The Combustible Mixture of Sex and Alcohol

Hookup culture has made it extremely difficult, if not impossible, to discern sexual consent, mostly because of the amount of alcohol consumed. Most hookups occur while both parties are inebriated, with both women and men affirming in studies that they need to drink in order to overcome normal inhibitions that accompany having sex with a stranger. This short by Jason Reitman is a funny look at what young people are up against, and it doesn’t even address the drinking factor:


Recently, though, this has become an issue of enormous contention and no one is laughing. Except maybe Alex Knepper, who wrote a piece about sexual consent for The Eagle at American University that has landed him on talk shows all week, and in the crosshairs of the feminist media. As a result of all this publicity, I suspect that Alex can look forward to numerous job offers when he graduates. The fact that he is openly gay lends an interesting twist to his views, and has foiled the usual attempts of angry women to cast him as a heteronormative pig. He begins:

The yin and yang of masculinity and femininity is what makes sexual exploration exciting. Sex isn’t about contract-signing. It’s about spontaneity, raw energy and control (or its counterpart, surrender). Feminism envisions a bedroom scene in which two amorphous, gender-neutral blobs ask each other “Is this OK with you?” before daring to move their lips any lower on the other’s body.

Here’s the part that really caught the attention of angry women students, who called Knepper a rape apologist and began confiscating all the issues of the paper they could find on campus:

Let’s get this straight: any woman who heads to an EI party as an anonymous onlooker, drinks five cups of the jungle juice, and walks back to a boy’s room with him is indicating that she wants sex, OK? To cry “date rape” after you sober up the next morning and regret the incident is the equivalent of pulling a gun to someone’s head and then later claiming that you didn’t ever actually intend to pull the trigger.

“Date rape” is an incoherent concept. There’s rape and there’s not-rape, and we need a line of demarcation. It’s not clear enough to merely speak of consent, because the lines of consent in sex — especially anonymous sex — can become very blurry.

I don’t agree with Alex Knepper that walking to a frat house late at night constitutes consent, not by a long shot. But I do agree that date rape is an incoherent concept, and that the boundaries around consent have gotten extremely blurry. This scenario is a recipe for potential disaster for both parties. It sets them up for a dangerous set of circumstances that can easily devolve into He Said/She Said.

I. The Difficulty in Defining Consent

In March of 2007, the British government proposed that a statutory definition of drunken sexual consent be created and made law. Sir Igor Judge deemed it impossible, saying:

It would be unrealistic to endeavour to create some kind of grid system which would enable the answer to these questions to be related to some prescribed level of alcohol consumption….Provisions intended to protect women from sexual assaults might very well be conflated into a system which would provide patronising interference with the right of autonomous adults to make personal decisions for themselves.

Someone suggested that women carry sex breathalyzers, which would tell a woman when she was past the legal limit for sexual consent. Should she then be prevented from having sex even if she wants it? In typical British fashion, humor found its way into the debate. Both men and women commented that they would have a lot less sex if they couldn’t wear beer goggles, and couldn’t be seen through them.

The Telegraph opined,

The natural conclusion of cover-all consent laws would be that it might be illegal to have sex with a woman unless she signs and dates – soberly – a certificate for each assignation. Something of a passion killer.

Which brings us right back to Jason Reitman’s spoof!

Back in the 90s, now defunct Antioch College caused a national uproar when a group there calling themselves Womyn of Antioch sat down one night and wrote a sexual consent policy. It was later modified slightly, but the college accepted it in this form:

ANTIOCH SEXUAL CONSENT POLICY (excerpted, italic comments are mine):

* Consent is required each and every time there is sexual activity. (even in the same night)

* All parties must have a clear and accurate understanding of the sexual activity.

* The person(s) who initiate(s) the sexual activity is responsible for asking for consent.

* The person(s) who are asked are responsible for verbally responding.

* Each new level of sexual activity requires consent. (May I touch your boob now?  May I have permission to insert a finger? May I insert P into V?)

* Use of agreed upon forms of communication such as gestures or safe words is acceptable, but must be discussed and verbally agreed to by all parties before sexual activity occurs. (I’m picturing semaphore here.)

* Consent is required regardless of the parties’ relationship, prior sexual history, or current activity (e.g. grinding on the dance floor is not consent for further sexual activity).

* At any and all times when consent is withdrawn or not verbally agreed to, the sexual activity must stop immediately.

* Silence is not consent.

* Body movements and non-verbal responses such as moans are not consent.

* A person can not give consent while sleeping. (No more sexy wakeup calls? Damn!)

* All parties must have unimpaired judgement (examples that may cause impairment include but are not limited to alcohol, drugs, mental health conditions, physical health conditions). (Well, we know how that turned out.)

II. The Difficulty in Determining What Really Went Down

Here are examples of rape cases I have personally heard about first hand, all of which involved heavy drinking by both parties:

1. A woman consented to sex and insisted on using a condom. During intercourse, unbeknownst to her, the guy reached down and pulled it off. She realized it when she felt his semen pool on the sheet.

Was her consent valid if he changed the terms of the agreed upon act? Or was it rape?

2. A woman decided to hook up with a guy despite the fact that she had a long-distance boyfriend. During intercourse, she was seized with a sense of guilty panic and shouted NO! He thrusted two more times and finished.

Was it rape?

3. A woman came home one morning and told her roommate in rather giddy fashion that she had hooked up with a guy. Her roommate had the clear impression that she was quite pleased and cheerful, and she indicated that this was an interesting new development in her social life. The roommate was friends with the guy as well, and learned from him in the next couple of days that he had no intention of pursuing further contact with the woman. Nothing more was said, but a week later the woman told her roommate that she had been raped by this guy that night, and intended to report him. The roommate, feeling that this charge did not reflect what she had witnessed the next morning, gave the guy a heads up about the charge. I don’t know what happened on the rape charge, but the roommate was suspended and censured for “poor citizenship” in betraying a confidence by warning the guy.

Was it rape?

It’s tempting to say that no one knows exactly what happened except the parties involved. Except that too often, the parties involved are not reliable witnesses themselves. Memory lapses are a common side effect of drinking. How can the word of anyone who was profoundly drunk at the time be trusted? How can intent or consent be measured in a valid way?

III. The Failure of Schools to Issue Sanctions Against Perpetrators

Recently the Boston Globe wondered why there have been only 4 expulsions from area schools out of 240 confirmed attacks in the last five years. Recently the University of Massachusetts – Amherst acknowledged that a student who confessed to raping a friend last fall, a felony, was still enrolled and had avoided discipline. Victim advocates are understandably outraged:

“It’s a rape; it’s a forcible contact without someone’s consent,’’ said Colby Bruno, an attorney with the Victim Rights Law Center in Boston.

Of the 240 attacks, there were 24 suspensions. An additional 59 students were sanctioned in various ways, including “getting counseling, performing community service, writing a letter of personal reflection, or staying away from the victim.”

The schools point out that witnesses and physical evidence are rarely present with most complaints.

This is the crux of the matter. However, this does not explain why, when a student is found guilty of the attack, or confesses, as some do, the felonious assault does not earn the attacker more than a letter of personal reflection. Schools cite the frequent unwillingness of the victim to pursue campus discipline after reporting the attack.

Boston University has 21 reported sexual assaults from 2006-2008. Eleven cases went through the disciplinary process, and none resulted in expulsion. When interviewed, many students say that the difficulty in understanding and prosecuting sexual assault cases can be traced back to the school’s alcohol culture, and the problem of getting to the facts. Sarah Merriman, a campus activist said,

At BU, as with a lot of other colleges in America, there’s not really much of a dating culture. It’s more of a hook-up culture.

This is the essential problem. We don’t know what the crime is, exactly. We don’t know when crimes have been committed. We must rely on testimony from parties who were drinking, often heavily, when the event occurred. We must acknowledge that when drunk both women and men make poor choices. Some women may act on regret by denying responsibility. Some men may become coercive when drunk. Some men may believe that a woman has given consent, when, in fact, the laws in that state hold that consent would be impossible.

If you are too ashamed or embarrassed to do something sober, then it’s worth thinking twice about. The only solution to preventing real and perceived sexual assaults on college campuses is to separate sex from drinking. If you do choose to get drunk and hook up, you need to understand that you will have little to no legal recourse for anything that goes on in the privacy of a stranger’s bed.

One Pingback/Trackback

  • Pete

    Good, kind hearted men going "ghost" seems to be the only rational course of action in this toxic environment.

    • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/susanawalsh susanawalsh

      Pete, welcome – can you say why, specifically? Do you mean that good guys aren't getting sex, it's cads assaulting women?

  • http://grerp.blogspot.com/ grerp

    If a guy held out a $500 bill to a girl and said, "Would you like five hundred dollars? Because I'm thinking about giving someone five hundred dollars today, and it might be you." And then he took the bill between his fingers and gave it a teasing little flex. "Look at this, so green, so crisp. I bet you'd love spending it. You'd have a good time." Then he let her touch it, but respectfully. "Feels nice, doesn't it? Spendable. Man, I'm really thinking that I want to give you this five hundred dollars. Yep. But you know, I might need convincing." Then he stuck it in her hand and she took it, but then he snatched it back playfully. "Not so fast. I'm going to give it to you, but I want to enjoy my own generosity in the process."

    Honestly, would anyone blame her if she just grabbed the five hundred dollars? Or expect that he could do that and not fork it over?

    Alcohol clouds the issue of consent, but consent clouds the issue of unfair mixed messages – something the hook-up culture has become professional in its ability to produce.

    If you don't want to give someone $500, don't whip out the bill and rub it in his face. If on the other hand, that money is safely stowed in your pocket and a thug pulls you into the bushes, rips your coat off and takes your wallet with the money inside – that's theft.
    My recent post Piece of Advice #15: Soften

    • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/susanawalsh susanawalsh

      Alcohol clouds the issue of consent, but consent clouds the issue of unfair mixed messages.

      I couldn't agree more!

  • Pjay


    …"The murkiness surrounding what's reasonable has deepened further with the Maryland case, which was tried in 2004. The accuser and the defendant agree that after he began to penetrate her and she wanted him to stop, he did so within a matter of seconds and did not climax. Even so, during deliberations, the jury sent a note to the judge asking if it was rape if a female changed her mind during the sex to which she consented and the man continued until climax. The judge said it was for them to decide. They convicted the defendant of first-degree rape, among other sex offenses."

    He ended up serving 5 years in prison.

    • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/susanawalsh susanawalsh

      OK, I really don't understand this example. All parties acknowledge that the man withdrew within seconds and did not climax. Then the jury sends a note saying what if the guy did climax. And then they convict him? Am I missing something here?

      This article raises another point. We need an alternative word to rape to describe situations like this one. A sex act that begins as consensual should not be viewed the same way as a violent act that has nothing to do with sexual desire or arousal. I don't deny a woman's right to halt intercourse, and I am not sympathetic to the argument that men can't help themselves once they've begun. Hell, they can pull out and finish on their own. But two college acquaintances getting cozy al night, drinking, making out on the dance floor, going back to someone's room and getting all the way to penetration with consent? How can that possibly be rape?

