Being polyamorous, I sometimes find it difficult to find partners who understand the parameters of the poly lifestyle. At first, I thought that it was because many misunderstood what being “poly” means. There are many types of non-monogamy. For me, being “poly” involves developing lasting relationships that have emotional attachment. I am not into one night stands. I do not have sex indiscriminately. I make this plain in all of my online dating profiles. I feel that I am rather clear as to what type of relationships I am interested in…
I consistently get emails and messages on these dating sites from men who are crass, crude, lewd, and speak to me with a complete lack of manners. I had been giving them the benefit of the doubt in that they may not understand what being “poly” is. They may legitimately think that I am looking for such advances in regards to a filthy nature. I was making excuses for them and ignoring such messages.
I recently had a phone conversation (and later a Skype) with a potential romantic interest. He told me that he wasn’t surprised that I get such messages because clearly my dating profile says that I am looking for sex. It does not say that ANYWHERE ON MY PROFILE. I became livid. I asked him which part he felt presented such an idea. He said that what I was looking for was “lasting relationships that could lead to intimacies” and that I was in an “open marriage” was what made some men think this. He left out the part that I say I am not into one night stands.
He apologizes for upsetting me and says that this was not his intent. We later go onto Skype to chat a bit more.
On Skype, we talk for a little bit, then he starts fondling himself. He asks if it bothers me that he is doing that. I say that it doesn’t bother me per se but I have not met him yet and it is awkward. He continues to do so and puts the camera on his hand while he fondles himself through his clothing. I say that I’d rather look at his face because that is what I am talking to and he turns the camera back around.
Conversation continues…He tells me how horny I make him, that he can’t help it, and then he whips out his penis and starts stroking it. He puts the camera back on it and asks me if this makes me uncomfortable. I say that it does and he once again says he can’t help it…he has a high sex drive. He asks me if I want to see him cum.
Skype had disconnected several times during the conversation. So, I took it upon myself to hang up on him and blame Skype.
We had made plans to meet the following day…Needless to say, I cancelled them. How could I possibly trust a man not to give into his urges when I clearly said things were making me uncomfortable…and he said he couldn’t help it.
First Skype calls are like first meetings. Would any rational man whip out his penis in a bar and start stroking it saying he couldn’t help it because I made him horny? How would he feel if I kicked him in the testicles saying that I just couldn’t help it because he made me angry?
After a tremendous amount of thought about the whole experience and the messages/emails that I regularly get on online dating sites, it is VERY clear to me that this is a solid example of “rape culture”.
He was excusing his lewd acts regardless of my protest because I was making him horny. And somehow ALL of this was acceptable because my profile states that I am in an open marriage and looking for lasting relationships that could lead to intimacies…He was placing blame on me.
THIS is Rape Culture in all of its hideous form. In his mind, I was clearly asking for this. It is my fault that I get messages that are lewd, crude, and crass because I am non-monogamous and enjoy sex. I should expect such behaviour because this is somehow “par for the course” for being a woman who enjoys sex.
No, I am no longer going to assume that men who message me do not understand what being “poly” means. I make it blatantly clear in my profile. If they are not clear, they can ask me questions. I normally ignore such messages. I will respond to these lewd comments with stern replies correcting such behavior. It. Is. NOT OK!
I am non-monogamous. I am kinky.
I AM NOT asking for pictures of your penis.
I AM NOT asking for your rude and lewd comments.
I AM NOT asking for you to whip out your penis on Skype and fondle yourself.
And when I say I AM NOT comfortable with ANY of what you are doing, I DO NOT CARE if you THINK that you “can’t help it.”
No STILL means NO! Online or in “real life”. Guess what? I am STILL a human being online like I am in “real life”.
No one will blame me for their inability to control their urges…THIS is Rape Culture as I experience it nearly everyday in the poly world through online messages/emails and in Skype calls with men who do not listen to me saying that I am uncomfortable…and who excuse their lewd behaviour because I am non-monogamous.
Rape culture does not sit only with how a woman dresses…rape culture exists heavily where women are vocal about enjoying sex and their relationships…It is truly frightening how ingrained rape culture is in our society.
Thank You For Reading,
As an aside…This post does not apply to men with whom I have met, with whom I have a connection, and have a solid understanding.