Trust issues? Or years of putting up with the same bullshit?

“You don’t have trust issues, do you?” he asked.

I think this guy was expecting me to come to my own defence pretty quickly when he asked this. I think he expected something like, “Issues? I don’t have issues. I’m a cool girl! I don’t have annoying things like issues.”

Instead, I said, “No, but I do have really good intuition and 20 years of dating wisdom. Are ya nervous?”

He deleted me.

I guess some dudes still think that cutting a woman down is the best way to get them into bed. It’s ‘a’ way that sometimes works but it’s incredibly toxic in that it comes from a selfish place. It’s funny how the easiest way to something is usually the most destructive.

What men such as Gary, 41, don’t realise is that “trust issues” don’t belong to women. They don’t spring from inside us like some kind of spontaneous well. We aren’t inherently broken. What men call trust issues, I prefer to call impeccable intuition coupled with infinite wisdom.

The term ‘trust issues’ is on par with calling a woman ‘crazy’. It’s aimed to undermine us by putting the blame on us, suggesting we are broken and cleverly avoiding men any culpability. When men are in fact often responsible for said issues.

But there is nothing wrong with observing a pattern of behaviour in others, identifying that it is toxic and then choosing to protect ourselves by avoiding it. Choosing not to trust someone who displays red flags or toxic behaviours and traits is not ‘trust issues’, it’s woke AF. It’s the red flags that are the problem. It’s men adopting behaviours that make them untrustworthy and then refusing to acknowledge these behaviours that is the problem. But due to men pretty much being able to do whatever the fuck they want, including shifting responsibility for their own behaviour to women, we get branded with ‘trust issues’.

You may be able to trick a woman into sleeping with you, but you can’t shame a woman into trusting you. Trust needs to be earned. You are not entitled to it. Just like you are not entitled to our bodies or our time.

So I call bullshit on your ‘trust issues’.

Are dating apps making us lonely?

“I can’t find anyone genuine.”

“Nobody wants a relationship anymore.”

“I feel like an option.”

“He won’t commit.”

“All the good ones are taken.”

These are the kinds of things I constantly hear from my single friends when I ask the dreaded question: “How’s the dating going?”

I don’t think all the good ones are taken (hello, I’m still single) and I do think people still want relationships but they also want it all, and hey, who can blame ‘em? Life’s short and we want to experience everything. We also want more than ever to make the right decision. But it’s a lot harder to decide between thirty-one flavours of ice cream than two, and that’s what online dating often feels like. Except there are 500 flavours and it often feels like they are all bland variations of each other. Nobody wants to settle for whatever is just on offer. But settling is not the same as actively choosing and it’s easy to confuse the two.

There will always be something better, something we didn’t choose. There will always be someone hotter, wealthier, fitter, smarter or funnier. The grass will always be greener. But I guess you have to decide if you want to jump from pasture to pasture or if you want to nurture the one you’re in. People are more often choosing to jump from pasture to pasture. Some just like the thrill of something new, but many have no idea how to even nurture a pasture.  They don’t even know where to begin. Add to that the fact that there are a lot more pastures on our horizon these days and it’s no wonder that nobody wants to make a choice.  

Perhaps this is why people are single now more than they have ever been before. It’s predicted that 1 in 4 young people today will reach the age of 50 without ever having been married.

if you actually want to buy this depressing cushion, you can here

Add to this the fact that Generation Z are reporting feeling lonelier than ever before and you have to wonder what’s going on.  But it’s not just young people who are experiencing loneliness, we’re all lonely and we’re lonely all the time. Even those of us in relationships are lonely, even those of us who have lots of friends are lonely – lonely, lonely, lonely.

But are we actually lonelier than ever before? Or are we just more acutely aware of our loneliness these days? Now that we have so grossly overstimulated ourselves with social media, do we just need stimulation all the time? Or is seeing smiling couples and dramatic proposals and lavish weddings and exotic holidays on social media making us compare and hence, question our worth more than ever before?

It could be any or all of these things. But our desire to be seen, to be known, that factor is of vital importance to us. And usually the person who really sees us, who knows us better than anyone else, is our other half, our partner, the love of our lives. So it’s no wonder that we search for the ‘one’ and we refuse to settle for anything less.