    • mgambale

      The guy from Maryland isn't in the inmate registry or the sex offender registry. Perhaps his third trial has not yet taken place, or he was acquitted. He almost certainly remained in jail during the lengthy appeals process.

      • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/susanawalsh susanawalsh

        The case was tried in 2004, and the Time article is from 2007, at which time the outcome was still undecided. So yeah, he spent some serious time behind bars. I'm glad he's not in the registry – let's hope that means he was acquitted.

        By the way, I'm amazed at how much the laws can vary by state. We don't generally make a habit of researching this kind of information when we arrive in a new place, but perhaps we should. A student in Maryland who is from a state with a different law really needs to know the difference, whether male or female. In particular, a guy should know what constitutes a sexual crime in that state where he's having it!

  • Sasha

    I don't agree with the girls who yes do wake up in the morning after a "one night stand" and feel guilty that they let their inhibitions fly out the window one night and decide to cry rape in order to get back at this guy. But thanks to those women out their that do this it seems that everyone forgets about those of us who didn't have the choice and were raped when there was no consent, flirting or being a cock tease involved.

    It angers me that anyone would question a women's cry at rape however it seems that in hook-up culture women who feel rejected by their hook-up find it necessary to be so deviant to do such a thing as cry rape on false pretension. This is not only disgusting but is one reason why society questions what consent is and where the lines blur. There is the nitty gritty stuff of fine details when rules get changed like the situation of agreeing to have sex with a condom and him taking it off and I'm sure to whoever that happens to will have varying and different degrees of thought to what is consensual for them. But one must not forget that some woman don't get the choice of deciding if even a condom is used.

    I didn't have a choice. I didn't like this person so much as a friend let alone as someone to have sex with and I knew this even when drunk. I knew that I didn't consent to him doing what he did to me. However because he was an acquaintance and I was drunk I have no credibility in the court of law. Even those women who have been raped by the psychotic serial rapist find it hard to push such a case due to the whole scope of sexual consent.

    … continued in a new comment

  • Sasha

    I think that girls who cry wolf with rape because of a bad hook-up or of feelings of guilt for a "one night stand" are tarnishing the reputation of those of us who have been raped. They are the reason that most of society are ignorant to rape victims and blur the lines of justice when it comes to date and acquaintance rape. Society believes that a woman can only be raped by some psychotic serial rapist that waits for you down a dark alley way however 84% of victims raped on college campuses are acquaintances with their assailants.

    I was raped in my College dorm by an acquaintance who knew I had "blacked out" in my bed. He lived down the hallway from me. I don't think I ever gave him a "cock tease" impression and worse of all he knew I had a boyfriend back home. Yet still one time when I got too drunk he came into my room and raped me. He knew I was so drunk that I couldn't fight him off. He understood what I meant when I said "No!" repeatedly yet he kept on raping me.

    Yes alcohol was involved – had my intention been whilst drinking with my friends that I wanted to hook-up with someone: no. I was in a long distance relationship at the time and have been very happily sexually active for years. I have always been apart of consensual sex which involved alcohol with people I have been in relationships with and with hook-ups alike. Not once was I raped by any of these lovely men. Yes i admit that I have felt shame or guilt whilst doing the "Walk of Shame" home back to my flat after a night of drinking and ending up in bed with someone – haven't we all? And yes I have felt shame from someone who I have liked a lot but who only ended up being a one night thing – my reaction though never once consisted of me crying wolf to get back at this guy for rejecting me. However when this acquaintance came into my dorm room high and drunk himself and raped me it wasn't consensual and it did feel different. When you like someone and are consenting to sex it doesn't feel wrong however this did.

    I may have been drunk but my body knew the next morning that I had been violated because I felt disgusting. For added omfph it felt like I had had vomit and human excrement rubbed into every single part of my body. The worst part of the whole ordeal though was the fact that my female friends more than my male friends were the ones who tried to tell me that maybe I had consented. That I couldn't remember because I was drunk. That somehow it was my fault because unbeknownst to me I had maybe flirted with him once or twice or given him an idea that he could come onto my comatose body.

    I am not trying to attack this article I think that it brings up an important issue of alcohol compromising a women's ability to consent to anything sex related whether it just be kissing or full blown sex but at the same time I think there is still some ignorance from society to those of us who have been raped where alcohol is involved.

  • Sasha

    I don't agree with the girls who yes do wake up in the morning after a "one night stand" and feel guilty that they let their inhibitions fly out the window one night and decide to cry rape in order to get back at this guy. But thanks to those women out their that do this it seems that everyone forgets about those of us who didn't have the choice and were raped when there was no consent, flirting or being a cock tease involved.

    It angers me that anyone would question a women's cry at rape however it seems that in hook-up culture women who feel rejected by their hook-up find it necessary to be so deviant to do such a thing as cry rape on false pretension. This is not only disgusting but is one reason why society questions what consent is and where the lines blur. There is the nitty gritty stuff of fine details when rules get changed like the situation of agreeing to have sex with a condom and him taking it off and I'm sure to whoever that happens to will have varying and different degrees of thought to what is consensual for them. But one must not forget that some woman don't get the choice of deciding if even a condom is used.

    I didn't have a choice. I didn't like this person so much as a friend let alone as someone to have sex with and I knew this even when drunk. I knew that I didn't consent to him doing what he did to me. However because he was an acquaintance and I was drunk I have no credibility in the court of law. Even those women who have been raped by the psychotic serial rapist find it hard to push such a case due to the whole scope of sexual consent.

    If you want to learn more about date and acquaintance rape I suggest that you read "I Never Called it Rape" by Robin Warshaw the 2nd edition. It's not a phenomenon it does exist and is a very real thing. Not many women report their rape to the police on the grounds of feeling ashamed and not believed due to societies stigmas of rape.

    I hope that if you are ever in a position where a friend, colleague, sister or girlfriend comes to you and tells you that they have been raped that you don't just dismiss it as a bad one night stand or her waking up in the morning and regretting hooking up with Timmy cause she likes John. Don't judge her if she was drunk or high. If she said "No!" it means just that no. A women should have the right that if she goes to a frat house at 3am and decides that whilst she has yes been making out with this guy all night she can say no to him trying to put a finger inside of her. Just like a man has the right to say no to a woman touching his genitals. Being a cock tease yes is something that blurs the line of consent but if you say "No!" that's exactly what it means – no.

    • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/susanawalsh susanawalsh

      Sasha, thank you for sharing your story and your point of view. I think you add something very, very important to the conversation here. Let me say right off that being drunk does not constitute an invitation or even suggestion that you are interested in sex. I hear very clearly what you are saying. You were in your own bed and someone entered your room and raped you. In my view, this is no different that being raped by a stranger in a dark alley – you gave no indications whatsoever that could be interpreted as consent.

      I agree that women falsely claiming rape, or even cases where it really is not entirely clear who wanted what and who said what, harms women who have been clearly raped. The blurring of the lines around consent has created so much "noise" that a woman who has a legitimate claim will be drowned out if there are aspects of her case that seem similar to cases with less merit.

      I hope you know from the post that I DO NOT believe that a woman going to a frat house has given consent. She may be willing and even eager to make out, fool around, etc. but plenty of hookups stop short of intercourse, so the idea that agreeing to hook up = sexual consent is ridiculous. Mostly I think that a woman is unwise to do so drunk, because the circumstances make it more likely that she will be the victim of poor decision-making – either hers or his. And yes, it is legit to say, one finger is OK, but not two. Or whatever. The woman is the gatekeeper and has full rights over her own body, full stop.

      • http://intensedebate.com/people/GudEnuf GudEnuf

        Yeah I don't think being drunk constitutes consent either. Unfortunately, a lot of men see it otherwise.

        "Yes" means yes, "no" means no. Being drunk doesn't change the rules.

        • Aldonza

          In fact, there are legal precedents that say that being drunk means consent is impossible.

        • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/susanawalsh susanawalsh

          Yes, I believe this is true in quite a few states. That strikes me as really unfair to guys – considering that most hookups occur with both parties intoxicated. Also, what's the legal limit, and how can you know when someone has exceeded it? This is one of the reasons that few of these laws are enforced – it's just not practical.

        • Aldonza

          We can argue the spirit of the law vs. how it is applied all day. But I think it's valuable information for men to have as a lot of them seem very unaware of potential ramifications of their choices.

          Same for women. Get drunk and act overtly sexual and you may find guys that interpret that as consent. The law may be on your side, but really, does that matter if you get raped?

  • Pjay

    "I hope that if you are ever in a position where a friend, colleague, sister or girlfriend comes to you and tells you that they have been raped that you don't just dismiss it as a bad one night stand or her waking up in the morning and regretting hooking up with Timmy cause she likes John. Don't judge her if she was drunk or high. If she said "No!" it means just that no."
    I agree with the above. Legally, there is a big difference between a man claiming rape and a woman claiming the same. We live in a country where a woman can claim child support from a victim of her sexual assault, even if he is a minor child or an invalid. That has to change.

    I also agree that a woman who makes a false claim of rape should be severely punished under the law, as she puts true victims at risk as well as unjustly casts blame on innocent men.

    When false accusers receive just punishment under the law, rape will likely be taken more seriously than it is today. It's unfortunate that the same groups clamoring for broad, ever more undefined definitions of legal rape protest so vehemently when attempts are made to punish false accusers.

    • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/susanawalsh susanawalsh

      Pjay, the problem is that there is really no way to prove that an accusation is false most of the time. The violent rape of a stranger produces evidence that can be used in court if a woman goes to the ER. A gang rape in a frat house will often come to light because there were so many witnesses, and someone talks. But when a man and woman are alone, and penetration is not forced, no evidence is produced. In one of the articles you cited above, a men's group has proposed using signed sexual consent forms, just like in the YouTube video. However, even that would be meaningless if the parties were intoxicated.

      Young men should also protect themselves by not having sex with women they don't know. I'm sure that sounds like heresy, and few guys would deny themselves the opportunity, but the truth is, when you have sex with someone whose character you have never assessed, you are taking a risk. Remember the movie Fatal Attraction?

  • @megslife1

    I love this post. I think you sum it all up at the end

    If you are too ashamed or embarrassed to do something sober, then it’s worth thinking twice about. The only solution to preventing real and perceived sexual assaults on college campuses is to separate sex from drinking. If you do choose to get drunk and hook up, you need to understand that you will have little to no legal recourse for anything that goes on in the privacy of a stranger’s bed.

    I always tell my friends this or something like this. If I have to apologize in the morning for what I did the night before then I was not acting like me and that is my fault. If I have sex with someone drunk and regret it is not the guys fault. I think the real problem may be that a lot of girls are trying to use drunk hook ups as a way to get a boyfriend and this is not working. The next morning they think, "Oh god did I just turn into a slut." You are responsible for your actions drunk or sober. There is certainly some cases of actual rape when girls are drunk/high and it is sad that the women this happens to have to defend themselves because of some girls who do drunkenly go out looking for sex and then regret it in the morning.

