Nadia Bokody reveals the scary reality of dating men, compared to women

Warning: This story discusses sexual assault and violence against women

There’s a foreign hand under my skirt.

It’s moist with overfamiliarity and sweat. This is the third time tonight it’s found its way onto my thigh.

I want to swat it like a cockroach before it crawls any further toward my underwear. Instead, I twist my face into a smile and say, “Stop being cheeky!”

I’m stalling while I do the calculations for how I can get this man out of my apartment.

I could rip his greasy fingers from my body and tell him to leave, like every cell in me is screaming to do, but the odds aren’t in my favour.

There are gruesome news stories racing through mind; of women who’ve been strangled, shot, set on fire, stabbed and bludgeoned to death by men they rejected.

The alternative is to let him go through with what he’s trying to do. If I don’t put up a fight, I’m less likely to get hurt, even though I don’t want to sleep with him.

Of course, then he might come back.

He knows where I live now. And reporting him will be largely pointless, because as statistics from the Crime Statistics Agency show, only three per cent of reported rapes result in a criminal conviction.

Then there’s the option of carefully navigating his ego by making the excuse I have to get to bed early for a morning meeting. It might still result in him doing what he wants to do to me anyway, or becoming enraged and beating the living sh*t out of me, but there’s also the favourable possibility he accepts my excuse and leaves.

Though I’ll still have to live with the knowledge he has my address and could return at any time – days, weeks, months, or even years later.

I decide to take my chances and opt for the latter.

Woman reveals horrific experience she had on a date with a man

I’m lucky that night. He makes a few more fumbled attempts to paw the outline of my underwear, but ultimately leaves without a fuss, and I spend the following days admonishing myself for being foolish enough to invite a stranger I matched with online back to my house. What was I thinking??!

That was a decade ago.

A lot’s changed about my dating life since then. Though, not perhaps, in the way you’d imagine. I’ve invited several more complete strangers from dating apps back to my apartment; but I haven’t once considered the possibility I’d be raped, beaten or murdered since that night.

Because they’ve all been women.

Since coming to the realisation I’m gay just over three years ago, no other difference has been more pronounced than the complete and utter lack of fear I feel around women, including women I’ve literally met for the very first time inside the walls of my own home (lesbians booty-call, too).

And it’s a sentiment shared among queer women who’ve dated men.

In a now-viral TikTok, late-bloomer lesbian (for the unacquainted, that’s a lesbian who comes out later in life) Sienna Mallon articulates this issue, recounting a Tinder date she went on with a man when she was younger.

“I jumped in his car, we went and got coffee and we headed out to this quiet lookout area. We were just having a conversation… Within like half an hour he was like, ‘Well, are we gonna do this, or what?’ I remember looking at him being like, ‘What?’ and he was like, ‘Well this is why we’re here, isn’t it?’,” Mallon recounts in the clip.

“I said no, and he cracked the sh*ts and left me on the side of the road. And the fact I got left on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere, and I was like, ‘I got lucky in this situation,’ is absolutely disgusting … Every time I’ve told this story to a girl, they’ve got an extremely similar situation, but nine times out of 10, they just did it [went through with the sex to avoid possible violence].”

Unfortunately, when women – particularly lesbians – share these stories, men often attempt to derail the conversation by throwing out the “lesbian relationships have the highest rate of domestic violence” claim, despite no report existing to substantiate it.

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare confirms 75 per cent of domestic violence is perpetrated by men. Horrifyingly, just this year alone, one woman has been killed by a man roughly every four days in Australia.

And a study by the Australian Institute of Criminology found three in four women who used dating apps over a five-year period experienced assault.

But the men who habitually raise the topic of domestic violence in queer relationships aren’t interested in learning how they can make the world a place where fewer women are murdered by their own partners. So, while it’s not all men who perpetuate the culture of violence against women, it’s definitely the men who try to steamroll discussions about it.

“I’m more comfortable to get in a car with a woman, I’m more comfortable to offer to pick another woman up. I disclose more information to women. I just feel safer,” Mallon, who’s based in Moranbah, Queensland, tells me when I reach out to her to let her know I’m writing this story.

I agree. I’ve already divulged more personal information about myself in our phone call than I would if Mallon were a man. In fact, what’s most striking about this interview, is how quickly and comfortably we’ve both mentioned details like where we live, despite not having ever met in person.

I’ve never had a problem letting a woman know where I live – on a dating app or otherwise, but even when I’m filming content for social media, I’m careful to conceal my location so men can’t find me. (A content creator friend recently had a guy who follows her on Instagram show up outside her apartment building.)

After that one unsettling night, I never gave out my address to guys when I was dating men. At least, not until I’d been seeing someone for a few weeks (even then, my friends and I had a protocol in place where I’d text an emoji if everything was okay, and if there was no emoji, someone would ring to do a check-in).

Since I came out, people often ask me if dating women is easier than men, and honestly, it’s not. Dating and relationships present challenges regardless of the gender or sexuality of the people involved. (Also, no one warns you that at some point in lesbian relationships your periods will sync up, and for one week out of every month there’ll be so much hanger and crying, you’ll begin to question your own sanity.)

But I will say this; in the past few years of exclusively dating women, my greatest fear has been the possibility a date may turn out to be a snooze-fest, or that she’ll look nothing like her profile pictures.

Not sexual assault or murder.

And that’s a distinction we need to be talking about – not whether one gender does dating better, but that women who date men aren’t just picking out their outfits and applying their makeup while worrying if their date will like them – they’re calculating how they’ll get away safely if he won’t take “no” for an answer.

As Mallon explains; “I’m not gay because of my negative experiences with men, but I tell you what; it’s really nice not having to worry about it.”

Nadia Bokody is a queer sex columnist, YouTuber and professional over-sharer. Follow her on Instagram for more

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