Is This Really How It's Gonna Be?
October 15, 2017 4:54 PM   Subscribe

I've not had a lot of luck with guys recently (I'm a bi trans male in my mid-20s, if it matters). This is the second time in a row where someone seems decent and then, not long after us getting to know each other, they do something that demonstrates otherwise. I am basically just here to ask for some affirmation that I did the right thing by defacto breaking things off, as I am feeling very sad after realizing this person will not be in my life anymore now... (Note, some NSFW details inside)

I've been hanging out with this guy (he is a bi cis male, early 20s) for about two months now and we are (well, were) in something of a friends-with-benefits type situation. Which was preferable to me, as I was not looking for something serious or long-term because I will be moving from the area within a year. We went for dinner and to see a play last night and then he said he wanted to call it a night early cause he was tired from the night before. I asked if he wanted to cuddle for a bit first and he said, "sure" and so we did and ended up having sex. I was actually fine with just cuddling but he got horny and I wasn't not-horny so I was like, "sure."

However, in the beginning, pre-condom, he kind of stuck his dick to the side of my vagina and was like, "whoops," in a playful way and I was like "stop, I don't wanna get pregnant" and I moved backwards and stuck my hand there so he wouldn't accidentally do it. It was actually kind of alarming to me and my heart rate went up like x10, hence my reaction. And he said, "I thought you couldn't get pregnant if you're on testosterone anyway?" which I quickly refuted and then he was like, "you know, I wasn't going to actually do it" and he pre-cums so I tried to like wipe anything that would have been there but it was kind of hard to tell in the dark how successful I was or if there had been anything there at all. We have sex with a condom, as usual, but I was really worried about what if some of the sperm from the precum might have been pushed up there because of the sex later? And I told him this and at first he said he was sorry but I was kind of angry and just turned over in bed and he was just really kind of flippant about the whole thing and said I was worrying too much and it was really unlikely. And obviously that didn't help at all. And he said something like, "I've had a lot of sex and never gotten anyone pregnant." And he just did not seem to think this was a serious concern at all. My ex from many years ago (I haven't had consistent frontal sex w/ anyone else) was just as paranoid about possible pregnancy and this would never have happened with them.

I said, "let's pretend the last fifteen minutes didn't happen," and we mostly hung out as normal and then, leaving, I was worried about it again. He said at one point, "I really think you're overreacting" and I said, "that's rich, coming from someone who this could literally never happen to" and detailed how grossed-out even thinking about the possibility made me. And, when I clarified that his "reassurance" felt dismissive, he was like, "I'm sorry I made you so anxious" but not like "I'm sorry I made you so anxious and that was a stupid thing to do in the first place." And when I was like, "don't do that ever again," like two or three times in the whole discussion he was just quiet and did not have any kind of response. (Today, when I was reflecting on this, the only other time I ever had reason to say "don't ever do that again" was when my ex from many years ago raped me the first time... And I really regret how long we were together after that.) Also, I kind of don't trust that he was telling the truth about the whole situation. After I got angry he said something like, "I know you can still get pregnant if you're on testosterone" and I said, "yeah, cause I just told you" and he said, "Well, I knew that, but I thought it's very, very unlikely." And, more worrisome, at some point I said, "all it takes is one sperm" and he's like, "no it doesn't" and I'm like, "Yes. It does!" and he said, "well, it's hard for people to get pregnant even in the usual circumstances." The situation struck me as weird because not only was he majorly gaslighting my worries about pregnancy, even though he demonstrated how little knowledge he actually has of how it happens, he was totally calm the whole time and when I first clarified I'm upset because I don't want to be pregnant, his response was "we can take care of the legal stuff later" (??) I did not ask him to clarify what he meant, but later I briefly imagined the inverse situation of the cliche of the unstable girlfriend who secretly stops taking her birth control pills -- like he is doing risky things when we have sex so that maybe he'd have an excuse to tie us together forever.

