“Girlfriend” is not synonymous with “permanent sex toy”

A while back, Jakob Free wrote a post about the desire to have sex with his girlfriend while she sleeps, painting it to be a universal — and acceptable — desire amongst men.

I found this blog post via some feminist self-promotion thread, and commented:

You fuck women while they sleep? You mean, you have sex with a person who hasn’t expressly agreed to have sex with you?

Gosh, that’s sure no big deal. I’m sure I’d totally love to wake up finding myself being fucked. That sounds like A BLAST.

No, wait, actually, it sounds like RAPE.

You can’t possibly be being serious. This blog is a joke, right? Unfortunately, after reading your “what is feminism” post, it appears that you really are as blissfully ignorant as you seem.

A couple days ago, Jakob wrote a follow-up post in response to my comment, and the only other one, which was another female who was offended at the fact that he just admitted to raping his girlfriend and being a proponent of this particular method of rape.

In his post, he used my personal “About” page as an example of why my opinion should not be taken seriously, especially because I talked about beer that I like (“Maybe all that “extra-hoppy beer” got to April’s head.”):

April is a female, but more importantly “an unapologetic liberal feminist.” That’s actually very interesting to me because I am an “apologetic liberal masculinist”. That is, I apologize for thinking that some feminists are nutso.

To help explain his position that initiating sexual intercourse with a sleeping person is morally acceptable, Jakob says:

Sleeping women, the ones that fall asleep in your bed, assuming they’re not a relative or a young child (hence, the women) are usually people that have already given express permission for intercourse.

Yes, they have given express permission for intercourse at the times that they gave express permission for intercourse. This is obviously not possible when one is sleeping. What Jakob seems to be saying is that he believes that once a couple becomes sexually active, that means that each one has unlimited access and control over the other’s body at all times, period.

When I enter into a romantic relationship, or a sexual relationship, or some combination of the two, it is not to be assumed that I am giving my partner unlimited access and control over my physical body. I don’t imagine that anyone reading this would believe that they did this for their partners, or expect it of their partners.

When you want to have sex, and your girlfriend (who you have certainly had sex with before) says she doesn’t want to just then, do you force her to do it, anyway? I’d imagine not. How is it okay to have sex with a woman who isn’t even given the opportunity to tell you that she doesn’t want to?

I wonder, if you woke up in the morning to some sweet thing pleasuring you, would you ask them politely to stop, or scream “rape”? Doubtful.

If I awoke to someone using my body for their sexual gratification, without my permission, and I did not find pleasure in the act, I should certainly not be expected to be polite in my response, regardless of who it was that did it.

Jakob makes sure we understand that he doesn’t like “rape”:

I don’t condone rape. Not a huge fan of it.

The problem isn’t that you like rape and think people should rape and be raped. The problem is that you don’t see how having sex with a woman while she sleeps is a form of rape. Sure, maybe someone might wake up in the right mood and really enjoy the experience. Clearly, Jakob would. And the experience of a longtime, trusted romantic partner doing this when it’s been made expressly clear that it was something they enjoyed and welcomed is not “rape.” That’s because permission or a desire to do that has been made clear by both parties, not because it’s okay to use your partner’s body however you with regardless of whether or not they even know it’s happening.

But to assume that all women should enjoy this and that all men should assume that it’s an okay thing to do without having first had at least a conversation with his partner is erroneous and perpetuates rape culture. Discussing fucking a woman while she sleeps in such a way that implies that you feel that you are entitled to use her body whenever you want, without her expressed approval at the time of the sexual act is perpetuating the idea that rape is okay.

edit 1/18/10: Looks like a bunch of people sure let him have it in the comments to that post. I was pleased to see it, especially since many of them came from men, and other people that came from here in one way or another!

edit 1/30/10: He has taken both posts down. Unsure if that means he agrees it’s bad and he’s sorry, or if means that he’s embarrassed or tired of getting yelled at. Either way, I think it’s good.