Social media, dating apps, online content, they all feed our voyeuristic desires, to see what’s out there and compare (usually to our detriment) but at the end of the day, you can’t hug your phone. On dating apps, you aren’t really feeling seen, you aren’t being fed and nobody really knows you.

We live busy lives, we don’t have time to get to know the deepest darkest secrets of every person who crosses our paths. But the possibility of a true partner in crime, a lover, a soul mate, encourages us to believe that someone could truly know us, if only we could find them. The idea that this private, hidden part of ourselves where we house our deepest, darkest secrets could really be known and shared and understood and accepted by someone else is why we keep searching. It’s why we don’t give up.

But are we just a bunch of Yins looking for our Yangs, who when we find each other will finally be whole again? I don’t think it’s as simple as that or as romantic. But we need to be fed and we need to be seen. This yearning to find that special someone is a hunger that haunts every human being at some point.  Unfortunately, you can’t wait until that guy you met on Tinder turns 65 and finally emotionally matures.

Online dating is supposed to be easier than real life dating. It takes the fear of rejection out of the equation. It avoids us the awkward conversations we otherwise might have to have with someone we aren’t interested in. You only match with people that want to match with you. But I think the thrill of dating is when the stakes are high. When you could be rejected, when you have to play the game, when you have to approach that person you’ve been sneakily stealing glances at all night, or they might leave the bar and you may never see them again. There should be a sense of urgency. High stakes are where the fire is. But online dating apps level those stakes out, lower them, and often cause them to disappear completely.

An online dating backlash is surely looming. Online dating is sterile. It’s impersonal, shallow, bleak. It’s the opposite of what dating should be. It also allows us to wallow in our insecurities, in our anxieties. It makes us lonelier. We need to have more parties. We need to talk to each other face to face. We need to be prepared to look a stranger in the eyes, to hold their gaze, to flirt, to be brave again, to climb back out of our phones and out of our own heads.

Bring on the backlash.

Eating ass and the mythical Pegasus

“Can I eat your ass?”

Dude, it’s 8am. Cool your fucking jets.

I know I am not the only woman who has received this request from a stranger I have just met on a dating app.

“What’s your success rate with this method?” I asked one gent.

“Not good” he replied.

And yet…

I don’t know if it’s my age, the rapidly changing dating landscape or the fact that men can ask these things in a virtual space without the threat of being slapped or branded a perv, but never in my life have I had more men offering to eat my ass than I have had in the last year. Dudes wanna do it, they wanna receive it and they ain’t afraid to talk about it.

Has it actually increased in popularity though or are people just being more open about it now?

Perhaps it all comes down to porn, which seems to be the main thing informing our sexual landscape right now, but either way, it’s definitely a new standard feature in the bedroom and one that men and women are growing more comfortable talking about.

When I have asked people about eating ass, it usually elicits three very distinct responses, laughter, embarrassment and disgust. The ones who laugh almost always are interested in it but aren’t comfortable talking about it, the embarrassed ones have usually done it and liked it and the disgusted ones exclaim that it’s gross because poo comes out of there. Fair enough. But urine comes out of penises and vaginas and the odd vomit has come out of everyone’s mouth at some point, and we still put our mouths on those.

Some guys find the actual stigma of ass eating arousing. The fact that it is considered dirty or shameful is a one-way ticket to turn on town for them. Others claim that it’s no different to going down on a girl and some claim they only give it to receive it. 

But how do women feel about it? Many I have talked to are too embarrassed to try it, a lot feel demeaned by it but quite a few have admitted to enjoying both giving and receiving it.

But it’s not just ass eating that has risen in popularity. Thanks to shows like Broad City, “pegging” has become a more accepted act for straight men too. For those who are unfamiliar, pegging is when a woman wears a strap on and penetrates a man. Until a couple of years ago, I’d never heard of pegging and no man had ever asked me to do it. In the last year, I have matched with several men on dating sites who are in search of the mythical Pegasus.