I have really enjoyed hanging out with him up until now but yesterday it just seemed like he was not as trustworthy as I had assumed. Like when I said to him, basically, "I'm worried about this thing happening to my body because of something you did," and he is basically like, "you're overreacting, that can't happen" it felt like such an insult and tbh, like classic mansplaining like if I were a cis woman. I think there is a chance that if maybe I were calmer about it and explained what I said above, he might have had a different reaction, but in the back of my mind, I was picturing like things bursting out of me "alien vs predator" style and was like trying to contain my panic. The idea of being pregnant is an inexplicable nightmare to me. I have been open with him about having anxiety and taking medication for it and I felt like he may have been trying to use this to his advantage.

I talked to a friend about this (who is also a trans man) and he said he would feel the same as me in that situation, regarding how the sex went down. Talking with my friend, I was able to figure out what exactly it is I feel today and it's disrespected. And I was just thinking about how I would probably feel short-changed if we kept seeing each other and how, as like weird/weak-sounding as this is, I don't think I would feel "safe" in a sexual situation with him again and would just keep feeling on edge because of his steadfast lack of concern.

And yet, I'm very sad and have been upset all day. And it's hard to believe that 24 hours before, I was excited to see him again and now I guess we are not on speaking terms. I unfriended him from Facebook before I sent him this text because it was just irritating me seeing his stuff on there while I was irritated with him, though I wasn't fully committed to breaking things off yet. I sent him that text and he never replied with anything, just blocked me on Grindr and took me off his Instagram. Which somehow made me more upset.

I think I did the right thing here, but like I said, I'm very sad about the situation and about just having this guy disappear from my life in such short order because of what I described. Metafilter, would you please console me? </3 :(
posted by sevenofspades to Human Relations (19 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Ok, THIS HAS HAPPENED TO ME TOO. It is sexual assault. It's ok to be angry and it's way a good idea that you broke things off. Other responders will have a more detailed analysis mostly, but rest assured, this was a trauma, you can respond however you want, and he is not right. And he knows it, but will not admit it. Hopefully in a few years what happened to you will be illegal. It is in some places.
posted by karmachameleon at 4:58 PM on October 15, 2017 [6 favorites]

I'm not sure why you could consider it weak to not feel safe with someone who has explicitly demonstrated that he won't respect your (super reasonable) boundaries. That's just good judgment.
posted by praemunire at 5:14 PM on October 15, 2017 [1 favorite]

What he did was not okay, and then he compounded his mistake by dismissing your fear of pregnancy. You are right: it only takes one sperm, and then you would be the one dealing with what to do next. It makes sense to me that you're sad about the situation, because until this happened this was someone you liked and you felt comfortable being intimate with him. You may feel that way for a while and that is okay. I admire your strength in ending the friendship.
posted by tuesdayschild at 5:29 PM on October 15, 2017 [1 favorite]

I am very sorry this happened to you. If you have sex with someone with a condom and those are your agreed parameters, and they put their penis in your vagina without a condom, that's sexual assault. It is perfectly normal to be upset. You should do the best you can to take care of yourself right now; any and all of the support you can get in working through this will be helpful.

Again, I am very sorry.
posted by DarlingBri at 5:37 PM on October 15, 2017 [3 favorites]

Joining the chorus of voices to validate that THIS WAS NOT OKAY. It is assault. I am a cis woman with an IUD and I have had men pull the same thing on me, like "testing the waters" or some shit about whether I really care about condoms, and even though my pregnancy risk is relatively small THAT IS NOT WHAT MATTERS WHEN WHAT I WANT IS FOR THEM TO USE A CONDOM. The same goes for you. No one else gets to fucking decide what your boundaries are around your own body.