    I can just imagine the up roar at AU over this article. I know in my day I would have had roommates burning this article.
    My recent post Jumping

    • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/susanawalsh susanawalsh

      No one wants to say that women are asking to be raped. Rape is a very, very strong word. But the truth is that some women may be asking to have sex in a moment when they've lost their judgment. No guy is producing a contract for signature, and I think it's reasonable for a guy to assume the woman is down if she is responding with enthusiasm. In a case where a woman is so blackout she's just lying there, it's immoral for a man to use her as a dumpster. However, the point I'm making in this post is – she is going to find it nearly impossible to prove. And our system of justice does not allow people to be incarcerated based on a person's word, without supporting evidence.

      Women need to know that if they do walk back to a frat house at 3 am, and they go upstairs to Tyler's room, and they start hooking up drunk, there is a very, very high probability that they are going to have sex. Women have to stop putting themselves in harm's way when the threat is easily perceived from the start.

  • @megslife1

    I 100% agree with everything you say here.
    My recent post Jumping

  • ATS

    Sometimes I wonder where the hell common sense went.

    It's all about self-control and not making yourself vulnerable-and that goes for both men and women. If you must drink, don't do it so that your decision making is impaired. A lot of heartache on both sides can be avoided if people just practiced a little self-control. The problem is that people have such a sense of self-entitlement they don't believe in it anymore. And it's this lack of self-discipline that muddled up all the issues at hand and does those who have been truly assaulted a disservice.

  • Pjay

    The last sentence is a real understatement….


    Court: Rape Can Occur Even After Consent

    When a woman says no to sex, even after intercourse has begun, a man had better pay attention.

    On Monday, the California Supreme Court ruled 6-1 that it's rape if a man continues to have sex with a woman who originally consented but then changed her mind.

    "We conclude," Justice Ming Chin wrote for the majority, "that the offense of forcible rape occurs when, during apparently consensual intercourse, the victim expresses an objection and attempts to stop the act and the defendant forcibly continues despite the objection."

    In what she called a "sordid, distressing, sad little case," Justice Janice Rogers Brown dissented, saying the majority provided no guidance about what constitutes withdrawal of consent and what amount of force turns consensual sex into rape.

    "The majority relies heavily on [the defendant's] failure to desist immediately," she wrote. "But it does not tell us how soon would have been soon enough. Ten seconds? Thirty? A minute? Is persistence the same thing as force? And even if we conclude persistence should be criminalized in this situation, should the penalty be the same as for forcible rape?"

    The case, out of El Dorado County, Calif., involved a March 2000 party at which 17-year-old Laura T. reluctantly engaged in sex with a minor identified only as John Z. The young woman claimed that John Z. had continued to have sex with her after she repeatedly asked him to stop.

    "Defendant continued the sex act for at least four or five minutes after Laura first told him she had to go home," Justice Chin wrote. "According to Laura, after the third time she asked to leave, defendant continued to insist that he needed more time and 'just stayed inside of me and kept like basically forcing it on me' for about a 'minute, minute and [a] half.'"

    The high court's ruling upholds Sacramento's 3rd District Court of Appeal, and resolves a split in the law created by two competing appeals court rulings — People v. Roundtree, 77 Cal.App.4th 846, and People v. Vela, 172 Cal.App.3d 237. Monday's opinion sides with Roundtree, a 2000 ruling by San Francisco's 1st District that said withdrawal of consent effectively nullifies any earlier consent, while disavowing Vela, a 1985 ruling by Fresno's 5th District that ruled the opposite.

    In her dissent, Justice Brown accused the majority of ignoring "critical questions about the nature and sufficiency of proof in a post-penetration rape case" and argued that prosecutors should still have the burden of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that a victim clearly communicated withdrawal of consent, and the perpetrator exercised some degree of force.

    She noted that the victim in John Z. had enjoyed the sex, had simply said she had to go and had never overtly told John Z. she didn't want to keep having sex.

    "The majority finds Laura's 'actions and words' clearly communicated withdrawal of consent in a fashion 'no reasonable person in defendant's position' could have mistaken," Brown wrote. "But Laura's silent and ineffectual movements could easily be misinterpreted. And none of her statements are unequivocal."

    Sacramento, Calif., solo practitioner Carol Foster, who represented John Z., could not be reached for comment Monday. Neither could Douglas Beloof, who argued part of the state's case before the California Supreme Court on behalf of the National Crime Victim Law Institute, an amicus curiae based in Portland, Ore.

    However, Sacramento-based Deputy Attorney General John McLean, who also argued before the court, called the decision "a common sense ruling" that did away with a "minority view opinion" from the mid-'80s. He also said that despite Brown's dissent he thought the ruling was "pretty clear."

    "There may be a need later on," he added, "for instructions to deal with specific situations."

    • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/susanawalsh susanawalsh

      This case is a perfect example of two people claiming very different interpretations of the same behavior. However, based on this information I would definitely side with the woman. She withdrew consent, which is her right, and he continued for 4 or 5 minutes. That's a really, really long time. He clearly understood that consent had been withdrawn, because he argued, saying he needed more time. I think the example I gave in the post, where the guy thrusted for a few more seconds, is far more equivocal.

      Maybe guys think it sucks that a woman has the right to change her mind in the middle of sex, but the alternative is unacceptable.

      • http://grerp.blogspot.com/ grerp

        I'm going to take a hard line on this and say that the time to decide you do not want to have sex with a guy is not when his penis is inside you. At that point, what's done is done. If you are in a relationship with someone and he cares about you, you might be able to count on him stopping and not hating you for it. But if he's someone you just met – well, you haven't really made yourself a person with thoughts and feelings to preserve, have you?

        On the topic at large, you can make a campus completely dry and this still won't solve the problem. The problem is that girls want to have their cake and eat it too, and it's just not workable. I attended the University of Michigan at the height of the PC craziness. At orientation all of us were made to attend an hour-long seminar on combating homophobia. While I believe gay people have a right to exist unmolested, it would have been far better to have had a full day seminar on explaining why sexual teasing poisons male/female relationships on campus. If you let girls behave badly and abuse their sexual power, you will see guys who don't care at all about the rights or safety of any women on campus. If you make it clear what will inevitably happen to some women if they abuse their sexual power and that they will both be held accountable and bear the consequences of it, you might see campuses become safer places for their female student bodies.
        My recent post Piece of Advice #15: Soften

        • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/susanawalsh susanawalsh

          Wait a minute grerp – when I said the alternative was unacceptable I was thinking of all the potential situations that might cause a woman to change her mind, not just whim. What if intercourse is painful? What if he is very rough and the woman finds it frightening? Or he uses language or sounds that repel the woman? Or even calls her by another name? What if it's a guy who has had so much to drink that finishing will take ages, or maybe not even happen? How long should she have to endure intercourse before she's allowed to pull the plug? What if someone walks in to watch and he wants to keep going?

          You can see the problem…but I think I understand the point you are trying to make – that it's unfair for a woman to lure a guy into intercourse, and then say, "Um, never mind, just kidding." I would agree that is not fair, I just don't think you could ever really legislate or even teach that.

      • Passer_By

        "She withdrew consent, which is her right . . ."

        Gosh, I dunno. Based on the quotes, if I were in his shoes, I probably would have interpreted that as impatience and exasperation at him taking so long and making her late. So, even if you assume that consent can be withdrawn after the act starts, this case leaves a lot to interpretaiton.

        Also, I get that a woman can withdraw consent during the act, but I agree with the dissenting judge that it raises a lot of questions as to what his reasonable response would be. I mean, if she murmurs stop right at the instant that he's about to cum, and he does it without pulling out instantly, is that rape? I don't know that I could, and I'm sure a really young guy couldn't possibly be expected to do that. Man, if a woman didn't like a guy and really wanted to get back at him for something, that would be one way to do it – just seduce him and say right when she sees he's about to cum. I bet 99% of guys would be unable to stop – and I don't see how we can criminalize behavior that nearly every man would engage in under the same circumstances.

        • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/susanawalsh susanawalsh

          I agree with your point about interpretation. The article mentions she was reluctant to begin with, and then she said she had to go, not that she wasn't enjoying the sex or had changed her mind about having it.

          I also agree with your second point about pulling back at the last minute. That's why I gave the example of the guy who thrusted twice more, came, and the woman claimed rape. That's just ridiculous. In fact, if a woman calls no right at the moment of climax for a guy, who's to say he even hears or processes that information correctly?

          So it's not surprising that Maryland would have a law that says consent occurs at the start of the act, and that's it. Of course, that does raise some sticky questions (forgive the pun) about what happens if the experience is disappointing in some way for the woman, as I replied to grerp above.

          No easy answers here, I'm afraid. However, I do think we need to start by separating the crimes of violent rape, and these murky situations where consent was given and then withdrawn.

        • PJay

          The law is an ass.

          Another telling quote…

    • mgambale

      Looks to me like the majority tried to have its cake and eat it too by proposing what looks like a bright-line rule at first blush, but which really has a great deal of subjective wiggle room. Although it settles the case at hand, the lower courts are given little guidance on how to apply it to different cases. Justice Brown is clearly disturbed by the likelihood that her court will be called upon to resolve similar issues over, and over, and over.

      My take on consent is that it expires every microsecond; a man should look for it continuously. If I were on the court, I would have suggested two rules. First, that consent is withdrawn as soon as equivocal signals are expressed; and second, that thrusting is force enough. Settling the question any other way looks too much like legislating from the bench for my taste. Dura lex, sed lex.

      • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/susanawalsh susanawalsh

        HA! I guess we know what you do for a living! OK, can you clarify what you mean when you say your take on consent? Because a man looking for consent continuously might understandably find that a boner killer. And since gestures, body language and moans are not enough to stand the test, I picture some poor guy asking, "Still OK?" over and over again.

        What are equivocal signs? I would say a firm NO. But how about, "Oh, I'm going to be late, and this is taking too long." For the guy who thinks he's just about there, he might think it's really not going to be a problem. What difference could another minute make?

        What does "thrusting is force enough" mean? Do you mean that if the woman withdraws consent, thrusting must immediately cease? Or are you addressing the force vs. persistence question?

        • mgambale

          Gestures, body language, and moans could certainly be unequivocal as far as the law is concerned. If you go to an auction of a Picasso at Sotheby's and raise your paddle when the auctioneer asks for $100 million, you're on the hook for that amount unless it's topped by another bidder. You don't have to say a word. Accordingly, there's no court in America that would require verbal consent for sex. I'd even wager that a statute to that effect would be struck down as unconstitutional. The university sexual assault policy you posted is only effective in their internal proceedings.

          Note that California law requires consent for "an act [not THE act] of sexual intercourse," and it defines consent as "POSITIVE COOPERATION in act or attitude pursuant to an exercise of free will." [Brackets and caps are mine]. Do you see how a court's analysis of a given situation could vary with each individual act? Also note that a mistaken belief in consent is only a defense in California if the belief was both honest AND reasonable. That's why I think the holding in the case above should have been that the only reasonable course of action upon receiving an equivocal signal is to stop to ask for clarification. Then it would be much easier for everyone (including potential defendants) to tell what a court would do in any given case. Although there's still the problem of defining what is equivocal, I guess in that respect it can be left up to the man how much risk he wants to take that a jury will disagree with him. I don't stop every time my partner makes a sound, but if she ever says something like "I'm going to be late" you can bet all the gold in the world that I'll freeze.

