What Is Sexual Assault, and What Is Not
A little while ago, a guy went to Kickstarter and tried to sell a book on seduction. This started a wave of anger from all over the internet, and Kickstarter pulled the guy’s entry, vowing never to allow “seduction guides” ever again.
This event exacerbated or reawakened a lot of the hatred people have towards “PUA”, “pickup artists”, “seduction community” and similar. Some of this spilled over to me. I almost never get hate mail (which still surprises me), but when this Kickstarter thing happened I actually started getting some, even though I had nothing to do with this event and don’t personally know anyone involved. Moreover, it was from people who clearly had no idea who I was, other than the fact I was giving out dating advice to men.
That was no big deal. What was a big deal to me, in reading through all the articles and blog posts written about this event, is that I noticed people were throwing around words like “rape”, “rape culture”, “sexual assault”, “misogynist”, and similar invective.
If you are one of these people, this post is for you. I’m going to attempt to explain this stuff rationally, hopefully appeal to your more rational side, and have a measured, adult conversation about this.
What Is Sexual Assault, and What Is Not
One of the biggest challenges in this discussion is that people on both sides get emotional and mix up exactly what sexual assault is and is not.
One of the biggest things people pointed to in this particular seduction book was an excerpt where the author give the advice of pulling out your cock and putting a reluctant woman’s hand on it without asking for permission. Before I go on, let me get this out of the way: I have never done anything like this in my entire life, and I have never advised anyone to do this. I think doing that would be a bad move and I would not recommend it.
Now we have to look at context.
If a guy was walking down a crowded city street and he suddenly pulled his cock out, grabbed a random woman, and put her hand on it, is that sexual assault?
Yes. That man is guilty of sexual assault. Throw his ass in jail.
Now let’s say a man and woman are alone, in private, making out on a couch, and it’s consensual for both. His hand is up her shirt and he’s playing with her boobs, and she’s letting him. Then he whips out his cock, grabs her hand without asking for permission, and puts her hand on it. Is that sexual assault?
No. That’s sexual activity, not sexual assault. The action is completely within the context of everything else going on.
If you really think that circumstance is sexual assault, and that man is guilty of some kind of crime for which he must be punished by courts and cops, then you are not thinking rationally, and frankly, I don’t even know if it’s worth your time to keep reading this. Have a nice day.
However I think 95% of normal people out there would agree this circumstance is not assault. Certainly we could have a debate about whether or not it’s a good idea, or cheesy, or stupid, or creepy, or dominant, or smart, or sexy, or whatever, but most would agree it’s not actually sexual assault.
The challenge arises when the circumstances are not as black and white as the above two examples. Let’s say a man and a woman are sitting on a couch talking. He tries to kiss her, and she clearly resists. He tries again, and she clearly resists. So he whips out his pee-pee and shoves her hand on it without asking for permission. Is that sexual assault?
Some will say absolutely yes. Others will say absolutely not. I agree with points made on both sides. However I lean towards “yes”. I said I lean towards yes; I don’t think the guy should go to jail, but I do think he’s crossing a line. Again, I wouldn’t recommend a man do this in that circumstance. I do think it’s a violation. More importantly, I think it’s mis-calibrated game.
Therefore, if you have a problem with this specific kind of advice, you and I have no argument. I’m not a big fan of it either.
“Leading” and “Aggressive Escalation”
So far, we’re in agreement. But now things get a little more complicated.
The next item people have a problem with is a much more general concept, and that is when PUA guys talk about “leading”, “escalation”, “hard escalation”, “aggressive escalation”, “pushing hard for sex”, etc. When a guy recommends being “dominant” or doing things without “asking for permission”, people launch into hysterics and immediately picture innocent women being thrown to the floor, their clothing being torn off as they kick and scream, and being brutally raped.
The problem is that’s not what we’re talking about here.
I agree that some of of this Kickstarter’s guy’s advice is a little off. He talks about how you should “want” women to rebuff you, and how you should “want” to get “drinks thrown in your face”. He recommends going to a bar and trying to get “rejected in the most hilarious fashion possible”. Add all that to the hand-on-dick thing, and yes, I agree with you this particular advice is a little silly. Remember I said this particular advice. I have never read the book in question and I have no idea if there is other advice in the book I may agree with. There very well may be. I’m just talking about this particular advice.
