As a Sex Educator, I talk a lot about setting boundaries, knowing what our true desires are and how to get them.

Recently, a person whom I considered a colleague crossed a boundary with me that I have spent some time grappling with.

It started with a FaceBook message that he had heard of my work through a mutual friend and wanted to talk to me about collaborating on a project.  We spoke on the phone, it sounded good and I got excited about the possibilities this venture could offer.

We met in person and worked together on the project.  At one point he asked if I was in a polyamorous relationship and I replied, “No I am not”.  The project went pretty well and we discussed working together in the future.  Unfortunately, this is where the story takes a turn.

He walked me to my car in the pitch darkness of rural northern California.  We hugged to say goodbye and I suddenly felt his lips on mine, kind of wet and parted, kissing me!  It took a second or two to realize what was going on and totally surprised and shocked I backed away, got into my car and drove off feeling shaken.

A couple of days later I sent him a text that we needed to talk because I still felt uncomfortable.  We scheduled a time to talk on the phone and I opened up about my discomfort with the kiss.  He replied that it was totally organic and in the moment and said that I was just as much a part of it as he was.  What?!  Huh?!  He denied my feelings and did not see that it was non-consensual and that he crossed my boundaries.  An apology and a conversation around misunderstandings would have been appropriate to salvage the integrity of our work together.  I never did get that apology nor that conversation and will no longer be working with this man.
I know 100% that I did not instigate a kiss from this person.  And I know that in our culture women are often told that we need to be careful how we dress and act because we can invite attention from men who are just horny guys who know no better. We are taught that if we are upfront about being in touch with our sexuality that makes us “bad girls” and we deserve to be objectified.  There are so many ways that society shames women into thinking that when our boundaries get crossed we invited it.
What I am saying is that non-consensual sexual activity is NEVER, EVER acceptable and if someone thinks that you gave them the green light and you tell them that they were mistaken that person needs to apologize and make amends.

In the long run, I am grateful for the experience, however tasteless it was, because it has brought me closer to my vision of creating safe spaces for women to explore their authentic desires and ways to communicate those desires, set boundaries and become empowered.

We all have a lot to learn and much work to do to grow.  But let’s start by saying NO to creeps and standing in our authentic desires and power.  If someone, whether they be male or female touches you in any way that is non-consensual know your boundaries and your rights.  Speak up about it and know that there are plenty of people who will back you up.  A lot of us stay silent about this kind of unwanted attention and it’s really high-time we change that.


Categories: Boundaries

Dr. Anya

Dr. Anya is a sexuality expert with over 25 years experience working with individuals, couples, and groups. Dr. Anya has a Doctor of Human Sexuality degree and is a certified sex educator and certified sexologist. Dr. Anya has a private practice in the San Francisco Bay Area working with individuals and couples and invites straight and LGBTQ people into her practice.


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