Sometimes I Want to Be Held By A Man, Naked, Without Having Sex – IS THAT OKAY?

January 17, 2018 — 35 Comments


Apparently not.

If you are a human, then you’ve heard about the Aziz Ansari debacle. You know, the incident in which “woke bae” Ansari pushed and pushed and pushed his date to have sex even though she was clearly not into it.

Many women are uniting in solidarity over their own similar experiences. However, just as many are condemning “Grace,” Ansari’s date. She went to his apartment, she got undressed, what did she expect? Why didn’t she just leave??

Even the New York Times published an opinion piece by Bari Weiss in which she says, “I am a proud feminist, and this is what I thought while reading the article: If you are hanging out naked with a man, it’s safe to assume he is going to try to have sex with you.”

For most of my life, I bought into that same line of reasoning. If I get naked with a man, then of course he’s going to try to have sex with me. Furthermore, I’m obligated, or else things can get ugly.

I believed this so resolutely, that for 20 years, I didn’t recognize that I had been raped in college. I remembered it as “the night this guy had sex with me when I didn’t want him to.”

For the record, I said no. I was at a party at his fraternity, and I went upstairs to his room with him to get high. I liked him; I wanted to kiss him. But that was all. I said “no.” I tried to fight him off; I did everything but scream “HELP! RAPE!” because  I was 18 and afraid and embarrassed. I didn’t want to create a scene with hundreds of people downstairs to overhear it.

Later, I shared the experience with only one person, who responded with, “well what did you expect?” and then I buried it.
Only in the last decade have I been able to understand that I was raped.



I’m extremely single. By that I mean, I’m a self-sustaining ecosystem. I’m fiercely independent. I’ve created a life the way I want it, and I dread the idea of having to make constant compromises. Relationships are hard, and if introducing a partner into my life is going to create drama and pain, I’d rather be alone.

The upside to marriage and relationships is the intimacy.

I miss intimacy.

I miss being held when things are not going right in my life. I like a man to wrap his arms around me and hold me, and stroke my back. I like the feeling of skin on skin.

I’m a highly sexual person, and I like kinky sex as much as the next wanton woman. Sometimes, though, I just want to lie next to someone who will hold me.

This never happens.


You see, if I lie next to a man, naked, he will (most likely) become aroused. And he will assume we’re having sex, because what did I expect?

This is the clarion call reverberating all over the Internet regarding Grace. She got naked, so of course he tried to have sex with her. Over and over, even though she asked him to chill out, even though she was not responding physically to him, even though she was visibly uncomfortable and said many things to indicate she wasn’t into it. She didn’t scream “NO” and storm out of there, so she deserved what she got, right?


Maybe she wanted to connect with him on an intimate level; kiss, hold him, touch – but not be treated like a blow-up sex doll. Maybe she found him funny and adorable, and was hoping to have some intimate contact that didn’t involve him sticking his claw fingers down her throat like they were reenacting some seedy Pornhub video.

I know that sex is a biological need, and that men are programmed to be hunters and conquerors. I wrote that story.

Eating is also a biological need. Does that mean I get to act like a savage, and grab food off of your plate when you are clearly not into sharing?

Women are socialized from an early age that we are responsible for men’s sexual excitement, and if they get aroused, we’d better do something about it. Men are culturally programmed to believe that the endgame is sex – even if a woman seems lukewarm about it. To keep pushing until she gives in.

When my mother died/kid was in the hospital/furnace blew up/ I wanted to be held. In each of those instances, I knew men I could have visited. But there is no way they would have been open to just holding me without sex.

And until I have a boyfriend or a husband, I will not be entitled to lay next to a man, skin on skin, and simply be held. If we should kiss, or stroke one another’s bodies, he is going to expect sex. And if he’s an inept lover who watches a lot of porn, he’s going to do crude things that women don’t really enjoy. Picture this scenario:

Me: *lies in his bed, wanting comfort because my mother just died*

Him: *fishhooks my mouth*


There are so many social situations that require careful monitoring of the other person’s reaction. We teach our kids to follow social cues, so they know if they’ve crossed a line or invaded someone’s personal space.

Why is this not the case in sex? Of all personal interactions, this is one in which careful monitoring of the other person’s reaction should be imperative.

The Ansari incident is unfortunate, because he was simply doing what he thinks is normal dating behavior. But it started a necessary conversation, and hopefully we can eventually dismantle this ridiculous cultural programming of expected sex.

