Why Is ‘No’ So Hard To Understand?

If she says no during sex, does she mean go harder?


In school I had this boyfriend. Let’s call him N. That’s the alphabet his name starts with. I pray that he reads this and realizes how much he hurt me. He never did understand when I told him. And my friends did not understand either. It has taken me years to realize and accept that a lot of people do not understand that when it comes to sex, you can say yes and then change your mind and say no.

So N visited me after his lectures one afternoon. We had fought the day before and I was still mad at him. But when he came, he begged me and I somewhat forgave. Just a little. Sometimes it takes me a while to forgive someone.

So after our little reconciliation, I went into the bathroom for a shower. When I came back to the room, he had that look in his eyes. I was not interested in the look but he came to me, kissed me and started touching me. I didn’t want to do anything but at the same time, I didn’t want him to know I was still upset at him. Therefore, I allowed him. It got serious and next thing we were on the bed and almost in the act. When I say ‘almost’, he was basically there, just ready to make it in.

But I remembered how he had hurt me and how I felt cheap by just letting him back in. I felt I needed to make things harder for him so he wouldn’t hurt me again. Thus, I put my hands on his chest, pushed back, and said, “N, stop.”


“I’m not in the mood.”

“But I’m already there.”

“Please, stop.”

But he didn’t listen. He pushed in and started doing his thing. I managed to struggle out of his hold and went for the door but he was there before me. He locked it and took the key.

“You want to go outside and make your friends think that I’m raping you.”

I wanted to retort that ‘raping me’ was what he was basically doing. But I wasn’t even sure myself. To me then, the definition of rape had to do with one saying ‘no’ emphatically right from the start. And it would include some force or heavy struggle.

He held me and started kissing me again. Now, here’s a dilemma. How do you push your man away and say no to him without hurting him? He wants you. He’s your man. The thinking is that you’re not to say no to him unless you’re on this celibacy path. But both of you aren’t.

“Please, stop,” I begged. I struggled but I don’t think I struggled enough. He had me on the bed again. I was crying, upset at him, while he raped me.

When he was done, he held me and apologized until I stopped crying. When he left, I went to the next room and told my friends what had happened, because I was deeply upset and I needed support.

“Ehya, sorry,” one of them said. “At least, he’s your guy. It’s not like he was raping you.”

“Rape keh,” the other answered. “You allowed him nau.”

“But I stopped him and he didn’t.”

“That’s how guys are. You know they can’t control it.”

The other one likened the experience to food, asking me if I could stop eating something once I had started. It then turned to something funny. They laughed. I laughed. I became unsure, wondering if I had been forced or if I had consented. All I knew was that I felt like shit. I didn’t have sex with N after that again. I never attended to him in my bedroom and I never went to his. We broke up not long after and I haven’t seen him in years.

It took me being with a real man (my husband) to understand that ‘no’ even in the middle of sex really means no and not ‘maybe’ or ‘yes’. The first time it happened and he immediately withdrew, I was shocked. Like many people, I believed that men cannot stop themselves while in the act. I apologized to him for changing my mind due to a sudden change of mood but he said it was okay. The second time, I did it just to be sure the first had not been imagined – and he acted the exact same way. I was more than impressed. Trust me, that was the last time it happened. It’s either yes from the start or no from the start for me. And I know that even if I change my mind for some reason, my wishes will be respected.no

This topic has been on my mind for a while now, and the other day on Twitter, when it was hotly discussed, I followed the trend. For the first time, I heard the term ‘implied consent’. Now, according to those who came up with it and hold the school of thought, it basically means that a girl can give consent without verbally saying it, i.e by not saying anything at all or by giving permission with her body language alone.

Of course, a guy and a girl can both agree to have sex without any conversation between them. In fact, sex, most times, goes in that manner. But the same way a man can read implied consent, he should also be able to read implied or verbal dissent. Sex should be smooth and enjoyable to both parties, and if at some point, there’s an unwilling participant for any reason, then the other should stop.

But why would a woman stop a guy in the middle of sex sef? Well, there are many reasons.

  1. The guy could be hurting her either by just being in her or doing stuff she doesn’t agree with like choking, spanking and moving roughly.
  2. She could be having an infection that causes pain.
  3. The guy could be bad at sex and she becomes turned off.
  4. She could suddenly feel guilt.
  5. She could be upset at him (as was my case).
  6. Tension.
  7. Past rape experience.
  8. Other issues.
  9. She’s a cock-tease.

The best the guy can do at that point is stop and ask what the issue is. Talk to her about it rather than continue. It should be noted that everyone has the right to withdraw sexual content at anytime and the other party is to respect it, no matter what.


It is general belief that men cannot just switch off once they start. I am not a man; I wouldn’t know but I know men who can stop. It’s just a matter of pulling out and taking a breather. Yes, it’s hard but would you rather continue with someone who is less willing and then feel like shit afterwards (that is if you even have a conscience)?