Here’s the deal though. Taken in a wider context, being dominant is something I recommend men do. A lot. No, I don’t tell guys to put women’s hands on their dicks if they’re resisting them. But I do tell them to do things like (for example) touch a woman’s arms, hands, and hair on a first date, and in a dominant, masculine way without asking for their permission. And I will continue to advise men to do this. Why? Because it’s not sexual assault, and it works. Being sexually dominant does indeed turn (most) women on. So does getting touched. It’s a fact of life.
Forcing a resisting woman to put her hand on your cock without her permission isn’t cool and I would never do that. But gently reaching over and touching her hair on first date without asking for her permission is fantastic, and I do that all the time. See the difference? (Once again, if you don’t see the difference between these two things, you simply aren’t a rational thinker and there’s probably no getting through to you.)
When A Woman Rebuffs
This brings up the issue of what to do if a woman rebuffs you. My advice to men has always been the following: If a woman rebuffs you in a very clear way, as in she says, “NO! Don’t touch me!” I advise men to immediately but politely terminate the date and leave, and go find another woman. Trying to have sex with a woman who does not want to have sex with you is a massive waste of time, and men shouldn’t do it. I have been telling men this for years and in many different ways.
However, if a woman rebuffs you in a very indirect or coy way, that’s very different. If you are a woman, you are well aware that there are times you could be with a man who you want to kiss (or get even more sexual with) but you’re just a little shy or uncomfortable at that moment. Again, this is how (most) women are. You don’t have to like it, but those are the facts.
If a woman rebuffs a man coyly, indirectly, or gently, the advice I have given, and will continue to give, is to back off, wait a few minutes, then try again in a very dominant way. A man should try that one or two more times.
Notice I said one or two more times. That’s it. After about the third time, it’s game over. That guy needs to wrap up the date and go find a different woman. Again, I have been saying this to men for years. I do not believe in, or condone, repeatedly pestering a woman to get sexual with you who does not want to get sexual with you. It’s a pain in the ass, a waste of time, it damages your self esteem, increases scarcity mentality, and shows outcome dependence, all of which is bad for a man. Politely end the date and go find another woman who is more willing. Very simple.
Therefore, given the three limitations of:
- Touching or escalating on a woman but not doing it in a way that would be sexually assaulting her (i.e. gently touching her hand or hair without permission is okay, putting her hand on your dick without her permission is not).
- Immediately stopping and leaving her if she clearly rejects.
- Immediately stopping if she coyly or indirectly rejects two or three times in a row.
…then being dominant and pushing for sex is a good thing and men should do it.
Otherwise, your advice to men wanting sex (which is pretty much all men) is to meekly ask a woman “can I touch your hair?”, “can I kiss you now?”, “can I take your bra off now?”, “okay good, can I take your panties off now?”. Or perhaps to sit there like a bump on a log, never touch her, never ask her, and wait until the woman leaps at him and starts tearing his clothes off.
I realize this kind of thing happens on modern-day TV shows and in Hollywood romantic comedies, but does it work in the real world? You and I both know the answer.
Being dominant is good, and pushing for sex is good, as long as one does it in a way that doesn’t violate boundaries.
Misuse of the Word “Rape”
Now we need to discuss the language people use when they discuss these topics. Sadly, there is a conscious attempt to bend the meaning of certain words in childish attempts to attack others. I see this happen most often with the word “rape”, and variations of it.
Rape is sexual intercourse carried out forcibly or under threat of injury against the will of (usually) the female. Rape can also mean having sex with someone who cannot consent, like a girl who is passed out drunk on the couch. That’s what rape means. It doesn’t mean anything else. A guy forcibly putting a woman’s hand on his cock is not rape. It might be sexual assault, depending on the context we just discussed, but it’s not rape. Repeatedly trying to kiss a girl who does not want to be kissed is not rape. Talking a girl into taking her shirt off is not rape. These things are not rape. They might be sexual assaults, they might be horrible, you may not like them, I may not like them, but they are not rape.
If you hate PUA or pickup artists or seducers, that’s fine. You’re more than welcome to your opinion and frankly, I completely agree that there are indeed a lot of guys in the PUA community who are very creepy and espouse very creepy, sketchy, even illegal advice.
But when you run around screaming like a maniac about “rape” and “rapists” and “rape guides” and “rape manuals” and “rape handbooks” and “rape apologists”, you make yourself look very, very stupid. None of these things are rape, and you know it. It detracts from your argument, makes people dismiss you at best and dislike you at worst, and turns the rational, thinking people (like me) who might otherwise agree with you away from the entire discussion.
