Ella Dawson’s post titled The Boner Backlash (subtitled: STOP TELLING ME YOU WOULD STILL FUCK ME) hit home with me in a very personal way, and I imagine that anyone who writes about sex can relate, particularly if they’re perceived as women.
People tend to get overly familiar when you write about sex, perform in sex, or work in the adult industry. To some degree this is fine, because many of us want to educate and are more than happy to discuss things to that end. There is a culture of sexual openness that I try to perpetuate as a sex blogger. I think we should be able to talk about sex openly, but there’s a big difference between discussing sex in a non-threatening way and telling someone you wanna stick your dick in them. There’s a difference between saying, “Tell me how that big dick feels when you slip it inside yourself,” and asking me how a particular dildo feels. There’s a difference between someone calling Tantus’ customer support line to learn more about how a particular toy works and calling customer support to nonconsensually talk dirty at the person on the other end of the line.
When a woman mentions sex in any way, creepy people (most often men – why is it always you, men?) lose their heads and assume that these women are welcoming all sexual discussion and advances.
As Ella says in her blog post:
Readers—male readers, let me be clear—often think they know exactly who I am after reading a few of my essays. They are usually wrong.
These men assume that they know us because we expose an intimate part of our lives, and they assume that they’re welcome to associate with us in overly familiar terms… terms that most of these guys (hopefully) know not to use on a first date, or even a third, yet they’ll tweet and e-mail us using those familiar terms without even knowing our names.
It’s like they think that by reading about our sexuality they’ve been transported into our bedrooms and we’re sitting around in lingerie, waiting. What they don’t realize is that if we’re sitting around in lingerie waiting for someone it is not them. They are STRANGERS to us. This overly familiar feeling is completely one-sided. If these men appeared in our bedrooms we would be terrified because they are uninvited strangers barging into our homes.
And don’t think that apologizing or claiming that you’re not a pervert when you try to barge into our home helps. After all, Ella’s reader that wrote to her assured her that he wasn’t a pervert:
“To put that all together, and also read about how much you enjoy sex without condoms physically-speaking, everything just points to what a wonderful, sexy, and confident woman you are. Honestly, I was just like “WOW, this girl is just so damn sexy..”, and I don’t mean it in a perverted way at all.”
Yes you do, you piece of shit. “WOW, this girl is just so damn sexy…” I really hate that this is supposed to be a compliment when it really just makes most of us feel pretty damn gross. I’ve heard this on Twitter, and I’ve heard it on Fetlife, and I’ve heard it OKCupid, and it really just makes me annoyed. Yes! I am sexy! And I don’t need some dude to tell me he thinks that. I don’t want to know when I’m desirable to some stranger, especially some cis man – sorry boys, but “Dick is abundant and low value.” Cis males are the key perpetrators of harassment like this and because of that I just have less tolerance for this shit from y’all.
I don’t need a stranger to tell me I’m sexy. I don’t need a stranger to make conversation with me just to get closer to me with the intention of getting in my pants. I don’t WANT those things! I’m so sick of a world where we pretend that men are doing women a service by getting all up in their grill and singing songs of how fuckable they are. It’s not a compliment – it’s an affront.
I’ve had people say they’d like to date and/or fuck me, and from certain people I have established relationships with it’s very flattering, but from the rest of you it’s a pesky buzzing noise like you’re some kind of fly circling my nethers. When in doubt use this handy rule of thumb: If I don’t start flirting with you, don’t try flirting with me.
Back to Ella’s letter from her “fan,” I also get this manipulative element from his message. Did you catch it? That sort of “I-have-low-self-esteem” thing, saying something like, “I don’t expect you to write back.” It’s like he’s trying to downplay the entitlement in his message. Trying to guilt-trip her into a response? As if the goal is for Ella to write back and say, “Of course I was going to write back since you sent me such a lovely letter! We’re soul mates after all, because you realize how wonderful I am!”
And it’s also just so awkward for everyone involved whenever a man tries to disguise his unwanted advances as hypotheticals: “if you did write back and one day we actually got to do ‘it’”. Do you know how this differs from the men that say, “When we fuck I’m going to do x, y, z to you?” It differs because the men who write in hypotheticals can shuffle backwards with their hands raised when we call them on their shit. “I was just saying if it ever happened! I didn’t mean it! It was hypothetical! I wasn’t being a creep!” Stop trying to cover it up. You were being a creep and we both know it.
There’s not a lot for me to say that Ella hasn’t already said in her own post, but let me just lay the bottom line out for you folks again: when we write about sex we are never doing it for you. We are not inviting you to tell us about your dick. We are not saying we will date or fuck you… we’re not even saying you’re a candidate! And the minute you approach us spewing this repulsive harassment that you’ve tried to disguise as a compliment, you’re permanently ruling yourself out as a candidate, because you are actively demonstrating that you feel entitled to us.
As Ella says:
I do not exist to arouse. Sometimes I write erotica, but that does not mean I am personally interested in your arousal. And I am a woman who writes about sex, but I am not a woman whose sexuality you are entitled to.