Sexed Up: The Fuckzone is where bullies thrive.

Make no mistake, casual sex can be brilliant, wonderful, even life-affirming. But in the fuckzone, things are different. Because this is where a woman is just a piece of pussy or a man is no better than a dick or an asshole on legs...

Welcome to the fuckzone. Don’t let the friendly greeting fool you — you’re not really welcome. This is the fuckzone and nobody gives a shit about you — at least not the things that make you uniquely you. Here you are just a pussy or a dick, a tight ass or a pair of tits, and if you expected anything more, like to be treated like a person, well, this is the wrong place. Sorry, not sorry — as I said, this is the fuckzone, and nope, nobody cares about your feelings either.Before we continue, here’s a warning: if you are offended by the word “fuck”, I suggest you move along. There’s plenty of other things in the magazine — more entertaining things too, maybe. But if you decide to stay, be prepared for the word fuck and a myriad of expletives. This is a sex column, and it is my sex column, and I’ll be damned before I litter it with coy asterisks, like dog dumps all over the page.

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, we can begin.

I want to make one thing crystal clear: the fuckzone is not about two people having uncommitted sex. It’s not about one-night stands, hookups or casual sex at all. The fuckzone is about being treated with disrespect, as less than, as a thing, as something other than a fully human.

Anyone may find themselves in the fuckzone. You can be a woman or a man, gay or straight, cis or trans — it doesn’t matter. But chances are, it’s more likely to have happened to you if you identify as a woman, or are feminine or effeminate. If you are feminine — because of your sex, your gender, or your presentation — you are far more likely to be treated as a sexual object instead of a sexual subject. A sexual subject is a person whose consent, needs and desires are worthy of respect; a sexual object is a thing to be fucked.

Sometimes you might choose to go to the fuckzone, because the taboo of being debased and treated like a thing is what gets you off. It’s not healthy, but you’ll get no hostile judgement from me — the human psychosexual landscape is a minefield. More often, however, you’ll find you’re in the fuckzone without planning it. You probably thought you were elsewhere — maybe on a date, maybe out with a friend, but you, my dear, were wrong.

Let’s say you open up Tinder and someone you’ve matched with doesn’t bother with charm, wit or even a salutation. Instead he or she tells you what they are going to bitch slap and choke you until you pass out. That’s the fuckzone. Or you’re on OKCupid and someone has checked out your pictures but hasn’t bothered to read your profile before demanding you come around and sit on their face — also the fuckzone.

Then there’s the fuckzone by stealth. I’ll give you an example.

I’m in a restaurant with a man. He leans across the table to hold my hand. It’s weirding me out. It’s a first date. He doesn’t know me, I don’t know him, and this gesture feels forced and creepy. “I really like you,” he tells me, stroking his fingers along the back of my hand. He won’t split the cheque, so I offer to buy us drinks. He agrees.

We go to the pub. After we sit down he holds my hand again and looks deeply into my eyes. I know he wants to fuck me, which is fine — the possibility and the potential for sex is the underpinning of all dates — and I would much prefer he was honest about that instead of trying to bamboozle me with faux romance. “I think I could fall in love with you,” he tells me. My face goes red and he thinks I’m blushing with girlish emotion, but I’m not — I am literally scarlet for him, cringing inside because I’m a grown ass woman and I can smell bullshit and this dude, he reeks of it.

I decide to go home alone. In the taxi I get a message — it’s an attempt to get me to turn around and go to his place instead. Maybe some other time, I reply, evasively. My phone beeps again almost immediately. This time the message is not polite. There’s a “fuck you” and a “cockteasing cunt” and a whole array of charming bile and misogyny. He bought me dinner and I didn’t put out, which was unacceptable. My desires were unnecessary, only my compliance was required. That’s the fuckzone.

Here’s another example for you.

I’m in a pub with someone I think is a friend. Then my friend tells me he wants to fuck me. Nicely, because he is a nice guy (with terms and conditions as I learn). But you know what, that’s fine, that happens: everyone wants to fuck a friend at least once. I say no. So my friend — my supposed friend at least — tells me that he loves me. And that’s fine too, everyone has been unrequitedly in love with someone who is unavailable or uninterested. I’ve been there myself. It sucks, but I know that putting it out there and saying it is the best way to get over it.

But that’s not what’s happening here. No, he gets angry and he tells me that hey, if he can’t fuck me, we can no longer be friends. And I explain to him, on the off-chance that he hasn’t realised exactly what he is doing, that he seems to be saying that unless he is granted access to my genitals, then all the years we’ve known one another mean nothing. “I have enough friends,” he replies. It’s self-pity and emotional blackmail wrapped up in one unlovely package of bullshit — and that’s the fuckzone.

If you’re the kind of person who whinges about being stuck in the friendzone, well, boo hoo, cry me a damn river. Yes, yes, it is annoying and upsetting if the person you fancy prefers you as a friend, and yes, if this happens often, well, sure, that’s frustrating. But if you don’t make your feelings known upfront, instead hoping and wishing that sex will happen if you hang in there long enough, you’re dishonest. And if you try and blackmail someone into sleeping with you, you’re an arsehole. Someone likes you and cares about you as a friend? How fucking tragic!

If you’re in the fuckzone, the other person doesn’t give a shit about you, because they don’t see you as a person — you’re a means to an end. If the person you’re with doesn’t remember an important detail, like your name or where you’re from — they are probably fuckzoning you. If they are overly or aggressively sexual in a way that’s makes you uncomfortable — they are fuckzoning you.

If you tell them to stop and they don’t — they are not only fuckzoning you, they’re dangerous and you should get the hell out of there. If you’re with someone and you suspect they might be fuckzoning you, say something stupid or outrageous, something no decent person would fail to react to — pretend you think Canada is part of the US, or that Donald Trump is right about Mexicans — and if the other person doesn’t call you on your bullshit, then yes, they are fuckzoning you.

Two people fucking uncomplicated by emotion can be pure and beautiful in its own way. Most of us want that at some point, and if you’re honest and upfront about it, there’s nothing wrong with that. But there’s plenty of emotion in the fuckzone — anger, contempt and entitlement. The fuckzone is not about sex, not really. The other person is getting off on treating you like a thing. In the fuckzone the cliché is true: everything is about sex except for sex. This kind of sex is about power. And it can fuckzone right off.

 

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