If you can count on Red Table Talk for one thing, it’s vulnerable, honest conversations.
This week’s episode of the popular Facebook Watch program centered around sexual consent. Jada Pinkett-Smith, alongside her daughter Willow and mother Adrienne Banfield-Jones, hosted a discussion about the “gray areas” with guests Amber Rose, Deandre Levy, and Rumer Willis (in her second appearance on the show).
Sadly, Rumer’s first ever sexual experience fell into one of those gray areas. In a preview for Tuesday’s episode, she explained:
“When I lost my virginity, when I was 18, I was more concerned with the shame that I was feeling at not having done it. I was not abused or wasn’t raped… but I didn’t say yes. I wasn’t gung-ho about it. But I also didn’t say no. I just let it happen.”
The idea of “enthusiastic consent” has become more prevalent in recent years. Rather than relying on the old wisdom of “no means no,” enthusiastic consent takes things a step further with the idea that not only should your sexual partner say “yes,” they should also be physically and verbally enthusiastic — or “gung ho” in Rumer’s words — about any acts of intimacy.
It’s not hard to tell when someone is enthusiastically into what’s going down when you’re getting down. Unfortunately, the 31-year-old’s first sexual partner wasn’t looking for those signs. She continued:
“He was older and took advantage, and didn’t check in. That’s where I feel like the man’s responsibility is. No means no, but what if you can’t say no?”
See the convo (below):
These days, Bruce Willis’s oldest daughter is outspoken about her feminist values and sexuality. She shared a handful of BDSM-inspired pics of herself, in collaboration with photographer Tyler Shields, to Instagram in September, writing that the project was about “reclaiming the female form.” She went on:
“Whether clothed or not, as women our bodies are constantly policed and dictated over by men and by other women. We are told what we can and cannot wear based on our size and shape or others beliefs about what is acceptable or appropriate. We are told what we need to look like to be considered beautiful. We are told if we dress a certain way we are ‘asking for it’ or if we are more covered up we are prude or unexpressed. We are told our sexuality and expression of that sexuality is something we should ashamed of, something we should keep to ourselves.”
Rumer continued about the importance of a woman’s right to her own body, explaining:
“We are persecuted for our right to choose when to become a mother, or to become one at all. We are kept from access to birth control, places to get information about sexual health and contraceptives are defunded. The lineage of women who have fought with their lives to progress women’s rights sacrificed everything to get us to where we are today and we are still miles away from any sort of equality. My body and my right to my divine femininity will not be policed or suppressed by anyone… man or woman.”
That’s a hell of a mission statement!
We’re glad Rumer has been able to form a more positive relationship to sex — and grateful to her for opening up about her negative experience.
[Image via Red Table Talk/Facebook/Apega/WENN.]