March 13, 2018

21ST CENTURY RELATIONSHIPS: How Does Submissive Sex Work in the Age of #MeToo?

Like all of us in the throes of #MeToo, I have been taking rigorous inventory of my sexual history, rolling back the tape on past highs and lows: the disturbing teenage experiences no longer chalked up to miscommunication, those times I gave in because it was easier, some unwanted advance successfully fended off.

And then there are the memories of being brusquely, and without permission, pushed up against a wall — and loving it. In fact, those were the steamiest moments I could recall. I wondered if I would ever experience such an unscripted embrace again — and then immediately worried: Did my secret desires make me a traitor to #MeToo and what it stands for? . . .

“After being exposed to so many accounts of different women’s sexual abuse or harassment, I was hyper-aware and hyper-sensitive about it,” said Jessica Tallarico, 30, of Toronto, a newly engaged friend of mine. “So on one occasion, playing around affectionately in bed, my fiancé got the tiniest bit rough and I had such an adverse reaction to what would normally be playful. Adverse as in, I became defensive, flooded with a bit of fear.

“This felt so strange to me because it happened with my partner who I love and trust immensely, and he did nothing wrong or really that out of the ordinary.”

Making women feel fearful and defensive toward men who have done nothing wrong isn’t a side effect of the movement. It’s a goal.