US: Me Too: The Difficult Truths About Gay Men And Sexual Assault

Noah Michelson is Editorial Director of HuffPost Voices

I have never told anyone this ― not my best friend, not my boyfriend, not my mother, not my brothers: nine months ago I invited a stranger over to have sex and it went further than I wanted it to and it did not stop when I tried to stop it.

He was an acrobat on tour in New York City who I met on Grindr and as cliche as it sounds, I was excited by the thought of him twisting and untwisting in my bed. I wanted to see exactly what he could do ― and do to me ― with his beautiful German body.

I didn’t intend on him penetrating me. Everything about penetrative sex ― from the prep involved to the level of intimacy it often holds for me to the concerns about health and safety ― tends to keep my sexual encounters with strangers (or semi-strangers) to hand jobs and blow jobs. But this particular man was incredibly persuasive and before I knew it, he was inside of me.

To say that I did not enjoy the experience would be an understatement. At first I tried to tell myself that it was OK ― that I was OK ― but as he continued to become more and more forceful, I suddenly realized that I was not. I panicked. I asked him to stop and he tried to convince me that because he was having a good time, I was having a good time. I was not having a good time. I asked him again, more insistently, to stop and, again, he kept going. He told me to relax. He suggested I position my legs in a certain way to make it “more comfortable” for myself. He did not stop. I realize now, looking back, the question running through my head wasn’t just “how can this really be happening?” but also “is this really happening?”

Even now, in the midst of all of the conversations that are happening about sexual assault and harassment in the wake of the dozens of accusations against Harvey Weinstein (and other powerful men), I not only question exactly what happened (even though I know what happened). I also question if there was something ― if there were many things ― I had done wrong. If, because I invited him over only and explicitly for sex; if, because I did initially agree to let him penetrate me; if, because I didn’t fight harder, was I to blame for what happened that late January night?

No. I wasn’t. And so, yes, me too. And so many other men ― gay, bisexual, straight and otherwise ― have been assaulted and many of us, due to pride or embarrassment or just being unable to untangle the tricky, slippery strands of how and why ― say nothing or find ways to explain away or, worse, blame ourselves for what happened. What’s more, because it’s so taboo for men ― gay or otherwise ― to talk about being sexually assaulted, few of the conversations that need to be happening are happening.  Read more via HuffPost