Thinking Bad Sex

By Jane Ward

Jane Ward is a guest blogger from the University of California Riverside and the author of Not Gay: Sex Between Straight White Men (2015).


Many of my students’ comments about sex have surprised me in recent years, and regrettably, this is not because they are introducing me to interesting erotic subcultures I haven’t yet encountered, or to inspired, new sexual terminology. No, it’s that some of them define sexual assault with such a broad brush that I nearly fall out of my chair. Some tell me that any sex involving alcohol or drugs is, by definition, non-consensual and potentially rape. Others tell me that all unwanted sex is rape (or “at least a form of violence “), including when someone offers to give a blowjob they don’t really want to give because they feel general social pressure to conform to hook-up norms, or when someone consents to have sex with their partner when they are tired and not into it.

Some students tell me that queer people my age are too obsessed with sex practices, and that queer liberation is about identity-based self-determination (the freedom to identify in multiple and evolving ways, mostly on the internet). I tell them I disagree with their framing of many of these points. I tell them about how sometimes people choose to have sex, and also choose to drink alcohol before they have sex. I tell them about Nicola Gavey’s distinction between rape and “unjust sex, “‘ and how heteronormativity and patriarchy set up the field of hetero sex to be a vast expanse of unwanted and unsatisfying sex for women. A rigged and unjust system? Yes. Rape? No.


Rape is not a metaphor, I tell them. I tell them I think we need more and better language to describe the bad sex that many of us consent to, and that developing this language will also allow us to see that “consent ” is hardly the endgame when it comes to good, and maybe even ethical, sex.

Cultural flashpoints, like the recent news about Kevin Spacey’s pattern of sexual harassment, can throw these apparent divides into even sharper relief. Scrolling through my Facebook feed, I saw many queers posting with fury about how Spacey had set back the lesbian and gay movement by reinforcing the gay pedophile myth. They declared that his reference to being gay was a distraction and a manipulation. They said he was using being drunk as a way to excuse sexual assault. Some called him a rapist before any evidence of forced penetration had been presented. Again, I was shocked by how quickly queer people were making facile and confident conclusions—Spacey is the same as Weinstein! —with relatively little information and with what seemed to me to be an anachronistic sense that it’s our job, as queers, to anticipate and prevent straight people’s most outlandish fears about us (like that Spacey’s actions mean all gay men are pedophiles).

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The claim that Spacey had abused and sullied the otherwise beautiful act of “coming out” seems to me especially bizarre and off-the-mark. For one, everyone in Hollywood, Spacey’s social world, already knew he was queer, making this ineffective as a distraction within the industry. Spacey’s coming out was more likely an obligatory offering to the public, who demand that celebrities (and all people) account for their sexuality with an easily consumable identification and narrative. Had Spacey not explained himself as gay, the media frenzy about the homosexual element of the story would likely have eclipsed what was truly important: 1.) that Spacey sexually harassed a 14-year-old boy by drunkenly laying on top of him, scaring and later traumatizing him, and 2) that Spacey acknowledged the harassment, apologized, and said he was “truly horrified. ”

Before I had a chance to think through how I might draw upon the power of queer, feminist complexity to characterize what Spacey had done to Rapp, I was overwhelmed by the panic emerging from mostly gay white male commentators. Spacey is a pedophile! Spacey is gay! So now everyone will think gays are pedophiles like they used to! Given our history of criminalization and subjection to false accusations of child molestation, gay men and lesbians have good reason to be vigilant about how the public perceives our relationship to children. But wrapped up in this panic are also other presumptions fueled by assimilationist forces in the gay and lesbian movement and mainstream/white feminist responses to sexual violence.