Butt stuff is certainly making its way from more of a fetish item to a mainstream one. Being that the stigma of butt stuff for men is no longer a question of their sexual persuasion is also a factor, which I think is freeing for a lot of heterosexual men. 

Mainstream or not, I still don’t think it should be a topic anyone broaches with a stranger or someone they have only just met. And whether you like giving or receiving, consent, as always, is paramount. Just like trying to ‘sneak anal’ is not okay without permission, eating ass needs to be consensual too. It needs to be a mutual sexual quest for glory and if one of the involved parties is not into it, then it should immediately cease. 

Bottom line is, there’s nothing wrong with it. But I still think a dude ought to take a lady out for a drink before measuring her up for a harness or requesting to put his mouth anywhere near her butt.

Stealth anal: What is it? Why is it?

Stealth anal.

It’d a thing. I wish it wasn’t.

But let me tell you, men, it is NEVER okay to attempt stealth anal with a woman, whether it’s the first time you have slept with her or the fiftieth, it is NEVER okay to try and put it in her butt without talking about it first.

When you’re in the bedroom with someone who has consented to sex, you still need to navigate what is okay and what is not okay. Saying yes does not mean your partner has resigned any boundaries she may have. They still exist and you need to respect them.

“Some girls like it though,” men will protest. Anal? Sure. Some girls really do love it in the butt and more power to them. But stealth anal? Anal without warning? Never. And I’ll tell you why. There is a certain level of preparation required for these things. You cannot just try to “slip it in”, mate. And unless you have a penis the size of a number 2 pencil, you won’t be just “slipping it in” to my butthole, dude. Butts are tight and for GOOD REASON. They are designed that way On PURPOSE. And I get it, that’s why you wanna put your penis in there because it’s gonna feel great, but you can’t just whip your dick out and shove it in my anus without warning, unless you’re looking to get slapped.

When it comes to anal, I need written warning. I need five days notice. I need to make a chart. There needs to be lube upon lube upon lube and just when you think you have enough lube, there needs to be more lube. I need to pray on it. I need to talk to my therapist. I need to conduct a survey. I need to perform a ritual. I need to commence a six week training program. Then and only then, may we proceed with the anal.

I know that due to wonderful things like porn, that this may come as a surprise to many straight men. That thanks to porn many men are under the impression that women are just automatically ready to receive an erect dick in their butt, but let me tell you this, I know quite a few gay men who have had it in the butt and even they have cringed when I have told them my horror stories of attempted stealth anal from men. 

Foreplay is an absolute MUST, no matter what hole it is going in.

Guys, let’s be real, if it was reversed and a girl stealthily whipped out a strap on and shoved it in your butt without warning, you would probably not be okay with that. You’d want warning, perhaps to have a conversation about it first, and at the very least, I would think you would want her to warm you up a bit first, utilise some lube and make sure you were ready for it before she just forced it in there.

Warning. Communication. Consent. Foreplay. WCCF, people! It’s the same acronym for World Club Champion Football.

I’m not saying you have to turn it into a science experiment or a lecture on anatomy. But there needs to be conversation, you need to check in with your partner, make sure they are enjoying themselves, and that the pleasure is mutual, because sadly, pleasure is something that is still very one-sided and very geared towards male pleasure even in 2019.

I can tell almost instantly if a guy I am sleeping with watches a lot of porn because I myself have watched it too. Female pleasure is still something that the porn industry is catching up on. And while there is porn out there that is more geared towards female pleasure, it’s still relatively non-existent in that world. Sure there’s a lot of panting and squealing and moaning going on – but these women are paid actors, people. It’s their JOB to look like they’re having a great time. But men taking this as gospel, and using it as a model for the bedroom only leads to disappointment, confusion and in extreme cases, pain, for one or both parties involved.

If only we had some sort of vehicle to teach young men about their bodies and women’s bodies and how sex works and how to negotiate it and why pleasure for both sexes matters…what a different world we could live in.

Because we don’t have this, I’ve rarely had men ask me what I like in the bedroom, and when I was younger I used to just put up with bad sex because I didn’t realise it could be better or that I was allowed to ask. Now I know better. But if you’re unsure if I want you to put it in my butt or not, never fear, I’ll let you know.

