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#AskTyler: I Didn't Want to Sleep With Him

#AskTyler: I Didn't Want to Sleep With Him


What happens when the line you shouldn't cross is blurred by alcohol?

Jason from Austin writes:

"My friend and I hooked up after going out one night. I barely remember it, but I know it wasn't my idea and I don't think I wanted it. I remember him starting to kiss me and being very weirded out, but too drunk to really have the sense to stop him. What's fucked up is, I was the bottom. I feel very uncomfortable around him now, but I feel like I don't have a reason to be mad."

Unfortunately, Jason, this story is one that happens far too often in the gay community. In my early 20s, I had a very similar experience to you. It was awkward and unsettling, but for some reason or another, I didn't feel comfortable enough to exercise my right to say no.

But I didn't consent, and neither did you, so you do have every right to feel violated. The power and validity of consent is possibly the most important element to your sexual health, and it is one that our community can sometimes ignore.

As men, the line between friendship and convenient sex is easily blurred when alcohol or other substances are involved. In fact, most gay men have become so accustomed to sexual abuse and harassment by other gay men that it is usually shrugged off as "gay culture."

Is he a rapist? That is up to you to determine. Did he take advantage of you when you were intoxicated, which is considered sexual abuse? Yes. And that means you have every right to feel violated.

If he is truly a friend whom you consider worth keeping, then sit him down and talk with him about how the interaction made you feel. If he was intoxicated as well, he might have similar regrets, even though he was the instigator in this scenario. If he is resistant to your discussion and tries to downplay your feelings, you will at least have the power to walk away from your friendship with no regrets.

It may not feel like it right now, but this can be a powerful lesson on the importance of consent. You own the rights to your body, and you should always feel emboldened to say no to things you don't want. When you are in a situation where you feel uncomfortable or sexually compromised, speak up and exercise your right to consent, or not to consent, in this matter.

Other people might try to minimize your situation. They might say things like "you can't rape the willing" in the same way that they reduce sexual harassment and unwanted physical advances to "harmless flirting." But there is nothing more sacred than your body and your personal space, and it is up to you to make sure that others respect it.

Whether you are at a bar, on a date, or spending the night at a friend's house, you should always feel comfortable to say yes to the things you want to do, and no to the things you do not. It doesn't matter what has already happened. Take control now, and make sure your sexual partners in the future always feel the same.

TYLER CURRY is the senior editor of HIV Equal Online and an award-winning LGBT columnist. His children's book, A Peacock Among Pigeons, is now available. Follow him @iamtylercurry.

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