The ongoing debate around sexual harassment has hit the muddled argument on the relationship between dating, sex, non-verbal cues and saying “no” again. An unnamed photographer accused comedian Aziz Ansari of not understanding her “non-verbal cues” and phrases like “slowdown” during their date. This led to an unwanted sexual encounter for the woman, leaving her in tears. She made it a point to bring it to Ansari’s notice via text messages, how his behaviour made her uncomfortable during their encounter.

Ansari has responded to the allegations saying that he has taken the woman’s words to heart, and has responded to her in private.

This peculiar case cannot be placed in the category of outright sexual assault, or a date gone wrong. The man in question failed to understand the woman’s verbal cues. As a result of which the woman ended up feeling dirty and disgusted at the end of what was supposed to be an exciting date with a celebrity.

Ansari said in a press release, “It was true that everything seemed okay to me, so when I heard that it was not the case for her, I was surprised and concerned. I continue to support the movement that is happening in our culture. It is necessary and long overdue.”

This statement proves that even the men who advocate #MeToo movement, do not understand the etiquette of dating and sexual encounters.

But how long will men hide behind the claims of being oblivious to women’s talks and body language? When will they address the fact that they are not entitled to sexual favours just because they are famous, powerful, or simply because the said woman agreed to come to their place for a couple of drinks?

Many Women Feel Pressured into Sex After A Date

Just a month ago a short story “Cat Person” penned by Kristen Roupenian divided its readers on the topic of consensual sex, dating and harassment. This case feels like a real-life version of the said story. A woman goes on a date with a man she likes. But engages in sexual activity with him, despite not feeling up to the task, if I may put it that way.

When it comes to dating and sex, none of the partners should feel obliged to engage in a sexual encounter, just because the moment calls for it. This especially holds true for women, who give into the pressure of pleasing their partners, at the cost of their self-esteem.

A lot of times, the inability to say “no” comes from social conditioning. The need to be pleasant and the fear of offending the partner on an emotional level.

If a sexual encounter makes you uncomfortable, say it loud. No point in beating around the bush. If you go ahead with it now, it will lead to lifelong shame and regret of coercing yourself into sex you did not want in first place. It is easy to place the blame squarely on the partner’s shoulders, for not understanding non-verbal cues. But prudishness is the first thing we shed in physical encounters. So why not extend it to saying no before it gets awkward and borders on assault?

The views on whether or not it is right to accuse Ansari of harassment, in this case, has divided opinion. But one thing is lucid men understand non-verbal cues as much as we understand poems written in Old English.

What every educated or uneducated man understands, is the meaning of “No”.

If he still refuses to back off despite being told “No” loud and clear, or timid and soft, then he is indeed at fault.

So, until we can bring our men up to date on our dictionary of indirect no and non-verbal cues, give the good old “No” a chance.

Pic Source: NY Daily news

Also Read: Aziz Ansari Accused of Sexual Misconduct: Case of #MeToo or Bad Sex?

Dr Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section.  The views expressed are the author’s own

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