How to Say Yes

by Jessica Brookman in ,


It was all quiet blue light. It seeped through the slit of my eyelids. the birds were silent. My panties bound my ankles. 

My chest rose with the strength of my first waking inhale while my eyes struggled under the weight of sleep. My exhale was a sigh fogging up the pane of energy between us. My eyes were still closed when I heard his voice.

You're mine. I'll fuck you whenever I want. Do you understand?

His breath was hot on my skin, it melted lethargic protests before they found my mouth. Hands firm on the crest of my hips before he dug his nails into them just strong enough to inch me down the bed and to rouse me to the next level of awake. Reflexively, my left foot flexed back to free itself from the loop of lace. Unsecured, that knee bent up and outward. As I stretched my arms back to the windowsill just behind my head, my back arched. My eyes opened. 

This is a story about yes


Brigitte Bardot. Photo: Louis Malle. 

Brigitte Bardot. Photo: Louis Malle. 

But first, we have to talk about saying no.

From 3,000 miles away, I can feel the tension between her eyebrows. 

"Um. Jess. What the fuck? What about rape culture. Aren't you a feminist? Or...something?"

"I can assure you...it's very much consensual. And I'm not convinced that what I do in my bedroom consensually has much to do with feminism one way or the other. But......Can't we just like what we like without having to apologize for it?"

"Well....yeah, Jess. You can. But whenever he wants? I mean...don't you feel..."

Turned on? Yes. Yes, I do. I want it. I can say yes to whatever I want. Here's why: Saying yes is not about giving something away lest you have it taken from you. Saying yes is about getting something that you want. In the situation above, I had all of the power. All of it. Even though I was the one being "taken." 

There is not that much in this world more powerful than being able to seduce someone while you're asleep. Wars have been started over less than the right to lie next to a woman in bed and have the chance to take her in the middle of the night, trust me. 

As a conscious woman, I decide what does it for me, when I want it, and how I want to go about getting it. That you can be simultaneously in control and taken is the secret of the queens of our human history. Women own sexuality and power.

We are the ones with the power to say yes. 

Molly Bloom. Echo Lake, Los Angeles, CA. April 2013. 

Molly Bloom. Echo Lake, Los Angeles, CA. April 2013. 


YES! When the fuck did we forget?!

There is an epidemic right now in America where women are shamed for existing as sexual entities. This is most obvious (and most fucked up) in cases of women who are shamed, bullied, or humiliated after seeking justice for sexual harassment or violence. (Google "Landen Gambill UNC").

Many of these "protests" are grounded in the assumption that the woman who was violated was somehow "asking for it" or should have simply "been more careful." Been more careful of what? Having a female body and being in public? And "asking for it" implies that she shouldn't be looking for it (male attention, sex) at all. Ever. As if we are not allowed to be feminine and also want to fuck. Or worse, the myth that if a woman does want to fuck, that she'll fuck anyone and therefore it doesn't matter if she says yes or not.

By demanding that women hide or express their sexuality within only a very narrow set of circumstances (committed, long-term relationships, for the most part), we are supporting a dangerous game where women can "lose" by stepping outside of those boundaries.

THAT is a violation of all women. And, it's the barometer of whether we are living in a rape culture (we are). 

Yes should be exalted. In the highest. 

Culturally, we should pray to a woman'sYES. This means that her will is sanctified, no matter the context. That means that if a woman chooses to be a prostitute, an escort, a sugar baby, a housewife, a mistress, a stripper, a porn star, or a polygamist, she decides. If she is a lesbian, bisexual, trans, queer, straight, or anything in between, she decides. If she is single, dating, married, she fucking decides. Make that a fucking religion. I'll preach the gospel. 

Yes is not the opposite of no; It is the opposite of "Sorry."

And when women no longer have to apologize for being as they are in the world, we will have defeated rape culture.

I have my yes.

I will defend it to the death if i have to. If you have yours, you can put it in the comments. 

Jessa.