Yet she doesn’t sense a commensurate commitment to women’s welfare from the men she dates.
“They don’t seem to understand the importance of consent,” she explains.
According to an October poll by NBC News and The Wall Street Journal, this public reckoning has changed the way both men and women view these issues — nearly half of the women surveyed said they felt more encouraged to speak out about their own experiences.
And 49 percent of men surveyed claimed that women’s Me Too stories had caused them to rethink their own behaviors around sex and dating.
A divorced man calls every woman he's ever had romantic or sexual contact with to ask whether he's ever crossed a line.
A new sense of hyper-awareness has infiltrated sex, dating, and hookup culture since #Me Too took off on social media last fall — and from college campuses to divorced singles, it’s changing the game.
A college student carefully considers which fraternity houses to avoid when she’s going out with her roommates.
and I have been coerced and pressured numerous times.”But with a renewed personal dedication to activism, Bussel is hopeful about the future, provided that men — on-campus and off — start involving themselves more tenaciously in these conversations. Currently dating after his marriage ended three years ago, Daniel Boscaljon says he’s long considered respect to be the crux of his relationships: “Women would look at me strangely because I would be very communicative each step of the way, asking for permission for any kiss or touch: ’Is it OK if I hold your hand? ’”Living in a college town among friends who tend to share his views, Boscaljon, a humanities instructor in the Iowa City area, admits he’s rather insulated.Most of the men she discusses these issues with are “unreceptive,” she says.On campus, Bussel sees this as “an extreme lack of respect for women and their choices.”Like many women, Bussel says she and her friends have experienced various forms of sexual violence.But she notes that, especially given her history of trauma — she was drugged and raped in 2013 — having a male partner in today’s climate bears its challenges.“I can't fault him for being socialized as a man in the United States,” she says.Here are the perspectives of six people on how the #Me Too momentum has played out in their dating lives as they attempt to navigate the cloudy waters of consent.A political science major, Ayla Bussel is well-versed in the evolving conversation around #Me Too. Bussel identifies as a “strong feminist” who regularly dissects her dating life, as well as issues like campus assault and sexual harassment, with her three roommates.There's no feel-good example anywhere of what authentic, loving, caring, dating situations should even be like.”Melanie Breault, who lives in Brooklyn, is currently dating a few men and doesn’t consider herself completely heterosexual.“I’ve always been frustrated with the [male] entitlement piece,” she says.’”Still, she acknowledges that in casual dating situations, it can be tough to figure out “what you're both comfortable with, and [navigate] the power dynamics that exist in heterosexual relationships.” For example, she recalls one “borderline assault” with a “liberal bro type” who relentlessly pressured her into having sex with him: “It was one of those grey areas; I told him I didn't want to do anything, but I was staying over at his place and he kept pushing me until I just said yes."One of the challenges, as the Me Too movement’s founder, Tarana Burke, noted in a January interview, is that many American women have been conditioned to be people-pleasers.“Socially we’re trained out of knowing our own sexual desires,” said Chan, the sex educator, who says she regularly works with groups of young people who aren’t setting clear boundaries because they “don’t want to hurt someone's feelings.”Part of the problem, Breault said, is what she grew up learning from peers in her rural Connecticut town.“My peers — not my parents — taught me all kinds of bull----, like that if you don't want to have sex with [a guy,] you still have to get him off.” Until early adulthood, “I thought I had to do that to protect myself,” she says. ”Alea Adigweme, of Iowa City, identifies as a “cis queer woman engaged to a man” and says she’s still trying to parse the ways that the revelations around Me Too have affected her relationship with her fiancé.“As somebody who's in graduate school in a media studies program, who thinks a lot about gender, race and sexuality, it's always been a part of [our] conversations,” she acknowledges.