A few days ago, Michelle Duggar (of 19 Kids and Counting fame) wrote a blog post urging women to be "joyfully available" to their husbands for sex, regardless of how they feel. Personally, I couldn't disagree more.
I have been in a loving and committed relationship for years. But I've acquiesced to sexual encounters, when it wasn't what I wanted, more times than I can count. So, I asked myself: Why do I feel the need, the pressure to give something so personal when it isn't what I want?
Sex is an industry and an imperative in our culture. It’s the norm on TV, in magazines, and in daily conversation. It's also the cause of a significant amount of anxiety and stress. I've felt that if I don’t want sex, it must mean something is wrong with me. I've felt like it's easier to do it than to have an argument about it.
And I know I'm not alone. I have heard it over and over from friends and from the media: Sex is healthy, sex is normal, you should be having more orgasms. I can't tell you about the hormonal or physiological effects of sex. But I can tell you how empowering and self-assured I feel in committing to saying no to things I just don't want.
If I don’t want to go to the annual family picnic, I’m not going. If the weeds are overgrown and I don’t want to pull them, I won't. And if I’m not interested in sex, then I’m not going to do it simply because I'm afraid of the consequences or implications.
Our bodies are sacred. Having sex with someone is allowing them passage into your sacred space. I’m not just talking about love here — regardless of your relationship with your sexual partner. When sex is taken or given without your true consent, you give away your dignity.
My suspicion? Most people don’t want sex all the time. I speak out now for all the people who lie in bed at night wondering if something's wrong with them because they want sex less frequently than their partner does. I speak out for all the people who feel compromised because they've had sex when they didn't want to. I speak for all the people who don't mind going without sex, and shouldn't be criticized for it.
Give yourself permission to say no. When the moment comes that you actually want to say yes, you'll enjoy it that much more.
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