Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Consent

I recently wrote a piece for Cosmo on quickies and one of the suggestions involved waking up your loved one (or liked-well-enough one) with a blow job. The idea was that it was this silent communion in which they'd wake up to the feel of your mouth on their cock. Which, to me, seemed good for all.

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.

xoxo
jill

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)

20 comments:

CP said...

Oh, thank hell, some common sense and a reasoned point (actually many points). Frankly, my policy is, if you're with me, you have my consent. Period. Well, lemme rephrase unless you want to dominate me which won't fly because that only goes the other way. But at this point in my life, I probably wouldn't care because being celibate against your will is literally the worst thing ever.

jill Hamilton said...

CP--Still? Oh, that IS the worst thing ever. xoxoxoxoxo to you, man.

Nobilis Reed said...

I maintain that consent isn't ALWAYS cut and dry.

jill Hamilton said...

Nobilis, i think that's the issue with pretty much everything--it's all gray area. ps Glad to hear from you! Maybe I should write some damn new posts once in a while.

Jimmy Detroit said...

It's all about empathy. If you don't feel empathy, then you really don't care about someone else's boundaries and thus there's no such thing as implied consent -- that's also when we're in the same territory as to whether there was any consent, and that's rape.

You kinda have to gauge what the person is into and when something like this would be ok. If the sex is gentle and very loving, you probably need to be a lot more cautious about getting freaky with someone while they are dreaming. If the first date included having sex in front of a mirror and spanking that person with the belt they were wearing (all by mutual consent), then you've got a little more wiggle room.

Cagey-C said...

Another way to handle the consent question in this situation is, oh, I don't know--communication. As with all issues of consent, really. It's not that difficult to have a conversation in which one party says to the other, "Hey, I think it would be fun to wake you up by going down on you. What do you think of that? Yeah? Ok, I'll try it sometime, then."

For the record, it's a) not always as great as it sounds in theory, and b) easy to determine if consent is being withdrawn in the particular situation. To wit: it turns out that it's nearly impossible to arouse me out of REM sleep, which was a hit to partner's mouth skill-related self-esteem. And in the reverse situation, when earlier-consented-to wake-up down-going resulted in partner waking screaming and smacking me about the head, it wasn't so difficult to draw the conclusion that consent was revoked. And after her adrenaline subsided, we laughed hysterically until we fell back asleep.

In short, just fucking talk to the people you're fucking.

Anonymous said...

One of the sexiest things about sex is desire. Waking a lover with a bj is a direct example of desire. So is getting bonked on the nose by a huge hard dick. I know my husband, and any other heterosexual man I know, would not worry about my asking permission before anything involving his dick.

I used to have a friend who would be hard when he met me in his driveway as I pulled up for a visit. That's desire!! Very sexy and got me hot very quickly. Good times, good times.

(by the way, love your blog...)

Spiffy McBang said...

Another thing I realized I'd forgotten on the other thread, some days later, was that this is an area where intent makes some difference with acceptability. Waking someone up by going down on him/her is an act designed for the pleasure of the recipient. If, in your judgment, this will be an accepted and enjoyed act, and you turn out to be wrong, I would hope the other person is at least cognizant of the fact you were trying to be good to them. If you think they'll enjoy being awakened with penetrative sex (or a dick on the nose)... that could be super hot, but you better be much, much more sure.

All that being said, I kind of get Judith's explanation. If we're talking about how a person could react in those first moments, it could feel like a lot of things, assault being one. I stand by my quoted (!!! :D) comment regarding implied consent, but I also think acquiring consent ahead of time is hardly infeasible. Consider:

"You know, this morning, I woke up, saw you laying there, and wanted to go down on you so bad, but I wasn't sure if you'd be cool with waking up that way."

We may believe, with I think good reason, that few people are going to massively object to waking up to surprise oral sex. But if I say the above to someone I'm seeing, what's the worst that can happen? She thinks I'm an idiot for wondering if she'd like it. The more she's into the idea, the more her questioning of my mental competence is mitigated by the fact I was thinking about it. And chances are she'll appreciate the importance I'm placing on her consent.

