Sexual Intelligence

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Sexual Harassment—Or Unwanted Sexual Attention?

If you're interested in sexuality, consider the following scenario. It's a COMPOSITE of various situations that recur at conferences and other large gatherings. It's particularly important that people interested in progressive politics and gender relations work this out. Again, this is a COMPOSITE--the way therapists write about cases, changing some details and adding others. Read More

thank you

Thank you for this. Women are really hurting ourselves by acting so fragile and childlike. We won't be respected and valued until we start behaving like adults.

Cool, so people can come to

Cool, so people can come to your work and flash you? Don't get mad or upset, or they won't respect or value you afterward.

it's happened twice

Actually, I have been flashed, twice. Not at work though.

In one case, I pointed and laughed loudly. The man appeared embarrassed and left.

In the other case, the man was driving a car slowly beside me, while I walked through a parking lot. I pointed into the car and yelled, "Look, he's jacking off!" He drove away (quickly) and I chased his car, still yelling, "He was jacking off!"

I believe that the people around at the time did respect me.

Laughing at flashers

So you were offended by the flashers? And you took actions to see that they were socially sanctioned by pointing out their offensive action to others.

To me this sounds like exactly what the woman who was given the "business" card did; she just did it in a blog post because the people who offended her had disappeared before she could react on the scene.

nope.

I completely disagree that what I did was the same. I addressed the situation myself, rather than asking some authority figure to handle it for me or make a new policy to prevent situations like this.

Similarly, when a male coworker, a friend, put his hands on me and pressed his body against me in my cubicle, I:
1. told him this was not acceptable
2. ended our friendship

End of story. That's an adult way to handle unwanted attention. In my opinion.

Flashing

socialpsyche wrote:
I completely disagree that what I did was the same. I addressed the situation myself, rather than asking some authority figure to handle it for me or make a new policy to prevent situations like this.

But you:
a) objected to the behaviour (which Dr Klein is unreasonable!)

and

b)"handled" it by making a public appeal for attention; in effect applying a social sanction against the person whose behaviour you were objecting to.

Looks the same to me.

And I don't think it's unreasonable; in fact I think it's quite sensible, for any formal public gathering having a policy about how they will handle things like harassment or "unwanted attention" if you prefer that term. The other option is ignoring it, which in effect condones it.

Flashing

socialpsyche wrote:
I completely disagree that what I did was the same. I addressed the situation myself, rather than asking some authority figure to handle it for me or make a new policy to prevent situations like this.

But you:
a) objected to the behaviour (which Dr Klein is unreasonable!)

and

b)"handled" it by making a public appeal for attention; in effect applying a social sanction against the person whose behaviour you were objecting to.

Looks the same to me.

And I don't think it's unreasonable; in fact I think it's quite sensible, for any formal public gathering having a policy about how they will handle things like harassment or "unwanted attention" if you prefer that term. The other option is ignoring it, which in effect condones it.

Oh, I see. I didn't realize

Oh, I see. I didn't realize you get to determine what is and is not adult behavior. Yelling at the top of your lungs that somebody is masturbating is clearly the adult thing to do. I can't believe people didn't see that before.

Please stop victim blaming and calling women who aren't you children because they don't react the way you would.

There already were policies

There already were policies in place. They're called the laws against indecent exposure and, in most jobs, HR harassment policies.

But I'm sure the dudes were super-sorry and never did anything like that to anyone else ever again. You solved it forever.

Nope, you appealed to the

Nope, you appealed to the community/your peers by pointing out his action loudly in public. Which I'm fine with btw; flashers are fucking creepy. But don't try to rationalize that your actions was any different than the other example. Would you have pointed and laugh and exclaiming yourself loudly if no one else was around? Please.

Well, according to the good

Well, according to the good doctor, you were wrong to have been offended and if you didn't like that kind of attention, you shouldn't have tried to attract more attention to the issue. Why are you supporting a man who clearly doesn't support you?

i'm pretty sure the good

i'm pretty sure the good doctor would draw a distinction between surprising someone with an unwanted view of your genitals and inviting someone to have a consensual encounter with your genitals. it kind of disturbs me that you don't see the difference

how can the "good" doctor say

how can the "good" doctor say "you were wrong to be offended" a man was "jacking off" in front of other people how could this ever not be classed as offending in a public environment. In fact I do believe it breaks the law of "public indecency".

