In true Red Table Talk fashion, Demi Moore’s brave and talented daughter Rumer Willis is spouting some serious facts (and vulnerable memories) regarding sexual consent. Hopefully, most people have the basic understanding that “yes means yes and no means no” — but Willis makes the important point that you’re not always in a position to assess and announce your preference without fear. Opening up about losing her own virginity at age 18, Willis explains on the Facebook Live show how she found herself in a position where she didn’t say no — but she’s really not sure she said yes either. And she holds the older man to whom she lost her virginity responsible for not ensuring she was enthusiastically onboard.
Willis tells Jada Pinkett and Willow Smith that her 18-year-old mind was in a very different place than she is today, stuck on what others would think of her status as a virgin and not thinking too heavily about whether she really wanted to have sex in that moment.
“When I lost my virginity, when I was 18, I was more concerned with the shame that I was feeling at not having done it,” she explains. “I was not abused or it wasn’t rape… but I didn’t say yes. I wasn’t gung-ho about it. But I also didn’t say no. I just let it happen.”
At age 18, Willis understands why she had no frame of reference for how she was supposed to feel. But she thinks that the older man she was with should have been way more curious about how she was feeling.
“He was older and took advantage, and didn’t check in,” she says. “That’s where I feel like the man’s responsibility is. No means no, but what if you can’t say no?”
Willis is right — pushing ahead sexually in the face of an unenthusiastic reaction isn’t that much better than pushing past a “no.” We’re not saying you have to prosecute everyone who didn’t wait for you to explicitly say the word “yes” in a sexual situation. But heed Willis’ warning here, and ours too: someone who doesn’t actively care about your consent is someone who doesn’t actively care about your pleasure. How could they? They’re not even paying attention.
From Rumer Willis to your ears: consent is sexy. Ask for it.
Before you go, click here to see which celebrities have spoken out about feeling pressured to get naked on camera.