How do you know if you are being tricked into bed with someone?
This is an interesting question because I think as is typical for a therapist, I read a question and it brings up for me a whole bunch of other questions that I want to know information about in order to more adequately answer it.
Being tricked into bed with someone, the way that I think about it is about someone who is deceiving you or who is in some way convincing you to move past your own boundaries or past what feels good or comfortable for you.
And so like, how do you know if that is happening?
I think that answer is what is it that you are doing to see how this person is when they don’t get what they want and are they responding in a way that seems to indicate they are someone who cares about what you want and is attune to your wants and needs or is it indicating that they are someone who cares about what they want and is attuned to their own wants and needs?
For me, when I’ve been with people in the past who were just like looking to fuck and didn’t really care about me as a person or who were trying to convince me to sleep with them through either deception or pressure or something else, it felt wrong.
It didn’t feel like I was saying yes from a place of like enthusiasm and excitement. It felt like I was kind of allowing them to do things.
I was going along with it.
I was assenting rather than consenting.
I was not an active participant in it.
I was instead kind of the recipient of this and I could either go along with it or have a fight.
And so I think if you are being tricked into bed with someone, part of it is about like do you feel like you’re present in yourself, in your body?
Do you feel like you have access to your yeses and nos?
Do you feel excited and really enthusiastic about what’s going to happen or are you just kind of going with the flow?
The thing is that like to some extent, there is no way to know for sure if someone is being honest with us about anything.
Aside from being able to get like outside references or evidence about things, there’s no way to know.
And then when it comes to something like someone’s feelings or intentions, unless they have explicitly talked to someone else about what their intentions and feelings are, we have no way to know what those are aside from what they tell us.
And sometimes people lie about those things.
If someone is tricking you into bed, again, I think the question here is like what does that mean and what does that mean that they are doing and what does that mean that – what does that mean for you?
If for you, the idea of someone being dishonest with you in order to have sex with you is really, really challenging, which totally understandable then I think that may indicate that for you, you need either to like be playing with people who you are able to vet through friends or people you trust or take a slower process in terms of who you hook up with.
If you meet someone at the bar and you hook with them that night, there is no judgment there.
I’ve done that so many times in my life.
And it is harder to know who they are and how truthful they are being and what’s going on there than if it’s someone that you’ve known for a while or your friends know or you have other context on.
So the more context you have, the more time you have to see this person, the more you are able to like give them nos that are genuine and see how they respond to your nos, the better information you will have.
And at the end of the day, if someone wants to be a deceptive jerk, there is very little you can do to like a hundred percent prevent that.
We can ask questions, we can set boundaries, we can do the things within our power to try to set ourselves up for as much success as possible and like none of us are immune to getting tricked or deceived.
In therapy world, we often called it getting snowed.
Everyone gets snowed.
Therapist, it is our job to figure out like what’s going on with people, what’s happening, where do we need to dig further, what are we not hearing, where is the truth that we are missing?
And every therapist I know has been snowed by multiple clients over the course of their career because if someone really wants to lie, if someone really wants to deceive, there is not a ton that you can do preemptively to stop that or avoid it or make sure that it doesn’t happen.
Again, you can make questions, you can get more context, you could take things slower, you can see how people respond to nos, but you’re never going to be able to guarantee it.
And so I think that the question here that might be more helpful is, like how do we evaluate what for us is a good process of determining who is a good person for us to play with or have sex with and who is a person that we either don’t know well enough yet or is giving us red flags or isn’t a good fit?
So I think it’s this question of like what is it that you use to evaluate who you are getting into bed with and are those criteria serving you?
Are there things that you may need to shift in order to be sure that the people you are inviting into bed with you are people who are aligned with what you want and are on the same page with you?
And what does that look like?
For some people, that may mean having a conversation with them and seeing how they respond to that conversation.
One of the things that I use as a litmus test for people is going through a safer sex conversation and seeing how they respond to it.
If they are able to talk through it pretty quickly and easily, they understand, they know when they were tested, they know what they were tested for, they talk about their barrier use, they talk about what their current partnerships look like, that’s someone who probably is more upfront about things especially if they disclose having like HSV or having had a history of Chlamydia or gonorrhea.
Letting me know those things makes me feel like this person is more likely to be honest.
I also tend to find at least a couple of things that I can say no to for a person that are honest nos so that I can see how they respond when I tell them no to something that they want, because a lot of times especially with cis gender straight men, when you tell them no, their response is to figure out how to get around your now, not how to respect it.
And so, if someone is more invested in getting around your no than figuring out what you want, that’s a bad sign.
That’s someone who is interested in their own satisfaction and pleasure, not in something mutual and mutually satisfying.
I think too that again, I’m a huge fan of one-night stands.
I’m a huge fan of having sex with strangers.
And for the last several years, most of the strangers I’ve had sex with have been people who are strangers to me but who are lovers, friends, connections of people who I know well and trust.
So they’re already pre-vetted.
I already know something about them.
I already know people who are in their life.
I already have a feeling for like what those folks would be OK with and not OK with so it gives me a better read on this person and where they are coming from than if they were just a random stranger at a bar.
I’ve had a lot of one-night stands and many of those one-night stands were with people who never really wanted to hook up with me again.
I didn’t really want to hook up with them again, and that was fine with me.
I don’t feel like grossly used by any of those people or in those ways.
It just like we were both looking for something that was going to last that night.
We were looking for a good time, not a long time.
We were both fine with that.
If for you, it is important that someone you have sex with wants you as a person and cares about you as a person and has more of that connection to you then the less time you have known someone, the less time you have spent getting to interact with them, the less information you have to make that choice.
So get more information, see how they respond, see what kinds of things you can do as part of your negotiation process or as part of like the build up to the hook-up that gave you the information that you need and then go from there.