How about rough sex? When does it become rape?

It becomes rape when there is no agreement from both sides and one party starts to inflict pain on the other that they don’t agree with. If you like it rough, please inform her. Don’t start slapping her and choking her in the middle of the act. You must both agree that two of you want that type of sex before you start it.

How about alcohol?

A woman could be so drunk and become unable to consent to or refuse sex. Going ahead to sleep with her, even when she says yes under the influence, is rape. The best is to avoid adding alcohol to the mix with someone you’re just meeting for the first time. The story can change afterwards and you’ll be accused of drugging her to rape her even if she said yes to you. Totally avoid such scenarios.

And then another grey area that is not so grey…

A lot of guys keep begging and pushing until the girl says yes. This is coercion. And it’s technically rape. Sex should be free of pressure and coercion. She may have said yes out of fear of the guy being violent with her or maybe fear of emotional repercussion. Forcing her to perform oral sex or even pushing her into a sexual position she is uncomfortable with even after she begs the guy to stop is rape.

Rape, therefore, is any sexual act where one party does not give their full permission at the start, or withdraws their permission after having given it, or is unable to give consent to it entirely.

Yes, there are women who are cock-teases but trust me, they stop playing such games when they meet men who don’t tow that line with them. If the penis is not readily available for games, the games will cease. I have not known any man who died or had his penis shrivel up because he stopped sex midway. The lies we have been made to believe about sex is responsible for the fast-growing rape culture we have now and the victim-shaming a lot of women go through. Please, let’s stop telling rape victims they enjoyed it just because the definition of their sexual experience didn’t come off as our own definition of rape.


No means No.

Do you have any thoughts on this? Please share.


  1. The rape culture has already caught up with us. olamide sang story for the gods and nobody saw anything wrong with his lyrics. even husbands rape their wives, forcing them when they don’r feel like, forcing them to have oral sex etc

    • Sally

      yeah, that song. It made a lot of noise when it came out. I don’t think Olamide deliberately set out to encourage rape culture but the meaning of his lyrics, sadly, showed that a lot of guys think it’s okay to keep having sex even when the girl says stop

  2. Hi Sally, I agree. Sex should have both parties consent all the way. Rape is evil.

    • Sally

      It is. A dastardly act

  3. Pamilerin

    In every language, no means no. But it’s unfortunate that our culture wouldn’t look at most scenarios like yours as rape. Consequently, we’ll feel uncertainty and shame about telling someone about. I hope that in time to come, more awareness would be created.

    • Sally

      Hopefully, Pamilerin.
      Thanks for sharing

  4. Calliboom

    well said Sally . No means No ,more awareness should be created to stop rape in our country, no respect for woman dignity….. it caused more pains than good…

  5. A lot of guys need to read this article, so they can understand NO means NO…. well said sally

    • Sally

      Thanks for contributing, Temmy

  6. Well said Sally. I want to talk about the one between husband and wife. A husband hurt the wife and she was expecting sorry but the man just allow that night passed the following day just came to the room and went straight to ask for sex, the woman said no but the man said am your husband whatever issues we have will be discussed and went ahead to force the wife wounded her because she was struggling with him. Long story short the marriage is off because the man didn’t feel remorse because he didn’t do anything wrong he only slept with his wife so what’s the big deal about that. Our men needs reorientation.

    • Sally

      This happens a lot in marriages, sadly. I have read so many stories about it. In fact, I have a friend who goes through this quite a lot with her husband. The man sees nothing wrong in what he’s doing. When rape is redefined and these ‘grey areas’ are tackled, women would start having the boldness to say no and mean it, understand that they have been abused and do something about it

  7. The King

    There’s implied consent o. how do you explain a girl stopping you and pushing you and stopping you at the same time? which one are you supposed to listen to?
    Sally you took this thing from one angle.
    Yes,s ex can become after teh girl said stop but can she make a case out of it in court? how do you stand befor the judge and say ‘i said yes but no after’? will anybody take her seriously?
    let’s not forget that rape is a serious offence and the law will not be so willing to throw someone in jail because a girl comes and says she said no in the middle of the act, so yes, there’s a grey area to these things especially when it is difficult to ascertain where consensual sex started ended and rape started.
    What is the proof that ‘forced’ sex actually happened? If you said yes from the start, then it would be hard to prove that the guy didn’t stop when you said stop.
    How does it sound to you to say you actually consented to raped, being that you gave initial consent?
    To me, this type of rape you have described should not carry the same sentence as the one where the person was forced from the start, as there is a lot involved

    • Sally

      I totally get the angle you’re coming from. In court, it would be hard to establish if the girl was lying or telling the truth. We know there are cases where the girl claims she was raped after having consensual sex. I’m not talking about such cases. I’m addressing men who feel it is okay to continue having sex even after the woman says stop because ‘it’s hard to pull out’ or because ‘she already gave her consent’
      That’s the issue i’m addressing here. A lot of guys can avoid drama afterwards and such accusations if they just stop when the woman says no either through words or gestures or falls asleep.
      it’s unfortunate that the law can do little in such cases, either for the accused or the accuser. The burden then lies with the men to maintain dignity and practise the act of respecting the wishes of the female they’re sleeping with

  8. Toyenlon

    I agree with you, rape is bad and should be stopped. Imagine the trauma victims go through, which sometimes leaves a lasting impression on the victims.

