The world hasn’t been the same since the New York Times published the damning piece against Harvey Weinstein—ensuing reports followed that felled many other celebrities and big-time public figures (oh, Aziz, indeed a master of none). We all know, however, that manyaks exist in abundance well outside of Hollywood. The last thing any man should want is to be one of them...but given the intricacies of consent, how do you know if you’re not crossing any lines? Here’s FHM’s handy guide for how not to be a sexual harasser:
How Not to Approach
Here’s the deal: because of the society we live in, women are constantly on their guard around men, whether it’s down the street at night, out with their friends, or even at the office. The key is to show them that you mean well and have no harmful intentions.
Do not start with physical touch.
It doesn’t matter if you’re in a club setting—unsolicited physical advances towards a woman can make them uncomfortable. If your plan was to make a good first impression, invading their personal space isn’t the best way there. Use your words; it takes a lot less effort.
Consider her surroundings.
Like we said, because women are always on their guard, they are conscious of the context in which they are approached by men. If you’re sitting next to her at a café and are politely offering to buy her next latté, she’s likely to feel safe and respected. If she’s at a bus stop waiting for her ride home and you’re over there looking skeevy AF, best not to approach.
Consider her condition.
Is she intoxicated or possibly on a high from narcotics? Is she emotionally okay? If she’s in no position to make informed and clear-headed decisions, then your advances can wait. Focus on getting her back to her friends or getting her home safely. As much as the term “scoring” is inappropriate, it’s a fitting metaphor to use here—it doesn’t count as a "score" if you cheated.
What Not to Say
Comedian Peter White once said: “The golden rule for men should be: If you’re a man, don’t say anything to a woman that you wouldn’t want a man saying to you in prison.” Problematic, but tongue-in-cheek.
Comments about her body. We’ll admit that we’re treading especially murky waters here, especially if you’re trying to get your flirt on. To be clear, comments about her body are to be withheld until you have strong confirmation that she’s attracted to you, too. Even then, it’s important to watch your tone and word choice: thematically, it’s about raising her confidence and showing her you’re into her (“I think your curves are really sexy”), rather than underhandedly objectifying her (“That ass is so nice”). Even your casual sex and one-night-stand partners are more likely to appreciate gentle and well-thought-out comments about how hot you think she is.
Rape jokes. We all have our own brand of twisted humor. But, once again, think about the context—if you were a woman alone in a car with a man who made a rape joke, you would instantly feel unsafe. Best to stow them away (and hopefully never bring them back out anyway, regardless of context).
Repeated insisting. Say you ask her if she wants to go back to your place. She refuses. Don’t ask her again, hoping you’ll magically get a different answer. If a girl wants to sleep with you, trust us, she’ll make that very clear. Asking her over and over again will make her feel painted into a corner, which compromises the genuineness of her consent.
What Not to Do
Do not cross physical lines without asking. There’s nothing wrong with asking first before proceeding. “Can I kiss you?” or “Can I touch you here?” doesn’t kill the mood—on the contrary, it signals to her that you’re mindful of her comfort and want her to be relaxed around you, which makes the experience sexier for everyone involved.
Do not keep going when she retracts her consent. Say she’s already given you a blowjob and is already naked (these were the circumstances of the Aziz Ansari situation), but then asks if you guys can stop and just cuddle instead. Consent can be withdrawn at any point before and during the sexual activity. Remember these three key words: conscious, voluntary, and enthusiastic. If at any point any of the three key words are no longer applicable, stop and ask her what she’s comfortable with.
Do not take advantage of her inability to resist. A woman who is wasted, asleep, unconscious, or high is an absolute no-no.
How to Not Contribute to Rape Culture
With the boys. You’re not a party pooper for correcting your buds when they say problematic things about women. Those all-guy group chats can be notorious for photo exchanges of pretty classmates or colleagues—uh, hokage much? That’s not cool. Don’t be afraid to drop a casual, “Okay tama na yan” or “Huy, walang ganyanan” if you don’t want to seem like a do-gooder. There are ways to correct rape culture-fueling behaviors without being preachy.
With female friends. Women want to feel that their male friends would protect them should the need arise. Be the kind of friend who makes sure they get home safe, defends them from douchebags at the bar, and offers genuine companionship.
In public. If you ever see a woman being harassed on the street or on public transportation, we implore you to speak up—because oftentimes, women can be too stunned and scared to react accordingly. Knowing that we have male allies out there empowers us to stand up against harassers on our own.