If Love Is A Battlefield….

…is sex the weapon?

How many times have we all heard-

“Why buy the cow if you can get the milk for free?”

I can’t tell you how much I’ve come to dislike that statement now that I’m older and understand it better. Why, you ask? I’m about to tell you.

Sometimes I wonder how it is that we still don’t seem to have put this statement together with the historical idea of women as chattel. First, let me clarify, I’m not about to say that anyone should be in a rush to lose their virginity as it’s not really worth anything. Not. At. All. Most of you have followed me long enough that you know I find beauty in virtue and purity, just as I find beauty in sensual pleasures.

What I am saying is that the originating statement came from a time where virginity was just another bartering tool used to bring the highest price possible for selling off your daughter to improve the family’s social and financial standing….and is as old as time. Well, a time when women didn’t really have much say in how their own lives could/would be shaped. Personally I’m grateful not to be living in that time, but I wonder if we’re really so far removed from some of their ideologies, especially when it comes to sex. In fact, there are times when I research back on that time and wonder if they weren’t more progressive in their thinking after the initial marriage than we are today.

Here’s the thing, if you’ve still got your purity intact, to me, the gifting is in finding someone worthwhile to share that special moment with…who will help enrich the experience by their mere presence. The reality is, you only have your virginity once, so it should be special….a celebration of transition in life. Sharing it should happen with someone who appreciates the moment and you. If that means someone you love, someone you like a lot, or the person you intend on sharing the rest of your life with, great! It should not be the carrot dangled at the end of a stick a la “I’ll let you have my virginity if you ‘put a ring on it’.” Yes, I’m saying I don’t agree with the Beyoncé song. I just don’t think ultimatums are a good way to kick off a relationship.

Now you’re saying, “But Kitt, what about those of us who aren’t virgins?” Let’s be honest, there are more of you reading this blog than there are of the “chaste” variety. Am I right? 😉 Well, I’m so glad you asked…because it was something that happened a couple of weeks ago that prompted this whole post.

My dear friend, Ande Lyons, interviewed Drs. Chuck and Jo-Ann Bird aka The Love Birds, relationship counselors and clinical sexologists, on her Loving And Lasting radio show about how to keep your marriage/relationship sexually satisfying. One of the calls they took was from a woman who was starting a newer relationship. She’d discussed the fact that she was a firm believer in starting as she meant to continue. For her, that meant she discussed how important sex and intimacy was for her.

I thought what The Lovebirds said…”Good for her!” Begin as you mean to continue, right? She set her expectations early. She opened the lines of communication regarding sex immediately! Her candor regarding her desires was refreshing…and not usually the norm in many relationships.

Instead, what we usually see is more weaponization of sex. How many times have you heard or seen people trade sex for status and a certain type of lifestyle? These are the “I won’t date you unless you’re in a certain financial bracket or have a job I consider impressive enough to brag about to my friends.” We all know them. They value people by the size of their wallets, etc. Those are the obvious ones….and most of us agree that it’s not really a good place to expect any real happiness or intimacy. We feel for the poor sucker that gets caught in that honey trap (usually because they fail to see past the superficial).

Personally, if you are intrigued enough with a person to give dating the ol’ ‘college try’, I don’t see the issue with taking the rest of him/her for a test drive, too. Imagine what would happen if folks knew whether or not they were sexually compatible from the beginning. What if you discussed your likes and dislikes early? Might it not set the tone for sharing what’s working and not working for you in the bedroom in the future? Wouldn’t you feel more comfortable bringing up fantasies as the relationship progresses? Discussing different sexual avenues you’d like to explore together as the trust grows? In fact, August McLaughlin did a great post nailing on the head so many of the reasons why it’s okay to test the waters when she took on Steve Harvey’s book touting why women should wait 90 days before engaging.

Don’t get me wrong, there are sometimes valid reasons to wait. For example, if you know that  sex has a way of becoming a huge distraction from everything else for you, you might want to wait. Why? To give yourself an opportunity to really get to know the person you’re getting intimate with before you let yourself feast. What isn’t cool is if the reason you’re holding back is because you’re afraid he/she won’t respect you if you “put out.” This isn’t high school. If that is truly a concern you feel with the person you’re dating…he/she is probably not the right person for you. A truly decent person won’t judge you because you are honest with them and want to create a physical intimacy. Pardon my language, but only a$$holes tend to sit there, throwing stones (and we all know what they say about people in glass houses who do that).