The mainstream gay critique of Spacey’s “inappropriate timing ” to “finally come out ” seemed to me very clearly anchored in a belief I do not share—that coming out is a genuine moral obligation, a proclamation of tremendous significance, and an act of finally telling truth about oneself. What if you feel, as I do, that coming out is a tedious social requirement designed to appease straight people and dumb down the complexities of queerness by telling a tired story about how you always knew you were different, how you are just like straight people except for your “love of the same sex “, and so on? From that view, “coming out ” almost always diminishes us, even as it may feel empowering. It’s almost always “bad timing, ” because it is almost always timed to help straight people understand us—in other words, it is timed to accommodate heteronormativity. It makes perfect sense to me that in this moment of global attention to his sexual assault of boys and men, Spacey would believe this is precisely the time to do that discursive thing we require of people who are oriented toward the so-called same sex: tell a story that explains why he was attracted to boys and men in the first place.

Critiques of Spacey’s apology seem to be forged by the same blunt mainstream feminist instrument that my students often bring to their analysis of what counts as sexual assault. As Sarah Schulman has described so vividly, we are living in a time in which many young feminists are not interested in why sexual assault happens, because to even ask that question is to potentially extend a degree of humanity to the rapist, who should burn in hell or be locked up for life. I find myself wishing torture upon rapists as much as the next feminist, but I also want to see us undo rape culture systematically, rather than focus purely on how we can partner with police to lock up rapists one by one. Somehow, I have become afraid to ask in my classroom the very questions that I know we must be asking: what happened to men’s humanity, did they ever have it, and how can we repair them? How do we address sexual violence and oppose the prison industrial complex at the same time? Does restorative justice work in cases of sexual assault? (See INCITE’s The Revolution Starts at Home to begin thinking about this). How do we distinguish between rape, on the one hand, and all the other bad sex people have out of obligation, self-doubt, fear, and confusion, on the other?


No one I know thinks that Kevin Spacey’s sexual harassment and possible assault of teenagers, or adults, is worthy of defense. That’s a given. Sexual harassment and sexual assault—by which I mean repeated, unwanted sexual propositions and forced sexual touching, respectively—are violations. And they are often, though not always, traumatic for the people who experience them. But the rush to meme-ify sexual harassment and assault with our righteous rage, and to reduce our thinking to the level of “what will straight people think??! ” is hardly our best way forward. For me the question is, as always, how do we draw upon decades of feminist and queer activism and theorizing to see our way through the complexities of sex and its intersections with violence?

38 replies on “Thinking Bad Sex”

I think that it is difficult to say, with the case of alcohol or drugs, whether someone would have consented to sexual activity under normal circumstances. Drinking before you intend to engage in a sexual act to make you feel more comfortable is different because you consented before the act happened and before you were intoxicated.
I do, however, agree that judging someone based on the fact that they did not come out of the closet in a right way for other gay people (besides the fact that what Kevin Spacey was doing was point blank illegal) should be the reason for outrage about his crimes.

I do agree to undo systematic rape culture we as a society must get into the heads of sexual offenders and rapists, and we must understand what went wrong. However, we must also remind ourselves that they are criminals who have violated the temple of someone’s body. Sometimes that’s all someone has, and to extend a kindness to those who violate such sacredness is not the best way to approach the problems at stake.

In regards to Kevin Spacey, I do understand that the information has not been proven and that jumping to conclusions is not the best idea. However, we should critically analyze what we do know. To that, I pose some questions.

1. When Spacey speaks of these allegations, he speaks of them as if they were long long ago in some faraway land to which he has no memory of. Yet, he can remember the one detail of him being drunk? The one detail that “protects him”? Even so, him stating this gives the strong possibility that something did indeed happen. Also, the fact that he was drunk actually heightens the possibility of him violating another, however, it does not excuse his behavior in any way.

2. Why does the notion of whether or not there was consent matter when the boy was significantly underage, and Spacey was not? Even if the boy at the time did give “consent”, it is not really consenting because he is just a boy and cannot legally make that decision which Spacey knew.

3. If everyone knew he was gay, then why would he come out in an apology? “Hi yes I was drunk and I could have raped this boy but I don’t remember oh by the way I’m gay.” There are a time and place for everything and the way he decided to come out seems very misplaced as an attempt to salvage any remorse or salvation.

