Question Inspired By Pilates Post

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Question Inspired By Pilates Post
8
Wed, 04-09-2003 - 8:57am
First, I empathized with Pilates' situation - completely - and felt the responses were overwhelmingly compassionate, sincere and realistic - and was glad to hear that it looks like this loser will not get another chance . . . . just to add my two cents in general, I have no problem with a man who asks again after being told "no" if it seems by my actions that I have changed my mind and if I am asked in a kind way - trying again once is ok too depending - more than that and it is generally not . . . .

In reading the responses, I wondered, is it exemplary behavior for a man to "stop" when a woman says so or is it just "normal" and expected. Do men believe they should be praised for showing restraint in that situation or is it just a given that of course they have to put desire aside in favor of the other person's needs? Other than telling a man in advance what I am comfortable with and not (such as if I stay over at a man's place early on and do not plan on having sex, I tell him in advance to avoid mixed signals/teasing), I have never overtly praised a man for showing restraint or stopping.

I realize I am asking for generalizations - so of course individual points of view are appreciated!

Thanks!

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Wed, 04-09-2003 - 9:39am
I think it is a normal expectation for a man to stop if asked to stop. No matter what is being done, how it is being done, or who it's being done to. Sex takes consent and willingness from both partners. When one partner is no longer willing, things should come to a stop. I think that is a reasonable expectation that should garnish no praise. It's just common sense.

Now, an apology might be in order. If one partner has led the other on with clear signals, then bails out at the last second. It might be worth while to offer up an apology or explaination for the sudden change in behavior.

From the time we are children, we are taught to push the boundaries. As adults, we do so as a normal part of life. We see it in all aspect of our lives. It's the way we check the boundaries around us. If the boundaries are invisible, then it's only be gently crossing them and getting gently slapped for it, that we find them.

If I'm on the couch in a hot and heavy make out session, then I might try for more. If I'm gently rebuffed, I might wait and try again later. Repeat as needed, just to continue checking if she has changed her mind. One date stopped me, and clearly stated her boundaries for the whole evening "Here is what I promised myself before coming over here". That was helpful, because I then knew what lines not to cross. We continued and I stayed within her stated boundaries. However, I did not assume those boundaries were the same on our next date.

Boundaries about sex and personal space are as flexible as rubber bands. Chemistry, time, physical attraction can all errode them, and allow closer and closer physical contact. Whoever is the agressor of the two, needs to keep pushing the boundaries. Checking to see if they have changed. What was not allowed 5 minutes ago, might be allowed now.

All of this is based on the fact that the agressor will accept the answer "No". It's all part of the natural give and take.

Brokk... (who once had a date "complain" that he didn't push for more)

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Wed, 04-09-2003 - 9:47am
Good post, Deena, and I'll respond to that. I truly appreciate most of the responses that I got on the situation. Yesterday when I was driving home from work, I realized just how much ya'll have helped me out. It's kind've a difficult thing to talk about to my friends in this town (today is the day I usually talk to my best friend... 6 hours away- and Tuesdays are usually too busy to call her), and without everyone's replies, I would have been really upset. Instead, I feel like I can more calmly dissect this, and not act *too* irrationally.

To respond to your question, and drawing from my experience, I can answer without a doubt- it's normal and expected. If a man ever told me to stop, I'd stop... there's no double standard- AND I wouldn't expect any kind of praise. A post I read recently stated that "you are under no obligation *ever* to have sex with anyone": married, dating, first date, 30th date, whenever- it's still your body and your choice. There should be no reward or praise shown for someone NOT being a sexual predator- the only reward they get? not going to jail.

Avatar for northwestwanderer
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Wed, 04-09-2003 - 10:43am
Totally normal and expected. To say that it's "exemplary" and praise them for stopping is like saying thank you to a date for not robbing you or something!

Sheri

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Wed, 04-09-2003 - 10:50am
Good question. My $0.02 for whatever it is worth...