          My statement that "thrusting is force enough" is my suggestion for a bright-line resolution to the force vs. persistence question. I don't think persistence can be physical, because then it would be too hard to draw a distinction between physical persistence and assault.

    • Aldonza

      After recently sitting on a jury for a indecent assault and battery case, I'm more hesitant than ever to make judgments about any case based only on the quick synopsis available to the outside public. The opinion of "Laura's 'actions and words' clearly communicated withdrawal of consent in a fashion 'no reasonable person in defendant's position' could have mistaken" were based on a lot of things that were in evidence but that are not included in an article.

      As Susan notes below, there are very valid reasons for a woman to change her mind during sex. Should the law completely ignore those reasons?

  • Mani

    Thank you for this article. I couldn't agree more with the last statement made – KNOW what you are getting into, and know the consequences for hooking up while there is alcohol running through your blood.

    In college, it always surprises me how people using the "I was drunk" card to excuse their actions. "You had sex with him?" "Well, I was drunk." I don't buy it. I strongly believe that people still subconsciously know what they are doing when they're drinking, unless they have gotten to the point of blackout (what my friend did recently, she made out with a guy and completely said she didn't remember that, which is SCARY. What if i escalated to something more?) And if you wouldn't regularly do it sober, it's best to not do it drunk or engage in sexual activity at a party while you are drunk. Leaving your drink unattended, going upstairs to some stranger's room after a crazy night, all of that is DANGEROUS, and increases your chances of assault. Alcohol just makes everything blurry, and in college, I have heard countless stories of girls hooking up while drunk with guys they barely know…putting yourself in that position just isn't safe.

    "If you do choose to get drunk and hook up, you need to understand that you will have little to no legal recourse for anything that goes on in the privacy of a stranger’s bed."

    Couldn't agree more.
    My recent post

    • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/susanawalsh susanawalsh

      Thanks, Mani. You are smart to distance yourself from the whole scene. By the way, an added "benefit" of hooking up while drunk is that it allows you to disavow knowledge the next day. When your friends tease you about your promiscuity (for girls) or how busted your hookup was (for guys) it's very easy to say, "Haha, ease up, I was blackout!" It's being drunk that gives people permission to act out.

  • Passer_By

    I'm here to stand up for alcohol. Seriously. Alcohol needs a better PR agent. We only hear about the negative stories with sex and alcohol. All the positive stories go untold. On our first date, my wife and I probably downed about 3 bottles of wine between us. She started plying me with wine when I showed up at her door. More at dinner. More afterwards. Then we fucked like rabbits off and on for about 4 hours and mostly haven't stopped since. I guess if she'd regretted it the next morning, I was a rapist, even though I was just as drunk as she was. Anyway, 15 years later we have two beautiful kids and a nice family. Would that have happened if not for alcohol fueled sex? I dunno. I kind of doubt it. I certainly had no "game", and I probably would have been stiff, nervous and awkward. I probably would have done everything wrong, and she would have been turned off or thought there was something about her that was making me clam up.

    I bet there are a lot of perfectly happy couples out there who might not have come to be couples without a little "social lubricant".

    So, tonight, after we put the kids down, I'm gonna pour a glass of wine for both of us and toast alcohol itself, then after we're both good and drunk I think I'll let her take advantage of me.

    • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/susanawalsh susanawalsh

      I LOVE THIS STORY!!!!! It's so great that you and your wife are still into each other.

      Look, if alcohol were not effective in loosening inhibitions, I agree with the Brits – there'd be a lot less sex all around. Alcohol can definitely take the edge off a stressful situation.

      And while it ups the potential for something bad happening, I think that's a risk primarily during random hookups between strangers or acquaintances where one or both parties are blackout drunk. Frankly, there would probably be more sexual assaults, but after that much alcohol the plumbing sometimes doesn't work, people pass out, etc.

      I read somewhere that the average college woman has at 8-10 drinks on a night out, and guys often have 15 or more. You can see why consent, intent and logistics might get all get complicated.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/GudEnuf GudEnuf

    I agree with Sasha. "Rape" is like "wolf": misuse the word and people stop taking the concept seriously.

    Sometimes I think I'm the only person who sees both sides of the issue. Yes, rape is a serious problem, and too many women are scared to report it. Too many men think it's acceptable to take a woman by force–it's not.

    On the other hand, women have to take responsibility for their actions. Saying that drunk sex is rape is patronizing: it denies women's free agency and moral accountability. In every other aspect of the law, drunkenness is not an excuse.

    "Sorry Officer, I didn't mean to cause a public disturbance. It's Jack Daniels fault!"

    • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/susanawalsh susanawalsh

      I have a good friend who is a doc at a college Student Health Services, and she sees many women who come in claiming sexual assault. She feels strongly that we need a different vocabulary for incidents that happen between two people who know each other, are dating, went home together, etc. In other words, what we call date rape. It's a completely different animal than the violent rape that occurs in circumstances that could not possibly be construed to imply consent.

      You also make a good point about the way alcohol is regarded when connected to other crimes. There is no question that intoxication greatly increases the likelihood of misbehavior, whether criminal or not. But the fault, as you say, does not lie with the bottle of booze.

  • Athlone McGinnis

    I've been lurking around here long enough. Time for a post. A very long post, but a post nonetheless. I have no homework and a whole lot of time anyhow. I think this post will be worth reading, but if you're browsing and you have even mild ADD(or just a touch of impatience), skip this. I just wanna get my thoughts out there, and I want to explain them with as much clarity as possible.

    Quick background: I'm 18, go to a small ivy(the smallest one…dead giveaway there I guess), and am very much a beta male. Prior to my arriving on campus, I had never danced with or kissed(much less screwed) a girl. Why? High school was a long sob story for me(too long for this blog) but the bottomline is that the issues I dealt with there pretty much retarded my social development. i was very withdrawn by necessity. My life was football and studying-nothing social came into the picture and I never attended a co-ed party. And hey, I got recruited to play ball at this Ivy, so I guess it sort of worked itself out, right?

    I came to college determined to turn my social life around. I was sexually unsuccessful in high school, and I didn't want college(its supposed to be the best time of our lives, right?) to be that way. So, when I came here I started drinking. I'd never drank before in my life, but I did so now with a fury. And you know what? I kinda liked it. Suddenly, I could actually approach girls and(GASP!) say things! It was a big step up for me this past fall, but I'll admit my success rate still wasn't very high(0%).

    Like I said, I'm a natural beta. I grew up in a conservative upper-class jamaican culture. It was one where EVERYONE went to a great school(Oxford, Harvard, Cornell-you name it, I probably have a relative who went there and a couple more who work there), everyone became an educational administrator, doctor or lawyer, religion was highly influential(Jamaican roads are empty on Sundays) and relationships were highly traditional. My grandparents were married for 50 years until death literally did them part. I spent most of my early life living with them. They had what I wanted. when I was 8, on my way to Montego bay to fly back to the US and go to school, I told my Aunt flat out: I wanted to meet a great girl and marry when I was 22 and have the same relationship my grandparents did, with lots of kids. They thought it was cute, but this mentality screwed me for the environment I was about to fly into.

    I do not understand this modern hook-up society. I have more in common with 50 year old men than my own peers(not a bad thing entirely-this helps in interviews but screws me socially). There have been times when I've heard my peers speak and felt like a total alien among them, ignorant of many pop culture references. I have always tried to take girls on dates traditionally. I was the quintessential stereotype of "the nice guy"-reliable and gentlemanly, but boring and awkward. One girl who I made a particularly strong effort to get close to for my first 2 months here at college got so mad at how "clingy" and "eager to please" I was that she flat out told me on the phone one day that "There are thousands of other guys on campus I'd rather get to know" as opposed to dealing with me and that "I don't want you in my life anymore".
    That was it. I didn't know why she got so angry, though a PUA theory espused by Roissy (Women Hate Betas) may explain it. I'll get to that later.

  • Athlone McGinnis

    I was pretty depressed for a while(say a month or so). I started drinking a little more. That girl texted me occasionally out of the blue even after that, and I don't know why. When she told me what she did that one night I made zero effort to contact her again and basically never spoke to her again. Later, I found out that she had told her friends that I had stalked her before and after our final conversation(WTF?). That bugged me, but I'll get to that later.

    I began to read game after this. I had been reading Roosh's blog and forum since the previous summer(and yes, I did it for the travel advice. I have very seriously considered expatriation as a partial solution to my issues-I think its an idea that could help a lot of guys like me), and I discovered Roissy and a host of others that winter. I went through a pretty angry stage. I had always had periods of frustration in high school, but it hit a new level here. I hated every thing having to do with my female peers. I hated that I couldn't seem to impress them no matter what I did. I hated the fact that girls who, to be very blunt, were not all that attractive(that girl who told me to go away that fall was a 5 on a good day) found it necessary to be spectacularly rude to me for just trying to be decent. I'm not a bad looking guy. I got an 8.9 on HotOrNot (ok, dubious source, but I've been objectively called a 7 or 7.5 in person). I was a runningback on a D-1 team. I was generally thought of well by my peers. Why was this so hard? All I wanted was a decent girl. Was I asking too much?

    After the angry stage came the renewal stage. I understood game now. I now knew that bitterness wouldn't get me anywhere and that I needed to hide my frustration if I ever wanted to succeed. And I went out with a renewed vigor. And I lucked out (this coming part is relevant to the article).

    I met a couple of girls at the football team's frat house one Friday. They were athletes to, so our paths crossed frequently enough. Anyway, we all get drunk and run off to another frat. Dancing and grinding ensues. I start to get particularly close to one. We make out(first kiss I've ever had). Things are going good. I'm on top of the world in the basement of a smelly fraternity, the legendary "Animal House" itself. Ironic.

    She invites me upstairs, and here is where it gets problematic. I start to say stupid things(way too forward and aggressive-alcohol makes me excessively confident, I find) and even forget her name. Nevertheless, she proceeds to invite me to an empty room…alone. Somehow I manage to get to second base before she pulls back(PUA's like to call this "Last Minute Resistance"). She's standing there shirtless asking me why I think that she "just has sex with random people"? I'm too drunk to think intelligently-I just assumed she'd invited me to the room for escalation. She goes down stairs again, mills around for a while, and then her friend takes her away as she starts to show frustration. When I exited the frat house and tried to follow up with her and apologize for whatever I did wrong, they started to run. Quickly.

    Over the next two to three weeks I find it difficult to get this girl out of my mind. I liked her. I did go out on other weekends, drink, and attempt to get with other girls("oneitis" is bad, right?) but I found my success very limited. The rejections piled up.

    In my more sober moments, I attempted to contact the girl I'd hooked up with. My football coach had organized a team social activity and we were supposed to bring dates. I asked her, and she lied and said she was going with another teammate(he later told me that at that point he'd not asked or been asked by anyone). I asked her to the Freshman dance, and she again said she had a date(which was true, actually). I tried on two separate occasions to dance with her when I saw her in a frat on other weekends.