Even more bothersome is when sex becomes weaponized once you’re actually in the relationship, but it happens all too often. In fact, I’ve even heard folks giving advice to do just that and wanted to scream! What am I talking about? Say your partner has done something that ticked you off. Instead of talking about it rationally and calmly, you decide to sleep in the other room. You want something done…. You offer sex as the reward if they do it, or threaten to withhold if they don’t.  This makes sex a threat and a weapon.

Why do we wield it this way when intimacy is so crucial to relationships? Although finances is a large cause of divorce, so is loss of intimacy. I talked to a gal pal a few months back who didn’t feel important in her relationship with her husband. One of the things that stood out to me was the fact that she said if he’d just touched her casually or kissed her for no reason other than he wanted to, she would know she mattered. Sex had become his weapon that he only brought out when he sensed that she was angry, he wanted to shut her up or escape true intimacy…at least that’s the way it felt to her. I know just as many women who use sex the same way she described.

The funny thing is she blames herself….because she allowed it to happen. Had those intimate discussions happened in the beginning, things might have been different. Had she set her expectations from the start…and allowed them to grow together in their passion and discovery, maybe she wouldn’t feel so unimportant.

Sex should be a tool to bring you closer together, not a weapon to hold over someone else. And if, by chance, you find yourself in this predicament….it’s not hopeless. That’s the other thing I loved about The Love Birds….they offered help for those who can’t fix it on their own. Relationships aren’t always easy, but they should be cherished.

Have you ever used sex as a weapon? What did you learn from doing so? Have you ever had sex used against you? How did it make you feel? Do you agree or disagree with anything I’ve said? Share with me…. Whether you agree or don’t, I’d love to hear from you. I learn so much from what you guys share…and I love you all for it!

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27 thoughts on “If Love Is A Battlefield….

  1. artisticmilestone says:

    You should be having seminars in schools I think. Kids nowadays as young as 14 sees sex as part of a game or something without thinking about having a lasting long term relationship with someone they love.

  2. August McLaughlin says:

    Very insightful post, Kitt! Thanks so much for the shout out. 🙂

    I’ve never used sex as a weapon or vice versa, thank goodness, but I’m definitely aware of its sad prevalence. If we were all raised to embrace our bodies and sexuality and gained more balanced, thorough sex education, I think we’d have far fewer problems. It’s so dang complex! One reason posts like these and voices like yours are so important!

    • Kitt Crescendo says:

      Thanks, August. I think you’re absolutely right… If, as a culture/community, we had better body image or self esteem or learned to see sexual intimacy as the beautiful gift it is, maybe we wouldn’t use it to abuse feelings, trust, etc. Can you imagine what a world run on love and endorphins would look like? 😉

  3. Kristy K. James says:

    I agree that sex shouldn’t be used as a weapon. Neither should it be used as the primary form of affection either. If I just get groped instead of hugged most of the time, it isn’t happening.

    As for when to have sex…I guess it depends on what you’re wanting from a relationship.

  4. Gloria Richard Author says:

    Well said, my friend!

    Without getting too specific, warning bells should have knocked me into my next life when I was told, “I had to promise to let her buy a new dress in order to get laid.”

    I think I swallowed the good sense God gave a Gander with a glass of chardonnay, and then another and another and another…

    I’m so glad to be on this side of recovery, finding my voice, learning about my sensuality, and scheduling free-to-be-me road trips.

    Oh! Oh! Off topic alert!

    I treated myself to a read of Three for All this weekend. Hot and fun read from your Inner Wildcat Muse. Thank goodness it was a short book, because I got nothing [N-O-T-H-I-N-G] else done from the first paragraph until I reached “The end.” It snatched me up. Pun intended? You decide. 😉

    • Kitt Crescendo says:

      I’m so proud of you for finding your way to recovery and healing. You deserve the joys life has to offer.

      As for my book? Woot! So glad you enjoyed the hot, steamy fun! Knowing that means so much to me. 🙂

  5. brickhousechick says:

    Very well said, Kitt. You are respectful of those who prefer to “wait” …um, like someone I know, yet you make great points about communication in a relationship. That’s what it’s all about. I can honestly say that I have never used sex as a weapon – an incentive maybe but in a good way. I agree with you and The Love Birds that our society needs to “open up” (wink) about sexuality. 🙂

  6. The Hook says:

    This was brilliantly conceived and executed, Kitt.
    LOVED seeing Pat Benatar as a dancing freak again.
    And to top it all off, you raise some interesting and insightful points.
    Well done.