-Thalia Trinidad

Your article essentially seems to draw kindness towards Spacey and also seems to say that unwanted and unsatisfied sex is injustice but not rape. People that do not give consent and are sexually assaulted obviously do not enjoy it and are raped. That is the literal definition of rape? Not giving consent and someone doing as the please regardless. Another point I would like to say is that Spacey regardless had sexual relations with minor of the age of 14. Even if he was drunk, even if somehow the boy of 14 gave consent it is still wrong. By the United States law that is considered sexual assault. Him coming out as gay was defiantly a ploy to diverge the criticism and allegations against him.

Unwanted and unsatisfied sex is injustice AND rape. If the science has stated and the law has enforced that you cannot give consent, you cannot give consent. Having a sexual act in mind before you start drinking is a good way to to make sure the other person is completely on board with the idea, but making the decision after you are legally impaired makes things murky. The same goes for an underdeveloped brain. Adolescents especially go through a process of re-mylenating between the ages of 12-16. The neurons in their brains are recoating and are scientifically proven to misfire and cause lapses in judgement. To me, signals of rape are not something that need to be “proven”, if someone engages in a sexual act that they did not want, they were raped.

I agree with the fact that it is a little ridiculous that celebrities are forced to “come out” to the public, but i think that it goes beyond being gay. There are many things that celebrities have to announce that are irrelevant, but when they are placed in the spotlight people become abnormally obsessed with their personal lives. When they begin to date, they are all forced to publicly announce it. This shouldn’t be the case, but it is a part of the job. I think publicly coming out goes hand in hand with this concept. By putting yourself in that position, you have to understand that your personal life being put in the spotlight comes with the job. What Spacey did cannot be justified. There is more and more people coming out to claim they were assaulted each day. It is wrong for Spacey to be painted as a victim. This is a traumatizing event that should have never happened. As a public queer figure, he should be fighting towards queer rights. Instead, he has done nothing but shined a negative light. It might be unfair to blame him for this, but as part of being a celebrity he should have been aware of the consequences that come along with being such a public figure.

Okay so there are a few important points I wanna hit from this article. The first being the definition of rape and sexual assualt. If a person is intoxicated, inebriated, incapacitated in any way they cannot fully consent. The most problematic thing I’ve personally witnessed from the whole Spacey/Weinsten fiascos is the way victims of sexual assault continue to be villified and ridiculed to save face for their abusers/rapists. Just yesterday a man at a party I was waitressing for said a joke along the lines of “We love you ladies, just don’t Weinstein us” which was met with laughter from all his colleagues, male and female. A girl in one of my studio classes told me that since the women took so long to speak out about the abuse it was really their own fault. As a CSA survivor, these comments and the problematic discourse surrounding these issues can be particularly triggering. Rape culture is so ingrained in our culture that society automatically reaches to invalidate victims who publicly admit to their abuse. The patriarchal system in place protects these predatorial men to a point. About Spacey’s coming out, it seems inconsequential. His orientation does nothing to excuse him from CSA. If his career is subsequently ruined by this, then that is his comuppance. He doesn’t deserve a pass or leniency, he needs to pay for his actions. I remember several years ago, a white teen boy had raped a girl and served only three months jail time. The short sentence was cited as being because it could “ruin his life”. There is an enormous gaping chasm between de-humanising a rapist and simply serving justice. Babying abusers and predators only reinforces the idea to other abusers that their actions aren’t /that/ bad as well as dismisses entirely the trauma faced by their victims. These victims live through the actual abuse, but their suffering is far from over. Publicly accusing someone of sexual abuse is an entirely different monster for them to slay. The public backlash, constantly having to relive their trauma, being belittled and smeared, facing constant doubt and invalidation, answering questions like “what were you wearing?” “did you lead him on?” all are a horrific experience. If anything good can come from all the public discourse surrounding these events I hope it puts a more public light on the trials that victims have to face whenever they decide to publicly accuse someone.

