If you’ve been involved in the BDSM world then you should have some fluency and skill with asking people about what is OK and what is not. If you can’t read body language or non-vebal cues very easily, then yes, you have to actually ask. You may have noticed that in my story about Susan, even though I am highly adept at reading body language and non-verbal cues, I still asked her directly on more than one occasion if I could touch her in a particular way. Men who don’t want to do this feel that way because it opens the door to hearing “no.” They’d rather take what they want; it’s what they’ve been taught by patriarchy is how they should behave.

Then men that you are describing as relates to the MeToo movement were all engaged in a monologue. They did not give a fuck what the woman wanted; they only cared about what they wanted. It was not a dialogue, it was not flirting gone awry — it was plain and simple predation and a way to exert dominance. If you go back and read what I’ve said in the OP again you’ll see that it’s very clear and very specific about how not to get yourself in hot water.

The short version is, you have to already be engaged in a give and take situation, a diaglogue, before you start saying or doing sexual things. Many men don’t do this because they’ve been socialized to believe they don’t need to, they simply need to stalk a woman like she’s an antelope. Therein lies the problem. No woman who has been being treated with respect and like a human being ever cried rape if a guy misread her cues. It might be a bit awkward, but it never goes beyond that. The problems come out of being treated like an object or like prey. Treat her like a person; verify her receptivity of what you are doing and saying, and you absolutely will not ever be accused of being inappropriate or rapey. If you can’t do it non-verbally, then you have to have actually ask. It’s as simple as that.

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Dispelling cultural myths with research-driven stories. My favorite word is “specious.” Not fragile like a flower; fragile like a bomb! Twitter @ElleBeau

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