Every American male has learned (like in the last ten years) that when a woman says “no,” she means “no.” It doesn’t mean “maybe,” it means “no.” Right?
Well pay attention, folks. On Sunday, the “News Analysis” section of the New York Times featured an article titled: “When Saying ‘Yes’ Is Easier Than Saying ‘No’.” It’s by Jessica Bennett, “the gender editor of the New York Times.” That is her actual title.
Now she and her female friends have spoken “with knowing nods” about the “nuances” of sexual interactions. Sometimes, they say, there’s a “place of no return,” where having sex is easier than bailing out.
She says that there are names for this like “gray-zone sex,” or “begrudging consensual sex” or “lukewarm sex” — sex “you’re kind of ‘meh’ about.” Meaning: bored or apathetic. And there’s “bad” sex because of how you feel afterwards.
But there’s one passage I want to quote verbatim. She writes: “Consent isn’t always black and white. Sometimes ‘no’ means ‘yes,’ because you actually do want to do it, but you know you’re not supposed to, lest you be labeled a slut. And if you’re a man, that ‘no’ often means ‘just try harder,’ because, you know, persuasion is part of the game.”
This woman doesn’t know it, but she’s a throwback, because she’s exactly right. In the old days “no,” more often than not, did mean yes. It’s called “seduction” — and you might want to look it up in the dictionary if you’re offended right now.