By the way, I work two jobs to support my family. If you take me out for a nice dinner and pay, you’d better be prepared to pay my mortgage and utility bill. I’m a struggling single mom. Don’t be a tease.


Are there any women who HAVEN’T had sex when they didn’t want to? 
What is with the “claw fingers in the mouth” move? 
Talk to me. I’m listening. 


Join me on Facebook, so I can have friends without leaving the house. And it gets pretty interesting over there…

35 responses to Sometimes I Want to Be Held By A Man, Naked, Without Having Sex – IS THAT OKAY?


    First of all, It’s great to see a post from you! I don’t know if I’m missing them or you’ve just been away awhile. Second – what is this “claw fingers in the mouth” move? I’ve never heard of it. Third – I’m extremely conflicted on what I believe is “right” or “not right” about a woman getting naked with a guy and being surprised that he expects they’re going to have sex at some point. I do “get” that WE have a right to say no at ANY time during the interaction, but still. I’m a bit confused. I have a genuine concern that this Times Up movement is going to not only empower women who need it, but also bolster others to make false claims for whatever they perceive they can get out of it. I was fondled in my car by my boyfriend and his friend in my 20s, when I was otherwise passed out from too much alcohol. I had sex many, many times against my will, with my ex-husband. I suppose none of this answers your question. I am a member of the #metoo movement as well. I’d happily come hold you, naked or not, as I can appreciate a good holding without expectation of something more – though my husband probably would say it’s not a good idea. 🙂


      Hi there!
      I hope the #metoo movement doesn’t bolster false claims. I don’t agree that this woman was assaulted, but I would like to see the cultural programming addressed – the one where men feel entitled to sex, and that they just need to keep pushing until they get it. That’s the typical scenario. It’s not rape, but it’s not consent either. It’s a gray area and I hope it gets the attention it deserves.

      Come cuddle me!


    While it is absolutely necessary to not get ahead of oneself and act without mutual consent, it is also necessary to be careful not to give the wrong signal. I mean, only one’s boyfriend or husband is really capable of holding a beautiful woman in a beautiful body, naked, without some consequences. I do however believe that consent is key, a ‘no’ is a ‘no’, no matter what.


      H there! Thanks for reading, and commenting.

      I understand that there will be consequences to being held naked. The man will get an erection.
      But if the “consequence” is that I MUST have sex with him because of that, something is seriously wrong.


    All I know is we have a LOT of work to do and I do not exclude myself. I have so much conditioning to unlearn. So so much.

    And yes, I have had a similar situation. I was not raped, but I didn’t want to be there after it started. I was on a goddamn houseboat. Where was I going to go? So, we finished because I was more afraid of how he would react (and I had no escape) than I was uncomfortable with him finishing.


      I’ve been invited on boat dates, and I will NOT go. Not unless I know the man very, very well.

      I have just as much conditioning to unlearn. It’s so sad, that in so many OTHER situations we are aware that we must monitor the other person carefully – but too often, not in sex. How did that happen?


    Who gets naked to cuddle with a virtual stranger on a first date? That’s just not wise and would certainly give me the idea that sex was the objective. Cuddling is nice. With or without clothes. But men are not wired for naked cuddling. And NONE OF US are mind readers. Say no. Even say you’re sorry, but you’ve changed your mind. Men have feelings, too, and when what seems like a mutual move toward sex is stopped by either partner, it’s a rejection (and I, for one, would want to know why). As the mother of an adult son I can see both sides to this. And I can personally attest to the fact that I spent way too many years expecting men to read my mind because I was too shy to ask for what made me feel good. And yes, on occasion having sex because I felt it was my own fault for “leading him on.”


      Hi there!

      There seems to be some confusion here. Let’s separate the two issues. I said I want to cuddle naked sometimes. I didn’t say I expect to do that on a first date. I only said that any man I’m dating casually would not go for it. I can’t get held, skin to skin, because I’m not married or have a boyfriend.

      As for Grace – I didn’t say she got naked to cuddle. I said, I don’t know what was in her mind when she got naked – I only speculated why she did – but it turned out, she wasn’t up for sex. Period. The end.

      The point is, because she took off her clothes, people are saying she should have expected to have sex. I disagree completely.

      I’m teaching my son if it’s not an enthusiastic “yes,” back off.