  9. Ifeanyi Onochie

    Yes, rape is wrong. All the cases which begin as no at the start, continue as no at the middle and finish as no are all justifiably wrong. Unfortunately, some men’s brains stop functioning once they see a window of sexual opportunity.

    However, implied consent isn’t such a straight line. There are women who would say no because they aren’t in the mood; well, if the guy succeeds afterwards in turning them on, isn’t it game on? That’s a no turned yes. Then, there are also those who would say no when they really want it, and they want the guy to work a little harder before they give in to what THEY really want. That’s a no turned yes. And, it sure can be fun when there’s a kind of cat-and-mouse feel to it.

    I understand you’re dealing with this from the woman’s perspective, but, trust me, many women have tried to turn a man’s no into yes. And, many women would go bonkers if a man decides to stop in the middle of sex. Besides her possibly still needing an outlet for her state of arousal, she will wonder if she’s not attractive, or if he is not ‘feeling’ her or if there’s something wrong with him or her.

    I’m not sure many women consider men’s feelings when they ask a man to stop midway. You guys get into the mood simultaneously, and the woman decides to pull back when she doesn’t feel like it anymore? I have an ex who did that once and, when I asked why, she said it was her body and she could do with it whatever she pleased. True, but have the decency to explain why you willingly started a journey (hehe) together with me but you abandon ship before arriving our destination. Maybe I can learn something.

    • Lol. Like i said, there are cock-teases. They enjoy doing that. The best is just for the guy not to continue and let her come after him herself. So many guys don’t know they can form when it comes to sex. It’s that constant, restless need to have it all cost that makes these type of women keep doing what they’re doing.
      Like you noted, women are not the only ones who stop sex midway. Guys do it too and I’m sure they have reasons. It doesn’t make it right for a woman to force her way with a man who is not interested or wheedle him to get what she wants. It’s rape as well. I had even read something about it just the other day, where a couple was having sex and the girl was on top and started choking the guy. He was pleading but she didn’t stop. He had to throw her to the ground to free himself and then she went and said he assaulted her.
      The issue is that rape culture is now a problem in Nigeria and it needs to be addressed, with both sides getting adequately educated about it.

      Meanwhile, I think it was you who called on Elsie’s show the other night. I am not sure but I suspect that it’s you.

      • Ifeanyi Onochie

        Agreed! Rape culture needs to be addressed before it spirals out of control.

        Yep, I called in. Just showing support for you and Elsie. At the time, I didn’t think to mention my surname because I was shocked the call went through. Unsurprisingly, Elsie didn’t recognise me from Twitter because we haven’t interacted in a while.

        • Sally

          Thanks for calling in. Kind’a guessed it was you.
          You got through because our network here is so bad we can’t reach each other

  10. we really need to change the way we raise our boys to see girls as beneath them. change that, and rape will drop

  11. Oluwakemi

    Thanks Sally for sharing this. Rape is really on the increase in our society these days and the one that gets to me so much (doesn’t mean others don’t get to me), is when Minors are raped. You hear of a 3 year Old girl raped by a Man old enough to be her Father or Grandfather. I still read in the Papers last week a 2 year Old girl that was raped to death.
    I wonder what goes on in the mind of this depraved men who rape and find pleasure in it. Only God can help us. A man who takes delight in raping his wife because he believes she is a chattel just because he paid one yeye dowry is to be tried.
    Our Women should do their best in raising up boys who are raised to honour and respect the female gender. Our Police officers and Courts of Law need to take Rape cases seriously, Our Legislative arm of Government should review the law concerning rape.
    Personally i think Rape deserves life sentence as this will give the Victim a sense of safety like “he is locked up forever and can’t abuse me again”
    May God continually save us from this plague that has plagued our society for so long.

    • Sally

      Spoken well, Kemi. Spoken well
      Thank you

  12. RAPE is disaster, rape is bad, rape is evil. Just like I spoke to a friend about leaving midway during sex and the next thing he said was “And the dude did not strangle you”….Sally, I was shocked and short of words. God help us all, the world needs serious orientation. Thanks for writing about RAPE…………..xoxo

  13. Folakemi

    Thanks for this wonderful piece
    I wish all women could read it and have a better understanding about sex
    Even men sef No means No, they shouldnt just be forcing sex on someone
    May God help us

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