    On one of these occasions, she continued to pull away from me and into the arms of one of her platonic guy friends. It got to a point at which the guy(credit to him-he was half my size and I was very intoxicated and prone to do something really stupid) told me matter-of-factly "she doesn't want to dance with you, dude" all while she rested in his arms looking back at me like i was some sort of horrific oppressor, a strange, scray outsider. That's an image I'll never forget right there. I'd always felt a bit like I was "on the outside" when it came to interacting with my peers, like they all just understood things about modern social society that I never would. Now the feeling had been embodied.

  • Athlone McGinnis

    It wouldn't be until 3-4 weeks after the hookup that I would find out what this girl's problem was. A teammate of mine who was close to her friends said that she had told them after the incident that I had attempted to RAPE her. She said I locked the door and tossed her shirt away somewhere so she wouldn't be able to get it.
    Two problems-there was no handle on the door(found that out as I tried to open the door and felt nothing as we entered) and her shirt was right behind her(she put it back on very quickly when the LMR set in). But, no matter. The damage was done. I got worried for a bit until my friend assured me that her own friends had calmed her down and convinced her not to pursue the issue.

    Keep in mind that I'm reading blogs HEAVILY this whole time. I went from Assanova to Roissy to Roosh to Feministing to Pandagon to Alpha-status to Ferdinand bardamu to here-I had been working to acquire as much knowledge as possible on the issues I was dealing with and looked at all sides. And I'd come across plenty of material on consent and alcohol. My friends told me it wasn't a big deal, but I somehow didn't feel that way. All that girl had to do was go to a school security officer and my reputation(and future) would be very much in jeopardy. I already had one girl calling me a stalker-now a rapist?

    And then I figured it out. What i was dealing with was just the nature of the hook up culture. As Mystery and others have said, the basic formula of game is clear: Attraction + Comfort = Sex. I had built attraction(she had admitted that I was "hot") but in my intoxication I failed to build comfort. Her discomfort got to a point at which she started to feel shamed for hooking up with me, and it is likely that she began looking for any potential way to exhume herself socially from the shame of it all.
    Claiming rape made sense. It justified her discomfort completely and there was little risk to her in making the claim.

    Had I found this out right after the failed hookup, I would have avoided her like the plague. As it is, I make no effort to go anywhere near her. I don't need that insanity around me.
    Of course, that begs the question: Why bother with this culture at all?

    I'm a beta male. Its just how I was raised, there isn't much I can do about it. I made an earnest attempt using alcohol to transition to a more "alpha" status, but the fact is that I'm not very good at this.
    Women in this culture seem to use this against you. This is the basis of my theory Think about it: which group of men is more likely to be exposed to a false rape charge?
    It couldn't be the higher status alpha males, the elite 20 percenters. Sure, a scorned member of his harem may get the idea at some point to try and get back at him with a false charge. But most of the time, girls are working to be a part of his circle. They spend months, maybe years just trying to rope these guys in, and give themselves up freely in that process. The time they spend trying to get back at him is minuscule in comparison. These guys know just what to say and just how to turn these girls on so the girls are almost never uncomfortable with them, hence their continued striving to tame them.

  • Athlone McGinnis

    But what about the other guys? We're the problematic group. Many of us are reading game literature en-masse. Many of us are learning to some small extent what it takes to turn a girl on. A few of us have managed to trick girls who, after hanging out with us more extensively following(or even during) the hookup, realized what we really were. We weren't what they really wanted. Deep down, we're guys with relatively low degrees of experience and we don't understand how to turn them on. We only know how to APPEAR to(with a little liquid courage). We, not the 20%, are the ones that girls will laugh at, tease, ignore and at times insult/mock behind our back. Roissy and others have postulated that women truly hate beta males. While he may or may not be 100% accurate, I don't doubt that there is a lot of truth to these words. Romantically, it appears that they find us(and our mannerisms) very, very distasteful in the aggregate.

    They realize that they were nearly duped by this "beta", and the shame promptly sets in. They can't be seen to have accepted such an unsuitable male. They HATE that they let such a guy take advantage of them.
    So they make one of two claims. Either "they were way too drunk" or "he forced himself on me".

    The inexperienced beta male, in his attempts to reform himself, is far more likely to be exposed to this type of accusation because of who he is. He can't build comfort, and uncomfortable girls will work quickly to seek out a reasoning for their mistake. "Attempted rape" is a pretty convenient one in today's society, because not a whole lot of distinction is made between a guy whose intent is truly malicious(guys with date rape drugs and the like) and guys who just don't know what they're doing. That, and its tougher for a guy to defend himself against such a charge-the assumption is made that she is telling the truth.
    Are there plenty of girls(like the one I met) who are crazy enough to put such a charge on a guy with no substantiation? I think so. I'm at arguably the best school in the country with some of the world's smartest kids and I still run into it. What are the chances it happens at one of the other thousands of colleges/universities daily?
    This all happened in winter, and Spring term has begun. I've been thinking-why even bother going at it again? Why take the chance approaching more girls? If you're a guy who really and truly is behind in his game like I am(guys with my level of ineptitude are probably just a portion of the bottom 80% of guys, but a sizeable one nonetheless), is it really all that safe for you to try and change that in this culture? Even a guy with more aptitude than me9maybe he had a girlfriend in highschool or something) is at serious risk here if his game isn't tight enough.
    If you make a mistake, it could all end for you. Your life is in the hands of these girls, and with them there isn't all that much room for error. Why take the chance? Why get rejected 99 times just for the one girl who might very well screw you over anyway?

    Its a Saturday night here and I've already decided to stay in. I'm too young to expatriate(can't just go somewhere where my prospects will improve), I don't have a car on campus(limits mobility) and I don't have a lot of money(I can't even buy company the way lonely older men do). Maybe going ghost is the best option for guys like me after all?

    • Mike

      The inexperienced beta male, in his attempts to reform himself, is far more likely to be exposed to this type of accusation because of who he is. He can't build comfort, and uncomfortable girls will work quickly to seek out a reasoning for their mistake. "Attempted rape" is a pretty convenient one in today's society, because not a whole lot of distinction is made between a guy whose intent is truly malicious(guys with date rape drugs and the like) and guys who just don't know what they're doing. That, and its tougher for a guy to defend himself against such a charge-the assumption is made that she is telling the truth.
      Are there plenty of girls(like the one I met) who are crazy enough to put such a charge on a guy with no substantiation? I think so.


      I think you are right, and I think you dodged a bullet here. You could have easily ended up having to defend a false rape charge. Consider yourself very lucky.

      You come across as a very intelligent and mature guy for 18 (I'm 36), and it seems like you've educated yourself well on this subject (all the blogs you've been reading). Consider yourself way ahead of the game here. You've got 10x the knowledge on this subject then what I had at 30. Unfortunately, there was no PUA/manosphere on the Internet or blogs when I was 18.

      Couple of thoughts. Firstly, just try to be careful in the types of women you pursue, especially short-term casual sex where you are going to run into a higher percentage of crazy psychos that can really f up your world.

      You are going to have to find your own happy balance in how much of the Roissy/Roosh worldview you take on and how much alpha you try to overlay or integrate into your personality. Too far down that road I think leads to a dark place. A ton of success in obtaining short-term sex? Probably. Real, authentic happiness and contentment? I don't think so.

      But you can become more alpha, really fuse it with your core personality without feeling like an "impostor". I think I've been able to do that. Becoming a "new" me without losing the "real" me. I do think you probably will have to make a concerted effort to discard many of the ideas you grew up with. You don't have to be a dick, but there is really no benefit to politeness and chivalry in this age, and you definitely want to avoid being needy or clingy. You really have to mentally "flip the script" and realize you are the prize to be pursued, not the other way around.

      I think you've gotten some good advice from others on where and who to pursue next in terms of opposite sex relationships. You are WAY TOO YOUNG with WAY TOO MUCH PROMISE to even entertain the notion of going ghost. Do you really want to be celibate…..???? No, I didn't think so. Seriously, you are obviously intelligent and athletic, and sounds like good-looking. That is some great raw material to work with. You just need to kill the inner beta without transforming into a complete asshole in the process. It can be done. Might take 1-2 years of concerted effort, but by 20-21 you could be a completely different guy. Try to get more balance in the Game stuff you read and study (said it before but I think the David D stuff is great). Roissy and Roosh are good and very useful, but it can f with your mind. Obsidian had a good post about Game in terms of the Force in Star Wars. They are the dark side which will give you power but corrupt you.

      Anyways, good luck, and sometimes stuff is hard to achieve. You are probably the kind of guy who has had success (academics, athletics) come pretty easy without much effort. This dating/women thing is probably going to be hard and require alot of time and effort. You can do it.

      • Aldonza

        Agreed. Add in http://www.marriedmansexlife.com/ for more on relationship game. Entropy (http://www.entropypua.com/blog/) also has some balanced stuff on the "dark side" of game. He seems more willing than most of the coaches to let you "behind the curtain" of what PUA really is and how it have negative affects.

    • Aldonza

      My advice is "game with training wheels." Start out practicing with girls you really have all that much chemistry with. Totally avoid the ones you absolutely want for awhile (heck, just avoiding the hotter women in favor of their less blessed sisters can create some interesting results.) Start to make note of how you feel around them and how you act. Notice how they respond. When you feel more comfortable with them, step it up a little with other women. Practice feeling how into you they are. Practice feeling and acting comfortable with it.

      You don't need to lead these women on. In fact, if you are leading them on and/or lying to them, you're doing it wrong. If you find the right level of women, all you'll need to do is show up and allow them to spend time with you.

      FWIW, this works for women too. If you practice feeling valued and acting valued, you tend to attract higher-value potential partners.

      • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/susanawalsh susanawalsh

        I endorse this 100%. We all dictate how we'll be treated in the end. Of course, standing up for yourself may mean that you get less attention in the short-term, but that's OK, if it was the wrong kind of attention. Better to have your senses intact for when the right kind comes along.

    • finsalscollons

      Athlone. I am sorry that I have read your story so late. I would like to add my advice.

      I can relate to your story. I was a beta for decades and had the same problems than you. When I read some of your words, they seem written by a younger me.

      Although advice from other posters is valuable, I think it has a major problem: it cannot be applied with the frame of mind you have now.

      It is a vicious circle: you are unable to have a girl, you became depressed and wary of girls, so you project low confidence, and girls don't see you attractive, so you are unable to have a girl and the circle repeats itself.

      Anyone can tell you techniques to attract girls. But these techniques are worthless if you don't have the first thing girls spot in a mate: confidence. Girls can smell confidence like police dogs can smell drugs and low confidence turns them off.

      For me, after having tried it all, the only solution was expatriating to a Third-World Country. In these countries, you are a bit of a trophy: they see you with admiration, because you come from a developed country. And women are nice, not feminist and very traditional. Even then, my confidence was so low that I had a girlfriend who was not especially attractive. But this gave me more confidence and was the beginning of my solving the problem. Now I don't have problems with women: they are attracted by me.

      You are too young to expatriate but I would recommend to spend your vacation in a Third-World country with a more traditional culture. Do it every time you have a long vacation and you will see how your confidence starts to improve.

