• We’re sick and tired of hearing about your sick fascination with Ashton Kutcher. Whatever happened to making cheese from breast milk, ejaculating into women’s shoes or screwing your sister? —Hot Old Twosome Bored Of Dan
My thing for Ashton is sweet and wholesome — and it’s annoying the shit out of my boyfriend, so I will drop it. Nevertheless my boyfriend came up with a much better name than “Fagged” for the next show I think Ashton should star in. Hey, MTV, how’s this sound: “Ashton Kutcher starring in ‘Spunk’d’”? I’m afraid I’m not going to get to the cheese-makers, shoe-spunkers, and sister-screwers this week. I recently attempted to define rape for all the college sophomores out there — I went out on a limb and said “rape” meant “forced sex” — and furious e-mail has been pouring in ever since. Let me wade through a few rape responses this week; next week, with God as my witness, I swear we’ll get to back to the kinky freaks.
• You should be careful when you tell people that consenting to sex when you are drunk or high is not rape, which you told DIDHE recently. Technically you are right; if you give consent, it is not rape. The problem is that it is legally impossible for someone under the influence to grant consent in many states. It doesn’t matter if she was screaming “Take me! I want to have consensual sex with you!” If she was drunk and you fucked her, you can go to jail. Sounds tough, but it is the law in a lot of places. —Ramifications Are Pretty Extreme
If the law supposes that drunk and/or high people can’t consent to sex, RAPE, then the law is an ass, an idiot. People have sex under the influence all the time. Easily 80 percent of the sex that goes down in North America on any given weekend involves two or more people under the influence of something. To say that drunk people can’t consent to sex is as good as saying that virtually everyone on earth is a serial rapist and a serial rape victim.
• Any sex a woman doesn’t want to be having is rape. That includes both physical force and emotional or mental coercion. As a victim of both kinds of rape, I know what I’m talking about. The time a friend pushed me to the ground, yanked my skirt down and literally forced himself on me (accompanied by my screams and tears and attempts to fight him off) was rape. And so were all the times a then-boyfriend convinced me he was “owed” a blow job. —Rape Is Outside The General Rules Regarding Real Life
I’m sorry, RIOTGRRRL, but you don’t know what you’re talking about. We can’t go tossing men into prison or calling them rapists for the sin of not being able to read minds. If a woman doesn’t want to have sex, she has to say so. Period. That guy who pushed you to the ground? Rapist, for sure. The boyfriends who guilted you into blowing them? Sorry, RIOTGRRRL, they’re not rapists. They’re just run-of-the-mill boyfriends.
• As a licensed clinical social worker and certified rape-crisis counselor, I must tell you that in most states, pressuring someone to have sex is legally considered rape. Furthermore, when someone is incapacitated due to drugs or alcohol, he or she cannot give legal consent to sex. While it is fucked-up when the person who was enthusiastically fucking you the night before wakes up the next day and calls you a rapist, the gray-and-fuzzy zone we’re arguing is relatively narrow. I’m talking about your typical random hook-up at a bar, party, or dorm room. Yes, they may appear willing, but you are taking a risk if you regard their slurry “yesh, I like yoooo” as consent. I’m not for championing those who regret their choices and cry wolf, but they just may be the inevitable crappy side effect of a system that protects people who, while intoxicated, cannot protest advances with the same zest and vigor as a sober person. Instead of advising your readership that there’s a clear line between what is and isn’t rape, you should use your power more wisely. Hey, we all like to get a little trashed and enjoy the resultant relations. But if you’re engaging with someone A) you just met and B) you and/or they are ass-stinking drunk, then your respective views on consent may not align. —Proceed With Caution
I get letters every day from men and women who are pressuring strangers, neighbors, personal trainers, boyfriends, girlfriends, husbands, wives and yappy little dogs for sex. Shall we lock them all up? Of course not. Because what determines whether or not a person who is pressuring someone for sex is “moral,” much less a rapist, is how they react when they hear “no.” Do they take “no” for an answer and drop it? Then they’re moral. Do they sulk and resort to emotional blackmail? Then they’re jerks. Do they fuck the person they were pressuring for sex anyway? Then they’re rapists. And, yes, if a woman (or a man) is incapacitated and someone fucks her, then it’s rape. But she’s got to be incapacitated, not merely drunk or high. If you’re the type of person who consents to things when you’re drunk or high — sexual or otherwise — that you wouldn’t consent to sober, well, then it’s your responsibility to not get drunk or high. But if you do get drunk or high and say “yesh, yesh, yesh” to someone who may or may not be drunker than you are, someone who may not have had sinister motives when he or she ordered that third round, then you’re not anyone’s victim but your own. Finally, PWC, I agree that people should proceed with caution. And I’m not an advocate for the return of “She passed out! She’s fair game!” But I’m very troubled by the notion of some poor college kid being hauled off to jail — a place where he’s likely to be raped — because he, in his diminished state, fucked someone who, in her diminished state, screamed “yesh, yesh, do me!” when they got back to his dorm room. It seems extremely unfair that a drunk woman can’t be held accountable for her actions — giving her consent — but a drunk man can held strictly accountable for his actions, however impaired he may have been at the time, and sent to prison. That’s not just a “crappy side effect,” PWC, that’s an appalling injustice.
• You’re probably still smarting from having your dick ripped off by the “it-is-so-rape” crowd. The problem is there’s only one term — “rape” — to describe a broad spectrum of sexual boundary-crossing. May I suggest the following terms:
Grape: when someone inappropriately GRabs a tit or ass or cock, but backs off when told to do so.
Drape: when a DRunk or high person gets fucked (and later regrets it) but nevertheless consented.
Cape: when, in the middle of sex, one partner Changes his or her mind and the other takes a few seconds to switch gears before stopping.
Gape: using Guilt or pressure or lies to get someone to put out.
Rape: let’s save the biggie for using violence (or threats of violence) or fucking someone who isn’t able to consent. —Really Angry, Pretty Exasperated
Thanks for sharing, RAPE.Contact Dan Savage at firstname.lastname@example.org