I have also had the same confused/weak feelings afterward and those feelings are very normal. We talk about "fight vs flight" when faced with dangerous situations but there's a more modern conception of "fight, flight, or freeze" which takes into account that freezing up (which often leads later to feelings of "how the hell could i have allowed that?") can be the safest response in a given moment. Give yourself time and be kind about how you handled this - you are keeping yourself safe by cutting off contact, but it is also okay for you to grieve what you thought was a safe, fun relationship that you could trust.
posted by augustimagination at 6:38 PM on October 15, 2017 [9 favorites]

Yeah, no. That guy is an asshole, what he did was wrong, and you were right to cut it off with him. I had a similar experience and the guy just never apologized. And it was super upsetting that he refused to acknowledge that he had deliberately done something that I had explicitly told him was not allowed to do. You can't make these assholes apologize but you can protect yourself. Good job breaking it off with him and protecting yourself. I'm so sorry this happened to you. I am so sick of this shit. Love on yourself as much as you can.
posted by Bella Donna at 6:56 PM on October 15, 2017 [2 favorites]

You were right. Holding fast to your boundaries can be hard, especially for AFAB people who might be socialized to smooth over social conflict, but it’s an act of loving yourself, and the more you do it, the more you will become surrounded by people who love and respect you and will never assault your body or gaslight your mind.
posted by matildaben at 7:06 PM on October 15, 2017 [1 favorite]

Trans guy here and reading that brought my heart rate up. I really don't think cis people, especially men, can understand how devastatingly traumatizing pregnancy would be for (most) trans men. I'm not saying that to excuse him, I'm saying you are justified in kicking him to the curb because you are coming from two very, very different mindsets. I personally don't even bother looking for cis partners for this reason. You don't need this shit at any age, but especially in your mid 20s. Wait for someone who can respect you and your body.
posted by AFABulous at 10:11 PM on October 15, 2017 [1 favorite]

oh, and if he's going to be this much of an ignorant jerk about pregnancy, please go get tested for STIs.
posted by AFABulous at 10:13 PM on October 15, 2017

Trans guy here, and one who is even planning to be pregnant at some point in the future: you were correct to break it off. Run like hell. The correct response for him to give in the situation would be something along the lines of OH MY GOD MY HAND SLIPPED CAN I ASSIST YOU IN PURCHASING SOME PLAN B, in a state of mortified horror, and his response was... not that.
posted by Rush-That-Speaks at 11:50 PM on October 15, 2017 [1 favorite]

Thank you all so much for your responses. It has helped so much. (And I am, of course, very welcome to more comments and messages of support and insight from people coming to this thread later, as well.) I really didn't consider the sexual assault/lack of consent angle before posting here. It was especially perplexing to me because he seemed to be someone who has carefully considered their ethics (like me -- and this is something I seek out in others) and I was surprised he could hold one values system about the world but apparently apply a different set to the people around him. He is a Buddhist and speaks out against various forms of injustice and seems... just fine with perpetuating it. What horseshit! I don't know how he lives with all the cognitive dissonance. When I thought about it more, there were other red flags that I just kind of shrugged off because we weren't dating anyway -- like when he has been kind of eye-rolly when talking to him about my friendships and he was overly keen about us dating in the beginning before we really knew much about each other. I was confused why he blocked me everywhere without even saying anything back and I think everyone who said he's wrong and knows it has it right. I will never cease being surprised at how endlessly disappointing individual people can be...

Also, AFABulous, the person who I had the other bad experience with was also a trans man. So I guess I give up lol, except the "lol" is basically laughing and crying at the same time... And this guy who my Ask was about, I had asked him last night, "would you have been more worried about this [situation described above] if I weren't taking testosterone?" and he said, "yes." Which, I guess, reflecting now, means he thinks it's ok to treat my body like it's a garbage receptacle unless it actually has imminent and direct consequences for him too. And your point about cis people (usually) not understanding the trauma of pregnancy, at one point I had said, "this is all so emasculating!" and he said, "what is?" and I said, "possibly getting pregnant -- guys don't get pregnant," embarrassed to even really be talking about it in relation to myself, and he took the opportunity to climb up on his high horse, make himself comfortable up there, and say, "hey, yes they do" (I am in agreement when I am not hella distressed as I am well-aware of the trans dudes who somehow manage to weather pregnancy like a champ) and I said "well, this one doesn't!" I do think being trans makes one a more likely target for jerks like this because on some level, even subconsciously, we must be easier to devalue. It's a sad reality.

