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Hi. I've never used your site before, but found it when I was searching for information to help me understand what happened to me recently. Feel free to edit my question if you need to. I apologize for my explicit language; the incident happened very recently and is too clear in my memory. My boyfriend and I went out and got extremely drunk together. We came back home and we were both very turned on. At this point, we both really wanted sex. But as soon as we made it to the bed, he suddenly decided he wanted oral sex, something I have never done for him before. It is something I have a few issues with, but they are from my past and nothing to do with him. However, he knows that oral sex is something I'm not ready for yet with him, even though we've been together for a year now.

I said 'no' to him several times, but not aggressively. But he kept trying to convince me to go down on him, in his drunken state. I was too drunk to physically stop him. Eventually, he pushed me down (but not violently) and I gave in, and pleasured him for a minute or two, before stopping and saying 'no' again. I said I was ok with just penetrative sex, but oral is something I could not do for him. So he agreed and we tried, but were both much too drunk to continue with it. He got more frustrated when I asked him to wait while I looked for lube and pushed himself higher on top of me and forced his penis between my breasts, another form of sex I've always said I wasn't keen on. I said no again, a few times, until I said it very loudly and said 'I can't' to him. He stopped, said I was "useless" because I couldn't "suck him off" or pleasure him in any way, and declared he was going downstairs for a cigarette. I was drunk and tired and fell asleep immediately.

The next morning, I found him beside me, holding me like he usually does. I immediately brought up the events of the night before and he was stunned. He said he couldn't remember much of the night and all he could say for sure was that at the start, we both wanted sex and that when I said "I can't", he stopped. He didn't remember anything about the oral sex at all. I cried and told him how I felt and he spent all day comforting me and crying as well. He apologized and said he had never done anything like this before and if all that happened, he was a jerk. He offered to go to the police himself, and offered to come collect his stuff from my house, as he was sure I would leave him. But strangely, I believe him. He has been a caring, loving boyfriend for a year and knows all about my horrific past with men and deals with the aftermath of the abusive relationships I've been in. I admit I often treat him very unfairly and he accepts it and tries to help me heal myself. I believe that he was too drunk to hear me say no and truly doesn't remember much or feels to ashamed of his actions to admit he remembers. I cannot believe he could do something like that to me. He promised never to drink so much again and drop me home after drinking if I felt like it. I feel so torn, Amy. I really want to believe him and stay with him and find a way to heal, but my feminist side tells me I'm wrong. How do I decide? Many thanks in advance, for listening and replying.


Your question is not unlike many others that I have received over the years — not necessarily the exact details, but the fuzziness when it comes to rape. For some people it's very clear when it is/was rape — they felt violated and felt that rape is/was the most accurate description of what happened to them. However, most people are less clear about how to describe what happened to them — and even less clear about what they want to do about it. Even if people are describing "it" as rape - they are resistant to entirely labeling it in that way because they then think they have to act upon it and they don't always want to. Rape is also very personal — what one person experiences as rape, another person wouldn't necessarily and so in that way it becomes harder to talk about universally since we aren't always having the same conversation.

I say this all by way of comfort — your mixed, confused feelings seem entirely natural and in sync with most people that I interact with. In terms of what you should do...of course, only you can answer that. But knowing little about your situation, and comparing it to other people who have reached out to me, I would say that you seem to want to forgive your boyfriend and you do legitimately believe him. Whereas I read between the lines of what other people are asking me — which is often wanting me to say what they aren't ready to — i.e. make him get out. I honestly don't get that from you. I certainly think that you should pay attention to his behavior and make sure that this doesn't become a pattern, if it does I would say that you should create more boundaries. I also think that you should continue to talk about it with him — why did he feel he could only be aggressive about it with alcohol, etc...And make him understand why you don't want to. He sounds like he wants to listen and communicate and that seems like the best ingredient for repairing your relationship.