        No – we’re on the same page and I understand what you were saying. I think an apparent lack of enthusiasm could indicate exactly that, or — shyness? Wanting the guy to take charge? Regardless, apparent ambivalence would ideally prompt a conversation but it’s still better to just say no and put some clothes on. Side note – any use of alcohol or recreational drugs, and not necessarily excessive use, will muddy the waters further.


        Agreed. Here’s to hoping the next generation of women will say “NO” in a way that leaves little speculation.


    Ohgod, this issue needs to be addressed as a priority.
    Not just because of this someone, but because of several ‘someones’.
    Since several people have been coming up with their experiences, this is definitely an issue that NEEDS to be addressed.
    While protesting for movies to be banned, and bills to be passed, the citizens are always on the streets, it’s time for new changes.


    Oh this is such a tinder box. I could put myself in Grace’s position to a point. Hell, I’ve been Grace. Clearly she was not against some intimacy it just seemed she lost confidence and conviction somewhere on that date. Maybe she never had it, she’s young, it’s not uncommon. As for the badgering for sex…I don’t know an of age woman who hasn’t been pressured at some point. Clearly we need to teach our sons more about consent, including non-verbal cues and we need to give our daughters a louder, clearer voice. In an ideal world, Grace would have walked out or at least said dude that v down my throat action isn’t working….try this or it’s not happening tonight (and then don’t give any more BJs.). Actions and words should match, lots of mixed messages in this situation.


      Her age is an important factor – I should have mentioned that! She’s 23- so young. I think she felt pressured to give him a blow jay; it’s pretty obvious that she wasn’t into it.

      Ugh. The part where she says, “maybe our second date” and he’s like “If I pour you another glass of wine can that be our second date?”
      He was like a heat-seeking missile. No stopping him.


    We all have so much to unlearn, right? But the upside is looking back to that time you (I) said no but it ended up happening anyway and realizing that we were right to feel what we felt.
    And I love the food analogy (and the drinking tea one which I’m sure you’ve seen) because it’s so simple then for everyone. If I say I want tea (or food or sex) but I fall asleep, then no one should force me to drink. If I change my mind right before, should someone force me to drink tea? If I get halfway through drinking my tea but decide I’m uncomfortable would anyone in their right mind force me to drink the tea or guilt me into it or coerce or whatever? Forcing someone to finish their cup of tea is absolutely ridiculous, and yet here we are.
    (Why are we so good at respecting each other’s stupid tea and how did naked come to equal sex anyway?)


      Naked DOES equal sex, at least in the mind of every man I’ve dated. No chance for any skin on skin contact unless I’m prepared to go the whole 9 yards.

      Intimacy. It’s the one thing I really miss about marriage. Intimacy without sex. It’s lovely.


    How often does it happen that two (or more? For simplicity sake, lets keep it at two) people are cruising along in the direction of sex and something goes sideways? Maybe, as seems possible in the “Grace % Aziz” story, its his approach, or somebody farts at the wrong time, whatever, the mood is spoiled for one of them and the other’s train is derailed. The thing to do then is not keep charging ahead, hard or or no hard on.

    One thing about the naked cuddle that is true is that if two people can do just that, if they ever do get around to sex, its way better because that intimacy gets included.


    Reblogged this on cabbagesandkings524 and commented:
    Samara – naked does not have to oblige one to sex, and in praise of cuddles.


    I’ve missed these posts. Although I’ve had my share of friends with benefits and platonic friends I’ve never been able to get that elusive hybrid. I had the FWB who would ACT like he’d be cool just hanging without expecting things would eventually step up to sex BUT I’m pretty sure things would have gotten awkward fast if I rejected his inevitable advances. (GOD, I sound full of myself!)

    Went to one such longtime friend’s house with plans in place to get high and make use of a standing hall pass (long story). When it started to feel weird & wrong & I changed my mind it got ugly. No, nothing non-consensual happened but the next morning after sleeping in separate rooms I was definitely treated like I should get to steppin. That “friend” also cursed me out a couple days later & we didn’t talk for a long time. I didn’t even kiss him that night. And I was completely honest about why, after all the talks we had leading up to that night (no sexy verbal foreplay or phone sex involved), I decided I couldn’t do it.

    Also I’m not sure I get the appeal of getting fish-hooked. 😉


      NO ONE gets the appeal of being fishhooked.

      If you changed your mind and your friend was disappointed, why’d it have to get ugly? Why can’t men have some empathy and back off gracefully?

