Help Me Write a Primer on Assertiveness for Girls

For three years, from my Freshman to Junior years in high school, I had an intense crush on a particular guy. My high school was huge, yet I would often see him in the hallways, or at lunch, or while waiting for the bus.

I thought he was impossibly cool, with his long hair, dark clothes, and his rock band. He was a grade above me, and two years older. I, on the other hand, was nowhere near as cool. I was a founding member of the science club, I was treasurer for the debate team, and I hung out with the crowd that I now affectionately refer to as the freaks and geeks. They all knew about this unrequited crush, and would occasionally encourage me to talk to him. It wasn’t until my the end of my Sophomore year that I finally talked to him, but it was only because he asked me to buy his band’s CD.

We were friends all throughout my Junior year, but never anything more. I didn’t get the courage to tell him about my crush until years later. We laughed about it, and about my reticence to ever say anything to him about my feelings.

My approach about dating and exhibiting interest in someone has changed drastically in the past ten years. When I was in high school, and for many years afterwards, I would decide I liked someone, and then either pine for them or arrange for a friend of mine to tell that person about my interest and recommend that the guy ask me out. My views on dating became even more passive for awhile, and I just jumped into relationships with whoever came along first. That got me into a couple of really horrible relationships, as detailed in the My Story series. I decided to change all of that after my relationship with David. I decided to be more assertive about my desires to date someone.

Girls are conditioned through our culture to be meek and passive about any of their own desires regarding dating or sex, except primers on how to avoid sexual situations if they are wanting to “save themselves” or remain “pure” for marriage. Waiting for someone to choose you and just passively assenting, instead of choosing someone yourself, can be outright dangerous.

There is certainly plenty of how-tos for men about being sexually assertive. The one article that I found about girls being sexually assertive is directed to parents who are advised to tell their girls to watch soap operas or read romantic books instead of talking to their crushes. In other words, there is a lot of information for girls about how to be assertive in order to deny sex, but almost nothing about how to be assertive when a girl wants to date or have sex with someone.

I’d like to change that, with your help. What are your recommendations for a girl who is interested in getting to know someone, dating them, or just expressing a sexual interest?

Posted on March 21, 2012, in Feminism and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. So… can a guy respond to this? Please disregard this if you’re looking for answers solely from women. I have curiosity in such assertiveness. The “ideal” situation is that the man chooses the woman, makes the move, yada yada. As a social, yet shy, young man I can surely appreciate even the slightest flirtation from a woman.

    My largest flaw is my inability to take risks. By risks I don’t mean as a generalization, but specifically in meeting someone with intentions of getting (or atleast wanting) to know them beyond a basic friendship (dating, sexual encounter, whatever). HOWEVER, I personally would be adequately forward in my own assertiveness if there was a sufficient amount of flirtation.

    I suppose my idea of a woman flirting with a man would include excessive eye contact, obviously being involved in conversation, and light touching. The feeling of touch is very powerful and really triggers a man’s understanding of “what’s really going on”. And by touch I am not implying anything sexual even, just natural actions like grabbing one’s arm to get their attention… something like that I guess. And while I’m bringing up touch, I’d like to hit on something else.

    Dancing. If one of the two individuals wants to dance I feel it is only a REQUIREMENT that the other person accepts if anything is going to happen, whether that be a phone number or something more fast-paced :) Dancing allows personal conversation, touching, and closeness. Obviously not every first encounter can be at a dance club, but when the opportunity arises it needs to be taken.

    And then it gets down to that final moment… the “Question of the Night”. Who is, by unwritten law, supposed to ask for the phone number? Truthfully, I won’t unless that which is described above as occured… but like I said, I don’t take risks. Would it creep me out if a woman asked me for my phone number or invited me up to her apartment for “coffee”? Neh, not in the slightest. At that point, it’s no longer a risk. Hopefully my banter proves somewhat useful. If the author of this article, or anyone else for that matter, has any constructive criticism for me personally I am more than happy to review it. Thanks :)

  2. Sorry these past two days have been busy for me, so I’m responding late. It is UNTRUE that men prefer to be the initiators. Most NICE guys are rather shy. They have a hard time approaching women or feel socially awkward without alcohol, so they appreciate it when the girl expresses interest in them because it takes out the mystery and fear of rejection. I worked in the tech industry for like almost 2 years back during the tail end of the dot.com boom, and those boys didn’t have many social skills.