The bottom line is, women are still being reduced to mere vehicles for male pleasure in the bedroom, which not only dehumanises them but denies them any kind of agency. In the butt, in the vag, in the mouth – wherever it goes, men need to spare a thought for whether their partner is enjoying it or not and if they’re unsure, there’s a sure-fire way to find out – just ask.

Just ask, dude.

Dating and sex

When is the right time to have sex? Can I have sex on the first date? I don’t want him to think I’m a slut. If I don’t make him work for it, he’ll never respect me, right?

I don’t know the answers to these questions.

In a perfect world, the answers would be: ‘There is no right time’, ‘If you want to have sex on the first date, go for it!’ ‘What’s a slut?’ and ‘He should respect you no matter what!’

Unfortunately, I have to live in this one.

But there is more to sex than timing. Sex is an interesting energetic vehicle. I didn’t realise when I was young how much my self-esteem was tangled up in it. How being intimate with the wrong people, with people who didn’t really care for me, would affect my sense of self, my sense of power, my sense of self.

There is so much power in the act of sex, there is an energy that can be created, an electric force that is born from two bodies joining. This force can be healing, it can create a charge and in turn, it can energise us.

I remember fantasising about sex when I was a kid. What was it going to be like the first time? Who was it going to be with? What would he look like? What would I be wearing? Where would it happen? Of all the questions, there were two things I was sure of, we would love each other and it would be the best experience of my life.

Needless to say, when I finally had sex for the first time I was wildly disappointed. I remember thinking; is this it? Is this what I have been waiting for this whole time? It took me four years after my first sexual experience to have sex with another man.  It took me even longer to have an orgasm during sex. Up until then, I didn’t really understand what the big deal was about. I even actively avoided having sex for a good while because without even the flickering hope of an orgasm, sex is pretty boring and very few guys that I had sex with even knew what foreplay was or much less cared.

So I began a full-blown study of self-exploration. If I didn’t know what was going to get me off, how could I expect a partner to? I also started practising with my boyfriend at the time, started to figure things out. Started to learn what worked for me and what didn’t. Started to be more vocal about what I wanted, what I needed. It wasn’t love-making, it was an exploratory task, a science experiment. I cared for my partner at the time but it wasn’t anything close to love, so after the exploring was over, sex became empty, it became a chore. I got bored. We broke up. But I never forgot my lessons and sex soon became an exciting prospect again.

Over the years, I’ve talked to many women about sex and have been surprised at how many have confessed they have never achieved an orgasm from sex. Some of them have just been unlucky, a few bought into this idea that they were incapable of achieving an orgasm, and quite a few were just too embarrassed or ashamed to explore their own bodies. When I questioned them about what happens when they masturbate, many have confessed that they don’t feel comfortable doing it. It is possible that they just don’t want to confess to me that they touch themselves, female masturbation still carries the stigma of shame for many women. But I wonder how the hell a dude is supposed to know what turns a woman on if she has no idea?

It’s not our fault. Sexual empowerment is still a grey area for many women because in many ways we are still not allowed to be sexual beings. We are certainly not allowed to be sexual beings in the same way that men are. 

When I was younger, I thought I had to submit to my partner, that being too sexually empowered would be intimidating, that I might be mistaken for a slut. Nowadays, I don’t give a fuck. If a man is intimidated by my confidence in the bedroom, by my needs, he probably shouldn’t be in my bedroom in the first place.  My needs are just as important as my partner’s and the days of me being a mere vehicle for a man’s sexual release are gone. I am not a receptacle. I am a conduit for energy. I am a motherf***ing witch, a goddess, a sorceress.

I’ve spent my whole life believing I owe men something. That by not giving them sex when they want it, I am selfishly keeping something from them that is rightfully theirs. I am shamed for not giving it away and when I do, I am shamed for that too. I am shamed if I give it away too quickly, often abandoned if I wait too long. And God forbid I make a man ‘work for it’. Shame. Shame. Shame. Shame. Shame. I feel like Cersei making her walk of atonement in King’s Landing. It’s a game I cannot win.