As for not drawing more attention to the situation does this so called "good" doctor believe it is right to TOLERATE SEXUAL HARASSMENT? because by saying you should not attract more attention is basically saying just tolerate sexual harassment as if it is something women should just put up with in everyday life. I wonder how a man would react to a less than average looking, and smelly women to act the same way?

Flashed at work

I have been flashed while working, at a conference. It was violating, disrespectful, and frightening.

According to this commenter, I suppose I have nothing to worry about. Should I have said "thanks", as I am delicate? And childlike?

This is utterly ridiculous. Women facing harassment, unequal pay, and being dismissed because of their gender won't be silenced by bullying and being called childlike.

thats not a reasonable

thats not a reasonable comparison at all. the flasher doesn't ask if you want to see his junk. this couple didn't force the woman into bed, they invited her

i dunno about all that. i

i dunno about all that. i mean, sure, being hypersensitive doesn't command respect. but on the other hand, no one woman should ever be judged based on someone's perceptions about all women. isn't that the very definition of prejudice? even if every single women on earth were to behave like an adult, i have to wonder if prejudiced people are just too thick to notice. i mean, if the black community somehow eradicated every last welfare recipient and gangbanger from their midst, would the KKK just hang up their robes and go home?

But do we really know the

But do we really know the full story here? We do not know for sure whether or not the couple kept trying to persuade her and wouldn't go away. Its actually very creepy two adults were trying to get a third person to have sex with them as if they think most people would be okay with that which they aren't. Whenever I place a personal ad for one gender the majority of responses are always from couples, so it does get aggravating and maybe they just pushed her button one too many times. After all we weren't there and don't know what all was said and if they tried to touch her, get in her face, etc. So I can't say who was in the wrong.

No, we don't, because Marty

No, we don't, because Marty Klein has misrepresented what happened.

The couple did not "get friendly with" the woman before hand. She didn't know them.

The woman was working. She was handed a card, by strangers, while she was working.

She did not feel "fragile," she felt pissed off that she was treated so unprofessionally.

And she did not "blog and blog and blog" about it. She discussed the incident in one blog post. (A couple of other bloggers also picked up the story.)

Sexual Overtures

How is getting propositioned during a professional conference a reasonable act? Why wouldn't this be part of the ground rules? I have a reasonable expectation of being treated in a professional manner while I am in a professional situation. Requesting a sexual encounter from a total stranger is not professional and is certainly not courteous. This may be the good doctors goals that sexuality should be incorporated into every aspect of ones work day, after all it is part of his entire career. But mine involves software and user applications and no where is sex even remotely part of it. I think he is coming from a very male perspective and is unwittingly endorsing a culture where women are expected to be the objects of desire and to endure any sexual attention that men pay to them. It smells of the patriarchy.

Yes , we do know actually .

@ "But do we really know ..."
Sure we do . We know because apparently the woman blogged about it endlessly . I'd be highly surprised if she left out all the important little details such as "they just wouldn't stop even after I declined their offer." and so forth . Then , all we have to do is apply a little deductive logic .
This happened at a conference . The couple in question made an offer . The woman in question claimed to have been offended by the offere . So , are we to believe that they exchanged e-mail addresses , phone numbers , and mailing addresses after that ? That's pretty unlikely so it stands to reason that only one offer was extended and no other opportunities to repackage it came along .

I did read the woman's blog

I did read the woman's blog and didn't see her words posted anywhere. We still don't know for sure since neither of us were there. They very well may have kept trying to convince her to sleep with them. The mere fact that they were trying to bring a third person into their relationship shows that they aren't very good people.

The fact that their

The fact that their relationship is not defined by your standards of behavior does not make this couple not "very good people." There are many couples that have this kind of relationship and as long as it is agreeable to both parties and the person invited into it, it should be nobody else's business. If they attempted to coerce this woman into sexual activity or would not take no for an answer, then I might agree with you. However, the basis of their relationship does not automatically make them bad people.

The story related by

The story related by Skepchick is that she "knew" these people from a couple of facebook messages passed back and forth. She "knew" them like I know the attendants at the local car wash. And tellingly, they vacated the premises immediately after passing the card. That, to me, sounds like stalking, not an invitation. That they have not come forward to tell their side of the story, since it's not like they're completely anonymous, confirms Skepchick's story. All of the prevaricating I'm reading here makes ya'll sound like a bunch sleazy losers.

