My mum said something very interesting today. She said that some men only have one way of submitting women that seem strong, confident and independent and that is having sex with them. She said that by having sex with women, some men feel that these strong women are now submissive and they have control over them. It seemed savage to me, was she really saying that some men view sex as a way of humiliating or at least dominating women? I am not sure I fully agreed with her statement -definitely not with it being true for all men and all women- but it sparked some thoughts.
Sex at first sight
I met a guy about a week ago. He was 90% my type so I approached him. After a few hours out in the pubs, we went back to my house. My housemate was awake and apparently he mentioned to her that he liked how confident I was that I just went up and talk to him and his mates without fearing rejection or awkwardness. He was attracted to my confidence – or so he said -.
We spent the night together and I was so hungover when I woke up I barely remember the walk home. He was spooning me and continued to cuddle me as we both woke up. After a few kisses we were both excited however I said I didn’t want to have sex. He kept trying until I said: “No, stop”. We fell asleep and woke up aroused again. He tried it once more while we were teasing each other, but the persistence made me feel uncomfortable. Why wouldn’t he just accept I don’t want to have sex? But, wait, do I want to have sex or not? And why? Why do we keep teasing and playing if I don’t want to have sex? What was the importance of penetration over all other sorts of sexual interaction?
In the end, I realised it was pointless resisting something that a part of me wanted to do only because I feared he may never contact me again. So we had sex. Even if I wasn’t totally convinced and I kept thinking he was using me.The energy completely changed after that sexual interaction. We felt more relaxed. The sexual tension reduced and gave way to conversation and other types of intimacy -emotional being one of them-. However, I stopped feeling in control. I felt vulnerable. I felt fearful I had ruined my chances of being called again. I felt dependent on him and his decisions from that moment onwards.
Pushing for sex: men’s entitlement
Although I felt more vulnerable and fearful, I did not regret having had sex with him. I had a few deep realisations while we were discussing the reasons why kept resisting having sex with him. The most notable realisation I had was men’s entitlement to sex. Words came out of my mouth unexpectedly while reflecting in a very simple and natural way:
“Do you know how you have told me you didn’t want to go down on me because it is a “first date” and you feel this is something more intimate right?” – I asked-.
“Yes…” -he responded-.
“Have I pushed your head down towards my vagina even if you had said no? – I continued-.
“No, you haven’t.” – he said- expectant to hear what I was getting to.
“Well, I have also said I didn’t want to have sex. However, have you tried to put your penis inside me a few times even if I said no?”.
“Yes.”- he responded- with a mixture of embarrassment and realisation.
“Well, that’s men’s entitlement” -I concluded-.
“I am not saying that this is rape or abuse because I was somehow comfortable with you pushing me to do it because it was part of the “game”. However I felt uncomfortable at times. You pushed the boundaries. And I didn’t. And that’s educational. You have been educated to push that boundary when a woman says no, and I have been educated to say no – fearing if I give in you will never call me again, but also to please a man –contradictory, eh?-.”
He seemed reflective and agreeing, even a bit concerned and slightly defensive fearing that he hadn’t done things right. He then said that he felt that boundaries are sometimes there to be pushed. The trick was assessing the boundaries the other person’s reaction to the pushiness. Pushing boundaries can be part of the game, if the people involved in the sexual interaction agree. At times, I may like domination and can be comfortable with a bit of pushiness. However, this time, I felt uncomfortable. Everytime I said stop or I moved him he didn’t insist hence why I didn’t feel it wasn’t abusive, but he still pushed the boundaries to have sex. And I thought this was a clear example of how education has impacted the way we act in bed -or elsewhere-.
Sex as a weapon
I have been thinking about our sexual interaction for a few days now. About the reasons why I felt uncomfortable at times but I almost enjoyed it. About the reasons why I was almost designed to say no even if a part of me wanted to have sex with him. About the reasons why I ended up having sex with him even if I felt uncomfortable with the pushiness and I thought his only aim was sex – while I wanted something more-. And I didn’t know that I had already given him the answer that day.
We were discussing men’s entitlement to sex, sex on a first date, men vs women reactions to sexual interactions etc, and I said something along the lines of: “I feel like I lose control when I have sex with somebody. Maybe that’s why I try to not have sex on a first date, so the control remains with me.”
What I didn’t realise is that I felt that the power of “giving” or “denying” sex to men was making me feel in control. I only figured this out today, when my mother made the sex comment. I then understood that most of the times I have sex with a guy I have a romantic interest in, I feel powerless as a result. I feel like I have given him the control over the situation. I feel like I have submitted to him – possibly because I usually have sex as a result of men wanting to have sex with me and not really me wanting to have sex with them-. So clearly, I see sex as a tool for controlling the situation, as almost a weapon.
The above is one of the biggest realisations of the past few years and possibly it will allow me to continue digging onto my issues with sexuality. Why do I regard sex as a weapon? Why do I think of sex as a tool to control my interactions with men? Why do I feel like leave men begging for sex makes me more powerful and almost independent while having sex with them makes me feel powerless, dependent, submissive and weak? Why do I acknowledge that being pushed to have sex is not okay and I feel uncomfortable but I allow it and I give in to the pushiness? A lot of food for thought.
I don’t regret having had sex with him. It was a decision made mindfully because I was excited and I decided to take the chances, even if there was a part of me that was not truly convinced I wanted to have sex with him. I enjoyed the sex to some extent. But I enjoyed the conversation much more. Perhaps without the sex, we wouldn’t have had the conversation that followed. Or perhaps we would have.