Can Men Be Raped? Ask A Pro

Dear Head Pro,

I’ve been with my boyfriend for about 4 years now and we go to different colleges and are keeping up the ever dreaded LDR, and although it obviously sucks at times we’re both really happy. We’ve been fighting a lot lately so we broke up for about a month and just got back together yada-yada but as we were being open and attempting to fix things he wound up telling me that back in January when we were still together he got belligerently drunk and completely blacked out and woke up naked next to girl having zero recollection of what happened. He was genuinely upset when he told me and even went as far as to say he felt taken advantage of because he was blacked out and the girl knew he had a gf. He said that he kept it from me because he was really rattled and didn’t think I’d believe him that it was involuntary and being a guy it’s embarrassing and emasculating.

Being a lying-cheating bastard for over two-months aside–can a guy really be taken advantage of? I know you’re no doctor but is it really physiologically possible for a guy to (lets cut to the chase) get a boner and bang some girl against his will? Yeah I know there’s the whole ‘beer goggles’ and ‘go to bed at 2 with a 10 and wake up at 10 with a 2’ thing and we’ve all had regrettable hookups but if you’re a guy and full blackout is it possible to have a girl force it?  Personally I think if Fat Amy came onto him that night blackout or not he wouldn’t have been able to which just leads me to believe that it was his judgement that was impaired and this is any old college textbook stereotypical scenario. We’ve never ever had issues with infidelity and after 4 years I truly believe he’s never cheated before I just want to know if it’s possible for a guy to get taken advantage of the same way a girl can.


AP anatomy never covered this shit

Dear AP Anatomy,

Um. Wow. In short, yes, it is absolutely possible for a guy to be raped. Does it happen a lot? No, and it gets reported even less. Just like with women, arousal doesn’t necessarily imply consent. Also just like with women, arousal isn’t always linked to sexual behavior. People pop boners in church, and not just because Jesus is working that sexy “heroin chic” look up there on the crucifix. People also respond differently to different stimuli in different situations – some guys find their pecker absolutely useless after a few beers; others can drink all the beer that ever was without the Washington Monument toppling. Saying a guy can’t be raped because his boner meant he wanted it is the same as saying a girl can’t be raped if the inside of her vagina is anything other than the texture of sandpaper. Don’t forget also that in most places, consent is considered legally impossible when the subject is really intoxicated.

Guys don’t report sexual assaults for the same reason women don’t: Your body is perhaps the one thing we’re guaranteed control over, and reporting an assault means formally acknowledging that someone else took that control away. That’s a shitty, shitty feeling. Sexual assault legislation as a whole is fucked beyond repair with no obvious solutions, but it’s even murkier for men for two reasons: One, there’s this institutionalized belief that men are always in the driver’s seat when it comes to sex. You express it yourself – “is it really physiologically possible for a guy to (let’s cut to the chase) get a boner and bang some girl against his will?” Of course it isn’t, but it doesn’t take much creativity to imagine a scenario where he isn’t the one “doing” the banging.

Secondly, people assume that due to our typically superior physicality, men can’t be raped because we can fight off our weaker assailant. Rape is rarely ever about physical dominance. Look around a college campus – the average guy there thinks Natty Light is a food group and that the gym is poison. Do you really think rapes happen simply because women are unable to fight off their doughy attackers? No, rape is about power and influence. Say your boyfriend was spurning her initial advances – imagine being a blackout-drunk college guy and having a girl shove her hands down your pants and whisper in your ear “What, are you not gonna fuck me? Are you some kind of faggot? Imagine what your friends would say if they find out you turned this down.” You can say “oh, well it’s still his fault because he went through with it,” but it’s still coercion and saying that makes you an asshole. For men in our society, refusing sex with a woman is akin to handing in your genitals. Saying it happened against your will is even more emasculating.

Obviously, I have no idea what happened, and neither does he. I have, personally, seen sexual assault used as an excuse for willful actions that wound up having negative consequences, but that’s EXCEPTIONALLY rare. In general, people don’t complain about sex that they wanted to have. Given how sensitive and emasculating this information is for your boyfriend, it’s worth at least considering what he has to say. I know your question was in part a question about anatomy, but look at it this way – if a girlfriend of yours came to you with the same story, would you be so skeptical?

What makes you so sure I’m not a doctor,

Head Pro

Dear Head-Pro,

As much as I enjoy your witty advice for the constant slew of delusional daters that write in to you, I felt compelled to send you what I think is a legitimate question (or least suggest a topic that I would love your opinion on).

I’m about to graduate from college and will be moving across the country to a new city and state where I know almost no one. College has been amazing, but I’m so ready to leave the campus hook-up culture behind. I’ve been the delusional dater and I’m over it. While I hope that the post-grad dating scene will be different from the sleazy bars and crowded frat parties, I don’t necessarily think that a diploma makes all guys suddenly understand that I want a phone call and maybe a dinner date or something instead of a booty call at 2am (or maybe it does? You tell me).

What advice do you have for meeting guys in my new city? I’m sure I’ll start to make friends through work, my neighborhood, etc. but it’s definitely not the same as having a class, dorm or campus full of people to choose from. In addition, what should I expect from the post-grad dating scene? I’m not looking to land a ring anytime soon but I’m over the casual “who can care the least” fling. My friends who’ve already graduated have really mixed things to say about it.

A Graduating SWUG

Dear Graduate,

Good question! Honestly, you’re not going to find things to be all that different. After all, there isn’t much difference between a 22 year old guy in college and a 22 year old guy a few months later – having to pay rent doesn’t magically turn them into Prince Charming. That doesn’t mean it’s worse, though. For the most part, what you lose in convenience you gain in variety. Here are some things that get better about dating once you graduate:

– Your potential suitors increase exponentially: In school, you were limited to the guys on campus (unless you were fucking townies, which, ew). Now, you have a whole city of guys you can meet. That includes guys who are a little older, and those are the ones that generally have their shit together and have grown out of their douche phase. Not all of them have, but the ones who haven’t are easy to spot.

– Cliques are (mostly) eliminated: At your college, there were no doubt guys who may have been fine dating material, but were “off-limits” for whatever reason. Maybe they were in the wrong frat, maybe they were poor, etc. As a bona fide adult, there isn’t nearly the same social pressure governing who you date. Except for townies. They’re still off-limits.

– The playing field is leveled: Sure, now that these bros have money, they’re free to show it off in an attempt to impress you. That was a huge advantage for guys in college, but now everyone around them has an income. You’ll have one as well, meaning there’s no reason to feel dependent on them. Plus, being adults, there’s way less stigma attached to being the initiator. Never again will you tearily have to write “Day 12; Jacob has still not asked me to prom” in your Lisa Frank diary – you can just ask Jacob yourself. Unless Jacob’s a townie, that is.

As how to meet guys, there’s not really any specific advice – you just have to get “out” there. In DC, people are really into shit like coed kickball and bocce leagues. It’s pretty fucking silly, but it’s effective. When it comes to going out at night, opt for quieter bars over clubs or music venues. The guys who are more serious about meeting someone go there for a reason: You can actually carry on a conversation. Otherwise, just get involved in things that interest you whenever you have the opportunity. If you’re an attractive girl who’s active and involved, there will be plenty of guys to meet and guys who will want to meet you.

I don’t know what “SWUG” is,

Head Pro


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