      • Athlone McGinnis

        @finalscollons: Thanks dude. Your solution is one I have already strongly been considering after reading many accounts of expats dating overseas. There are plenty of risks to dating overseas, but the potential benefits I could gain seem to outwiegh them IMO. I could fly over with a little more status built in due to my citizenship. That leads to more attraction, a potential girlfriend, and more experience. Problem(gradually) solved. Maybe I could even get a meaningful relationship out of it.

        I thought about that vicious cycle as well. You need experience(and the confidence that comes with it) to get the girl but if you don't have it, you won't attract any girls. That, of course, makes it much harder to improve your lot. The way I see it, I have a few options:

        1. Improvement is possible here, even with my lackluster confidence. My fear is the amount of investment it will take. I can work harder to find "nice girls" who may be more receptive to me, but the fact is that in this culture they are very rare and somewhat difficult to find. The hook up culture hasn't swept up EVERY soul here, as several of the young girls who have commented here have noted. There are girls who aren't slaves to "gina tingles" and "negging". But these girls will take a very large amount of effort to get closer to. It is an unfortunately small pool to pick from these days.
        Then again, they do say anything worth having takes a lot of time and sacrifice. The problem is that I've found myself questioning this logic from a cost-benefit perspective.

        2. Wait it out. In a decade I'll probably have a decent income, a solid career and quite a bit more confidence. By that time, attracting the type of girl for me might actually become a little easier here.

        3. Wait for my peers to age. The girls who ignore me now will probably consider me much more attractive in 10-15 years. They'll have plenty of baggage, but I guess it counts for something.

        4. Travel. Either expatriate or make use of vacation time overseas as I get older. My chances of finding a suitable girl(or at least enough attraction to boost my confidence) probably increase with this option and I won't have to wait nearly as long as I would with options 2 and 3.
        i could spend more time back in jamaica(already part of the plan, actually) or find other destinations(I actually do have a few intriguing ones in mind).

        Its a lot to think about, but I don't understand why a struggling American beta wouldn't give it some thought.

        Oh, on a sidenote: I was born in the US. I left for jamaica when I was like 3 months old. My grandparents are pure jamaicans, but they lived in the UK for around 18 years. My mom was born there, and she went back to Jamaica when she was 15 or so.
        That basically means that I am legally a British European(at least as far as the EU is concerned) and an American(by birth). I suppose the documentation that goes with that could make travel easier, potentially.

  • autumnpari

    I'm really sorry this happened to you. I'm in college too, and I know that many girls here think that it's okay to treat guys this way, and it's not. As for alphas, there is a sizable portion of girls who know they're pretty to look at but not much use for anything else, probably until they're much older. In the successful relationships I've seen on campus, the guys are all betas or something between an alpha and a beta. So I don't think you need to change who you are.
    I think what you mean by "going ghost" is that you're going to take yourself off the dating scene? Please don't do that. You seem like a great person and there are a lot of girls who want a guy like you in their lives. Girls like me, in fact, who are also staying in reading this blog instead of out getting trashed. I'm not the only one, I promise.
    You're from a traditional culture; so am I, and the hookup culture is equally unfathomable to me. I don't understand how so many girls can claim they want a relationship and then act in a way so antithetical to that, like this girl did with you.
    My advice to you is to try being just friends with girls; when being a friend, girls don't find you clingy, they will find it thoughtful that you ask them about their lives and ask to spend time with them. But as a friend, you also put enough distance between you and the girl as well, because girls find independent guys very attractive. Sure there are obstacles to this. Until I came to college, I didn't realize that many girls here find it odd to date their friends. But I don't understand how you can have a relationship without friendship first? Look for the girls who want to grow a relationship. They're the ones dating and the ones worth keeping. Being friends will also help you understand how to build up to a comfort level with a girl. It's really good practice for both genders.
    I hope that if you can find a few good girl friends, then maybe one of them can be your girlfriend because of course, not everyone is going to be equally attracted to you. But I feel like at least one will be. I know it's hard to put in that effort when your body is just telling you to jump into bed with someone, but I feel like it's a tried and true way to have a great friend and sex in one relationship.

    Also, I feel like the girls who are more likely to "screw a guy over" are also often the ones who are the most noticeable at parties and such because they're probably being the loudest, most scantily clad, etc. The girls who want attention are also the most insecure and the ones least prepared for relationships. Maybe scan the room a few more times before approaching a girl; it's possible that she's not the one that everyone's looking at. Also, try going to different venues, especially cultural events at your school, where you might find more girls who think like you do. I don't know how much of this will help; it's impossible to say really. But it's worth a shot. Men hold a lot of cards they aren't aware of and the biggest one is that no one can shoot them down for approaching a girl and having the guts to ask her to coffee, a movie, dinner, etc. You have that to your advantage, and if you can find the right girl to approach, you'll impress the shit out of her. Too few men are doing this anymore; if you do, you'll stand out a lot. Don't disappear!!

  • Reinholt

    Autumn actually has a good point here.

    If you are interested in women, as a male, the worst place to find one is in the places where men go to meet women, oddly enough. One of the concepts of maneuver warfare applies here, which is that you should find your greatest opportunities where others are not looking, rather than doing the predictable thing.

    Or, in short, if you want to find a chick to sleep with, bars, clubs, and frat parties may be fine. If you want to find a woman who really wants a good and serious relationship, you are unlikely to find her at one of these places. Think it through; what are those places for? What kind of people would you expect to be there? What kind of things come out of those parties?

    Now, as to Athlone (since I know a few grads from the school you go to), here's some personal advice: hit the library. Find the women there who are somewhat nerdy (I know the school, there will be plenty), but still attractive (there will still be a few of these, as well). Focus on having actual conversations with them that involve real content… while also having some game, some wit, not bowing down to them, and basically running a more civilized, more subtle version of game (as, in short, if you go with the balls-out bar bitch busting kind of game in a library, you're going to fuck up big time).

    You might be surprised who you can meet. One of the big problems with game and LTRs is their venue selection; this is no shock, as most people writing about game have the goal of fucking as many women as possible, which appears not to be your MO.

    So there's some more tailored advice. Hope that helps.

  • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/susanawalsh susanawalsh

    Athlone, first I want to say welcome – I'm so glad you stepped up to introduce yourself and share your story. Thank you for that. You are not alone, and while that doesn't necessarily help, I think you can already see that others feel as you do, and some have excellent advice as a result of their own experience.

    I really like autumnpari's heartfelt request that you not give up. I understand why you feel discouraged, but it is important to remember that you are not powerless – you can definitely take steps to improve your own life.

    I think you are definitely experiencing a disconnect between the real you and the guy that people might expect you to be. You're a recruited football player at an Ivy, and you're part of a football frat. You're also good-looking. Right there you've been handed a ton of social cred.

    However, you're also a freshman, only 18. And you came to college with some trepidation and a desperate desire to reinvent yourself and change your life. That is very understandable, but I think you set the bar very, very high for yourself right off the bat. You feel like a beta inside, but you look like an alpha to the rest of the world. Drinking enabled you to act more like your peers, go for the casual hookup, etc. You were able to pull off acting like a player long enough to get an invitation upstairs, though it sounds like you were so drunk you lost the ability to read social cues and didn't deal too well with the LMR.

    I think autumnpari and Reinholt have made good observations. You felt terrible about the way this girl treated you, and it is super shady that she spread false rumors about you. But it's important to consider the source. This is a girl who is comfortable grinding with a stranger on a dance floor and then turning into the sexual aggressor, inviting him to a private room. In Animal House! I'm sorry, but she sounds like a total skank! No wonder this girl didn't respond politely to your invitations for a real date. She doesn't have time for a real date, she's just looking to bang alpha guys. She wants the sexual validation. Once you proved that you are a good guy, she decided that you are a waste of time. A girl like that won't be happy until she gets with the biggest Player, even if it's only for one night.

    In that sense, you are right. Some women do not respect beta males, because they can't provide the sexual validation and bad boy edge that some find exciting. But autumpari is also right – many young women are not looking to behave that way, and would love to meet a really good guy for a relationship. As autumn and Reinholt pointed out, you're not going to meet those girls at Animal House. I agree with the suggestions that you branch out socially. You've got the football crowd, and you can always join in if you feel inclined. But there's much more going on at that school – you're not required to hang exclusively with one group.

    As you've discovered, and Reinholt pointed out, Game was really written for hitting on chicks in night spots. The principles are applicable to LTRs, but need to adapted for a different location, and in your case, a different kind of girl. In addition to the other suggestions, I would look into the Outdoors-type groups. I know there's a lot of that stuff going on, and lots of girls participate. Also, you mentioned Jamaica being a religious place. In my experience, kids with really good values join organizations like the Newman Center, Hillel, etc. It's not important that you be very religious – it's just another place you may meet people you will like.

    Finally, Autumn's advice to start with friendship is great. I often advise this for both girls and guys. You are very young, and don't forget, freshman guys are on the bottom rung anyway. Meeting girls without expectations for immediate physical contact will help you chill out and let things progress organically. I think a reasonable goal is to have had sex with a girl by the end of 2010. You probably think that's a terrible idea, but my point is that you will only be 19 then. For the next nine months, lay a foundation on which you can build social success. Otherwise, you'll always feel like an impostor.

    I would caution you about one thing, even if friendship is your goal. If you are getting feedback that you are "clingy" and "eager to please" you need to practice showing less interest. Eager is the kiss of death, because it implies that you are a guy with few options. This will even be true in platonic friendships, in fact it's true in same-sex friendships. When you have a good time with someone, it's great to say that, but don't try to make another plan right away. Practice being independent, and you will find that you enjoy it. I often tell guys that they need to learn to say "See ya!" You've hung out with a girl, grabbed coffee or whatever. That's enough. That's good. Don't walk her somewhere, or try to continue the interaction. Use the time constraint, it will serve you well.

    Come back and keep us posted, OK? You're now part of the community!

  • Athlone McGinnis

    @Autumn and Reinholt: Thanks for the responses. You both have some pretty good ideas. I've found the friendship factor is the one thing I've had a hard time with. I'll walk around campus and see other guys talking to these cute girls like they were best buds, and I don't know how they do it. With me, it seems to be all or nothing. Either I get drunk, try to hook up and turn them off or I meet them normally and have short, awkward conversations with them("Hi, how are you?" "I'm good, how are you?" "Good"-The end).
    I guess I just don't really know how to talk to girls, and that's a big issue. I'm not incapable of doing this well I've found(I had some decent non-romantic friendships with girls outside of my school my senior year) but I find it is REALLY tough to do. My peers don't seem to be having the same issue, though most of them are far from "Alpha".

    Perhaps joining a club would be the answer, but I'll need to take time to find one. Football consumes my life. Spring, Summer, Winter and especially Fall-I find myself CONSTANTLY working out. But a couple of my teammates have found other things to do so I guess it can be done-just gotta learn how and where. Until then, I might need to give the library thing a shot.

    @Susana: I think you nailed it with the impostor description. I definitely did set the bar very highly for myself. Not sure what my mentality was. In high school I had very low self esteem, and when I left I guess I realized that I had a lot to offer and needed to be more confident. So I went to the other extreme and wasn't prepared for it.

