However, not one, but several, readers called it out, saying it was sexual assault and/or rape. I changed the wording slightly, because technically it is rape, or at least rapey, I guess. Made more so because the dude would be asleep. "Unconscious people don't want tea" and all that.
But I felt a little pissed off about it because I'm a big baby and hate being schooled on anything, even if I'm wrong. But in this case, I felt kind of un-wrong. (caveat: I always feel un-wrong.) It seemed so inherently implied in the situation that you would use a little fucking judgement in the situation. If you started sucking someone's dick and he woke up and said, "WTF? Quit it!" or even "Mmmm, sleepy, later..." you would obviously stop. You also wouldn't go to town on some random dude passed out in the alley, etc...
Intellectually, I understand the need for guidelines. Every day people are acting like fuckheads around consent, like Brock Turner's dad calling his son's rape of an unconscious woman "20 minutes of action." But in between that and wanting to wake your man up with morning head where, if any, is the wiggle room?
I love the way reader Spiffy McBang explained it/talked me down in the comments on the post This is How You Please a Woman.
"Dan Savage has the most logical take on consent I know- if you've had some level of intimacy with a person, that creates a level of implied consent where that person should feel reasonably free to try engaging in acts you've done in the past, and if you're not interested, you tell them no. Running on the assumption you're naked in bed with the person you're trying to wake up with a BJ because you have, at some point in the past, fucked, that would fall under the implied consent standard.
If people want a stricter standard of consent than the above, they should be clear with any partners about that and not suggest it apply to everyone. I mean, realistically, how often is someone being awoken with a BJ by somebody they're not already pretty comfortable with? It's like the letter of the law versus the spirit, and this is a case where just about everyone is fine with the spirit. Calling it rape or sexual assault in a comments section doesn't help anyone, and it diminishes real, traumatic assault by assigning the same term to both."
I also asked Judith, someone on Twitter who'd complained, bc she was from Oslo so I stereotyped her as someone who would be reasonable. "It's implied in many situations, but when just waking up, it can feel like, and be an assault, even if the intention is good. I think we agree. I understand that u of course meant consensual, but in a situation like that it is extra important. Consent might not be sexy. But I'm sure u can find a way."
Yes, I could find a way.... but the thing is, I am sort of into lack of consent. (To a certain extent--of course.) To me, consent for every damn thing is the verbal equivalent to a dental dam or female condom--yes, it's the smart thing to do, but it kind of ruins it.
My old housemate/fuckbuddy in college once woke me up by coming into my room and bouncing his fat cock insistently on my nose. I absolutely loved coming out of sleep to this hugely visible sign of his arousal. And--I report this to you and only you--part of the turn on was the general rudeness of it and the audacity to assume I would appease him.
Another time we slept together all night (rare, it was a fucked-up situation, as you may have surmised) and throughout the night, he would press his hard-on into my back, sometimes sliding in, in a sort of gentle all-night fuck. It was divine. And it would have been completely ruined had he woken me up every single time, asking me if he could slide his cock into me.
By contrast, later I was with a lovely man who respectfully obeyed the accepted rules and asked me for permission before touching each part of my body. I hated it.
As I wrote in my highly offensive and/or brave piece on James Deen, Darkness and the Erotic, this reminds me of what Esther Perel writes about eroticism in Mating In Captivity: "Sexual desire is politically incorrect, often thriving on power plays, role reversals, unfair advantages, imperious demands, seductive manipulations and subtle cruelties," she notes. The erotic lives--and thrives--in places of darkness and the forbidden. Whether we like it or not.
If you find someone who gets this in the same way that you do, fuck the shit out them.
PS See my new Sex Toy Recycling piece on AlterNet if you feel like contemplating the fate of the used dildo.
(Photo: The amazing Corwin Prescott)