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Fri Aug 24, 2012, 12:05 AM

Sexual boundaries (Yes, Assange related)

The issues involving Assange certainly bring up some tough questions...questions that we need to ask ourselves.

The central sticking point in that case seems to be 2 issues.

1) The alleged penetration while she was asleep and
2) The penetration without a condom

These issues are at once both unrelated and related --quite hard to unravel.
It should first be understood that she admits she woke up after he had entered her and they had spoken during the act where it was made clear that he a) wasn't wearing a condom and b) did not have venereal disease. The woman than continued with the sex because, as she said, she felt that she had already complaiined about the condom issue too much the night before when they had had sex.
Here are a couple of questions that occur to me:
-If he had penetrated her with a condom, while she was asleep, would anyone still call it rape considering that she continued with the act?
-If he had woken her first and then put pressure on her to have sex without a condom, would it have been rape?

In other words, was it the "entering" while she was asleep or was it the condom? It cannot really be both, I think.
--------------------------
Now, back to OUR experiences relating to this. I am sure many of us have woken wives or girlfriends with our ummm, advances while they were asleep. It is extremely difficult to enter a woman while she is asleep though unless certain, ummm, prior conditions are in place shall we say. But I think most of us have the experience of waking our partners with some degree of sexual moves whether it is touching with the hands or other parts.
Now, here are a couple more questions. It is claimed by some who support the claim of rape, that consent must be given every single time. Even if they had had sex the night before, it means nothing. But, by this logic, would it not also be sexual assault if you touched the breasts or buttocks of a person you are sleeping with without first getting special permission for that too?

Tough questions and I expect some will attack me for them. But I think tough questions need to be talked about. There are no simple answers here.

11 replies, 2108 views

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Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 11 replies Author Time Post
Reply Sexual boundaries (Yes, Assange related) (Original post)
Bonobo Aug 2012 OP
loli phabay Aug 2012 #1
lumberjack_jeff Aug 2012 #2
malthaussen Aug 2012 #3
Warren Stupidity Aug 2012 #4
MadrasT Aug 2012 #5
Bonobo Aug 2012 #6
MadrasT Aug 2012 #7
ProudToBeBlueInRhody Aug 2012 #9
MadrasT Aug 2012 #11
4th law of robotics Aug 2012 #8
Warren DeMontague Aug 2012 #10

Response to Bonobo (Original post)

Fri Aug 24, 2012, 01:06 AM

1. I think the only thing that matters is how it is viewed by swedish law

 

If they are offenses under their laws then he has a case to answer regardless of what people half a world away think, when in rome and all that.

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Response to Bonobo (Original post)

Fri Aug 24, 2012, 01:10 AM

2. Do we need to ask ourselves?

I have mixed feelings about this because the behavior alleged by the women is douchebaggery that I wouldn't consider appropriate, ever.

HOWEVER

a) This is an allegation from two witnesses who were encouraged to coordinate their stories by those that want to politically imprison him.
b) Does the allegation describe a criminal act? I'm not going to offer an opinion one way or another on that because I am not a lawyer, but I will say that this allegation muddies the concept of consent. I think we can agree that one can't withdraw consent retroactively.
c) Assange hasn't given his side of the story, but the situation is such that he cannot without being Gitmo'ed.

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Response to Bonobo (Original post)

Fri Aug 24, 2012, 02:42 AM

3. Issues of consent will always be difficult

... because everyone has a different definition of what constitutes "consent." And, for that matter, how long "consent" lasts. I think it would be rather hard to derive any consensus on this issue, because it is something that has to be worked out between the individuals involved.

Having said that, I think it is quite common for both men and women, whether over-nighters or in longer-lasting sexual relationships, to "assault" their partners occasionally by beginning sexual relations while the other is asleep. It certainly never bothered me when it happened to me. But if we argue that "it isn't rape if she's sleeping," (which is a gross distortion of this principle), then we can be said to argue that it is all right to initiate sexual activity with a sleeping woman even if prior consent has never been given, which is absurd. It appears common sense flies out the window when this discussion is raised.

More to the point, I think, is the issue of the condom: if it has already been established between the partners that a condom is required whether or not it is "necessary," then it is clearly a violation to proceed without one. It goes beyond discourtesy, I would suggest. The fact that the woman gave "consent" when the act was already underway does fuzz the distinction, somewhat -- but it often happens that a woman undergoing assault will "give in" because of any number of psychological factors that really do not add up to true "consent." But whether or not this constitutes a criminal activity I find difficult to assess -- my instinct is that he should give some satisfaction to the woman involved, but that it isn't a matter in which the State need be involved.

-- Mal

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Response to malthaussen (Reply #3)

Fri Aug 24, 2012, 08:07 AM

4. It was not clear at all that the condom was required before the incident.

The condom negotiation occurred during the incident. The condom was then it seems used, but during sex it may or may not have broken, the woman claims it was deliberately broken.

Neither case seems to rise to the level of rape, in my opinion, but Swedish laws are very different from ours. That said, Assange seems a bit creepy, although we haven't heard his side of the story, only the bits put out by the swedish prosecutor. The obvious fact that this case is being used, whatever its merits, in a maneuver to get Assange into a situation where he can be taken by our government, makes this whole affair disturbing. And to the deniers about what is going on here, why exactly is our government taking any interest in this case at all?

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Response to Bonobo (Original post)

Fri Aug 24, 2012, 11:22 AM

5. From my perspective

But, by this logic, would it not also be sexual assault if you touched the breasts or buttocks of a person you are sleeping with without first getting special permission for that too?


Yes. It is.

The way to deal with this boundary question in real life is to have the conversation first. When you're NOT in bed.

