls.

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