– Shelby Mardis

I don’t agree with the author about his discussion on Spacey’s “coming out” event as the author seems to be pretty forgiving towards Spacey. In my opinion, Spacey coming out as gay when Rapp alleged him of his sexual approach is an act of defense and excuse to protect himself against the public’s anger. If he wanted to come out, he would have already and not wait until the allegiance. Also, I don’t think “coming out” is a social requirement because in today society, gay people are still discriminated and bullied. There’s still so much hatred going on and that’s why a lot of people still choose not to reveal their true identity and sexual orientation. Regarding the matter on pedophilia, I totally agree with the author that not all gay people are pedophile. It is a mental illness and can be disturbing when being associated with all gay people whenever we talk about them, which is not true. However, the excuse Spacey had as being drunk is unacceptable because Rapp was only 14 at that time. Nonetheless, I think the author does make a point when saying that we cannot directly jump to the conclusion that Spacey is a rapist when not enough evidence is presented.

I’ll admit, I’m still conflicted about this article; it took several attempts to re-read in order to understand the message. Same as an earlier commenter (Samuel) I also felt like the article was trying to steer the reader to feel sympathy for Spacey during my first read, but after mulling over the article, I feel like I have a better understanding.

The main idea that I’m taking away from the article is that bad sex doesn’t equal rape, even if that sex was done out of confusion, obligation, fear, or a myriad of other reasons — I don’t exactly agree with this idea, but I have to say that the article did a good job with presenting its thesis and talking about the topic. It could be that I’m just caught up on why Spacey’s sexual assault accusation is being talked about in an article that outlines how bad sex isn’t like rape, but nevertheless, a good article.

This article raises some very relevant questions about the way we think about sexual assault/rape and how we define it. I think it’s an important question to try and answer as well, both for individuals and for society as a whole, because how could we possibly find justice for those who’ve been through sexual assault and help them heal if we don’t even know how to define it? And that leads into the complexity of not only defining consent as a society but making sure that individuals understand consent as well.

How unforgiving word associations can be. Associating “gay” and “pedophile” is an insult to a community that has struggled for respect since the word gay first defined us. It negates all of the work put into achieving any hope of social equality. Decades ago, sinister connotations were the norm but with so much information speeding past us, it is paramount that a minority community is received with respect by those who remain estranged.

Thank you for this post, Jane. It reignited a fondness I have long forgotten.

I do think that any form of unconsented sexual activities not in the normal conditions are considered rape. We must learn to understand the definition of rape more precisely to further help those individuals who are victims. As for spacey, it is wrong to relate the terms gay and pedophile. And coming out to the public should not be an obligation in any way.

You took the words right out of my mouth! The term Rape has been misused on multiple occasions, and perhaps used when convenient…. NOT all occasions.
Also referring gays and peophiles hand in hand isn’t the correct term because most gay men continue to have morals and beliefs and being gay doesn’t necessarily mean they are pedophiles.

Kevin Spacey, being a public figure, has brought on a negative light to the queer community even if it was not forced. However, I do believe this “coming out” was strategically planned and unjust. Not only did he add fuel to the “all gay men are pedophiles” fire, he brought on the assumption that being gay serves as an excuse and that he would be justified with some kind of laxed punishment or treatment. The idea of rape needs to be culturally broke down and unconstructed so true rapists and pedophiles can justly be sought out and handled, and not just people participating in “unjust” or unethical sex or sexual actions. Being drunk doesn’t make all sex actions unjust, consent is an agreement. Just like getting drunk, doing drugs, and etc. If consent was made before the usage of any substance, then one could understand the consent still being applied to the sexual actions to come afterwards. However, one can also understand that once under the influence, consent may change or alter. Both of those situations shouldn’t only leave rape or not rape as options of outcomes. Neither of these apply to Spacey though in the end. He acknowledged his actions, so there shouldn’t be any confusion on whether his actions were horrid or not, excused or not, or anything among that nature.

This is hard to comment on because the author is all over the place. Since i don’t keep up with tabloids and Hollywood’s weirdness is nothing new, I’ll restrict my response to answering the beginning portion.
Rape is a legal term and here is the definition. “Definition: The carnal knowledge of a female forcibly and against her will.