There are also the men (and more often than not, young boys) who seem to be under the illusion that they can trade acts of minimal kindness or compliments for sexual acts. But sex is not currency and neither are kind acts and compliments. People should be kind because it is an ethical, compassionate thing to do, they should give compliments because it makes another person feel good, not because the giver expects something in return. Who is teaching our boys? Who is educating them on how to negotiate sex, how to understand consent?

Cue crickets.

I sold a guy some concert tickets once and after picking them up from my house, he messaged me a few days later asking for a date. When I declined with, “Oh thanks, but no,” he responded with “Fucking slut.” The weird thing is, even after this overblown, aggressive response, I still felt guilty for saying no.

But we should be able to say no, at any point, to any advance and not have to feel shitty about it. I should be able to want what I want without feeling guilty about it, without feeling less than.

If I just want to be your friend, I shouldn’t have to explain that. If I don’t want to talk to you at all, I shouldn’t have to explain that either. I can’t wait til we get rid of the term friend-zone, which only serves to further institutionalise this ridiculous notion that women owe men sex and that women are not in charge of their own bodies.

The sad thing is, we’re not. Not really. Our bodies still belong to men and to other women and to advertising and to the government and to our parents – to anyone but us. I have spent my entire life trying to claim my body back, to raise a flag, to make me my own again. I don’t need some dude on a first date or a second date or a third date pressuring me into sex, pressuring me into anything I don’t want to do. If you wanna have sex, have it. If you don’t, walk away, you don’t owe him anything. The only person you owe in a situation like this is yourself.

Dicks

This just in: the new way to woo a woman is to send her a picture of your penis.

In many ways I don’t understand this phenomenon and in other ways I do. On the one hand, a guy wouldn’t walk up to a woman in a bar, pull his pants down and start helicoptering his dick in her face and hope for a date. On the other hand, guys watch a lot of porn and no one appears to be helping them out with any guidance.

But never in the history of the civilised world has a man wooed a woman with the sheer power of his mighty dick.

If you want to woo a woman, woo her with your words, listen to her, be interested in her life and chances are she’ll want to see your dick. You won’t have to send it to her, unsolicited, and hope that its raw power means you won’t have to bother with any of those other things like being charming and funny or giving a shit about her day. Newsflash, dudes, you ALWAYS have to bother with those other things.  Those other things are what make a woman interested in sleeping with you, not an out-of-context, photograph of your anatomy. It’s like looking at a science book: sterile, dry and largely disinterested. Emotionally I have no connection to it. The emotional connection is what is going to make it interesting.

Women enjoy dicks but they like all the things that come along with them too. Sending a dick pic is a lazy way to woo. It’s like screwing a girl and ignoring what she wants in bed, then expecting her to be impressed that you never turned her on, or worse, claiming to be baffled by female anatomy and actually feeding the myth that it’s difficult to get a woman off. Anything is difficult if you know nothing about it and aren’t willing to try.

And yet, men are just sending pictures of their dicks and hoping this will be enough to get women to sleep with them. No woman has ever received a dick pic and been so consumed with passion, that’s she’s jumped into an UberX and raced over to a dude’s house to get up on that sweet, irresistible rod.

At first I blamed pornography. All men have to do in a porno is get their dicks out and women and its suddenly the rapture. Women immediately go to work on that glorious D like it’s nobody’s business. But porn is not real life. Porn is so far from real life that real life is on earth and porn is basically on Tatooine (for those not up on their Star Wars, Tatooine is in a galaxy far, far away – like really far). Yet men are using porn to inform their behaviour when it comes to sex.

And why are they using it to inform their behaviour? Because where else are they going to find out? We don’t teach kids effective Sex Ed. We might teach them basic anatomy, we might teach them how sex works from an anatomical point of view but what we don’t do is teach them how to negotiate sex, what consent is and why it’s important, what the difference is between sex and intimacy. We don’t teach them about pleasure and agency and respect. Sometimes kids gets lucky and they have parents who help them with this sort of stuff but let’s face it, few kids want to talk to their parents about sex and fewer parents would even know what to say that wasn’t purely anatomical.

