Don’t Use Me

Flirting (youngisthan.in)Note: this post includes frank talk about sexuality.

Five years ago, in the fall of 2017, following revelations about movie mogul and sexual predator Harvey Weinstein, the #MeToo Movement exploded into public consciousness. Since then, many women (and a some men) have spoken openly about their experiences with sexual harassment and assault. This has caused a lot of men to reconsider “the rules” of sexual behavior, and to wonder if they have ever crossed the line.

As a student, I was once cornered by a university department head who started massaging my chest and began working his way downward. (Even if I’d been gay, I’d have been turned off—he had hideous breath.) This was harassment. A few years later, an inebriated audience member at an improv performance dove onto me, jamming her tongue down my throat and her hand down my pants. This was assault. I wasn’t particularly traumatized, but I completely understand why others, especially women, are.

Two years before I met her, my college sweetheart had been a naïve 18-year-old who still thought she could get pregnant by French-kissing. Three weeks into college she was set straight by a theatre prof who introduced her to drugs and sex—on the same night. Two months later she had an abortion. I was the first person she’d ever told. Even though she’d said yes, under the influence of drugs, this was blatant sexual coercion (the professor should have gone to jail). But it’s not always so cut-and-dried.

Coercion is the grey zone. There’s a squishy, unofficial set of Sex and Dating Rules that goes something like this: 1. Attraction is established—laughing, flirting, kissing; 2. Kissing turns passionate—this could be a yes; 3. Therefore, hands are allowed to wander experimentally; 4. If hands are not pushed away, they are allowed to wander further; 5. If hands are stopped with minimal assertiveness, this could mean, a) no, b) yes, but not yet, or c) receiver hasn’t decided yet; 6. Therefore, after a polite pause, hands are allowed to wander again; 7. If they’re not rejected this time, all systems are go; if they are, it’s a final no. For some, this scenario goes too far. For a few, it doesn’t go far enough (“Women want to be persuaded,” they argue). So, when does it become sexual coercion?

Stop!

I’m going to suggest a Rule change that would have been laughable to me as a young, promiscuous (pre-conversion) man: Sex should never be transactional (“you give me something, I give you something”). That was Harvey Weinstein’s rule. For humans, sex is inextricably entangled with self-worth, and with the need for emotional intimacy and commitment. Even if it isn’t that way for you, it probably is for the other person. To assume otherwise is to do so because it’s to your advantage–truth disintegrates when the “I want” monster enters the room.

So here’s my Replacement Rule: Never, ever use another person–even if they’re willing to be used. That’s not what they’re made for, and it’s not what you’re made for.

And it’s not just about sex. It affects every facet of human relationships. I’ll spend the rest of my life learning to undeceive myself enough to live consistently by this Rule. But it’s worth it. So I’m in.

You?

About mitchteemley

Writer, Filmmaker, Humorist, Thinker-about-stuffer
This entry was posted in For Pastors and Teachers and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

56 Responses to Don’t Use Me

  1. Super post, Mitch. I’m in.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I’m in, and I think this post needs to be read by every teenager.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Caroll says:

    I am in. Definitely a great way to set the appropriate boundaries. As someone who allowed herself to be used in return for “self-worth” when I was young, I can tell you it does a lot of harm for someone to take advantage of another’s vulnerable feelings. Thank you!

    Liked by 4 people

  4. Amen. Thanks for a straightforward reflection and challenge.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Gail Perry says:

    Love the rule. I’m in!

    Liked by 4 people

  6. Reaseaorg says:

    Using others is never acceptable

    Liked by 4 people

  7. Well said, Mitch. Good post. The whole permission/coercion for sex through to using people in other relationships needs regular airing, discussing, understanding and buying into.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I am in. Boundaries are so important. Using people for any reason is wrong.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. Paula Light says:

    I was terrible at setting boundaries for sex and every other thing while dating, though I have no issues in regular friendships, so I gave up dating. That might be too radical a solution for some peeps, but I’m much happier now 🥰

    Liked by 3 people

  10. joyroses13 says:

    Very wise post!
    Sorry those things happened to you. This is such a HUGE problem in the world!

    Liked by 3 people

  11. Never use another person. Well said Mitch.

    Liked by 3 people

  12. Wynne Leon says:

    Incredible post, Mitch. Especially your conclusion because it does take time to see, “It affects every facet of human relationships. I’ll spend the rest of my life learning to undeceive myself enough to live consistently by this Rule. ”

    I’m in.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Excellent post, Mitch. I had some encounters in my younger, more naive days that made me uncomfortable, and I was too bewildered to know what to do about it. Those encounters definitely could have turned out much worse, as the guy was bigger and physically stronger than I was, but I think I had an angel or two looking out for me.
    There’s a point of view where the “rules” of dating are that it’s the man’s job to get as far as he can, and it’s the woman’s job to stop him. So, if things get out of hand, it’s the woman’s fault. This is appalling, not only because of the immorality involved, but because it gives the woman the role of moral and spiritual leadership, and in God’s plan, that’s the job of the man.

