Thursday, August 5, 2010
No – A Short Word With A Complex Meaning
I am sure that you have heard the saying “No means No.” To some people, it is a pretty simple concept: if a woman says no in bed, the man should just stop. In the real world, unfortunately, things are often more complicated.
Jenny says: 'No' means 'no'. It's as simple as that. Anyone with an IQ over 12 should be able to understand it. If a woman says 'no', just stop. That's the end of it.
Joe says: Sure, sometimes 'no' means 'no', but, really, if every man who ever heard 'no' stopped immediately, the human race would simply cease to procreate. I stop if I get a good firm 'no', but with a soft 'no', that's just her saying I need to try harder.
This is a very complex situation for many reasons, but two of the keys are a pair of social pressures placed on women. One pressure is the need not to seem 'easy'. The other is the need to please.
Many women will put up false resistance to show that they are not easy, that they are not sluts. They will give soft no's, with the expectation that they will be 'convinced' to change their no to a yes. This can be cute and playful, but it gives men a very confused idea of what 'no' really means. This creates beliefs like those that Joe hold.
As girls, many women are taught to be agreeable, that it is their job to please and serve and not disagree. This can make it very difficult to give a firm 'no', like the one that Joe is looking for. For some, they are so conditioned to please, that they will change their 'no' to a 'yes', even if they would rather not have sex, just to please their partner. In some such cases, the partner will actually think that she wanted to go ahead, even though she really did not. In some cases, a woman may even feel that she was raped in such a situation, believing that her consent was coerced by social pressure.
As they said in Cool Hand Luke, What we have here is a failure to communicate. Fortunately, there is something that we can all do about this.
First, let us clear up a myth. Most people know the truth about this, but I just wanted to touch on it. You may have heard of a condition called Blue Balls. It almost never happens. Ladies, getting a man excited and not getting him off may get you a frustrated man, but it will not get you a trip to the emergency room. Also, remember, there is more than one way to get a guy off, as I discussed in this article. (Gentlemen, this is a two way street. If you are getting, you better me giving if you would like to be getting again the in the future.)
Dan says: For years, I thought that 'no' was something that could be negotiated. I felt that if she really meant 'no', she would say so clearly. At times, I would find women upset with me after the fact, even though they had agreed to everything we had done. Then, I decided that it was not worth it. If she said 'no', I'd just accept it and be patient. A remarkable thing happened. When I did this, some of the women who initially said 'no' relaxed and became more comfortable, eventually saying 'yes', but without any convincing from me. They were comfortable with their decision, and I got what I was hoping for by not pushing for it.
To men, as well as women who might encounter a 'no' in the bedroom, remember that many women have been taught that it is rude to say 'no'. They do not want to be seen as frigid or a tease. Furthermore, sometimes, a woman is physically aroused, and she desires to say 'yes', but she does not want to for one reason or another. Her physical desire is a minority shareholder in the decision making process, and it is a poor idea to try to stoke that fire against her better judgment. Tomorrow morning, the fires of passion will have gone out, but the rational reasons why she wanted to say 'no' will still remain. You may have gotten her to say 'yes', but at what cost?
A man are also well advised to check in periodically, asking if what he is doing is alright, especially if he is with a new partner. Some people will want to stop but may not be comfortable asserting themselves enough to say something. Even if this is not the case, checking in is always a good thing to do anyway. You never know what interesting thing you may learn.
Dominick says: I always try to check in, but I hate playing the 'what does that mean?' game. When I am with a woman who is ambiguous, I will usually call things off because I would much rather not play that play and discover later that she consented but didn't really want to.
To women, as well as men who might want to say 'no' but are not comfortable saying so, it is important to understand that, while your partner might be disappointed to hear you say 'no', he is much happier to get a clear, unambiguous 'no' then to find out after the fact that he made you do something that you did not want to do. No one (at least no one of good moral character) wants to force their partner against their will, and no one wants to have to second guess what a no really means, so if you mean 'no', say 'no' and stick to 'no'.
Emily says: A valuable concept that I realized when I got into the kink world was that of safewords. In the kink community, a safeword is a hard and immediate 'no'.
In kink, especially BDSM, people will generally have a safeword that they can use to pause or stop a scene because something is uncomfortable or uncomfortable/dangerous. Such a concept would work well in this situation. One of the problems that comes up with misunderstood 'no' is that the situation does not pause. The pressure stays on, and there is not a moment to step back and think about if you are doing the right thing. In some communities, the word 'red' is used as a general safeword to completely stop the scene. 'Red' means stop everything, step away, all-stop. Being able to do this would create the space to make clear what everyone's needs are.
This works better in an ongoing relationship where there is already an established safeword, but even if a safeword has not been established there are common words that could be used to do the same thing. 'Stop', 'pause', 'hold', and 'wait' are all words that could be used to jar a seduction to a stop to make sure that everyone is comfortable with things. 'Pikachu' is also a very effective safeword to bring things to a stop.
This is one of the most important cases of the need for clear communication. Ideally, a couple will discuss things ahead of time, talking about limits and what they are willing to do. This is the best way to avoid ambiguous situations. Of course, this is not always what happens in the real world, but it is still better to communicate clearly now than end up in a regrettable situation later.