Q: I'm an 18-year-old straight female. Two nights ago, I went to a party. My ex-boyfriend was present, but my current boyfriend was not. I had several beers, and while I wasn't drunk, I was tipsy. I had to go to my car to get my cell phone, and my ex offered to accompany me. When we got to the car, he pushed me against the car and started making out with me. I tried to push him away and said, "No, I can't!" several times. He kept trying to pull my pants down, and every time he did, I pulled them back up. He took his dick out and tried again to pull down my pants. I know it sounds stupid, but all I could get out were meek "no"s and "I can't"s. I was afraid of a confrontation because he and I have been friendly since we broke up. I eventually discontinued my attempts to pull my pants back up because I figured the easiest way to get out of this situation was to let him finish. He had sex with me. I wanted to cry the whole time, but as much as I wanted to scream, "Stop! Get the fuck off of me!" I couldn't get the words out.
I called my boyfriend when I got home and told him what happened. He is angry because he thinks I had a part in it. I don't know how to make him understand how many times I said no and how at first I physically stopped my ex from taking my clothes off. My boyfriend and I have been through a lot together, and we talked about getting married one day. I never wanted to cheat on him, and while I feel guilty about what happened, I think he's being harsh on me considering I succumbed to force.
I've apologized again and again, but I don't know how to make things right. I still don't want a confrontation with the ex. I just want to forget about him and never see him or speak to him again. I just want things to be OK again with my boyfriend. Is there anything I can do or say to make him understand? —Date Rape Engenders Awful Depression
A: Understand that you were raped, DREAD — date-ish raped, acquaintance-ish raped, gray-area-ish raped, blurry-booze-soaked-lines raped, and raped under circumstances that would make bringing charges a futile exercise. But raped. Your ex kept coming at you, and you were paralyzed by a set of inhibitions — a desire to avoid confrontation at all costs (even the cost of your own violation), a desire to avoid making your victimizer feel bad — that are pounded into the heads of girls and young women. Your ex exploited this vulnerability. Your ex may not think he raped you since you finally "let him," and perhaps he interprets that as consent and so, distressingly, does your boyfriend. But raped you were.
So what do you do now? I'd suggest a bit more contact with your ex. You need to confront him — for your own sake, DREAD, but also for the sake of all other women he's going to encounter over the course of his life. If you can't face him, call him. If you can't speak to him, write him (a letter, not an e-mail). Wherever he is right now, he's rationalizing away his responsibility for what happened. He may be telling himself that he was drunk, that you were drunk, and that, sure, he may have been aggressive at first, but that you came around and enjoyed it as much as he did. He needs to hear from you that you regard — and, for what it's worth, I regard — what happened as rape. Tell him that he didn't get away with it — that he raped you, you know it, and now he knows it. Then tell him that if the circumstances were just a little less ambiguous, DREAD, that you would be going to the police.
Hell, tell him you still might. Put the fear of God into him.
Then you need to confront the boyfriend: If your boyfriend can't take your side, DREAD, if he can't see what really happened here, if he insists on victimizing you, too, then you don't need him in your life any more than you need your ex in your life.
Q: I'm a 23-year-old gay dude from Vancouver. My boyfriend and I have been together for four years. Thing is, he's seriously letting himself go — gaining weight, enjoying roomier pants. I drop hints about working out or eating better — but he gets offended and becomes self-conscious. I want to be supportive and not care, but I do care and it's killing me. Had I known at 19 that he would be throwing away his hot body, I might have reconsidered his LTR potential. Now, four years later, I'm stuck with a lovable fatty who I'm having a hard time being intimate with.
Is this awful? Am I selfish? I love him, but I want to enjoy sex again. I have nothing against fatties, Dan, I just don't want to bed one. —Really Eating At Me
A: Drop the subtlety, REAM. No more faux-loving hints about the importance of diet and exercise — he reacts negatively to that shit because he's picking up on your dishonesty. You're not concerned for his health, REAM, you're concerned for your sex life and what the death of your attraction to him means for this relationship. So give it to him straight: You're not attracted to fatties, which is why you pursued him four years ago, and his weight gain is killing your sex life and threatening the survival of your relationship. If he values this relationship, he'll get his ass off the couch.
And now a note to the infuriated fatsophere: I'm not saying that REAM's boyfriend is unattractive because he's heavier, or that heavy people aren't or can't be attractive, or that all must forever maintain our "first-date weight" over the multidecade course of relationship or marriage or whatever. But to destroy a large part of what attracted someone to you early in a relationship — whether actively or through neglect — is to take your partner for granted in a way that's not OK. And that goes for a tight-bodied fag who parks his ass on the couch because he's got a boyfriend now — so, hey, why bother with the gym? — and the BBW who wastes away to skin and bones after she lands an admirer.
Q: A close gay friend recently seroconverted [tested positive for HIV] after months of barebacking and meth use. He's a successful professional with years of AIDS peer-education experience. My immediate reaction was shock and anger. He claims that I am not a true friend because I should hide my feelings and shower him with empathy and understanding. Is there something wrong with me for feeling mad at my friend for his irresponsibility?
—Old Fashioned Safe Sex Adherent
A: Let's say you've got two friends. One gets hit by lightning, and the other plops his sopping-wet ass down on a third rail. Do both friends — presuming both survive — deserve your empathy and understanding, OFSSA? Of course. But one friend was electrocuted while the other electrocuted his damn self. Friendship does not obligate you to pretend that your friend who sat his ass down on the third rail wasn't being idiotic and self-destructive. Friendship, in fact, requires the opposite reaction.Download Savage Lovecast (my weekly podcast) every Tuesday at www.thestranger.com/savage