Even in a situation like yours, Jill, where the dark side of the consent force drives you, how much would it really turn you off? I mean, maybe in the moment you're thinking, eh, I wish he would have just done it. But when it ends up happening, it's a surprise; you may have consented at some past date, but you didn't just then, and I find it unlikely your mind will kill the pleasure because it remembers saying yes days or weeks or months before.

As for going down on a guy, a very brief glance around the internet would suggest that it's more likely a guy doesn't like BJs in general than a guy who does not liking wake-up head. That sounds about right, TBH--I'm amazed at how many guys don't seem to like blowjobs, so it's probably best to know that about him first. If a lady suddenly feels compelled to go for it, I think she should feel that it's almost certainly going to be ok, but there's nothing wrong with her asking either. Especially if she does it while already blowing him.

(slurp slurp) "Would you like to wake up like this sometime?"

Holy jesus.

Kendra Holliday said...

Uh oh, the PC police came after you. One time I was woken by a lover ejaculating on my face and we laughed and bragged about it. Context is key.

jill Hamilton said...

Kendra, damn I love you.

PS Kendra wrote a post on how to stop a man snoring via blow job. here 'tis: http://thebeautifulkind.com/getting-to-know-each-other/

Spiffy, yeah i'm not against asking and it is totally simple. and in fact, when i did that recently, i did just that, despite being married for a billion years. i was more surprised that a caveat was needed in a sex tip kind of blurb bc that seems inherent in any sex position article. the difference is that the person is unconscious, so like I said, changed it. just seemed kind of like those extra warnings like "don't direct saw blade to your eye" or something that was going to be obvious to some and unhelpful to those who actually needed the warning.

anon, i am so into the idea of your dude hard in your driveway. love.

Cagey, yes! in most cases i wake up furious so it's generally unwise to wake me, pretty much ever. so don't even try.

Jimmy, yeah, man. exactly.

Dan said...

I totally agree with you and have fantasized often about wake-up sex but never done it. I especially love the eloquent quote from Esther Perel's "Mating In Captivity." Woody Allen said it a bit more succinctly: "If sex *isn't* dirty, you're doing it wrong."

jill Hamilton said...

Dan, I am so appreciating both your comment and that this is a place where we can talk about this stuff in an exploratory way without everyone yelling immediate opinions. Huzzah!

Anonymous said...

I don't have anything deep to say about consent, but can I just say that ass looks like it might actually belong to a man... the tan line and the shape of the ass... is anyone else seeing this? I say this for recreational purposes only.

jill Hamilton said...

Ha, I think you're right Anon! Probably why I liked it so much ~~~

jill Hamilton said...

though, actually it's a chick. either way, super sexy, i say. http://blog.corwinprescott.com/post/147302132105/the-timbers-denver-co-2016-corwin-prescott

LATRIPP said...

I didn't have the luck of reading the other blog mentioned, but seriously....it's called rape if my lover wakes me with a BJ??? I wish she would!!!

What is WRONG with this world today? :/

Ron said...

I've been on both sides. Having woke up to a morning bj, and have certainly awaken with a raging hard on and want immediate penetration. Especially when its from behind! Yum!

Ron said...

I've been on both sides. Having woke up to a morning bj, and have certainly awaken with a raging hard on and want immediate penetration. Especially when its from behind! Yum!

LA said...

This is my thought on consent. If two adults were able to get to the level that ended with sleeping with each other (the sex had to have been good to stay the night), I believe that waking up to a bj would be appreciated or viser versa. It could start another exciting event for both partners. I'm just saying, it's only happened to me once but it was omg...
If you both slept naked, there shouldn't be any boundaries. I would be more apt to agree, if we went to sleep with clothes on, caution would be necessary, especially if either of you are away from your own home.
Here's a twist...my girl has been working a lot here lately, even got a promotion! So happy for her! We live together! I respect her tiredness but sometimes I'm horny and wanting some. She will say Come on just to please me but it's not something on her mind. Other times, she will ignore my advances and such. Ill even beat her home from my job, take a shower, change and get dinner cooking and what not. Not just for sex but...What should I do? It's not a life or death situation and I'll survive. Not going to go cheat but is there anything I can do?
Thanks!

Anonymous said...

You can have a conversation about what a good love life looks like to her... and to you. There are some conversation samples at deadbedrooms in Reddit, & some folks in your boat who could maybe help figure out how to approach her, or what to change.

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