I won't make this a back-and-forth, so just wrapping up to say thank you all again for your posts and messages. I was thinking about posting about this in one of the forums for trans men I frequent, but I was worried about it seeming like an echo chamber to me and still feeling uncertain, so I came here instead to my internet home for all kinds of folk. I really appreciate all your kindness and support and empathy and I feel confident I made the right decision.
posted by sevenofspades at 12:19 AM on October 16, 2017 [3 favorites]


When I was in undergrad I was friends with a statistically unusual amount of trans folks. (Later I came to the conclusion that this was because I actually cared about them as individual people and not to fill out my queer girl bingo card and word spread, hahasigh) One such friend was a slightly older woman who was dating a cis woman at the time. Let's call them Zelda and Yolanda.

Well, one afternoon I ran into Zelda on campus in tears. I asked her what was wrong and over coffee she haltingly told me what had happened the night before. Zelda, who was slowly ramping up hormones at the time but intended to never get bottom surgery, had been nakedly canoodling with Yolanda. Zelda hadn't been getting hard much lately and was exploring what felt good for her now, but to her surprise she did get hard and ended up unexpectedly ejaculating on Yolanda, mid-frot.

Zelda was so freaked out about possibly accidentally getting Yolanda pregnant that she had been sitting on campus rethinking her whole transitioning plan and maybe committing to bottom surgery and how Yolanda was totally going to dump her for violating her like that and feeling absolutely wracked with guilt.I asked her what Yolanda had done the night before and Zelda said she had seemed a little upset but they hadn't fought about it or anything - it was only the next day that Zelda was so freaked out. I told her to talk to Yolanda again and see what she was thinking before assuming she was going to dump her.

A week later Zelda bought me a fancy coffee as thanks for letting her cry all over me and told me that Yolanda was okay, got her period as expected, and no dumping had occurred. In conclusion, people with penises can make mistakes with said penises, but a respectful and caring person will feel bad about those mistakes and do everything they can to rectify them. People who don't are abusive douchebags who should be dropped from orbit.
posted by Mizu at 2:25 AM on October 16, 2017 [2 favorites]

There's an element of disbelief and confusion in your OP, and I'd like to address that. You seem like a very kind, ethical, respectful person. It's a very typical human trait to assume that other people operate in the same framework that you do. I can see how you'd believe that this dude would never violate boundaries that way; because of his religious and social justice views, you thought he'd be in alignment with you about sexual respect too. The sad fact is that there are all kinds of ways and situations where people act in violation of their stated principles. Fundamentally, it's more accurate to judge a person on their actions than on their words.

When boundary violations are so intimate and shocking, and especially if they are then treated so dismissively, it can feel really disorienting. This is denial at work; it's a way that the body/brain protects you from confronting how terrible something really is.

You asked for consolation. I think that the truthful assessment in the responses that this was sexual assault is not likely to be consoling. But I think an accurate reframe of the situation might be. Here's how I suggest you reframe it:

When this guy violated your sexual boundaries, you recognized the seriousness of the issue, protected yourself, and stood firm against poor treatment. Because you are a respectful and caring person, and expect respect and caring in return, you were surprised and hurt to learn that this was not forthcoming. HIs inability to accept accountability for his own actions are solely his own shortcomings and are not a reflection of your value.

Take care.
posted by Sublimity at 3:19 AM on October 16, 2017 [5 favorites]

I'm a trans person who dates other trans people, and there are so many layers of ABSOLUTELY NOT here, so I just wanted to add my voice to the chorus of people saying that you deserve so much better than this.