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21 Responses to “Girlfriend” is not synonymous with “permanent sex toy”

  1. Melissa says:

    Wow. Those posts made me sick to my stomach. Thanks for standing up to him.

    • April says:

      Thank you for making your disapproval public. That’s the only thing that will make opinions like his relegated to the “extremists,” instead of the reasonable public.

  2. factcheckme says:

    this is what happenes when one wanders outside of the feminist blogosphere. i dont wander very far anymore, for exactly this reason. nothning you could or would ever say to a man like this will change their minds. even attempting such is a complete and utter waste of my precious time.

    • April says:

      So I’ve noticed… although I am happy to see that he’s received plenty of angry comments from men and women alike. Maybe he won’t change his mind, but at least he’ll see that people don’t agree with him.

      As far as venturing out of the feminist blogosphere… yeah. I think it is a bit of a culture shock to suddenly come across something like that that’s written so matter-of-factly, when we’ve been so far out of that loop for some time.

  3. lindsay says:

    I’m glad he figured out you were a feminist from his extensive sleuthing. Then he could simply put your comments into his “crazy things feminists say” box and ignore your point all together.

    I sincerely hope he figures out obtaining consent prior to sex is essential, and quick.

  4. missincognegro says:

    All I can say is, Jacob is an a-hole. He’s not worth more commentary than that.

  5. N says:

    “I don’t have a girlfriend so this is not a current practice of mine as the women I would have the opportunity to do this to would cancel the potential second or third date.”

    Coincidence? Ha.

    On a more serious note though… egregious behavior and thinking.

  6. Hannah says:

    Well, he’s taken down both the original post about fucking women in their sleep and the one that followed it up. The last time I looked at the comments on either of them, he was not getting very supportive remarks and was mostly being (rightfully) called a rapist. Either way, he seems like a pretty gutless douche, but what else can one expect from a guy who’s biggest fantasy is violating a sleeping woman?

  7. kissiegrrrl says:

    jeebus. I’m glad he got taken down a notch. I’m extremely open and know that most folks have a wide variety of what works in the sack, for them. But permission should be a given! If I had been woken up by a long term guy giving me the business, it wouldn’t matter how long I’d loved him, I’d be freaked OUT!!

    One of these days, I’ll be able to spend more time on this, but sadly, I’m losing my internet RIGHT NOW.

    Grrr & YES seems like the best overall response.

  8. Anji says:

    I agree with the commenter who mentioned straying from the feminist blogosphere. Sometimes I think I live in this wonderful little feminist bubble so I almost – almost – forget that there are real live people out there who really think like this. The worst thing is that sometimes it seems that they’re in the majority.

    • April says:

      I felt this way when I started listening to music on the radio again. I heard a morning show and listened to them talk to each other about whatever, and… wow. The things people outside of our cozy world say can be bewildering. And I used to be in that world so much more actively. It’s strange how that works. And depressing, once you find yourself outside of it.

  9. Hecate says:

    Thank you for posting this and for taking this creep rapist on. It’s hard for me to read this since this is how my ex raped me. He was spending the night at my apartment and I woke up with him on top of me and inside me. He claimed that I was responding and he thought I was awake. While I may have sleepily acquiesed to being kissed or cuddled with, I was not awake. To this day he denies that I was asleep or that it was rape.

    • April says:

      I’m glad that got such backlash as a result, and took the posts down. I’m sorry to hear about your experience with your ex– my first thought when reading that he still denies that you were asleep was that perhaps he’s so adamant because he knows that he’s wrong. And to admit that would be to admit to rape.

      I don’t understand how a person could fail to notice that one has not given express consent to sex prior to it occurring.

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  11. Wow. What an unbelievable tool. Good job on taking him on April. While his posts celebrating raping women while asleep are down, I hope his behaviour also changed. Not too confident about that one though.

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