Don’t mix up your internal defensiveness, which can arise at having your real privilege pointed out, with the external message you are receiving. ”: just like conversations about condoms, consent, in addition to being basic human decency, is also sexy. But for those who do, there are ways to know yourself and offer the truth in a responsive way that are not ‘just the same’ as what ‘women’ do necessarily. Knowing the person you’re hooking up with has the skills and capacity (not just the intention) to stick around afterwards to make sure you’re both ok, that both your dignities and your capacity to get along will survive the hookup – or the relationship – after it ends makes for much, much better sex. If you miss something, you don’t do the work yourself, and someone has to approach you with a way in which they feel you’ve been sexist or clueless,.
Is there trust being offered to you behind anger or critique – trust that you’re the kind of person who is open to growth and change? Masculine energy can be deeply protective and powerful when it is accountable in these ways, where emotions are present to heal, protect, and create shelter. And maintaining trust post-hookup builds stronger movements, because the physical and emotional intimacy shared creates a permanent bond, instead of a permanent rift. Actively taking on the identity of a feminist man means you are equally responsible to do your own research and actively notice these things. That shit is not easy when you’ve just been harmed by behavior normalized through dominant scripts.
Try things like this: “I felt this way when I said and did that, but things have changed, and this is how I feel now. I feel bad that I let you down or inadvertently misled you. Between emotionally mature people, these are not in conflict but are interwoven.
Sometimes this takes presence and slowness without flipping out and running away, as people absorb one another’s realities.
Social justice work is fractal and begins in the smallest spaces; we can’t just fix our economic relationships without fixing our personal and cultural ones. Find out your attachment style and work to develop the practices of someone with a secure style.
So identifying as a male feminist is a tricky line to walk. But keep in mind that you’ll get kudos just for taking on the term as your own; it may even help you gain trust extra-quickly with women you’re dating. Recognize that you agreed to or initiated a romantic relationship, however short or long-lived, and so you are responsible to the other person in that relationship as well as to yourself.
If you are in a conflict with this person due to tangled emotions, pick a process and, if you need it, a friend to help.
This comfort is necessary in order to be honest with the other person, and to create shared expectations so no one ends up feeling used or played. Do not tell the other person what you think they want to hear – you do not know what they want to hear.
If your feelings change, recognize and name the change and be present to your own emotions and the emotions of the other.
Honour your own needs act in an accessible, responsive, attuned way to the needs of the other person.
Maybe you’re a Marxist or a socialist; maybe you’re an anarchist. You believe that our movements are stronger if they include everyone. If you’re not ready to work with the emotion to make sure everyone is ok afterwards, then you’re not ready for the sex.
This is not the 1950s; if you’re committed to social justice but you are still marching along using ‘the rules’ to govern dating, it’s time to consider the connection between your politics and your personal life. You’re a straight monogamous cisgendered feminist man,and you want to hook up with or date women? If you’re the kind of person who avoids your own or other people’s emotions, then you’re not going to be able to have good consent conversations until you get more comfortable with your own and other people’s emotions. Read books on consent, on attachment styles, and on radical conflict resolution skills.