Carnal knowledge is defined by Black’s Law Dictionary, 6th ed. as “the act of a man having sexual bodily connections with a woman; sexual intercourse.” There is carnal knowledge if there is the slightest penetration of the sexual organ of the female (vagina) by the sexual organ of the male (penis).” This is interesting because legally it seems like men can’t be raped. That was new to me. I think the professor was keen in stating that all sex involving drugs or social pressure is rape. I think that detracts from actual rapes and that a distinction must be made between sex under the influence and drugging someone to force them into sex. Also, someone feeling social pressure to consent to sex doesn’t fall under the definition given since they arent being forced. If someone asked you for money and you felt guilty saying no so you gave it to them, you’d be crazy to say that they robbed you. Since this is a one way street ie only men can rape and only women can be raped, I’d be scared to live in a world where any lady who seemingly consents to sex can later say she felt peer pressure and get someone locked up. It would be a disgrace to call someone who has given consent to a person theyre familiar with because of social pressure and someone who was forcibly raped by the same name. It would also be a disgrace to call someone who followed the procedure of asking for consent and proceeded after receiving it by the same name as someone who perhaps struck a woman and violated her.

It does seem like in recent times the definition of rape has expanded to include things that used to be considered gray areas. However, rape is a very sensitive subject and it would be difficult to tell somebody who believes that they were raped/violated that they were not. Also, crimes against children are generally viewed as more heinous than crimes against adults. I believe that this is the reason so many people are upset with Kevin Spacey. He allegedly used his position of power to assault both adults, and teenagers. Just because he has apologized does not make it okay. Going to rehab isn’t going to fix him, or the things he’s done. When the accusations became public, I do believe he tried to create a distraction by publicly come out. While it has always bothered me that the media and public have felt it necessary to badger celebrities until they publicly state whether they are hetero or homosexual, it is not okay to publicly state that you are gay just to try to distract from your crimes.

I don’t usually follow news about celebrities, but interestingly I’ve been following up on the Kevin Spacey scandal. I can’t say I blame the LGBT community for their wrath. Spacey’s “coming out” tweet seemed like an attempt to deflect blame and responsibility for the assault. Historically, there are many examples of the public equating homosexuality to pedophilia. In the 1970s, commercials or “PSA’s” were made about homosexuality, and most of them lead viewers to make an association between gay men/women and sexual predators.
Interestingly, some older members of my family have the same views of homosexuals; specifically homosexual men. For some reason, they seem to think that gay men are the only overly sexual individuals. Don’t forget, my fam is of an older generation and culture where the condemnation of gays was/is fairly normal. However, knowing that millennials are saying similar things kind of leaves me the question if things are really “changing” that much.

Historical error. Anti-Gay PSAs linking homosexuality to pedophilia were also prevalent in the 1950s and 1960s. One of the most notable ones was “Boys Beware.”

It would be reasonable to say there are many right answers at to what could be considered rape, just as much as there would be wrong answers. I do agree with the fact that just because sex was physically uncomfortable for a person, or as you call it “bad sex,” one should not resort to the term rape. However, it would seem controversial if a person argues an emotional discomfort. For example, having the need and desire to an unwanted sexual act, but not having the will to do so. Must admit that there are many people out there with communication disorders.
Labeling homosexuals as pedophiles is just as wrong as labeling any group for any one given occurrence. Righteously, homosexuals should not feel the need to come out to anyone and have to explain their sexualities and identities. However the problem is that social norms were already set up in a way that homosexuals weren’t included. Now, the coming out of many homosexuals have helped the queer community gain understanding over the years.

I’m so bad with words and explaining my thoughts, but bear with me.

“we are living in a time in which many young feminists are not interested in why sexual assault happens, because to even ask that question is to potentially extend a degree of humanity to the rapist” – This phrase struck me, because it’s true in a way. When I hear stories or cases about sexual assault, the “why” is either alcohol, clothing options, wrong place wrong time, or domestic relationship related. But I don’t see any large group or movement working on finding, or stopping the root of sexual assault. The real “why”. I’m one of those who strongly believe that patriarchy is the root. Many of us believe this. So, why hasn’t there been a public movement about this? Why is it ridiculed? Obviously because this is how the system has been for centuries. Times are changing, but for good or bad I don’t know.

