Entitlement To Sex: It Has A Place In Relationships, But Not In Dating Or Hooking Up.Posted: January 4, 2012
One of the big problems a lot of women run into in dating, friending, hanging out with guys is that a surprisingly large number of men think that, in exchange for gifting women with their scintillating wit and presence, the woman must then owe them sex. This is, obviously, a Bad Thing. And its very badness leads to a lot of people stating that people feeling entitled to sex is always bad. That, I can’t get on board with.
I think that feeling entitled to sex is actually pretty ok when the condition of having regular sex has been pretty much established as an important part of the ongoing relationship– like an entitlement to knowing about a partner’s debt or illnesses, or an entitlement to wearing your holey tshirts to bed when you feel sick instead of cute lingerie, or an entitlement to conversational time, or an entitlement to honesty and good night kisses and stealing sips from each other’s water glasses. It’s and important part of most long term romantic relationships, and if the relationship was established and maintained with an even implicit understanding that sex is an important part of it, I think it is perfectly understandable, maybe even healthy, for a partner to feel pissed off, confused, or resentful if hir partner stops wanting to have sex.
I think this holds true even when it isn’t the partner’s fault they can’t have sex or have no libido! Sex wanting partner can feel grumpy all ze wants as long as ze doesn’t take it out on the other partner! Hell, even when sex-not-having-partner is somehow at fault for a dry spell, sex-wanting shouldn’t take it out on them. Because you should also be entitled to some fucking civility in a romantic relationship, regardless of what reality tv and the movies might want people to think.
But being entitled to sex– in this way, at least– doesn’t mean you get to force your partner to have sex. It isn’t an excuse for rape– not for rape by physical force, not for rape by coercion, not for any sort of rape or sexual assault. Because you can’t force someone to do something ze doesn’t want to do, that’s just not right.
So… if I’m saying it’s not ok to force hir to have sex, how is it that it’s ok to feel entitled to sex? Because you’re being denied what is, for most people, an essential part of that sort of partnership. And it means that, because it is a thing you are entitled to and it’s off the menu, that it’s time for you to do some thinking, possibly reevaluating the relationship and its boundaries, possibility reevaluating the role sex plays in the relationship, possibly even leaving the relationship. Because, while sex isn’t as important as communication, taking it away still fundamentally changes the nature and tone of the relationship.
Coming up: thoughts on why entitlement to sex outside of such an established relationship is stupid, arrogant, and harmful.