    If you like a guy, go talk to him. Even yesterday, my boyfriend tells me, “oh my friend Stuart is really into this girl, and she was at the bar surrounded by her people. He was intimidated, so he didn’t bother her. He was thinking she didn’t notice him and tried to sneak out the door.” Being an intuitive male, my boyfriend told him if he didn’t drop a pair and talk to her, she was going to come and talk to him, and she did. Next thing you know she comes running out the door yelling after them, “Stu, Stu, Stu, where are you going?!”

    Point proven, Stu really likes this girl. Unlike all the gold diggers in FiDi, she is special he says, and she just proved HOW special by pursuing him. It took the mystery out of whether she likes him or not, and it took the pressure of a man old enough to be my father to approach her amid a group of possible cock blockers. See!

  3. As for me, do you want to know how I meet guys, being the assertive, gregarious, and confident female that I am? I go out ALONE first off. Men are threatened by gaggles of gals. They are very unlikely to approach unless you leave your friends alone to dance, head to the bar for a drink(s), the bathroom, or outside for a smoke! I am somewhat of a shark when it comes to men. I know the vulnerable passive parts they want us to play, and I’ve played them ALL from victim to naive school girl just to keep the drinks coming. Great for a one night stand, but not for a long lasting relationship! We choose always. Never forget that! They may approach us, but it is we women who make the decision to let them into our lives or not.

    If I’m prowling, I will strike up a conversation with you. I’m more interested in how you think and less about how much you make or what you do. If you pass the asshole test which means your political, religious, philosophical, and social views aren’t completely contrary to mine, I’ll stick around by your side most of the evening. I don’t wait for them to offer to buy me a drink. I’ll buy my own drinks thank you very much. They like that! Men don’t want to be your drink and meal ticket every time especially when they’re younger. Once he sees what I’m drinking and the conversation has gone off on many tangents, and he sees that I’m no bimbo without a heart or a brain, he usually offers to buy my next one because he wants to see this conversation through and doesn’t want me to leave his side just yet because I’ve lead a damned interesting life and have interesting things to say. It could be a one time conversation, turn into a friendship, or it could go further. You never know.

    I had been spying this guy from across the room for hours prior to sidling up next to him at the bar on my way out the door. I kept wondering who is this guy? He requests songs I’ve either never heard of or haven’t heard in a long time. They were older songs not in my usual genres of choice which fascinated me especially since he looked deceivingly younger than I am. Old soul hmmm, I thought probably my age, but just looks baby faced. I wanted to know more about him, so yes, I had ulterior motives for going to the bar after karaoke was finished lingering there asking for water. I was hoping to strike up a conversation with this man. He just beat me to it. My just standing next to him was enough for him to compliment my singing that night.

    I was actually on my way out the door and I wasn’t planning to drink because I was riding my motor scooter, and I didn’t want to get tipsy which would impair my riding skills especially being a NEW rider. He offered to buy me a drink, and I almost refused because I was trying to leave, but I wanted his number. I said, “ok.” I expressed that I did enjoy ALL of the song choices he made during the evening and asked if he was interested in singing duets, if he came there often, and then proceeded to give him HOMEWORK. I gave him a list of songs to learn after we exchanged numbers and texted them to him. The red in his cheeks told me either he was totally into me and a bit scared or he was a raging alcoholic with terrible rosacea. I don’t like to judge, but you must watch out for the warning signs. I haven’t always been the best judge of character when it comes to men.

    After two beers and two hours of enjoyable conversation passed, we closed the bar, and he offered to walk me to my scooter. I let him walk me to the curb, and he proceeded to confess that he’d been wanting to ask me something all night. I knew what was coming because I’d been wanting to kiss him too and thought if he doesn’t kiss me now I’m going to kiss him myself, the damned fool! I guess he just didn’t wanna do it in front of his bar friends. He wanted to get me alone. I’d never really been ASKED like that before. I kinda just wanted him to steal it from me, but that’s my aggressive approach. I could read on him that he was raised well, polite, and respectful, so I just let him be the initiator since that’s what he wanted to be though it seemed painfully obvious, he was afraid of rejection by tell of his red face. I’m glad he did because we’ve been together ever since, and we’re going now what 8 months strong, and I swear, I’m going to MARRY him. Watch me!

  1. Pingback: Comments and Replies « Nice Girls Like Sex Too

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