Advice from the Trenches: Coat Room Conundrum

Dear C and Dr. B;

I’m in my third year of undergrad. Last weekend at a party, I admit that both myself and my date, Sandra, had too much to drink. We ended up doing it in the coat room, which was probably a bad idea, but she was as much into it as I was and we did close the door. We would have been in and out with no one knowing except at one point, this guy (who really has it in for me in our department) opened the door, saw us, said, “Oops!” and left. My date and I finished and got out of there in a hurry. I thought that was the end of it.

The problems began three days later, when I was called in to see the dean. Apparently, the guy from the party reported us and Sandra’s family got in the action – they are embarrassed and want to save her reputation, so they are pressing her to accuse me of rape. When I explained to the dean how it all happened, he said he’d keep it off my permanent record, but to appease Sandra’s family and avoid legal action, I was asked to transfer to another university for a semester before coming back to finish my degree.

I admit what I did was stupid. But it doesn’t seem fair that I, being the man, had to take all the consequences because the girl decided after the fact to cry “rape!” It honestly was mutual consent when it happened.

Never Again

Dear Never;

There are a couple of problems with this scenario. First and foremost, you both were drinking. After two drinks in one hour, it isn’t legal to either drive or give consent; in a legal sense, any sex after that point is rape. Unfortunately, in college, socialization is all about alcohol. Until we address this as a culture, this sexual consent thing will remain a mess.

Studies have also proven that what we remember of an event can have very little to do with the actual event. You remember she was into you, but now she’s claiming rape. Maybe in the heat of things, it didn’t register that she said, “Stop!” This is entirely possible; male and female arousal follow very different paths. Male arousal increases directly until orgasm, then drops. This type of arousal is related to aggression so when a man is aroused it is unlikely he is paying attention or that he will stop easily. Female arousal follows more of a curve with many plateaus. A woman’s mind doesn’t turn off as much as a man’s; there are more opportunities to ask: “Do I want to be doing this?” After a time, a woman could indeed change her mind, putting her in a predicament with an aroused, aggressive man whose brain is as much off as his dick is on.

I hope “never again” means no socialization via alcohol, or this scenario is likely to happen again. You got off easy, transfer of schools vs jail. Not so long ago in history, the consequences of social drinking could result in being sold off to pirates.

Dr B


C says: You are hardly blameless here, Never, but I would hesitate to agree that after two drinks, any sex is rape. Nearly every “romantic dinner” includes a bottle of wine; are anniversary couples raping each other? However, yes – there is definitely too much drinking before sex at college. But stupidity and criminal intent (rape is a federal offense) do not necessarily go hand in hand. It has become very popular since the “Me Too” movement to automatically believe the woman and cast the man as the asshole, but this situation warranted some questions before a verdict was handed out. The fact that Sandra’s family got in the act indicates it may not have been entirely her idea to accuse you. True, I’ve known men who think that “no” is a come on, and women who were traumatized by men who didn’t understand that their “No!” was for real; but I have also known women who were just as sexually aggressive as men, and some men who couldn’t even bring themselves to make the first move.

Unfortunately, there are more issues at play here than just who got officially blamed. Along with STDs and unwanted pregnancies, there are other consequences that could ruin both your future lives, depending on what career you pursue. We live in a world of social media, where everything we do can be discovered on someone’s Instagram or Facebook. This incident  may not be on your permanent record, but both of you played out your passion in a public place. Every stupid, drunken thing you do in college can come back to bite you in the butt when you least expect it. Just turn on the news.

As to fair? If it happened like you said, maybe it wasn’t fair. But you weren’t very smart either. Don’t ever expose yourself or someone you care about to the public circus that can ensue from stupid drunken decisions. The world will judge, and right now the world is judging men. Sure, it isn’t fair, but neither was centuries of female oppression by men. Watch your ass, buddy. Your time has come.

You can visit Dr. B’s blog at

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