How to accept a no and not be a rapist.

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My hands were gripping his shirt and I could feel the fabric tear a bit from the force of my hands pulling tugging at him.

He was about a half a foot taller than me and probably had a good 20-30 pounds on me and in any other context likely would’ve beaten the shit out of me.

I had the upper hand because his dick was out at the urinal but I didn’t care.

And I was yelling at him — “don’t you ever fucking do that shit again — not to anybody!” I screamed.

I don’t yell — the last time I remember yelling was at my dad, I think, about a year ago.

I wanted to put the fear of God into him so that he never made a move like that on anyone ever again.

Fucking garbage human.

I think cruise ships probably have incidents of rape more often than are reported.

Far more often, I’d think.

Between the combination of being on vacation, being on a boat and the free-flowing nature of alcohol, there’s an implication that people want sex.

Even if those people are married.

Both my sister and my cousin are and they made it pretty clear that night when we were dancing around the little twerps who wanted to put their hands all over them.

And they were ridiculously drunk, too.

At some point, as they both ordered another drink and I felt like I had to be the adult in this situation, I turned to both of them and said, “we’re leaving.”

“Now — before I get violent.”

In my experience, cruise ships tend to attract some of the worst types of people — vacationers, sure, but also creeps.

Total losers who likely need the assistance of some combination of alcohol and roofies in order to get laid on their own.

So, after some hesitation, my sister and cousin insisting that they weren’t drunk and some words exchanged, we finally left.

My cousin dipped into the bathroom, as we did, and then out came one of the creeps.

You have to wonder how much of that sort of behavior is nature versus nurture, but I would imagine there was a strong male role-model in his life who exhibited the sort of behavior he showed next.

As he dipped into the in-between area between both bathrooms, apparently he groped my cousin and then when she wasn’t having it, he went into the bathroom himself.

“He grabbed me!” she said.

“Are you fucking serious?” I said.

If I’d had even one or two fewer drinks, I probably would’ve just laughed it off because I’m normally pretty spineless in these situations, but I was furious.

I ran in after him, as my sister and cousin tried to hold me back.

They didn’t come into the bathroom.

I’d like to believe that my stern talking to worked to dissuade him from any future efforts in raping women, but I think there’s little you can do to really change somebody’s ways.

Either, they see the problems themselves and make a change or they continue to run the course.

My wrist hurt like hell the next day.

The first physical altercation I’ve ever been in since, middle-school, I think.

‘No’ does not mean try again.

I reached down to unbutton her pants because I wanted to see her body but I was also incredibly horny and thinking that I wanted to have sex with her, too.

We’d known each other for years and moments earlier she’d turned me down for a kiss but then through persistence or maybe a change of mind we started to make out on my couch.

It felt off — and to be honest, any attempts at romance between us always felt off — but I didn’t listen to that pit in my stomach and we continued making out instead.

And so, I tried for her pants.

The perfectly appropriate thing to do in this situation is to discuss whether or not you want to have sex with each other and if one of you isn’t feeling it, it’s okay to say, “not tonight.”

But we didn’t, so I tried to take her pants off instead.

The first time she rebutted me, it was playful.

The second and third time?

She grabbed my hand and said, “no, Mike, definitely not.”

Eventually, I gave up out of frustration.

I called one of my friends about it, the next day.

My guttural reaction was actually perfectly appropriate — I thought that ‘no’ meant exactly that and assumed that she didn’t want to have sex, because, she just didn’t want to have sex.

And that forcing it would’ve felt off, totally wrong and would not have been fun for any parties.

Maybe after the 4th or 5th attempt, she would’ve said ‘yes’.

His was different: “You should have just tried harder, man. If she was in your bed with you, she probably wanted to have sex,” he said.

“Don’t be such a bitch, man.”

Huh, I thought.

Was I just being a bitch?!

I felt relieved that I didn’t have any pressure to perform, but then a small part of me started to feel bad for not trying harder.

Like I’d just squandered another opportunity to get laid.

This is the culture we live in today, it seems.

And the norm for women, certainly.

Recently, The Heart, produced a few podcasts from the host’s personal dealings with the often grey nature of ‘no’.

And I say gray not because it’s ambiguous — I think if somebody tells you ‘no’ then that’s a ‘no’ — but because in our culture it seems that more and more people are confusing no with, “just try again.”

And that for women, to forcefully tell somebody ‘no’, particularly in the heat of the moment feels taboo.

That it’s not femine to turn somebody down for sex, or something like that.

Like you’re crushing somebody’s soul by doing so.

That’s why so many women have sex with men even when it feels off.

Why rape has become as prolific as it has — or, at least as it’s talked about — in our culture.

And why being dismissive feels so wrong.

A small part of me still wonder if I made the right decision then.

But time has a way of convincing you that you were right.

How to accept a ‘No’.

“I love your mouth,” she said.

“I’d love to sit on it,” she said.

Moments before that, we’d discussed that we likely weren’t having sex so I felt like I was getting mixed messages but we were just flirting.

I still suck at this part — accepting ‘no’ — but I’m getting better at it.

When somebody I’m with suggests that “they don’t want to have sex with me,” I’m okay with that because they’ve spelled it out.

But if we’re hooking up in my bed, that’s a little more ambiguous.

When neither of us has been clear of what we want and don’t want, that’s tricky.

The solution, always, is to communicate better but we’re all a little imperfect.

I reached my hand down to her crotch and stuck it in the waistband and she grabbed my hand, this time a little more aggressively and she said, “no, not tonight,” and I think I finally got the message.

Humans truly become animals in the bedroom, and emotions seem to completely override our logical brains.

I think that’s really what drives men, more than anything to try and fuck women even after they’ve said ‘no’ a few times: the uncertainty around whether or not they’ll ever actually get a taste.

Their complete inability to make peace with that possibility.

An acute fear of the unknown and of being rejected, too.

But being in bed with doesn’t have to imply some sort of tactic agreement around sex.

And many women will give into that — because even after you’ve said ‘no’ a half-a-dozen times and it just doesn’t feel right, if the other party is that much more persistent and simply won’t accept that answer, sometimes you’ll do it just to placate them.

I don’t think you should ever put anyone in that position.

It feels wrong.

We continued making out for a little while longer and as we parted mouths, I asked her, “Can I have a taste at least?”

She reached down into her pussy and drew some cum out and put her fingers into my mouth.

When we parted ways, I wasn’t sure whether or not we’d see each other again.

I made peace with that, as best as I could.