Mind the Gap – Eugene Weekly


Here Dan, a thirty year old trans woman, and I have a question about what is surely one of your favorite topics: the “age gap talk”.

About four years ago I had a sexual experience that I wondered if I should call it sexual assault. When I was 26, I met a 19-year-old on a dating site and traveled to a neighboring state to meet them. I’ll spare you the details, but when I started doing things we had agreed upon one of them didn’t feel right at the time, so I pulled my consent. They stuck with my limit for about 15 minutes and then tried again. I said no again, they abstained for another 15 minutes, then tried again. The cycle continued until I was exhausted. The night ended with me trying to fall asleep so that I was at least not aware of what they were about to do. It did not work.

I am friends with many millennials who are focused on social justice, and as such, talk about age gaps in romantic and sexual relationships sometimes pops up on my social media. The consensus, as I understand it, seems to be that there is a big maturity gap between someone who is 19 and someone who is 26; therefore, a person in their mid-twenties has a duty to make sure that nothing sexual happens with someone who is 19 years old. It is also suggested that someone like me is a slender and a predator for even considering dating a 19 year old. It’s hard not to apply my own experience to the speech, and boy, is that a fucking wit. Hearing people talk about how vulnerable teens are or how I have held a position of power not only brings back painful memories to me, but also makes me feel like a creep.

Did I do something wrong? I lean for the no. I had no institutional power over the other person, it was not an ongoing relationship, nor a role model. (How the hell am I going to trust a 19 year old again.) I also tried to follow your camping rule. Instead of the ghosts, I texted them explaining why I wasn’t going to play with them anymore – boundary violations – in the hope that they would do better in the future. I’m about 80% sure I have no reason to feel guilty, but the other 20% don’t want to shut up. Was I the bad guy here?

– I’m exasperated

“I feel for this woman and, it should go without saying, she shouldn’t feel guilty about being sexually assaulted,” said James Greig, a London-based writer whose work has appeared in The Guardian, Vice and other publications. “And in my opinion, this incident shows that things are often more complex than the ‘age gap discourse’ online recognizes.”

Greig wrote about the online age gap talk for The Guardian, AGE, and while he believes the conversation is motivated by legitimate concerns about unequal power dynamics and their potential for abuse and exploitation, he fears that the black and white nature of the discourse on the gap d age can lull people into a false sense of security. “People imagine that abuse is less likely to occur in relationships where both parties are the same age,” said Greig, “and in my experience that’s not always the case.” Further, the condemnations of relationships and / or relationships with significant age gaps – the kind of Puritan “talk” that has left you so isolated – often fails to recognize, let alone combat factors other than loneliness. age that can make a person vulnerable to abuse. and operation.

“Being a trans woman in and of itself can make you more vulnerable,” said Greig. “But it could be just about anything: wealth, status, even fair disposition or temperament – some people are more domineering or cruel than others.”

And some people don’t understand that only yes means yes, that no means absolutely no, and that consent to opt out does not mean “ask me again in five minutes.”

Sometimes a person guilty of the type of consent / boundary violation / physique you have experienced does not act maliciously and is able to learn from their mistakes – hopefully the message you sent to this 19 year old had an impact – but some people know what they’re doing when they pressure someone to engage in (or submit to) unwanted sex and don’t care. These people can be 19 years old and these people can be 99 years old, AGE, and their victims can be younger or older. And if their last name is Trump, those people can be POTUS.

“Life is too complicated for universal prescriptions like ‘age gap relationships are bad’ to be of much help,” said Greig, “and that means we have to take these things just in case. by case. “

And in your case, AGE, neither of us think you are the bad guy.

That said, AGE, driving into a neighboring state to meet a teenager – yes, the optics are not good, and a lot of people won’t be able to see past them. But just because some people very online (and some people very offline) will look at your respective ages at the time, do the math, and call you a predator, AGE, you don’t have to slap that label on yourself. You were consenting adults until you withdrew your consent, at which point you were sexually assaulted. You may need to be selective with who you confide in on this, AGE, but you don’t have to be ashamed of yourself. You have lived, you have learned, you have tried to do better. Hoping that the other person – now in their twenties himself – also learned something and tried to do better as well.

Follow James Greig on Twitter @JamesDGreig.

No big stakes here, but I want your opinion. Straight man in his forties here, and I love to shave. My wife, who I have been married to for 16 years, does not. So I shave, and it’s natural. She let me shave it once, she didn’t like the result, and we never did it again. But last week while she was having fun downstairs, we were chatting (she’s talented, I’m telling you) and she noted that she isn’t crazy about my shaved parts. She said it reminded her of prepubescent boys. She doesn’t like to shave herself; likewise, she worries guys who like that think of little girls. Plus, the potential for nicks and cuts makes her nauseous. Personally, I like the feel of the skin, and it makes me look bigger. And so much porn is shaved these days that it’s probably in the back of my mind. Writing this letter to you has been good therapy, Dan. By rereading it earlier, I see a feasible solution: two months of walking (shaved), two months of stopping (natural). Am I the first writer to solve his own problem?

– Shaving nuts is promising

PS If you have anything to add feel free to say so, no need to beat around the bush.

You’re not the first person to solve her own problem by the time she’s done writing her letter – damn it, half of the questions I get are from people who already know what to do. They need to be in DTMFA or therapy or learning to tie knots – and they write hoping I’ll give them a little push, SNIP, which I’m always happy to do.

PS I have one thing to add: Sexually active adult men and women and adults have been shaving their pubic area for decades now – we are well into the third decade of the modern pubic hair shaving discourse – and I am losing my patience. with people claiming they don’t like hairless crotches because they associate them with prepubescent children. Unless you are currently a parent of a prepubertal child or are a pediatrician, you are much more likely to see fully developed adult humans with hairless crotches than prepubertal children. Really, people. Think about the last hundred hairless forks you saw – were they children’s forks or were they hairless forks of adult sex partners and / or pornstars? When I see a grown man with a hairless crotch in gay porn I don’t think, “THIS MAN WITH THE HARD EIGHT-INCH ROCK DICK LOOKS LIKE A LITTLE BOY!” I think, “This man looks like other adult men I’ve seen in porn and sometimes in real life.”

Look, it’s fine to prefer partners with the pubic area – a well-trimmed or full bush – but a person should be able to express a preference for the pubic area without implying that people who prefer shaved crotches are pedophiles. Adult man shaving his face is not trying to look like a child and does not look like a child. Woman shaving pits doesn’t try to look like a child and does not look like a child. The same goes for adult men and women who shave their pubic area. Darling.

The letter in last week’s PERV column – in which the writer was looking for an alternative label to “perv” – left me a little confused. I would have thought the obvious answer was “kinkster”. When that wasn’t your answer, I wondered what the difference was between the two. In today’s world, you can’t afford to be wrong.

– I thought I knew everything

Kinkster was the correct answer. I mean, obviously. So why didn’t I suggest it? Well I’ve always had a soft spot for perverts – it’s the pillow talk at home – but to be perfectly honest I was high when I wrote this answer and the kinkster slipped my way. THC thirsty spirit.

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