Emely Martinez
I believe that anyone that is heavily intoxicated or on drugs and does not give consent to sex was sexually abused. This to me is rape because someone potentially took advantage of the situation being that the individual was unaware of what was going on. However, I don’t agree that bad sex equals rape because both individuals gave consent to be sexually active with one another.
The article makes a valid point by stating that coming out to society is more to please the hetoronormative individuals. I agree with this perspective of the article too because if society wasn’t based on a world of heteronormativity than being a homosexual would be accepted and not have to be explained to others.

Unwanted sex is considered rape but I agree there are murky lines when it comes to unsatisfied sex. There should be more terms to accurately describe when people are peer pressured into sex or too shy to deviate from hook up norms because categorizing them all with rape can be a big accusation. As for unraveling systematic rape culture, we as a society should try to get into the minds of the rapists and those who sexually assault others to better understand what went wrong to help them. Why should it be the responsibility for some people to protect themselves from getting raped why don’t we teach the rapists that rape is just not an option.

I will admit I didn’t know about Kevin Spacey’s announcement/ distraction tactic from the pedophile claims as of late. The author did bring about the thought of how we deem it necessary to “come out” when someone is queer. Why has this become something we feel needs to be an open announcement? We do not expect heterosexuals to announce their sexual preference in a public manner, so why should we still expect this of anyone who isn’t heterosexual? I appreciate the author’s statements on how blanketed our definition of sexual assault and rape has become, and I agree that we need better terminology and need to redefine what we consider such assaults to be. Making a bad decision is much different from being assaulted and having loose terminology allows for people to cry wolf and detract from the seriousness of the actual cases of sexual assault and rape. If only people wouldn’t take advantage of such things.

I believe that in order to move forward towards neutralizing sexual violence is first of all becoming aware of the problem. Many people don’t necessarily consider drunk sex or even non violent pressured sexual acts as rape. If we’re going to make links between feminism, queer activism, and theorizes then there need to be a certain guidelines of definitions and boundaries. I’m sure a lot of people have heard of rape culture, but how many people can actually give a clear definition and detailed example of what it is? Rape culture can range from sex to simple conversation that uses violent sexual language or disregards the other parties boundaries. An example of this could be a football play suggesting that their team “raped” the other team, when the player could’ve simply said that the won game. Although some may view this as a metaphor that gets the point across better, it’s another example of how jam packed our society is associated with violence, asserting dominance, and how it routinely contributes to rape culture. When rape culture is seen or hear everyday, it’s easier to see why many people may confuse rape with sex. Not to say that it makes it okay, it just shows us that we can to be more hyper aware of our surroundings and how we contribute towards it.

Drawing a connection between pedophilia and queerness through Spacey’s statement isn’t great. It’s like condemning someone for saying they chose to pursue a queer relationship rather than that they realized they were queer. It forces someone to have to play themselves into a narrative they shouldn’t have to belong to based on the thought-process of bigoted individuals who would already draw the connection between the shared gender and age disparity of Spacey and Mark Rapp. The burden of proof shouldn’t fall on queer people in these situations. If one seeks to condemn Spacey, the numerous allegations against him should be enough.

Kevin Spacey’s case is being viewed in a heteronormative angle by society. Many are justifying Spacey’s sexual relations with a minor because he’s a male. Because, coincidentally Spacey felt as though it was the perfect timing to come out as gay. To the queer community, his actions are being viewed as a response to those narrow-minded folks who feel like you need to justify your sexuality for your actions. Rape is rape in my eyes. Someone who is not in the right state physically to consent to sex shouldn’t be forced into doing so. What needs to be focused on is the big picture; Kevin Spacey committed a crime. He had sex with a minor, just because he came out of the closet, it does not give him the thumbs up to pursue relations with an underage male.

