Safe, sane and consensual

Cos nothing completes a complicated working week like a spot of non-consensual sex.

Saturday morning my time (‘bout 4am in the UK) I found myself chatting online with a friend – someone I’m flirty with but nothing more. Seemed she was drunk and wanted to push the nothing more slightly. I played along at first but as she got more graphic I got self-conscious, initially giving evasive and elliptical answers (cybersex is a new game for me).

But then I got in to it. I forgot about the Boy sitting across the room, stopped worrying that my dirty answers sounded stupid, and discovered that one-handed typing really is tricky. After maybe half an hour of trashy talk I disappeared into the bedroom and didn’t mind when the Boy followed.

My friend repeated an earlier request to hear us and the Boy was game so we passed on our S’pore number. The escapade climaxed with the mutual sound of escapades climaxing.

Afterward I was ecstatic. It had been a dirty, kinky enjoyable experience, exploring IM sex was fun, and it was a new way to connect with an old friend. Because I’m a considerate lover (even virtually) I dropped my friend an email saying these things and asking her how she was.

Her confused reply gave way to horrid realisation. She hadn’t been online the night before. Her new and unknown to me boyfriend had been alone with her laptop.

I had a whole range of emotional responses to this: feeling stupid for not realising at the time; embarrassed for admitting to my friend that I would fuck her online if I could; vulnerable for sharing such intimate thoughts with a stranger.

But mostly I felt a steely sense of “These are my boundaries, I need to tell you that you overstepped them and that your behaviour was not okay.” Since I’ve done that I’ve felt fine. And on a scale from one to 10 (where one is receiving an anonymous valentine’s card containing a rude limerick and 10 is being gang-raped at knife point by seven burly men) it wasn’t a huge infraction.

Something interesting it’s left me thinking about is the social etiquette of not talking about things that might make our listeners uncomfortable. If you share something like “I miscarried/got raped/accidentally killed my mother,” and you’re not reclining on a black leather couch, you tend to pause and think “Shit, I shouldn’t have said that, now the other person is gonna be stuck coming up with an appropriate response.”

But in truth most responses are appropriate (laughing and saying “Man, sucks to be you,” is a notable exception). I think sometimes people just want to give their experiences names and words but there’s a degree of self-fulfilling prophecy – if everyone talked about dead babies and cancer more, we’d be more comfortable talking about dead babies and cancer.

Goddamn it if I’m not gonna change the world, one uncomfortable conversation at a time.



  Grill wrote @

Yes, I agree with your moral of not pulling punches – I find it’s harder with my family, but they’re the people I want to know me the best so what’s the point in lying to them? This stuff is your morality, your stance on how the world works for you, so wherefore the shame? Immunise yourself to every shock, one tiny prick at a time. 😛

Of course, I’ve also had many internet related fuck-ups myself (my tally so far is 1 job, 1 relationship and almost another the other week lost to internet stupidity) so I understand the feeling of “duh” from it. What really intrigues me is that you couldn’t tell it wasn’t your friend – was he deceiving you, are you really bad at parsing “tells” from chat messaging, or do people revert to a common mental state when sex is in the air?

  elle wrote @

That’s a good question. I think there was a combination of factors:
* I didn’t know my friend even had a boyf so that option didn’t occur to me
* I don’t IM much with her, so perhaps overlooked odd syntax and such
* He kept me chatting about mindless work and stuff for a long time first, and referenced specifics such as details of a convo between her and J
* S/he claimed to be really drunk, so again I excused oddities
* I wanted it to be real

With hindsight there were some really obvious signs, inc a point where he switched from first to third person, but it just didn’t trigger any warning bells because of the reasons above.

  Breena wrote @

Yikes, without knowing the ins and outs of your friend’s relationship; knowing that my new partner had deliberately deceived friends of mine can’t be a good look.

As Grill said, we’ve all had our share of internet fuck ups (my ex found out about a new lover of mine and left him a rather stalkerish message via email – just the kind of thing you want to deal with when all you should be doing is having lots of naked time together).

Been meaning to email you but I’ve been reading with increasingly wide eyes about the job sitauation. All sounds pants and stressful, will be sending good thoughts your way.

  elle wrote @

Yeah, she is more upset then me, and channeling that into incandescent rage!

Coming back to the moral of not pulling punches – my mother trained me up to do just the opposite.

When I told her at 17 that I thought I fancied girls she said “I don’t want to hear about who you’re sleeping with unless it affects my grandchildren.”

Same when I was mired in depression and sleeping around. Her response was “I don’t want to know about it, just make sure you’re safe.”

Her flat refusal to talk about anything important became a repeated theme of Therapy Month last year.

Yet for some reason I now shamelessly talk about anything, although I guess I respond best to questions cos that way I know the other party is interested.

  Breena wrote @

I kinda experienced the same thing with my mum, although she was more open to discussion when it involved forcing the square peg in me through the round hole of, “So, when you get married,” and no acknowledgement of any alternative. I think that’s one of the things that shaped me to do stuff like teach sex-ed, work in sexual health and abortion care. I might re-read They Fuck You Up.

I tend to respond better to questions too, however I’ve been aware that I’ve sometimes been verbally slutty in order to alienate myself and distance myself from others on purpose. I think I’ve reached a happier medium.

  Cybersex redux « Cheese sammiches and sex wrote @

[…] Last summer (a whole year ago, gosh) I had IM sex. I thought at the time I was chatting with a friend, but she told me later her boyfriend (a stranger to me) had used her laptop without her knowledge. More details here. […]

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