I think negotiation of sexual boundaries is incredibly important, for trans folks especially. Just because you're in a friends with benefits situation rather than a romantic relationship does not mean that there can't and shouldn't be attention put into discovering and respecting your boundaries and desires.

This does not have to be how it is. There are lots of people out there who are shitty at consent and unwilling to respect trans people and our bodies, but there are also lots of people who will listen, put in the work, and treat you appropriately. I'm sorry you ran across this dingus.
posted by ITheCosmos at 5:11 AM on October 16, 2017

He is a Buddhist and speaks out against various forms of injustice and seems... just fine with perpetuating it.

When I was younger, I used to think that the peace love bells beads circles I still generally move in when given the choice would have to have been made up entirely of peaceful, considerate, enlightened people because peace love bells beads!

It used to come as a real shock to find out that somebody I knew and had hung out with was actually a total arsehole regardless of their avowed beliefs and was really only into the peace love bells beads thing not because they actually think like that but because that's where the easy prey is at.

Now I'm old, and I have enough life experience to understand that any grouping of a hundred people will contain about five complete shit heads and that these people are the reason we can't have nice things.

And yeah, the Buddha was a cool dude and all, but see also: Burma.
posted by flabdablet at 5:34 AM on October 16, 2017 [2 favorites]

Bravo, no, thank you for taking the time to figure this out, and you're handing it well. You did exactly what you should.
posted by karmachameleon at 10:13 AM on October 16, 2017

Also, AFABulous, the person who I had the other bad experience with was also a trans man.

Yeah, I didn't mean that trans people are necessarily better at consent. I personally know trans people who have been assaulted by other trans people. I meant they're more likely to understand dysphoria and the visceral disgust of pregnancy. So I'm sorry the trans guy violated you and I understand why you're reluctant to get involved with anyone now. I hope you find peace.
posted by AFABulous at 11:37 AM on October 16, 2017

As a final update before I mark this resolved, I had been feeling so angry since realizing exactly what this guy tried to do/did -- I was previously just upset that he had 0 empathy for freaking me out during sex -- that I texted him Tuesday night trying to get him to admit he's a hypocrite (I knew that had a .0001% chance of happening but I could not resist trying). As you all might have predicted, he conveniently "remembered things differently" (and did a bad job of lying too) and still tried to tell me I was overreacting. It actually just made me feel worse because, if he had to lie about the whole thing, that meant things were exactly as bad as I thought they were. I was also more angry thinking back to some of the things he said to me, and I remembered he had a fwb situation with another trans guy before he moved to my city, but he said that all of the sudden, his fwb said he didn't feel safe hanging out with his friend group and worried he might get raped and everyone thought he was crazy. He kind of brought this up to me at a random moment and now I have a very strong inkling that he did the same kind of thing to this guy, or worse, except no one believed him. Honestly, I am thinking he probably does the same thing -- pulls some kind of non-consensual power play -- to every guy he has sex with. Ugh. So frustrating. I just wish I could tell other guys; he just moved here and will have 5-6 more years worth of opportunities to pull this shit. He's bi, but had said he doesn't date women much. I had asked why and he said, "oh, you know, the male gaze," to which I asked, "what do you mean?" And he started to mansplain THE MALE GAZE to me and I said, "I know what that means," and he said, "oh" and I dropped the question. I am guessing it's because some woman has called him out before but he knows gay/bi/queer men often have a harder time dealing with these kind of situations. Such evil that lurks inside some people!
posted by sevenofspades at 3:02 PM on October 22, 2017

I just wish I could tell other guys; he just moved here and will have 5-6 more years worth of opportunities to pull this shit.

I am no way no how going to tell you that you should, but I want you to understand that you can. The least dramatic way is also the most credible, unfortunately. I go with "just so you know, he isn't safe to date." It can mean anything from "he's a rapist" to "he'll break your fucking heart" and won't get you sued. But anyone who has any experience of dating men and hears that will see the giant red flag being waved in their face.
posted by DarlingBri at 3:09 PM on October 22, 2017

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