Which is why I asked Quora, What do girls wish girls knew? The answers were inspiring... but it took me about a year to come up with my one of my own. And not for lack of trying. And now, I'm finally sharing it here. (If you like this, be sure to check out Advantages of traveling while female and 6 Articles You Have to Read About Women Right Now.)
I get the sense that a lot of girls (and women) think that spending time with a guy they have no intention of sleeping with is "leading him on." As though the only reason a man would spend time with them is for their body...
This is absolutely not true. You are worth spending time with for the person you are. For the laughs you will share. For the knowledge and insights you can provide. For your crazy ideas -- and your willingness to follow through with them.
When I've traveled, I've met lots of men I spent hours or days with in a completely nonsexual way. And even though many of them would have appreciated it if I were willing to do stuff with them, I'm sure that not a single one would have chosen to have sex with some random chick in a hostel over staying up to watch the sunset at 4am (or rent a motorboat, or scuba dive, or ride scooters, or whatever) with me.
I guess what I'm trying to say here is that, in spite of popular portrayals of men wanting sex more than anything else... they're actually human beings. Social creatures. Things like meaning, laughter and fun are important to them. And sure, sex can be important, too.
But I think most of them would rather spend time with someone they could have an outrageously good time with than someone they can have meaningless sex with.
If he took you out because he wanted sex from you, and that was his only reason, then it is his fault he put in the effort without making his intentions clear. (In fact, the Stanford Kink Klub has a rule about this: If you invite a girl over for coffee, that literally means, "for coffee." If you want sex, you invite the girl over for coffee and sex.) You can't be expected to read his mind -- and you certainly can't be expected to give him access to your body, just because he wants you to.
But chances are, he took you out because he liked you. Or maybe he liked you and hoped to get a little action later. Whatever you end up doing sexually at the end of the date, everyone wins! Because you both (presumably) like each other and had a good time sharing an experience together.
Finally, I wish more women knew that it's okay to tell someone to fuck off. To get out of my house. To stop following me. To back off. If someone isn't listening to you, it is okay to yell. It is okay to call for help. It is okay to be rude.
I mean, let's be real, here. If you've said, "No," and the guy answered with, "Oh, come on!" -- or by simply ignoring you, or by pretending to comply for a moment before trying again, or in any way other disrespecting your wishes -- which of you is actually being rude? If you've told someone you don't want him to drive you home or walk to your door or come inside, and he tries to anyway... how are you possibly the one who is rude? In what universe?
I mean, I totally get why it feels rude to be direct, raise your voice or otherwise enforce your boundaries when someone is ignoring them. Because I feel rude all the time. Which is why I regularly remind myself to reframe my thinking and keep things in perspective. It's not, "How dare I be so curt with him?" It's, "How dare he not respect me?I. Said. No." To borrow from The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Gif All Women Need to See ASAP:
I recently finished watching The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, a new show on Netflix about a woman who was kidnapped by an evil reverend and held underground for fifteen years with three other women. The show begins with their rescue - after which the four "Indiana Mole Women" appear on the Today Show, with Matt Lauer.
During the interview, Lauer asks each woman how she ended up in the bunker. One woman, Cyndee, recounted:
I had waited on Reverend Richard at a York Steak House I worked at, and one night he invited me out to his car to see some baby rabbits, and I didn’t want to be rude, so…here we are.
To which Matt Lauer replied:
And don't worry about embarrassing him or damaging the relationship. After all, if you can't trust him to respect your boundaries in some sort of low-level, preliminary situation, how can you trust him not to rape you in a more heated (or less sober) one? (To learn more, check out The Secret "Catcalls" of Educated White Men (And My Problem With "Pickup Artists").)
And yeah, I get the fighting-back-could-escalate-the-situation thing. I also get the he-was-a-boss/coworker-and-I-was-afraid-of-the-professional-consequences thing. And the #YesAllWomen thing. So this obviously doesn't apply to every single situation.
If you feel you are in danger, focus on your survival, and don't blame yourself. But otherwise, you need to practice feeling comfortable enforcing your boundaries. It really breaks my heart every time I hear someone tell me they "let" someone do something to them that they didn't actually want done. Studies show that this kind of unwanted sexual touching can have pretty gnarly psychological consequences -- and the younger you are when it happens, the worse it is.
Want to know more? Check out: Need Proof That Women Are Taught to "Be Nice," Even When They're in Danger? Prepare to be Horrified.