Let me make this simple for you, this was a conference not a house party. Skepchick was there in a professional capacity. Call it a convention. At conventions it has been known for people to be obnoxiously drunk, engage with prostitutes, and generally make an ass of themselves. But, this happens in the privacy of outlying areas among people who generally agree to associate, not the convention floor.

If I discovered that one of my employees did something similar to a speaker walking off the podium at an affair where they were representing MY business, they would quickly be an ex-employee, without un-employment benefits, because any court or arbiter will agree with me that the action was unprofessional and detrimental to the business.

Convention ≠ House Party

It's called having class, look it up.

"The mere fact that they were

"The mere fact that they were trying to bring a third person into their relationship shows that they aren't very good people."

really? if a couple invites a 3rd party to bed, then you just automatically exclude them from the category "good people" in your mind? some people would be weirded out by such an invitation, while others would be like "omg this just like i've always fantasized". the only way to tell the difference is to inquire. is there some harm that is inherent in 3 somes that would be avoided by restricting sex to only 2 participants? i can't think of one but i'm all ears if you can

"The mere fact that they were

"The mere fact that they were trying to bring a third person into their relationship shows that they aren't very good people."

really? if a couple invites a 3rd party to bed, then you just automatically exclude them from the category "good people" in your mind? some people would be weirded out by such an invitation, while others would be like "omg this just like i've always fantasized". the only way to tell the difference is to inquire. is there some harm that is inherent in 3 somes that would be avoided by restricting sex to only 2 participants? i can't think of one but i'm all ears if you can

"We know because apparently

"We know because apparently the woman blogged about it endlessly"

Except she didn't. Klein has misrepresented what happened.

"I'd be highly surprised if she left out all the important little details such as "they just wouldn't stop even after I declined their offer." and so forth ."

Oh, you would? Since when does a critical thinker base hypotheses on an Argument from Incredulity? You might want to try actually reading the blog in question--you'll find the scenario you've just made up is a complete strawman.

Oh, you can't--because Klein didn't link to the blog in question. How convenient.

So all you're left with--after taking Klein's word for what happened--is speculation. How skeptical.

"Then , all we have to do is apply a little deductive logic"

Deductive logic. Ur doin it rong.

Yes in part.

I agree that feminism is going backwards in it's attempts to protect women. However, I also think that this post is missing an important point. Sometimes what is merely "offensive" to one person is "intimidating" to another.

A good example is "Elevatorgate". A young man propositioned a well known female blogger inside of an elevator, she declined, and he was polite. Later she blogged that she found the whole thing creepy and suggested that men shouldn't be creepy when asking women for sex. Well, a big controversy broke out over her blog because men everywhere insisted that elevatordude (as he was called) did nothing wrong. Did he?

Many women find being cornered inside an elevator by a dude asking for sex intimidating.

Many men do not.

Perspective is everything.

Peoples distortions...

"Many women find being cornered inside an elevator by a dude asking for sex intimidating."

It's not 'being cornered', one is having a MISPERCEPTION of reality that is based on pure emotional distortion. The other just wants to strike up a conversation.

No one insinuates that cashiers are 'being cornered' everytime a guy pays for his groceries for instance. Some women (and people in general) have a distorted sense of the world.

"Misperception of

"Misperception of reality?"

Oh, ffs.

It was 3 am. She had clearly stated she 1) wasn't interested in "being sexualized" and 2) wanted to go to bed.

He followed her into the elevator, and when the elevator had taken off and they were alone together, he asked her to his room. For "coffee."

She was uncomfortable.

She said, on her blog, "Guys, don't do that."

Subsequently, she was inundated with online abuse.

Oh, the horrors. Who's the fragile flower here, the woman who makes her feelings known, or the men who fall to pieces because a woman clearly describes behavior--behavior that dismisses her wishes and her feelings--that makes her uncomfortable?

"It's not 'being

"It's not 'being cornered'"

Being alone with someone in a moving elevator most certainly qualifies as "being cornered". And the man--whom she did not know (he had heard her talk earlier)--followed her in there.

Did you really just compare a cashier in a grocery store dealing with a customer in public to someone alone in an elevator with a stranger (who's followed her) at 3am and claim that the latter was the same as the former and that the woman in question "MISPERCEIVED" the logistics of the situation? Because that would be 1) Incredibly stupid, and 2) Insultingly dismissive.

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Marty Klein is a certified sex therapist and licensed psychotherapist. He has written five books and 200 articles about sex; his TV appearances include 20/20 andNightline. more...

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