I was in line at the coat check for a fetish circuit party, wearing a sexy sportswear outfit. A man before me, without a lot as a term, reached out and grabbed my dick through my soccer pants. I pushed his hands away. He achieved it again. I told him not to touch me. He explained that obviously I needed to be touched if I was dressed that way.
He stood in-line in front of me for five long minutes, and grabbed my dick several more times while I told him to stop and hit his hands away. The music wasn’t too noisy in that part of the club, so I know he heard me. He previously a smirk on his face while he grabbed me. He was challenging me. He may as well have said, “What exactly are you gonna do about any of it?”
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It was only once his friends told him to leave me alone that he did. He obviously cared what his friends thought but he didn’t appear to care what I wanted.
Of course I’d like to have grabbed him by the balls while asking if he liked being touched without permission, but that would make me no better than him, therefore i restrained myself. I forced the occurrence out of my brain and tried to take pleasure from my night.
It’s not the first time I’ve been groped non-consensually in a homosexual space. Nonetheless it usually comes in a more cowardly form, just like a disembodied hand grabbing my ass from behind. I guess to them I’m a disembodied ass in a group. The thing is, I’m not. I’m somebody who reaches decide who grabs my ass and who doesn’t.
I love to party in sex-positive spaces in Toronto, where I live. Celebrations like Trade at The Dark Eagle or Boner at Club 120, where play is okay. I also like equipment or fetish-wear parties like 4Play and Pitbull, and leather celebrations. I even organize and DJ at similar parties myself. While sex-positive occasions have an extended history in the town, they’re more popular again and attracting younger audiences, and it’s time; people are worthy of to feel sexually unashamed and empowered, and this can be doubly important for LGBT people.
The vibes and the atmosphere are less uptight at these parties. You meet open-minded, chill people, and you also often hear music styles you might not hear at other LGBT celebrations. Putting on leather and other gear is fun and a nice relief from the way we must act in the puritanical outside world. But I’m not really a fan of non-consensual groping.
Of course, cruising has a long history of nonverbal flirtation and cues that emerged during decades of gay oppression, when it was dangerous to ask others outright if indeed they wanted to attach. However, as newer years integrate into LGBT moments and interpersonal norms change to prioritize clear consent, most of us interpret these nonverbal actions as nonconsensual or even harassing behavior. Young people are extremely mindful about consent in a way that was rarely talked about, publicized or politicized in the past. Many of us also have the luxury of verbally expressing our desire and lust without persecution.
Despite the fact that Canadian legislation criminalizes anal sex if more than two different people are present or if it’s happening in a public place, my generation still feels less compelled to cruise through gestures and signals. We choose to seek and obtain clear and explicit consent before we touch.
While there are areas of our cruising culture that can be considered tradition, and therefore deserve some respect, I would argue that grabbing someone’s dick with no prior relationship shouldn’t are categorized as that banner.
Just because you’re in a sex-positive space doesn’t mean it’s a free-for-all where consent goes out the screen. Just because people are at these events putting on sexy outfits is not an invitation for anybody to be groped.
We hear this kind of victim-blaming rhetoric – where wearing “provocative clothing” in some way means you’re asking to be touched – used against women. Connections between same-sex people are no different. It could be argued that if you’re at a membership putting on a wrestling singlet with the butt cut from it, you obviously want to be treated a certain way. With regards to the individual, which may be true, but many people are eligible for choose who touches them, and whether they want to be handled at all.
I’ve had my very own evolution of understanding on this. As a 19-year-old first exploring the leather picture, I once noticed a guy who I thought really was hot, therefore i just went up to him and pinched him fairly hard on the nipple. He didn’t react favourably to that, and rightfully so. As a young person in an area with mainly old, more experienced patrons, I thought I used to be displaying how hardcore I could be and proving which i belonged there. I was actually showing which i had no idea how to connect to people in those environments. He and I’ve since discussed it and have no hard emotions, but I made a mistake and learned from it.
I’ve needed to make my very own decision not to show off each and every person who grabs my ass or crotch at a club. If I did, I’d spend a lot of the time I wish to devote to getting lit informing people off, which would mess up my night. But that’s a messed-up decision to have to make.
Sexually-charged conditions still require consent; not everyone in these conditions is raring to look then and there with the first one who grabs them. I’ve gone to various sex-positive areas throughout Toronto and various areas have different vibes. A place like Oasis Aqualounge (which requires first-time customers to sign an contract that they understand the guidelines of consent) welcomes many sexual and gender identities on given times and is a chill place to be. Whereas someplace like Steamworks has a far more intentional, less chill vibe.
Then there are men-only dance parties, which may be pretty macho environments. Talking about consent in that kind of environment can be challenging, maybe because it’s a conversation we’re more used to hearing among women, so it’s not considered very macho.
But these interactions are important, particularly if we’re seeing a resurgence of sex parties. Enough time has come to start talking about this openly.
So how have you any idea when you can touch someone?
For me, if I’m speaking with or dancing with a guy and we very obviously have intense chemistry and incredibly obviously want to kiss one another, it’s easy to learn. If you don’t know, then ask. If we’re already making out, individually, I wouldn’t think it unreasonable that you should put your hands on me. I’m not being a prude; I’m just recommending these situations are extremely different from trying and getting a stranger’s ass who’s facing in the opposite direction.
I’m not saying people have to tiptoe around one another at these kinds of occasions. I’m not stating anything has to spoil any mood or be unsexy. I’m just stating that non-consensually groping a stranger isn’t sexy. I don’t think my dick has ever shrivelled up faster than when that guy groped me in the coat-check series.
As we start to have more open up discussions about consent inside our neighborhoods and what that means to different people, we’ll need to practise listening to each other and becoming conscious of each other’s limits.
No matter where we are or what we’re wearing.