      We get to change our minds in every other circumstance without worrying that we’ll be bullied or forced. It should be the same way with sex.

      Great to see ya!!!


    Not sure what to say about Aziz Ansari. He seems pretty clueless. I have to wonder why he couldn’t slow down and actually see his date as someone who had needs that perhaps didn’t jive with his own. It seems like in so many of these stories the woman is just part of the man’s script, just there to play the part he wrote for her.


      Hi, thanks for stopping by to comment!

      You hit the nail in the head. Too often, a man is not really paying attention to his partner’s needs. Maybe, this will start to change.


    Maybe I was unlucky, but having a husband did not change that scenario. If I was naked and in bed and wanted comforting or just cuddling, then he assumed it would lead to sex and was offended if it didn’t. Unless he wasn’t in the mood, but then he wasn’t in the mood to cuddle either. Ironically, he claimed later that he had an affair because I wasn’t cuddling with him anymore…
    Anyway, now that he is an ex-husband, I get more comfort from petting the cat.


      I understand that he might want sex, but did he have to get offended if you just wanted to be held? CAN NO ONE JUST BE HELD ANYMORE? Skin on skin feels lovely, but must we always provide sex after that?

      I’m not really a cuddler. Sometimes I just need to be held.
      Maybe I should get a dog.


    I thought of you the other day. Have you read “Please Kill Me — The Oral Histroy of Punk.” I’m just now reading it for the fist time. 20 years later! It might be the best/funniest book I’ve ever read.

    I’ve never forced myself on a woman. I used to resort to an expensive dinner and then incessent begging until she relented. Is that the same thing? It was a long time until I realized begging wasn’t a legitimate aspect of foreplay.


    (( hug )) and for the record, I’m naked. Just sending support and love.


    Missed your posts. Each post is insightful and personal. 17 years is the length of time I have been married. My wife and I dated for 5 year. Never crossed the line while we were dating or I marriage.No means no. Naked or not a woman has the right to control her body. I hope for change in our society towards how woman are viewed. If a woman wants intimacy without moving to sex that is her right as a human being. Great post as always.


    The rare male that can comfort without expecting sex does exist. Most of the time I find they are my beautiful gay friends but I totally get what you are saying. Sex was always important to me and a part of my biological need but hasn’t been a reality in my marriage for some time. I would say it is me (now) just as much as it is him, but started off him 100% his issue. After a while, I just stopped wanting it and apparently he has too. But we are not young and we have been married for over 30 years. We have a great relationship and are very affectionate with each other and can comfort without any other expectations.
    My two cents.. keep you individuality as long as it works for you and makes you content. But don’t give up on finding the right guy who will be all things for you either. They are out there, I promise! I come across them once in a while when someone deserving (like you) finds them. ❤


    My husband and I guess that’s why we are still married doesn’t expect naked means sex. He is a great comforter. I love his warmth and hugs. If we get naked, we don’t have to have sex if I don’t want to… however if I know he’s had a bad day at work, I might offer even if I’m not really interested as I know it gives him comfort. He’s got great sensors and I remember the first time we slept together without sex. I thought I’d done something wrong or that maybe he had tired of me. I used to believe it was my duty to have sex if I went to bed with a man. He taught me I didn’t.
    On the flip side however, he finds these accusations incredulous and cannot imagine that there are men out there who are like those being accused. He doesn’t get it and thinks they are mostly made up. Fortunately for him, I am, even in my 70’s, still an attractive woman and have experienced many situations like what we all keep hearing about and that you shared in “my day”. I have argued that there are men and situations like that. It’s been the biggest hump we’ve ever had in our relationship and yes, even I am inclined to follow the logic that if you get naked, then you’ve invited the situation, so where is the line drawn?
    I’ll never forget my first ex coming home drunk and wanting sex and me declining and forcing himself on me. My attorney called it rape! Rape is any situation where one partner is declining. Yes, even married women are raped all the time. ALL THE TIME!
    I know there are no definitive answers or solutions and I believe there are many more we haven’t heard about, but at the same time I think men have become aware and women are being heard.


    I don’t know. I also think that if I get naked with a man, he would (or we would) eventually have sex.

    But it is also possible for a man to sleep/cuddle you when you’re both naked and not force himself on you. I have had boyfriends like that.

    But I’m still conflicted about the subject: is it natural to should expect sex if we are naked with the opposite (or same) sex? I don’t know!

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