Why you should care
Because you can’t spell “Sex With Eugene” without, um, sex. And, er, Eugene.
EUGENE, SIR: A friend of mine went on a date with a casual friend. No romantic interests previous. Just two people keeping company for dinner, drinks. She ended up in bed with him later. They were having sex, but given the casualness of their relationship, she decided having sex wasn’t what she wanted to do that night, so she asked him to stop. He didn’t. He didn’t beat her up or hold her down, but she was crying. So no way he didn’t know he was doing something wrong. She doesn’t want us to go to the police. Or school administrators. But we know that guys who do this will do it to others, so we want to stop him. What can we do? —Name withheld
Dear As I Say, Not As I Do: While it’s generally advised to take great caution with things you care about — you don’t leave your cash on the front seat of your car or your front door open and expect things to always go well — you also need to be cautious about YOU. And the reality of it is, as your friend sadly and regrettably discovered, trusting in the kindness of near strangers? Not reliable — probably not more than 50 percent of the time, at least. This is no kindly worded victim blaming. It’s a plea for a little realpolitik. Be careful out there and trust no one.
Post-paranoid solutions, though? While I would have, in moments less wise, immediately found the man we can comfortably call “the perpetrator” and beaten him on the principle that while his guilt may have been in doubt until adjudicated by a court, it rains on the just and the unjust alike and he was guilty enough in my eyes to get what he was getting, I can’t be seen to publicly be countenancing violence, if you know what I mean.
However your question cuts to obligations, responsibilities and a desire for solutions, and I think I can honestly say there are no comfortable ones from here on out. She should go to the police. She doesn’t desire to go the police. Is violating her wishes here now what makes the most sense? Same with school admins. The simplest solution, actually talking TO him, might yield less than satisfying results. As would some form of public shaming. So short term? I’d suggest she see a doctor. And then a therapist. And as her friends? Just be supportive.
Now what to do when you see this guy on campus from now on? Your best bet? Doing what I say, not what I do.
Sapphic Sleights of Hand. And Other Body Parts
EUGENE, SIR: My boyfriend and I have a friend I’ll call “Tania.” I used to think she was into women but one night while drinking, she told us she was bi. Since then, my boyfriend, who clearly likes her, has been trying to talk me into a threesome with her. Not that she knows this. It could be just his idea. I am unsure but more than anything I resent the constant “urging.” I’m not opposed, but what kind of terms should I set and how do I get more comfortable with this? —Cynthia
Dear Les Be Friends: First of all, no likes to be urged, never mind constantly “urged.” There’s a name we have for that where I’m from and that name is “nagging.” He wants to mack down with another woman. This is information that is useful for you to have and he should be praised for being forthright about this versus making a command decision and going solo on something that affects you both. Now that that’s done, what you should be dealing with is the instability elements this will introduce into your relationship, since if I have said it once I’ve said it a thousand times: You must think about this stuff CAREFULLY before embarking. Consider all the angles. No such thing as overthinking this one since there are probably about 1,000 ways it could go wrong.
Now once you’ve done that? He needs to back off and out and let YOU handle the arrangements. And the one ground rule that seems to work best in suchlike circumstances: you two now function as a unit. No dallying with the third wheel when one or the other of you is not around. Other than that? Relax and have fun. Which is what this is supposed to be.
EUGENE, SIR: My girlfriend is an exhibitionist. Which is cool. I am not, which is getting less cool since she wants to have sex in our living room with the curtains open. At night. This seems like totally the wrong kind of invitation to me since we live in the city. But I want to be game and not a grandmother. How do we both stay happy? —Discreet
Dear Shy Shy Too Shy Shy: At the risk of sounding like a broken record: sex clubs. You can have sex in front of people who want to be seen having sex while watching other people who want to be seen while having sex. It costs a little money, but this is money well spent since the law, as it stands, says generally if there is a reasonable expectation that you can be seen and you’re doing something like having sex, you’re disturbing the peace. And any other law that they want to hit you with since no one’s kids need to see you having sex. No one’s kids or parents or anyone else, really. Unless there’s a neighborhood petition requesting this? You’re going to have trouble. Trouble that costs more than sex clubs.
Got it? I hope so!