This Kickstarter guy in no way gave instructions on how to rape a woman. I’m sorry, but he didn’t. He gave one or two pieces of odd advice, but he was not advocating rape. Yet almost every web site I read attacking him was calling his book a “rape manual” or “rape guide”. Doing this is childish, stupid, and deceptive. It detracts from the very argument you’re trying to make.
If you want to criticize dating advice and/or those who give it, please do. But do it like an adult, who knows how to speak the English language and understands what words mean. If you want to say that putting a woman’s hand on a man’s cock without permission is sexual assault, okay, let’s discuss that. You might have a point. But if you want to say it’s rape, then the conversation is over. I can’t have a rational discussion with someone who doesn’t know how to speak basic English and/or refuses to control their emotions well enough to do so.
The False “Rape Culture”
Here’s where things get even more interesting. Some haters of men who teach dating advice are a little smarter than the usual hysterical fanatic who types first and thinks later. These people do indeed realize that if they call a guy trying to kiss a girl “rape”, they’re going to look stupid and get dismissed by others. So these folks have cleverly come up with a way to call a thing “rape” without actually calling it “rape”. Enter the new politically correct term, “rape culture”, a term created by feminists in academia.
When this Kickstarter guy put up his book, these people didn’t scream “rape!” like the others. Instead they said he was “contributing to rape culture”. What is “rape culture”? Wikipedia says things like “practices that normalize, excuse, tolerate, or even condone rape” and “examples of behaviors commonly associated with rape culture include victim blaming, sexual objectification, and trivializing rape.”
In other words, unlike the with word “rape”, there is no specific definition of specific actions that construe “rape culture”. And that’s the point. If you were to write a book called “How To Forcibly Have Sex With A Woman Against Her Will”, then yes, I would agree that’s “rape culture”. But that’s not what’s happening.
Because the definition of “rape culture” is so broad, people toss it around like a battle axe and apply it to damn near anything they want. If you watch how the term is used, rape culture has come to mean “anything whatsoever remotely sexual that I don’t like”. Try to kiss a girl on a second date? That’s “rape culture”! Go to a strip club? That’s “rape culture”! Jerk off alone in the privacy of your own home and fantasize about one of your female friends? OMG. Rape culture!
The term has been thrown around so much, to describe so many things that have nothing whatsoever to do with rape, that it has become meaningless. It’s gotten so bad that today I see people tossing around the term “rape culture” and I just roll my eyes. As I just demonstrated, we’re not even talking about rape, so how could we be talking about a rape “culture”?
But that’s my opinion, and opinions can be argued with. There’s an even bigger reason it’s meaningless due to facts, and facts can’t be argued with. Ready for this?
Rape in the United States has gone down by 64% in the last 15 years, and over 85% since the 1970s.
Because people know the cops can use DNA evidence to catch you, and because of demonization of rapists in pop culture (which I support), and a few other factors, there is less rape now than ever before in modern history, perhaps in all of human history. THIS is “rape culture”?
Please. If we were currently experiencing an increase in rapes, then I would buy your “rape culture” stuff. But an 85% decrease? Uh, no. Of course any rape is bad, but an 85% decrease in a thing does not mean the thing is more prevalent in society. So stop pretending that it is, and again, stop trying to assign the word “rape” to things that are not rape.
When I see something that makes me upset, and I attack it (which I have many times on this blog and other places online), I make very sure to use facts instead of emotions to make my point. I make sure to point at all the facts and stats that bolster my point. I make sure to use dictionary definitions of words and don’t try to bend the use of these words to my own internal, emotional, incorrect definitions. (And on the rare occasions I absolutely have to bend a definition of a word, I only do it slightly, and more importantly I am very clear and up-front about the fact I’m changing the definition within the context of the discussion. But frankly, I avoid doing even this. It causes too much confusion.)
I’m human of course and I do make mistakes like anyone else, but I do take the time to get my factual ducks in a row. Then I make a measured, factual, rational argument.
What I don’t do is blow my stack, lose my cool, scream my head off, emotionally lash out, say things that make no sense, make wild assumptions, assume the absolute worst interpretations of things, or purposely apply incorrect meanings to clearly defined English words in order to bash others.
Like I said, I agree with many of you on many of your points. It’s a shame too many of you can’t, or won’t, articulate them honestly.