    In anycase, I'll definitely be back. I've already read most of your posts back to mid 2009 and plan to keep going as I have on some other blogs that I deem worthwhile. Like I said earlier, I've read plenty of Roissy/Roosh and plenty of feminist Valenti-style writing as well. Your viewpoints are actually very coherent and realistic. They lack the utter delusion I've seen from some mainstream feminists who seem to live in la-la land. At the same time, guys like Roissy and some others in the MRA/PUA "manosphere" can be somewhat cynical(though they speak to reality often as well). I find much of their cynicism understandable, but your more optimistic perspective offers some welcome balance imo. Its kinda nice to know there's a woman out there who gets what a lot of younger guys are dealing with. I sincerely hope you keep writing, you're doing young people of both genders a favor.

    • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/susanawalsh susanawalsh

      Athlone, thanks so much for your kind words. It means a great deal to me to know that I am making a contribution in some way.

      One suggestion about chatting with girls: you're lucky in the sense that you've got an in with the football team. Many of them will be naturals with women. Watch them and learn. Go to some parties, and observe how the successful guys behave. What are their openers? When do they escalate?

      Just promise me you won't turn into a douchebag – learn what you can from them and then apply it within your own ethical framework.

      And, I do want to emphasize again – you are very young. You have a lot of time to get this right. Slow down and make gradual improvements. Once you feel comfortable with approaching a girl, then work on the conversation piece, and then the "We should hang out sometime." Everyone fakes it till they make it sometimes, there's nothing wrong with that. Just do it at a pace that enables you to internalize real changes.

    • ATS

      The wonderful thing about college is that you can re-invent yourself, and all in a good way. You mentioned you had low self-esteem in high school, and I'm thinking you're still carrying that around with you, which is why you "went to the other extreme." Balance here is the key, and realizing that who you were in high school doesn't have to hold true in college.

      You also seem to be quite mature for your age, so I go with what Reinholt said as well–the frat parties, bars, and such places will not be the places for you to find the girl who is at your level. Most of them who are in there are very immature–they're into partying, getting drunk, hooking up with the alpha cads, and I don't think that's the sort of woman you're after. If you keep going to places like that you'll just keep meeting girls like those who won't give you the time of day because you're not acting like an ass, and sooner or later you'll sour on women and either go ghost (as you're already contemplating) or become an alpha asshat yourself, which would be such a pity.

      Look around you in class—you'll have your choices laid out for you there. Not all of them will the party girl you met, and some of them might even be under your radar. The shy quiet girl, perhaps? The brainy geek who can size up a calculus equation in a heartbeat? Chat them up, talk to them about what's going on in class (built in commonality there already!), so you can get used to talking to girls and keeping a conversation going. You sound like a lovely, mature, and introspective young man and the girl who finally realizes that will be a lucky one indeed. Good luck, and let us know how it goes.

    • Reinholt

      On talking to women:

      Talk to them like you would anyone else. The moment you think you need a special set of rules for a conversation with a woman, you are putting her on some kind of pedestal in your mind, which is not a good thing.

      Do you have trouble talking to asians? Jews? Left-handed people?

      Stop overthinking; talk to them like they are a normal person (and, if she's cute, throw in some light game and pay attention to the cues you get back). If you do anything else, you are going to sabotage yourself. Women are not some special, sacred group. Talk to her like a normal human being.

  • Mike

    Not relevant to this post, but I saw this book listed on Amazon when I was on the page for another book on male-female dynamics. Might be interesting given the subject matter discussed here on an ongoing basis:


    • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/susanawalsh susanawalsh

      Ah, Mike, that's the book that got this all started! I read that book at just about the same time I reread Tom Wolfe's I Am Charlotte Simmons. When I realized that the fiction and the nonfiction were in perfect sync, and that I had a daughter starting college, I began to read everything I could find on the subject.

      Thanks for looking out for me!

  • finsalscollons

    I wonder where the common sense in America went. When I lived there, I used to think: "These people are not living in reality. They are living a dream" (well, as far as I am concerned, it was a nightmare)

    Back in the days when the words meant something, rape was a crime consisting in a men using violence to force his member into some woman's vagina.

    Now rape is an act where a woman who has willingly take a man's member into her vagina, says softly "No" while he ejaculates. She has "withdrawn consent" on the fly. She pronounces a word and her partner may end up in prison. Talk about girl power.

    No wonder birthrate in America is declining. It speaks volumes about the power of basic instincts that men are willing to have any sex in these conditions. The rational position would be to remain celibate forever.

    The definition of rape has been extended so much that it is like all dogs had been included in the "people" category . Then, every time you kill a dog by accident, you are judged like you are a murderer and sentenced to thirty years.

    I am 39 but seeing all this makes me feel very very old

    • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/susanawalsh susanawalsh

      Now rape is an act where a woman who has willingly take a man's member into her vagina, says softly "No" while he ejaculates. She has "withdrawn consent" on the fly. She pronounces a word and her partner may end up in prison. Talk about girl power.

      Yes, this is the extreme scenario, but very plausible. Even if many of these cases wind up being dismissed for lack of evidence or merit on college campuses, the man has had to endure the charge and disciplinary hearings, etc. on campus. I do think it's a nightmare.

  • Pingback: A Test Of Your Game: The Curious Case Of Mr. Althone McGinnis « The Obsidian Files

  • http://stuartschneiderman.blogspot.com/ Stuart Schneiderman

    Athlone has written a very moving stories of what amounts to cultural dislocation. And I must say that he has received much good advice. I hope he follows some of it, or at least tries.
    I see his problem from two angles. First, he was not born and raised in USA and therefore is not familiar with the signals and cues. His approach is off; his language is too subject to misinterpretation; therefore, he either comes on too strong or too weak. Whatever the books say, this probably means first that he was well brought up, though in a rather sheltered culture. When you go from that kind of strict culture to one where there seem to be no rules, the transition can be jarring. Most young people in that position tend to congregate with people who were brought up as they were. I do not know whether that is possible where Athlone is, but it is certainly one place to start.
    Second, I would mention that in my experience some guys are born pick-up artists, and some are not. If you are not made to be a pick up artist you are not going to gain a great deal by finding a book and trying to learn how to be something you were just not made to be.
    One of Athone's problems seems to be that he trying to be something he is not. I think that if he were to recognize that it is better not to be a born pick-artist he would allow himself to be more comfortable around women.
    As Autumn and Susan and others have said, the easy way to meet and learn how to talk with women is to join groups that have both male and female members. To interact with women in situations where the expectation is more realistic is a great idea.
    And since he is a star football player, it is perhaps best for him not to approach and try to pick up women. Football players are, to many women, very desirable. If he lays back, takes it easy, just hangs out feeling good about himself and feeling good about talking about the game, the chances are very good that young women will find him.
    Another way of saying that he should not try so hard. And that, as Susan said, he should try to modulate and moderate the conversation.
    Nor should he feel somehow that he is less of a man because he is inexperienced at age 18. In the old days most men were inexperienced at age 18. It just means that he has a lot to learn. I am confident that some pretty young coed will be more than happy to teach him.
    His experience shows the collateral damage that the pick-up culture produces, by setting up ridiculous expectations,and by eliminating the rule-bound practices of dating and courtship.

    My recent post The New American Decadence

    • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/susanawalsh susanawalsh

      I agree that the cultural piece is probably very important here, though it's not something I know much about. Still, it just makes sense. If there is a Caribbean Students Association, or something like that, it may be another place to check.

      I do think that Athlone realizes that he is not made for these aggressive PUA tactics – he responded to the idea of not wanting to feel like an impostor. I also agree that he possesses enormous social dominance by virtue of his status as a premier athlete. Your advice to hang back more and let the girls come to him is probably right on target.

      Mostly what I see here is enormous anxiety, which raises the bar even further. I'd like to see A. take a deep breath, abandon any idea of a specific deadline, and work at feeling more comfortable in social situations. He's got a lot going for him, and I think much of this can be worked out gradually – a CBT approach.

  • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/theobsidianfiles theobsidianfiles

    Althone McGinns,
    My apologies for being a bit late to the dance, but I wanted to just chime in a bit since my name was brought up (thanks to the gentleman who did so!).

    First, I would like to offer the following links to my blog that may assist you:






  • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/theobsidianfiles theobsidianfiles

    I don't consider myself an authority on Game, but I know a little bit, and hopefully the above links to previous posts and articles by me will give you a bit of assistance moving forward.

    In addition, I have taken the liberty of posting your letter on my blog, as I have a running series called "A Test Of Your Game" where I assess a Man's skills (or lack thereof) along with my readers and we give critques, as well as what we hope are helpful pointers as to how he can improve. Here's my inaugural post in that regard:


    Hopefully, my readers will have more helpful hints, and of course, I'll have more specific things to add in that regard that aren't necessarily germane to the topic nor is the focus of this forum per se; however, I am most grateful to Ms. Walsh for her openmindedness and deep empathy to see things from a Man's POV.

    Best wishes.

    The Obsidian


    SASHA: Yes i admit that I have felt shame or guilt whilst doing the "Walk of Shame" home back to my flat after a night of drinking and ending up in bed with someone – haven't we all?


    Regarding Athlone, dude, I want to sympathize with your plight but you make it difficult. You know that you get aggressive and inappropriate when you drink, so why do you do it? Sorry, I just don't have much sympathy or empathy at all for people who willingly get drunk. I mean, at the age of 18, is it even LEGAL for you to be drinking alcohol???

    I guess if you said you met a nice sober girl in a book store or cafe or something, and then were making out with her sober and then she turned on you, I'd have some sympathy. But your turning to drink to fit in with a bunch of crass, low-class behaving people who sound like immature assholes, makes you come across as "dumb jock".

    Forget these whorish party girls and Frat jerks and seek out the shy foreign students with culture or something.


    • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/susanawalsh susanawalsh

      Teetotaller, first-time commenter, yay! This is harsh but I'll sign on. It's very good advice for Athlone. In Athlone and Sasha's defense, it is very, very hard to be a college student who doesn't drink or hook up these days. Sometimes, a traumatic experience is the lesson that causes us to change, and there's nothing wrong with that.

      One thing I often say is that you need to think about the kind of girls you like. The kind that will make you happy. Then you need to figure out where they are. And then you need to go there. It's simple, but most people fail to do this. They flock to what they perceive is the cool party, and feel disappointed, because the girls they like are nowhere in sight. So they bumble along trying to make something happen with a completely different kind of girl, and it's a FAIL.


    Susan, there are so many different cliques and sub-groups on a University campus. There's always those groups of people who are into stuff other than getting drunk and acting like low-grade pimps and hos. Come on! He can strive to fit in with those students.

    • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/susanawalsh susanawalsh

      Yes, I agree. It's just that he was thrown into a certain social scene by virtue of his football. He likes the guys and he's in a football frat. That's the path of least resistance, so it's not surprising that is where Athlone spent his freshman year. Obviously, the good news is that he recognizes it may not be the best fit for him wrt the women found there. My hope and expectation is that A. will be able to branch out more as a sophomore.