I do not enjoy hearing that coming out in hollywood is being used as a scapegoat for the subject. Although, I am still trying to grasp Kevin Spacey actual case. Like you said it demishes the aspect of coming out. Or even allows everyone to continue to believe we as individuals to be viewed as predictors when incidents like this are continuing to happen.

But, what was interesting was people’s idea of rape culture. If she did not enjoy it or like it then it would be considered as rape.

The Puritanism driving so much if this reproduces the structures of oppression that our emancipation was supposed to do away with.

And the utter absence of praxis from contemporary identity “politics” means they are engaging in therapy rather than politics. The siloing and decentering class means that there is little left about it.

Absent a praxis, all we get from the intersectionalists is a detailed accounting, a spreadsheet of relative degrees of interacting oppression with nary a peep about what to do about it.

I’ve been blocked by feminists, including Solnit, for conveying that my experience as a promiscuous gay man, watching male sexual response in the hothouse of gay cruising for decades, gives me hints at what makes men cross the line that women simply don’t have access to. Many think that I am seeking cover for my own conduct. But as a feminist gay man, I would hope that our insights in what might be effective ways to conceive of sexual assault. In my experience that it is largely not of violent intent although often of violent consequence. Disconnecting intent and figuring out what makes it tick from consequence breaks the rule of victim centering. But rape victims are not raping, male rapists are. We have to figure out why some men rape, how that functions, so that we can know how to intervene to disarm the bomb.

this reminded me of the bathroom issue because parents were afraid their children would be raped ad etc not even read up on statics and factual information. I can not stand the fact they bragged queerness into that foolishness. Also, when it comes to raped I feel like more people need to be educated on the topic.

I hate to be the guy that just blames the millennials for being too sensitive, but it’s true. We are so driven by emotion and get so carried away with passion. The term rape has been overused and it is so so misused. I think that it is super dangerous for us to try to be each others judges because we all get upset when others judge us. We’re just hypocrites and we love playing the victims. We are satisfied with comfort and don’t want to work harder. Overall everyone should just be just and kind to one another.

It may seem that through America’s long history of patriarchal dominance, violence and subjugation go hand in hand. However, I don’t feel like it is as intended as some would have us believe. Whether with inconsistent statements or unclear actions, these sexual interactions are still evolving and will be forever. How society defines what is appropriate or not also changes throughout time. It might be difficult for some people to keep up with the ever changing dynamics of social interaction.

I don’t think we should be so forgiving towards Spacey, what he did and the way he handled it was wrong. That was an inappropriate time and almost uncalled for considering the situation, it did seem like it was done in defense in order to try and shift the attention away from the allegation. If he was so willing to use the queer community for his own defense why should it be protective of him?

Rape is definitely something you don’t want to be accused of but if you out yourself in situation like Kevin Spacey did then there’s no other way to see it. No one should ever feel like there in a hostile environment that feels like sexual harassment, sexual assault or rape occurs. Its like the Bill Cosby accusations, although they are allegations, no one will look at bill Cosby the same let alone work with the man. As far the accusation of gays being “pedophiles” has no correlation to what one man or woman has done. Gays, lesbians, transgenders, etc, have moral and religious values as well.

The biggest takeaway from the article was the writers point, we need better language to describe the bad sex many of us consent for. Unsatified sex is an injustice, however calling it rape is going a little far. Now in regards to Spacey, it was not an obligation to come out and he choose the wrong time to do so.

Thanks for your article. What you’re critiquing is so ingrained that it’s predictible, if frustrating, that many will attack you before understanding your argument.

I have been thinking about the questions you raise for several years. A founding contribution, in my view, is the debate between Angela Davis and Susan Brownmiller anthologized in the Communist Research Cluster’s excellent reader on revolutionary feminism.
Davis finds fault with the maxim of bourgeois feminism that ‘rape is a tool by which all men oppress all women’, underscoring its racist subtension, exemplified by the Scotsborogh case. A conceptual necessity for battling rape culture at present is the specificity rather than generalizing of abuse, and insights might be sought in psychoanalysis, as well as tendencies like kink that play with or reject the discourse of victimhood.

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