Girl Talk: A conversation about obligatory sex vs consensual sex

Jul 30, 2021

It’s a question that I get often. It goes something like this:

Help! I read your post about having obligatory sex with my husband. I never want to have sex. I don't care if I have sex ever again. 
However, I stretch to having sex to every other day for my husband. If he doesn't have sex daily, I feel like I have to walk on eggshells around him the next day. 
I don't want to do it, so I fake it to get it over quickly. 
Can you help me get my desire back?

There’s much to unpack from questions like these. 

Two women and personal friends from the Pleasure Principles community, GG and Kasey, are back for some ‘girl talk’ about the conditioning behind statements like this, so we can understand how obligatory sex is preventing most women from experiencing pleasure. 

They relate that hearing how women struggle with sex is heartbreaking. “Just the fact that anybody feels like they have to give obligatory sex, like that is non-consensual sex essentially, because it's not something that you want to do,” Kasey said. “It’s a damaging cultural belief that if you’re married, your partner has a right to your body. I've been in that situation myself, where my partner felt entitled to me fulfilling his pleasure. We’re taught that it’s our job to fulfil him or he will cheat on us or leave us for someone who will.”

These are just some of the things that we were taught as little girls before we could think how extremely messed up this is. 

For example:

  • Sex is when the man comes, it’s about his orgasm
  • It’s not sex if it’s not penis and vagina
  • Your orgasm is not a priority
  • Just fake it and get it over with
  • You need to pretend to want it and perform like it's a porno
  • His blue balls are your problem/fault 
  • There’s something broken in you if you don’t want to have sex 

If any of these resonate with you, you need to listen to the episode (on Apple or Spotify)

By having sex that isn’t totally consensual or enjoyable, we're taking away our own agency, our choice to have sex, which is not sexy. 

And we keep trying to have sex in a way that isn't pleasurable for 70% of women, namely penis and vagina. 

If you’re experiencing non-consensual or obligatory sex, I want you to think about what we say on this episode:

Consent is verbal, and consent is ongoing. 

We need to verbally say, “yes”, “no”, “I want this”, “continue”, “slower”, “faster”, whatever, we need to be verbal in our consent. And just because we consented to “let's make out” or “yes, let's have sex”, halfway through the act, you can stop. You can be done midway and that’s okay. 

What stops us from communicating our needs to our partners?

According to GG, these open and honest conversations are scary. The other part of it is that we don’t really know what we want, Kasey shared. 

“We don’t know what to ask for and how to say what we like. Much of this is because we don’t have our own pleasure practice, so we don’t know how we like to be touched, where we like to be touched, or how to use the vibrator or lube. But these are not things that we have to figure out with a partner. They're things we can figure out on our own and cultivate that self-pleasure practice so that when we're in communication with a partner, we can say, “Oh, you know what I really like?””

But men were also taught or conditioned to believe that they should somehow know how to please a woman.

So, how can we change this dynamic and pave the way for deeper intimacy with our partners? On Girl Talk, we discuss several approaches:

  • Hearing what other women are doing, the toys they’re using and the lingerie they’re wearing, what they’ve discovered they like – and that they’re unapologetic about it
  • Discovering the things that other women try in their relationships, like taking penetration off the table. 
  • Not hiding your self-pleasure practice, because it’s going to benefit your partner as well.
  • To bring your pleasure research into the conversation with your partner and show and include them.
  • To provide the support that women need to get from rupture (the misunderstandings, arguments, triggered responses) to rapture (a new intimate dynamic with your partner) and hopefully prevent them from going back to what they did in the past
  • That you don’t alway have the right tools to approach this with your partner (for example, playing the blame game), so it can be best to introduce this into conversation with your partner using a third party (like a counsellor or therapist) or through a source, like a book, podcast or article.

Men want a turned-on woman. If you’d like to learn more about this, check out my recent episode: what all men want in the bedroom (and the 5 reasons you’re not able to give it to them).

On Girl Talk, Kasey and GG share personal revelations about themselves and their relationships. From dune buggies to the car that stalled in Santorini because it didn’t have enough power to get up a hill and the goddess who leaped to the rescue, you’ll hear some of our favourite memories of each other. As well as some examples of how we’ve supported each other and continue to support other women to awaken, one vulva at a time.

Listen to episode # 12 on Apple. Or on Spotify. And if you like what you hear, do us a favour and leave a rating or review. 

If you’d like to find out more about the Pleasure Principles community, book a free consult.


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