    Liked by 4 people

  14. C.A. Post says:

    “Sex is inextricably entangled with self-worth, and with the need for emotional intimacy and commitment.” This is true for everyone, even those who do not admit it. Even for two “users” this remains true, although they will try to avoid thinking about it.
    “Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body.” 1 Corinthians 6:18
    And your Replacement Rule applies to married couples as well. Sex should be a cooperative enjoyment of a covenanted life-partner of the opposite sex, to enjoy one of God’s most precious gifts. See The Gift of Sex by Penner.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. An Audience of One says:

    I love how you tackle an important societal issue, but also make it relevant to any number of situations. So good! And yes – I’m in!

    Liked by 3 people

  16. Carolina Mom says:

    I’m in. Nice post! 🫡

    Liked by 3 people

  17. stolzyblog says:

    my take from the Weinstein eruption era… good luck getting teenagers to swallow this though: https://skirmisheswithreality.net/2018/03/27/me_too-credo/

    Liked by 1 person

  18. YES to everything about this. Totally agree. I heard Dr. Frank Turek ask (and I’m paraphrasing) if sex is merely physical, why is rape worse than being punched in the face?

    Liked by 4 people

  19. jmfayle says:

    A great accountability question. Every one of us should seek help and accountability friends to see ourselves out of this kind of thing. It works, thank God!

    Liked by 2 people

  20. Unicorn Dreaming says:

    Well said.. I’m in.. thank you 🙏🏼

    Liked by 2 people

  21. Mitch, you’d likely be a good mentor for teenagers and young adults. Many rely on social media for approval or inspiration (often the wrong kind!). Thank you for sharing such a valuable message for all!

    Liked by 2 people

  22. Excellent post, Mitch. I’m in!
    My generation was one where sexual comments, subtle or obvious, were the norm. It didn’t seem such a big deal until the day I wore a red sweater dress to the office Christmas party. I was 19 and this was my corporate baptism by fire. One particularly obnoxious guy passed a raunchy comment causing the other guys to laugh, stare, joke, leer … any or all of those reactions. I felt like I was standing there naked and I never wore that dress again. I had done nothing wrong; how awful that someone’s sleazy remark controlled my future actions and decisions. After that incident, I second-guessed everything I wore to work. What an eye-opener that was! I’m convinced if that creep had kept his filthy thoughts to himself I would have enjoyed the party. Instead, I left early.
    I’ve seen the word ‘boundaries’ several times in response to your post; that is what it boils down to. I made sure my children and grandchildren were taught that valuable lesson – not only in what’s done to them but what they do to others. It’s a shame not everyone has grasped that concept.

    Liked by 3 people

  23. I’m so sorry you experienced being assaulted, Mitch. My heart goes out to anyone going through that right now – it is absolutely appalling that someone felt they had a right to someone elses’s body without their consent. That is not ok. I like your new advice of “sex isn’t a transaction” and to get full consent BEFORE offering sex/drugs/whatever the other person may be uncomfortable with had they not been asked. To just CONSIDER each other seems to be the first step. Sending you lots of love xx ps. I am LOVING that you addressed sexual matters. I find as a Christian and in Christian circles, it seems “taboo”, ‘naughty’, “sinful” or “wrong” to openly and honestly discuss sexual matters. I’m more for talking about it MORE, particularly if working with Youth who seem to always have a pretty high interest in it. Lol. Bless them.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Ooo. Also, I’m in, too 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  25. My friend once told me some girls just don’t mind sleeping with whosoever so they don’t deserve to be respected, i told him the rule as a Christian is to never use someone no matter what. He laughed at me and said i was crazy. Am glad someone does think that that’s the rule 😌

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Ann Coleman says:

    That’s the best definition of inappropriate behavior I’ve heard yet! Count me in!

    Liked by 1 person

  27. I like your “rule” of never using someone. I would add that, regarding sex, if people would confine themselves to having it in God-ordained, one-man, one-woman marriage–how many problems would be avoided, and how much more fulfillment would there be?

    Like

  28. My first week in theatre school in Toronto one of the profs said that we need to understand that at some point making it in the industry would most likely include sleeping with someone to get a part – it was implied that our sexual orientation didn’t matter only the desires of the person who was casting the parts – sex as part of your job if you want to succeed was a given – it wasn’t just the Weinsteins of this world but even the nobodies who ran small production companies that would attempt to use their power

    Liked by 1 person

  29. A thoughtful post that respects both participants’ boundaries. Well done!

    Like

  30. Pingback: Don’t Use Me – DAILY GRUMPS AD

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