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CODE TALK in a Consent Culture: STOP IT

In all the sitcoms we see it: “come in for a nightcap”= I want to fuck. Come over and watch a movie= I want to fuck. Come up to my room and I will get you a jacket= I want to fuck. Can I crash with you after the party next week= I want to fuck. Bake cookies= let’s fuck. EVERYTHING is code for let’s fuck…because sitcoms are made of “funny” mis-communications.

This is CODE TALK. Because good girls are not supposed to say they want sex. And good guys are not supposed to just ask for sex. But you know what it really is? It is a way for consent violations all the way up to sexual assault and rape to happen, in part due to miscommunication.

You see, we often see rape as a crime of power- it is. But it is also, I think most often and in my opinion, a crime of opportunity and miscommunication. In the 1990s one study asked a large group (100s) of college men if they had raped someone- the yes rate was something south of 5%. But 20-35% of women have been raped. Does that mean that all rapists are serial rapists? Maybe. But I think the other question asked is more telling: have you ever had sex with someone after they said no- 90% said Yes they had done that. But are 90% of guys then rapists? Also no.

I think that this data could be seen like this:

1) “good” girls are supposed to say no- so many were following the “code” script taught by popular society to alleviate guilt over being slutty enough to ever have sex. So not rape- just a really shitty way for two willing people to end up doing what they want. She may even have used the code talk script: come up for coffee… (my favorite sitcom, TBBT has done this—it made me cringe!). This also sets up the guy: in his experience this is how a “CODE TALK” interaction is supposed to go- everybody happy (and laid) at the end!

2) Rapists of intent: that contingent of men that are predators, that are into the power of the act of rape. They USE CODE TALK to set up a situation to be able to rape.

3) Rapists of opportunity and poor communication. The guy follows the “code” script, no doesn’t mean no it is just what good girls say, have coffee means she wants to fuck, etc. He makes his move, and things seem to go well…but the girl never talks to him again. Why? Because in that moment she did not feel safe to make him stop- she shut down, and lost her words. She went into survival mode. Is this a guy that goes around hurting women on purpose? NO? Would he ever see himself as a rapist? NO? But he is. If he knew he would probably feel terrible. But there he is, a rapist.

So, because we are kinky fuckers, who love to talk about negotiation and consent, can we as a community agree to KNOCK THE CODE TALK OFF?

When you ask a woman to have coffee after a good date: it is COFFEE. Not let’s fuck. If you want to fuck- ASK. It can start a discussion- you may not get laid, but you might! She might be thinking the same thing!

But if you just make a move, thinking that “have coffee” is code for “let’s fuck”, you run the risk of becoming a rapist of opportunity- without KNOWING it (except now you have read this…so you DO know). Your date may just shut down and go into self protection, do what you have to to get out of the situation mode. They may play along, not sure how to get out of this. Does that sound like a great interaction? (hint: to decent men- this does not sound great).

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When, as a woman, you invite a guy over to watch a movie, if you want that to include sex- SAY SO. Don’t use CODE TALK. I know this is easier said than done- but please, please, as women, we have to do our part too.

Because CODE TALK perpetuates rape as a crime of opportunity. It also gives a weapon to the Rapists of deliberation. SAY WHAT YOU MEAN. ASK FOR WHAT YOU WANT. Do not lie- because that is what CODE TALK is.

So can we all just stop it? Sit coms, popular culture aside- CODE TALK is not a cute or funny way to get those two great kids together: it is a recipe for consent violation and sexual assault by people that would NEVER knowingly do it…but a rapist and victim are born.

Said more eloquently by DragonEmrys

Code Talk is annoying, complicated, and dangerous. It’s a tool for manipulative creepers to play on ‘grey areas’ and get away with it. It turns the people who wouldn’t otherwise be rapists into rapists by never allowing them to learn the language they need to have conversations about sex that would otherwise make them aware that something is not right in a sexual situation. It turns people into victims through slut-shaming ‘rules’ that silence them and don’t allow them to speak freely about when, where, how, and with whom they want to have sex without being labeled ‘bad,’ ‘slutty,’ ‘strange,’ ‘too aggressive,’ or ‘inappropriate.’

Fuck that.

Being able to ask ‘Do you want to have sex?’ is something that everyone should be able and allowed to do, as is saying, hearing, and accepting ‘No’ as a response to that question. Hearing someone you wanna fuck say ‘Yes, I wanna fuck you’ is the best thing ever.
added Feb 10

1- to those that have supported this, shared their story whether here or in PM, thank you. I am so glad this helped you see you were not alone. I have been hearing these stories for some time, and been thinking about this issue. This goes double for the guys.

2- For those of you that think that you can just “read the situation”- that is where the miscommunication risk come in. Is it high? I would guess not- but it exists.

3- For those that seem to think this is advocating that you negotiate the entire evening hours, days, weeks in advance- no. What I am saying is that you invite someone for coffee after your date, you ask someone to cuddle on the couch. Life is good and things seem to be going well- CHECK IN. ASK. You don’t have to be blunt (I am, my BF is, but language can be both clear and not blunt). You don’t have to plan all of it ahead of time- or have some agenda or conspiracy. Just be clear, as you progress where you think you are, and make sure the other person is too.

4- This is as much about women communicating clearly as it is guys. We ask you up for coffee- it is JUST coffee, until we say otherwise or you ask for otherwise is the point. We women can and should be active and responsible parties in the communication.

5- Rape is a hot word- it is ugly, and makes people cringe, and all the bad stuff. Here is the thing: damage is done. Trauma and damage is left in the wake, whether the man busts through your door holding a knife, or it was an otherwise pretty good guy misreading and miscommunication. Is it the same damage? Sometimes it is worse- you have all the trauma of being a victim, without a clear “bad guy”, and recovery can be long and hard no matter how the rape occurred. My goal here was not LOCK UP ALL THE RAPISTS. It began, honestly, as a bit of a rant about CODE TALK being lame and stupid and dangerous (even though it seems that most of the time everyone is happy on the other side of the interaction- otherwise I would expect the rape rate to be closer to 90%). It became about us: a community that advocates consent and safety, to think about how CODE TALK could be contributing to victimization that is preventable. By BOTH genders.

6- I realize this is very heteronormative in pronoun usage. Rape of miscommunication and opportunity is an equal opportunity issue I would think- both/all genders, can be both perpetrators and victims. All of the concepts apply- clear communication, checking in as you progress an evening along, obtaining consent etc regardless of gender, regardless of orientation.

Submitted by – scaryBottom

This is a very important subject please share. Thank you scaryBottom

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