I’m Interested In You. That Doesn’t Mean I’m Trying To Have Sex With You.
Megan Bruneau, M.A. RCC

Speaking as a white male in the US, having received rebuffs and even occasionally accusations from women who I was interested in, but not interested in having sex with, I have to say this doesn’t seem one-sided, though I’d be interested in a more scientific bit of research than my anecdotes. I would not be surprised to find out it’s more common to make the assumption it’s sexual on the part of men than women. I’m not gay, either, so my disinclination to have sex with random strangers is only explicable as a disinclination to have sex with random strangers, not women.

Not everything sexual is assault; if I am sexually interested, I make that clear without putting my hands on anybody, and see what reaction I get. There’s really no other way to find out. What’s important is to act appropriately first in making a reasonable, respectful advance, and if necessary second in not disrespecting someone because of disappointment, not to avoid making an advance in the first place. I mean, seriously, no one would have sex!

And not everything perceived as sexually motivated is sexually motivated. And both parties need to keep that in mind, be respectful, and deal with their own frustration without putting it on the other when the response is “No,” either to an advance, or to a reaction due to a mis-perception of an advance. A little empathy on both sides is needed.

These are not simple matters. Communication is not perfect; and perception of aggression is not aggression. Give people a chance to back up. It’s when they don’t that you need to watch out.

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