When men send a dick pic, there’s no doubt they are trying to be appealing but what many men fail to realise it that when they haven’t met a woman yet, when they are basically strangers, there is no trust and without trust, naked pictures featuring erect penises actually more threatening than enticing. When I see pictures like this, I don’t think “Wow, let me pop right ever to inspect that more closely,” I think, “This guy could physically overpower me if he wanted to.” And that is frightening.

When a guy sends a pic like this, he is telling me a lot of things. The first is that he is very low investment and just looking for sex, the second is that this entire interaction is about him and his needs and his desires. The third is he is telling me that I am merely a receptacle for these needs and desires. He could also be telling me he is a sex offender.  

I have asked for a dick pic before. Something that Cormac, 34, promptly told me I shouldn’t be telling guys about. “Jesus, there’s just some things you don’t say to guys. Sorry, but I can’t see myself with someone who asks men for dick pics.” Thanks for the judgement, dude, and good luck finding a suitable partner without access to a time travelling Delorean. Thankfully, I can’t see myself with a judgemental prude that shames me for being open about bodies and sex. Note to future partners: I have seen dicks before.

But back to the other dick. The way this guy described his penis made me think Damn, I gotta see this D. I asked to see it and he refused to send it unless I was absolutely sure I wanted it. He said he didn’t want to scare me away. I was intrigued by this A+ penis. Scare me away? Exactly how big was this beast? After a bit of umming and ahhing, he finally sent it… and let me tell you friends, it did not disappoint. That penis, my friends, was mighty, and about as close to perfect as I have ever seen. I was compelled to make a little crown for it. Pretty sure a ray of sunlight from the heavens above was the only thing he used to light the pic.

Solicited dick pics are very different to unsolicited dick pics and the point of difference is consent. In a porno, whether it seems like it or not, there is consent present. The guy isn’t really a school teacher and that isn’t really his sixteen-year-old student. The director has gone through the scene with both of the actors. The actors know each other, they know what to expect, they know what the boundaries are. But as the audience we don’t see that part, we just see the finished result. That doesn’t mean consent is not there.

If you do receive unsolicited dick pics and you aren’t quite sure how to deal with them, here’s a life hack: save all the unsolicited dick pics you receive and then when you receive a new one, send one of the saved ones back. There is no limit to how offended men become when you send them another man’s dick. They just can’t understand why anyone would send that to anyone…

“I know, dude, kinda weird, amirite?”

When matches turn mean; the dark side of online dating

We’ve all experienced it.

Perhaps we didn’t respond fast enough. Perhaps we didn’t respond at all. Or perhaps, God forbid, we politely declined his advances. But all of a sudden his ‘Hey babes, hi darlings, and his “Um, are you still theres?” turn to pure vitriol. Suddenly you’re getting “You’re ugly AF” or “Maybe you should try to lose some weight” or the ever accusatory and entitled; “You’re the same as all the others.”

Ah yes, all the others that expect to be treated like human beings and not just faceless, voiceless, opinion-less receptacles for unwanted “compliments”.  

Most of these guys I just delete, but sometimes I question why they would react like that. Strangely, not one has ever apologised for speaking to me that way, not one has apologised for making me feel uncomfortable, not one has admitted that they didn’t realise they were offending me and assured me it wouldn’t happen again. Not one has apologised for being presumptuous or pushy or entitled to my time and attention. Not one has apologised for being flat out rude. Not one.

The most common reaction is actually explosive anger, followed by the age-old accusation that I need to learn how to take a compliment. Excuse me, sir, but you need to learn how to give one.

Then there’s the tirade of insults, abuse and sometimes even physical threats. In short, these men that are self-proclaimed gentlemen in their bios, suddenly become mean, offensive and often frightening.

I assume it’s more manly to react to these situations with anger? Because God knows in 2018, it would be completely inappropriate for men to respond to rejection with sadness or vulnerability.

There is also this crazy idea of just shrugging and moving on, but perhaps we can revisit that possibility in 2075.