I think it is just normal for either sex (or in same sex relationships) for anyone to STOP when the other person is no longer comfortable, doesn't want sex, doesn't want to cross a specific boundary.

I don't think it is exemplary for people to respect the wishes of a partner in a sexual situation. Quite frankly, I have pushed my own boundaries at times, but I have rarely felt I "couldn't" ask someone to stop or change the situation if I didn't feel comfortable engaging in any sexual contact. I would feel very patronized if someone praised me for stopping when they said stop... and I would feel like I was really an a$$ if I did the same to a man who respected my boundaries. I draw boundaries *expecting* they will be respected.

Cher

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-26-2001
Wed, 04-09-2003 - 11:06pm
I want to say that I agree with everyone that it should be a given that a man will respect a woman's boundaries and will stop immediately whenever she asks him. It is something that should be expected of any real man and not be deserving of special consideration. I was surprised by Brokk's post about continuing to test the boundaries as the evening progresses to see if they have changed. I guess I'm more conservative than him because it never occurred to me to do that, I just assumed that, once established, the boundaries were there to stay, at least until the next date. I was probably a little too dogmatic about that attitude, since I can remember two occasions where the lady said no early in the evening and then said later that she had changed her mind, but I continued to respect the original boundaries. I guess I figured that if she could change her mind once that she could do it again and I prefered to play it safe.

I also thought it interesting that several people used gender-neutral language in their responses, even though we were discussing the situation of a man respecting the boundaries established by a woman. It made me wonder if anyone has ever been in a situation where the roles were reversed, where it was the man who said ‘no’ or ‘stop’? I have to admit that in my, admittedly limited, experience in this area I couldn’t think of a single situation where anyone did anything that I could ask them to stop doing, even if I had been so inclined. That may just be my experience, so I was wondering if anyone had anything different to relate.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Wed, 04-09-2003 - 11:42pm
Once you say no, it is no, bottom line. I don't think any person, male or female should be thanked for accepting your boundaries. However, it will be a nice little impression in your mind concerning them (not that you should expect any less). They have established that they are trustworthy in a fundamental way.

I think the issue with pilates post is that she didn't know too much about the person beforehand. He had good family members and friends but unfortunately that is not always an indication of whether that person is trustworthy or respectful.

That's why I think one has to be careful to never put themselves in a vulerable person, until they are sure of some of their character at least. It comes down to putting yourself in danger, or taking precautions.

Can I just say one other thing. I know that if you are dating this person, you are attracted to them, and you want to touch them etc. But just hold back, until you know more about them. And if you get into a position where you are uncomfortable, than stop the other person but also stop what put you into that position. It's just easier to avoid mixed signals, by not putting yourself in the exact same situation that had just got you into trouble.

This doesn't mean that they did anything wrong, it is just the least complicated road to take.

L.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-26-2003
Thu, 04-10-2003 - 8:35am
Sorry for confusing you Rice-man. My personal experiences have been similar to yours most times. Although when I've been involved with two woman at once, I can't really claim that I was the one in control, or the agressor. I think that's an exception to the rule.

No, I know a lot of lesbians and bi-sexuals. I also know there are many types of men and women out there, so I try and keep an open mind that the roles are not always the way I experience them to be. If two women are together, you can't really use the same gender based words as describing male/female relationships. Thus my gender nuetral descriptions.

Sorry for confusing you.

Brokk...

iVillage Member
Registered: 02-26-2001
Thu, 04-10-2003 - 11:05pm
Oh. That's very different, then. Nevermind.

Sorry for the Emily Litella moment. I didn't consider a same sex couple. You would think that, being the same gender, they wouldn't have the communication problems we hetros have, LOL. Instead, I had this image of a woman groping a man and trying to get into his pants while he pushes her away while saying "Please stop. What kind of man do you think I am?" I know that I shouldn't think that's funny, given how serious and frightening situations like the one Pilates experienced are. It's just that reversing the roles makes the whole situation seem not so serious, even a little silly.