The #MeToo movement broke open the floodgates and has left many men re-examining their behaviors regarding women and sex. Many are anxiously waiting for the next wave of men to be called out and hoping they will not be among them. But the real questions they are grappling with are what is okay and what’s not okay regarding sexual behavior? What is consent and what’s not consent? Does “no” really mean “no?” What if they can change that “no” into a “yes?” Is that so bad? Men are scrambling, as are women, to find their footing after the ground has been rocked. So let’s dare to take a look at what men can learn by starting with the “Grace” and Aziz Ansari story. If you haven’t read it—it’s worth the read https://babe.net/2018/01/13/aziz-ansari-28355
In Grace’s story, Aziz is a man on an incessant hunt for sex. Within minutes of entering his home, he’s undressing her and talking about getting a condom. When she tells him to “chill,” he stops heading for the condom and instead decides to go for oral sex—reportedly all within 10 minutes. After the oral sex, he’s still on a mission. Reportedly Aziz repeatedly asks Grace, “Where do you want me to f*ck you?” Her article says that he physically pulled her hand toward his penis multiple times throughout the night. “He probably moved my hand to his dick five to seven times,” she said. “He really kept doing it after I moved it away.” She says throughout the night that he pushes and pushes and pushes for sex. At one point his behavior is so relentless that Grace says to him, “I do not want to feel forced, because then I’ll hate you.” Aziz seems to finally get it and responds by saying, “Of course, it’s only fun if we’re both having fun.” Only, he really doesn’t get it; nor does it seem to Grace that he wants to get it. He’s on a mission to have sex and not really interested in making sure his date wants the same. And so, he continues on his quest as he takes her to the couch and starts up again. In this story, Ansari was interested in Grace’s body—not Grace. And herein lies a key problem.
Many stories that have come out since this story about men acknowledging they too have acted similar to Grace’s description of Aziz. In the world of men, women and dating, Aziz’s reported behavior is not particularly rare. Grace’s behavior was also not all that rare (read what women can learn from this here: https://lisamerlobooth.com/grace-aziz-ansari-story-women-can-learn/.)
If we hope to have a world where males and females of all ages are able to mutually enjoy each other’s company, then we have to re-examine how each of us is showing up in those relationships. Here are several tips for the men:
1. Treat women as human beings to get to know, not objects to use. Regardless of whether or not this person is going to be a one-night stand or an ongoing relationship, she is a human being. Treat her as one.
2. Focus on the person inside the body—not on the body. All bodies have feelings that come with them. Attend to the whole human being you are with. Be tuned into her actions, lack of actions, emotional state, and her feelings if you hope to make the entire experience much more enjoyable for all involved.
3. Do not make sex your destination. In this story, Aziz is only concerned about getting her in bed. He’s paying attention to one thing only—himself. He wants sex, so he assumes she does. She moves her hand away and he pulls it back. She says don’t force me and he says of course not—as he continues to do whatever he can to get her to have sex. He was the only person on this “date.” It was like he had a GPS in his head and every time Grace said he had made a wrong turn, his GPS said “recalculating” and provided him with an alternate route to his destination of sex. Gross—knock that off. It’s very unattractive.
4. Do not tie your manhood to getting women in bed. Contrary to societal messages to men, women are not notches to be accumulated for your manhood belt. You will not be able to have a healthy relationship with women if you see them as a stepping-stone to proving your manhood—to yourself or to others. If you feel the need to show your friends what a player you are, then it’s time you work on your insecurity, not on getting females into bed.
Sex should be a great experience for everyone involved. You can’t have that if one person desperately wants it and the other person is wishing there weren’t so much pressure. When it comes to sex, change your thinking. Treat all females as human beings to be respected and treated well—just as men deserve to be. Be determined to only have sex with people who are excited to have sex with you and, even then, be sure you actually want to have sex with them. Having wishy-washy sex is a downer. Go for the absolute YES or nothing.
Challenge: Stay tuned for next week’s Part II to this story. Share these thoughts with your friends, sons, brothers and fathers. When men and women work together toward changing the tides around sexual violence against females (and males)—we all win.