  • Athlone McGinnis

    Hey everyone,

    @TEETOTALLER: You're not really being harsh. Actually, you're right. Granted, it took me a few crazy nights to figure out that my drunk state really and truly was the problem, and I did tone it down quickly once I pieced everything together and found out anecdotally that I was a "bad drunk".

    That being said, don't underestimate peer pressure here. Like Mrs. Walsh said, it is difficult to be a non-drinker at this school. Beer games and frat houses are the primary weekend social avenues. All of the parties are held there and "pre-gaming"(either with beer at the frat or alcohol at the rooms) is a ritual. People drink here, and they drink HEAVILY. They do so at most american colleges(obviously), and my particular school is probably the most well known "drinking school" in its league. On 3-day weekends, kids my age will run to the frat at noon the minute classes end and drink until 3AM. It is insanity. Compared to them, I was a lightweight.
    I guess I just let the peer pressure get to me. They were having fun, and I wanted to join in, consequences be damned. I'll concede, it was kind of fun just hanging out with the guys, all of us kind of wasted and looking like morons(particularly me) but obviously there were consequences. I don't hold my liquor as well as them and probably should have just been more careful. My bad.

    @Obsidian: Dude thanks for the links and the mention. I've actually looked over your blog several times(you're linked on INMALAFIDE pretty frequently) and you have a lot of good stuff to say. I'm definitely gonna be checking your stuff out. I'm gonna try to comment on your post a bit later on.

    @Stuart, ATS, Mike and Aldonza: Thanks for taking the time to offer your advice. Your words are very much appreciated.
    Uh, I'm working on the whole "feel like less of a man" thing. That's been bugging me but I think the more I think about it the more I'll just calm down. That's the key, I think-just calming down.
    But the anxiety is tough to get rid of.


    So what exactly is the purpose of a "fraternity"? To provide a venue for jocks to drink themselves into oblivion? Do tax payers pay for fraternities in any way?

    • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/susanawalsh susanawalsh

      Yup, to provide a drinking venue, and a straight path to no-strings sex. And good lord, no, I hope taxpayers don't fund a penny of it. However, I will say one positive thing about frats – Athlone does like the guys, they are his teammates, and real male bonding does occur in frats. It's great that A. has good guy friends, even if their partying behavior is all wrong for him.

    • Athlone McGinnis

      At my school different frats have different reputations. The sports teams for the most part all have their own individual frats that they associate with, and still others don't have many athletes in them at all. Some host social events for the town, some just host wild dance parties. It all depends on the place, but there is something for everybody I guess.
      The frats themselves buy the stuff they need to go about the partying on weekends. I think the school pays for the building upkeep and the like.

  • Esau

    Alright, here's the big-picture riff coming out of the Athlone McGinnis story. A comment in the cross-fertilized thread on Obsidian Files contains this straight-to-the-point description from one "Xenophon" (I could have just said this myself, but it's always more authoritative for one pseudononymous commenter to quote another):

    — Quote ——–
    "Get that? He respected her “wishes” and got accused of rape.

    I’m having trouble figuring out how things could have worked out any worse had he moved in, whispered into her ear, and tossed her onto the bed. I’d venture to guess that the young lady in question was hoping, in the back of her brain, for him to do JUST THAT.

    When he didn’t, and her attraction to him was broken, she had to come up with some reason why – and in the current climate on any campus, a false rape charge (even unreported and just a “social” false rape charge) is the easiest way for a girl like that to rationalize the experience."
    —– End Quote ——-

    Stepping back from this specific story, the dynamic described by Xenophon is like the Rosetta stone for so much female behavior. Women want to have fun, they want to have sex, they want to attract attention; but if anything goes wrong they also want "plausible deniability," even to themselves, that it was all the man's doing, all the man's fault. And this demand for deniability is so strong that they'll just make stuff up out of whole cloth, even destructive stuff like false rape charges. This single idea of "maintaining plausible deniability, even with your shirt off", goes so far in explaining why women are so weirdly coy and contradictory, why they always insist on using "signals" instead of plain language, and why they let themselves in for so much misery: confusion and contradiction are built in by them from the beginning.

    Zooming even further back, I think this same dynamic could go a long way toward explaining the bleating incoherence that is presented as modern feminism these days, or at least a good part of it. Consider this analogy:

    One might be surprised to see the constant stream of gay-baiting male politicians and preachers who then turn out to be gay themselves, living in some kind of self-hatred. How does this keep happening? A pop-psych explanation that is often offered, is that when these men start to feel these inclinations at a young age, they're horrified and ashamed, most likely because of the culture that they're growing up in. They react by turning against their nature, showing as certainly as possible that they reject it by joining with organizations (evangelical churches, the Republican party) that take a firm, unequivocal line against homosexuality. Among the many bad outcomes of this choice is that the violently-self-closeted wind up disparaging exactly the tolerant community who might have helped and assisted them.

    I have a private theory that a parallel development occurs in a lot of young women who become ardent, strident feminists. Coming of age they find an attraction for the domineering male, and they tingle at the thought of being the girl on the cover of a romance novel. Living in a feminist-informed academic world, they recoil in horror at having such feelings! and instead flee across the platform to board the train running in the opposite direction: strident, uncompromising feminism, in which the domineering behavior of men (code name: "patriarchy") is the base of all that is evil in the world. I think the girls who adopt this over-counter-reaction are really setting themselves up for misery, destined to wander in a fog of subconscious self-hatred, just like the gay-baiting but secretly gay themselves politicians. And, worst of all, whom do feminists come to disparage and despise the most? That's right, it's the good, decent beta men who suffer the worst feminist scorn and derision, exactly the men who would be most likely to treat women with the respect that feminism says they deserve. Think about it, and it all falls into place.

    Anyway, that to me is the Really Big Picture from this story, and all free of charge for you here.

    • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/susanawalsh susanawalsh

      Interesting take on feminism there. You may be right. I tend to think of feminists as women who learned at puberty that they did not appeal to men, which is where the anger comes from. I'll agree that if the domineering males had fluttered around them, most of them would have been attracted. Obviously, all kinds of women relate to feminism – but I have noticed that a lot of the sex-positive feminists, especially those in the LGBT crowd, are not what I would call sexually appealing to men.

      I have to say that Xenophon's advice there could well have cut short a brilliant future for Athlone. Ravishing a student without express consent is rape. I know Xenophon didn't mean to suggest sexual assault, just giving the woman what she wanted, but unless she consents, she can and should claim sexual assault. Women may fantasize about being taken forcefully in the romance novel fashion, but that doesn't mean they want that to play out in reality. Women do not want to be raped. Period. Role play between two consenting adults is something else, but that requires trust, which Athlone could not possibly have established with a stranger.

  • Aldonza

    but I have noticed that a lot of the sex-positive feminists….are not what I would call sexually appealing to men

    Hmmm…I wonder where I fit in there. LOL!

    • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/susanawalsh susanawalsh

      You? A sex-positive feminist? I wouldn't have thought so…swinging, polyamory, bukkake, BDSM. Permit me to doubt.

      • Aldonza

        I'm a "live and let live" type. What people choose to do as consenting adults in the privacy of their own homes is their business. I may not choose to do those things, I certainly wouldn't want the government (or any organization) telling me what I could and couldn't do.

        • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/susanawalsh susanawalsh

          Oh, I agree with you 100%. The govt. does not belong in anyone's bedroom. I'm just wondering where the real feminists went. I guess they achieved their goals, and this is the 4th wave. Not my cup of tea, but what they do is their business. A lot of times men talk about "feminism" but there really isn't one cohesive movement. The women who ushered in the Women's Movement are mostly dead. The women my age were all about choice and equal pay. The young feminists (under 35) are all about sexual empowerment and sticking it to the patriarchy that way. The MRA guys have a beef with the Third Wave, not with Jessica Valenti and her ilk per se, for the most part.

        • Aldonza

          Define "real feminists"? As you said, there really isn't one cohesive movement. Even during the heyday, there were significant schisms about goals, believes, tactics. I think there are plenty of us still around, we just might choose different definitions, depending on the crowd we're running in. Further, a lot of the original goals have been achieved, leaving great disagreement on what the "next goals" really are. A lot of my very feminist friends are choosing to work on human rights issues in other countries, or signing on to other causes like gay marriage.

          The young feminists I know are definitely *not* part of the hookup culture. They may be "sex-positive", but most of them are pretty conventional in how they conduct relationships. They don't do the club/frat scene and seem less likely to hookup or have FWB. Weekend nights you'll find them listening to acoustic music at a coffee house, working on art projects, or planning their next body modification. I don't remember the last time one of them even used the word "patriarchy" in a sentence that didn't include giggles.

          I can't figure out if I'm third wave or not. I do identify myself as a feminist. I also shave regularly, date, and wouldn't even know where to begin on sexual empowerment. Perhaps my sex is powerful enough?

        • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/susanawalsh susanawalsh

          That's surprising re the young feminists you know. Some of them are gay, so those women are not part of hookup culture. But the ones who identify as sex-positive are highly promiscuous in my experience. They may prefer a hipster at a coffeehouse to a frat star – no doubt they do, but it's still hooking up. And a quickly look at feministing, Feministe or Pandagon will give you all the patriarchy bashing you can stomach, giggles excluded.

          FWIW, by real feminists I mean women who fought for equality, not superiority. I agree that there were always various ways of doing that. I just don't see any organization among women under the age of 35 or so any longer.

  • djb

    Having twenty years to reflect on my college experience, I really think, unless you're naturally outgoing or have some sort of college status, it would behoove most young men just to "go ghost," as the first poster stated. Its hard for a young man to hear this advice while hormones are raging, even harder when he hears about the natural pick-up artist down the hall. It just seems that college is such a hostile environment for young men, even more so than when I was young, that putting focus on career and financial stability should be paramount. Women have much more sexual power when they are young. I think young men like Athlone would be better served by waiting out the lean years, gain sexual experience when they get older, like their early to mid twenties. Opportunities for sexual relationships on a shy man's terms begin to arise when women start to think about children and family. It is at this time that many men can gain sexual experience via serial monogamy with women they don't necessarily see a permanent future with. Many urban areas have young professional social organizations that facilitate relationships. Most women there are not looking for the same kind of men they did in college. I don't encourage outright lying, but a man need not be completely candid about what he is seeking either. One's definition of LTR may be different than another's. At about age 30, the power shift becomes tangible, and women become much more willing to compromise. You can gain a lot of relationship experience after this point, before you settle down and look for the kind of woman you see yourself marrying. Just remember, be very picky when you want to settle down.

    • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/susanawalsh susanawalsh

      djb, I agree with a lot of what you say here, but I really think throwing in the towel completely is not the right advice for most guys. I do agree that guys need to be patient, and perhaps have low expectations in college re sex, unfortunately. College is a good time for them to focus on academic goals, but it also a great time to practice social skills. It's a time in life when it is possible to meet many people in one small and contained environment. Friendships with both men and women are possible and should be encouraged, even if that means staying in the "friendzone" with all the girls you know. Join things, do things, don't let yourself get pale by staying in all the time.

      I just find the whole prospect of "going ghost" incredibly depressing and defeatist. Guys need to take a long-term view, yes, but giving up?