I know I should be grateful for the fact that these men are even speaking to me. I know that at my age, thirty-eight, I should be thankful for their attention, and most importantly, I know I should be grateful that they want to fuck me in the ass until I bleed. That last one was a particularly romantic suggestion from Matt, 33, frighteningly located 500 metres away from my house. Wow, thank you soooooo much. And thanks to all the guys who have reminded me just how lucky I am to have their attention in this geriatric period of my life. I am basically an old maid now. Dried out, shrivelled up, ready to be put out to pasture.

“Maybe you should be thankful for these dick pics you’re getting. You’re almost forty. You won’t be getting any dick pics then.” Thanks, Peter, 46. Can I be forty now, please? But more on dick pics in another post.

It is tough dealing with men at the age of thirty-eight. Getting them to give a shit about what I think and say, getting them to take me seriously, to treat me with respect and dignity. But it was also tough at twenty-eight and eighteen and eight. It’s always been tough. It’s going to continue to be tough until we start to change the culture that puts women second, a culture that suggests we are just here to be subservient to men, a culture in which there are far more consequences for women than men, a culture that allows white men to basically do whatever the fuck they want without any consequence at all.

Nobody likes being rejected (it sucks for women too) but it only seems to be men that react with violence. I have been rejected by men but I have never verbally abused them for it, I have never yelled at them for leading me on, I have never threatened to strangle them or stab them. God knows I have never tackled a guy in a football jersey and then when questioned about it, answered with, “Well, look at what he was wearing, he was clearly asking for it.” But I have sadly been on the receiving end of all this behaviour from men (not the football jersey part because football – ew) and I know I am not alone. In 2019, women are still being berated and blamed for saying no.

It’s not just rejection rage that women have to deal with either. I have been sexually harassed too. I had one guy hound me with messages for weeks about “how good he could eat my pussy”. Fifty-six is the number of times this guy used the word ‘pussy’ in messages to me. Finally I had to threaten to go to the police with his messages if he didn’t leave me alone, which only turned the sexual messages into threatening ones and then finally dismissive ones. “You’ve probably got a smelly pussy anyway.” Guess you’ll never know, Jeff, 43.

Blocking and reporting is an option but if they already have your phone number, it gets a little trickier. Once they have your phone number, blocking and reporting is not really an option. I could block their number but they don’t know I have blocked them. So they can continue to text. What if they get more and more aggressive? What if they threaten physical violence? How will I know ow scary they have become if I have blocked them? So I have to put up with these awful texts, just to be safe, until they give up or find someone else to harass.  

We shouldn’t have to get to the Block and Report stage. Men just need to behave better. Men would not be able to behave this way in a bar or a café or at work without being asked to leave or without having a drink thrown in their face. But unfortunately in the online world, men get away with this behaviour all the time because there is little that victims can do except attempt to ignore the behaviour, block and report, and hope they don’t figure out where we work or worse, where we live.

But there have to be boundaries and consent matters. Just because a female is on a dating site does not mean she is ‘asking for it’ or that this sort of behaviour should be expected, accepted and tolerated. To assume the act of simply being on a dating site is an invitation to sexual harassment is not unlike blaming a victim of rape for attending a party.

This just in: men are able to control themselves.

And as a result, they must be held accountable for their words and their actions.

Even if women are on dating sites purely in search of casual sex, there have to be boundaries and consent matters. Respect also matters. But there are a lot of men on these sites who think that if a girl is up for casual sex, she does not deserve respect, and that simply isn’t true. Can we please move on from this tired stereotype of women who enjoy a lot of sex being denigrated as sluts and men who enjoy a lot of sex being celebrated as gods? It’s 2019, people.

Digital mediums, like dating apps, mean that men can stand at arm’s length from their behaviour, that men can avoid being accountable for their words, but wouldn’t it be great if this kind of behaviour didn’t even cross their minds? If this kind of behaviour didn’t even exist? Men are not blind suitors, fumbling in the dark for a light, and I don’t think they are as clueless or blameless as they claim to be when someone calls them out on their shitty behaviour.

It’s so hard. How are men supposed to know how to treat women in this era of #metoo, where men can’t even sexually assault women anymore without being held accountable? How can men be expected to know what is okay and what is not okay in this culture of hyper-feminism in 2019?

Here’s a crazy idea…

Just ask.