Trigger warning for rape and assault.
The four of us were hanging out together and Britney* was pretty out of it and obviously either very tired or not feeling well. Thomas* asked her what was wrong and she Britney replied that she had barely gotten any sleep last night. She has a minor addiction to binge watching Netflix, even on nights where she has to be up early the next day. Eric* and I gave her a hard time about not getting enough sleep and made jokes about her binge watching. She exclaimed, "Oh my gosh guys, I wasn't binge watching any shows last night! Damian* (her boyfriend) kept me up late last night because he wanted sex. Twice."
Eric shook his head and told her she should say no once in a while when she knows she needs to get more than a few hours of sleep.
Britney rolled her eyes and said, "well, telling him no doesn't work. I do that a lot but he just does what he wants anyway."
Before I could even get my mouth open, Thomas was already speaking.
"Britney, that's not cool. That's wrong. He needs to listen when you tell him no."
Britney: "No, it's fine. I mean I say no and try to push him away but he keeps trying and will start kissing on me and touching me so I give in and do it anyway."
Thomas: "Nope. That's wrong. He shouldn't do that."
Britney: *rolls her eyes* "Like you've never done something like that before."
Thomas: "No. Never. When my wife says no or indicates that she doesn't want sex, that's it. The end. Stopped and done. Right then and there."
Britney: *rolls eyes* "Well, aren't you the saint. But I'm sure Eric knows what I mean."
Eric: "No, I don't rape women and that's what your boyfriend is doing to you. Every time he doesn't stop when you tell him to, he's doing something wrong. I stop when I'm told to stop. It sucks sometimes and obviously it can get frustrating but no means no. No doesn't mean you get to do it anyway because you're in a relationship with someone."
At this point, I want to hug both of them for being fantastic. Although I realized at her next eye roll that it wasn't setting in with her that what her boyfriend does IS wrong.
Britney: "You guys don't get it. Ashly, I'm sure you've had this happen before?"
Me: "My boyfriend understands no. He never pushes or whines or gets angry when I say no. He understands no means no. And other guys I've seriously dated haven't ever forced themselves on me either. I've had a couple guys that tried to push once I said no but I always managed to fend them off, get myself away from them and then never saw them again. If you say no and then someone forces themselves on you anyway, that's rape."
Britney: "It's not rape. He's my boyfriend."
Me: "It IS rape. He needs to stop when you say no. It doesn't matter why you say no. It doesn't matter why you're declining sex. No is no is no. It's that simple. As soon as he starts kissing and touching you after you've said no and tried to push him away, he's in the wrong. He's not respecting you and doesn't care about what you want."
Thomas: "Exactly. He cares about what he wants over what you want. He sees you as a thing that belongs to him to do with what he wants when he wants with no regard to what you want. That's wrong. That's abuse."
Me: "Being in a relationship with someone does NOT entitle them to your body any and every time they want access. It doesn't entitle you access to their body any and every time you want it. You can say no to someone you're dating and they should be able to stop and respect your wishes. It doesn't matter how bad he wants it, if you say no, it means no."
Eric: "Exactly. He isn't allowed to pressure you into doing something you don't want to do. He shouldn't take it personally. It's not like you don't want him, you just don't want sex sometimes and there's nothing wrong with that. I'm not going to tell you to break up with him but you need to explain this to him. You need to tell him he doesn't have that power over you. And if he can't respect that and learn to stop when you say stop without pressuring you, pushing you, or doing what he wants anyway, you need to get the hell out of that relationship."
Britney sat there quietly, staring at us all. Then she was crying which led to sobbing. She said she didn't understand because she was always taught that if men wanted sex, you gave it to them, even if you didn't feel like it. That people still have this mentality is infuriating to me.
YOU ARE NEVER ENTITLED TO SEX. NEVER.
You did something nice? Cool.
You purchased a gift for no reason? Cool.
You helped them out of a jam? Cool.
You remembered to take out the trash every time it needed to go for a month? Cool.
You planned an elaborate night out? Cool.
YOU'RE STILL NOT ENTITLED TO ANOTHER PERSON'S BODY.
Spending money, buying things, doing chores, being in a relationship? None of that means you're guaranteed sex whenever you want it. If your partner says no, it means no.
You don't get to pout, whine, pressure, guilt, manipulate, threaten or force them into sex anyway. That's abuse and that's wrong wrong wrong.