"Is it OK to touch you sexually while you are sleeping?"

You can get a blanket yes or blanket no to that question pretty quickly. You might need to get more specific about what is and what is not OK touch.

If two people are in a relationship, it can be pre-negotiated that "sleep sex" or sexual touch while sleeping is a OK and is a normal and enjoyable part of that relationship.

If no such permission exists, it is sexual assault.

The boundary could also be like, "Well it's OK to try, but if I say no sometimes when you try, then please stop."

Or it could be, "No, please don't do that when I'm sleeping, not ever."

People seem to hate having those kinds of conversations, they'd rather just try stuff and see what the reaction is. I don't know what is wrong with asking before touching. It's not hard. I am a big fan of clear communication of boundaries and asking permission.

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Response to MadrasT (Reply #5)

Fri Aug 24, 2012, 11:35 AM

6. I think that is a great response.

And yes, people do hate to talk about it.

Maybe it is because it is embarrassing on one level or maybe it is because it feels clinical to talk about those things when not in bed.

Or maybe it is a spontaneity thing.

But yeah, I like your consistency and I see your point. In reality though, they rarely get discussed as you point out and the determination as to whether touching the butt while sleeping is sexual assault or not comes only later and depends on whether the act was gratefully accepted or not.

The onus of making the moves is "usually" on men but the determination of whether to accept them as "okay" or not is on women.

I think I speak for all men when I say we would probably be happier if women picked up a bit more of the slack in the "making the moves" category.

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Response to Bonobo (Reply #6)

Fri Aug 24, 2012, 12:30 PM

7. It is uncomfortable at first, for sure.

I think mostly because we aren't used to having those kinds of conversations.

I have learned if you suck it up and just have them (even though it feels weird and hard), it gets easier to talk about over time.

And it sure beats getting awakened over and over at 3:00 a.m. if you are one of those people who really, really just loves to sleep through the night and have "sexy time" during normal waking hours. (Ask me how I know, hahahaha.) (Never mind, don't. )

I think I speak for all men when I say we would probably be happier if women picked up a bit more of the slack in the "making the moves" category.


I hear ya. I do not envy men and the traditional role where they are expected to ask first. It seems to me like most men probably have to make a lot of "moves" to get a "yes," and hearing "no" over and over could be really hard on a person's self-esteem.

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Response to MadrasT (Reply #5)

Fri Aug 24, 2012, 04:30 PM

9. Would spooning someone be considered assault?

To put your arm around someone while they are sleeping or cuddling up behind them is often said by many women to be a spontaneous and enjoyable sign of a man's true romantic feelings for them. Should the enjoyment of that surprise be spoiled by saying "Hey honey, at about 3AM I plan to cuddle you while you sleep....is that ok?"

I'm just trying to find where the line should be placed. Such things are part of the romantic bond between lovers, the same as leaning into someone for that first kiss....instead of asking permission.

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Response to ProudToBeBlueInRhody (Reply #9)

Fri Aug 24, 2012, 05:59 PM

11. Frankly, I like to be asked. But I can only speak for me.

I don't know what "women" think, I only know what I think.

I think every couple should have conversations about what kind of touch they like, and when. Of course you can go overboard asking permission for every little thing, and nobody wants that either. But honestly it isn't that hard to do, and before long you establish patterns of what is OK touch and then no one needs to ask permission single every time. That would be a pain in the ass.

You have decide with your partner(s) where the line should be placed for you, I can't tell you that. But you have to communicate to know where the line is.

I'm just saying, in general, more communication and asking is better than less communication and assuming in my book.

I surely am not trying to come in here and tell y'all how to do it right.... just answered the OPs question to share that I learned that for me, more communication is better than less, and you can establish boundaries pretty easily with a partner if you make an effort to talk about them, which it seems like a lot of people never do.

And I learned all this communicating and boundary establishing stuff from my current (male) partner. I wasn't great at talking about sex and intimacy before. And this precise communicating thing works better for me. When something works, I like to tell other people about it 'cause maybe it might work for them too. (Then again, maybe not, in which case you are free to say "Hey that MadrasT is bonkers, can you believe this? This would *never* work for me!") This isn't wacky radfem stuff, it's just my real life. (Well it might be wacky radfem stuff too, I don't actually know, LOL.)

Anyway no probs. It's cool if you disagree, take it or leave it.


P.S. My comments in this thread have nothing to do with Assange, I am not particularly interested in that case.

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Response to Bonobo (Original post)

Fri Aug 24, 2012, 01:09 PM

8. I haven't really been following this case too closely but as I understand it . .

 

the alleged victims have *not* claimed it was rape and were not the ones to press charges (if I'm wrong someone let me know).

If so I think it's absurd to try someone for rape when the rape "victims" actively participated during and made no complaints after and even affirmed that they didn't consider it rape.

Very paternalistic: no dear, you're too stupid or emotional to know if you were raped. Let us decide that for you. . .

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Response to Bonobo (Original post)

Fri Aug 24, 2012, 05:39 PM

10. Ha. The middle of the night is the one time we DON'T have sex. Everyone is too damn tired!

Its difficult to have a discussion about the particular details of the Assange case, because the whole story is so weird and -correct or not- there is the feeling that the obsessive international pursuit of the man has more to do with wikileaks, than his willywank.

However, the first question i would ask is, how did (and does) the penetrate-ee feel about the act? Does she consider it a violation? A rape? Does she want to press charges?

As for a blanket policy or attitude towards "sexual advances while one person is sleeping", i will agree with others in this thread who say that communication- beforehand- is the best bet.

People with even a modicum of tact, class and ability to hear and sense how their partner is feeling, i would think, wouldnt run into an issue at all.

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