    • Kitt Crescendo says:

      Thanks! I thought Pat, and that song in particular, worked really well with the subject I wanted to discuss. My inner ’80’s child danced right beside her. 😉

      I’m glad you enjoyed the post! Hopefully it clicks for someone in a good way. 🙂

  7. Professor Taboo says:

    Kitt,

    You might know that I could not slide past this subject without commenting. 😉 This “one-fourth” of the whole (i.e. sex) too often gets too much attention. It gets too much attention for a few reasons.

    First, as you pointed out, a woman’s virginity has LONG been used as chattel throughout patriarchal history and society for economic and religious gains. This goes back even beyond the Medieval Era. There’s no need for me to elaborate on the modern negatives for this mentality. You covered it. Womens Suffrage began the death of that stigma.

    Another reason is what I already mentioned is the long dominance of a Patriarchal society begun by the Roman Empire and solidified and enforced later by the Roman Catholic Church for 2,000+ years. Deeply engrained. This socio-economic system is STILL prevalent today in Asian and Middle Eastern cultures.

    And finally another reason — and this is not a comprehensive list by any means — is Western society’s juvenile innocense of coming out from under the above oppressive umbrella and hence realizing slowly the HUGE benefits of “strength in numbers”. What do I mean by that?

    My meaning is two-fold.

    Obviously, we all can surmise that an army of 100,000 well-equiped, well-trained intelligent soldiers is much better than 10 like soldiers. Duh, right? A “well-oiled” TEAM, where each integral part benefits the whole, 9 times out of 10 can outperform a team of one person, one man. This is one huge benefit I am referring to as far as a couple’s DYNAMIC POTENTIAL (and what they both brought to the relationship prior to knowing each other) is better & stronger when both partners play equally valuable roles for the relationship! But it isn’t just this…

    The other meaning is even MORE important. Imagine a perfectly symmetrical circle. Divide that circle equally in fourths. Each of those important fourths represents four possible pillars of a tight, stable symmetrical circle. In architecture the arch and circle are one of the strongest, if not THE strongest design-formulas in engineering. One fourth is the Mental aspect of a relationship. Another fourth is the Emotional. The Spiritual is another, and the Physical is the remaining fourth. What I feel many struggling couples don’t conceive is that ALL FOUR of those parts are no less equal, or no more than the other three. In order for the perfect “circle” to remain stable and strong throughout time and life’s trials and challenges, the circle MUST MAINTAIN its full integrity. All four aspects MUST MAINTAIN equal symmetry. All four are critical! Now, today, that perfect circle is (or SHOULD BE!) to the 2nd power. In other words, both partner’s four portions are equally as important to the circle’s (relationship’s) integrity!

    For whatever reasons and causes, it seems throughout many modern relationships, one or more of those 1/4th portions are weak, or are unhealthy, or are still immature. You, Kitt, have brought up ONE of those unhealthy weaknesses: weaponized sex. Hence, the stability & strength of the relationship circle/arch is weakened. And I haven’t even gotten into the 4/8ths of each quarter of the relationship circle/arch.

    If too much importance, weight, or value is placed upon ONE, or just two aspects of the whole relationship, the relationship sooner or later will collapse. Human beings, ESPECIALLY different genders and their 4 dynamics inside their personalities, are too complex to oversimplify the relationship onto one or two pillars of a 16-pillar house.

    Make sense? I hope I haven’t been too abstract.

    Another intriguing point of examination of an unhealthy circle/whole person, is that most of the time we compensate for weaknesses by over-emphasizing other talents, i.e. being a Don Juan or “Bad Boy,” or Aphrodite in the bedroom because we’re ignoring the mental, spiritual, or emotional deficits. It seems everytime I get intimate with a woman, I discover ANOTHER damn kink (gap!?) in my circle that needs work, repairing, or a complete overhaul! LOL :p

    • Kitt Crescendo says:

      Don’t laugh, but as I was reading your comment, the song “Circle in the Sand” by Belinda Carlisle started playing in my brain.

      As for equal and balanced? I couldn’t agree more. The problem often lies in that people don’t always have the same understanding of equal/balanced. For example, hubby and I tend to balance each other out. He has moments where he sees the glass as half empty. When those times come, I work to help adjust his vision toward a more positive outlook. When fear of failure starts to cause me to back away from a project or self doubt starts to set in, he tells me how much he believes in me and why. I could go on and on, but I’ll leave it with that example…

      As to your damn kinks (your words, not mine), it’s all good as long as your kinks line up together…or you can find ways to compliment each other. 😉

  8. jansenschmidt says:

    I think every woman needs to decide – for herself – when the time is right to share her body with someone. Not under pressure, not when drunk, not just because. Any other time is NOT the right time.

    And I agree that we should “know before we buy,” when it comes to being intimate. Like you said, not everyone is compatible in the bedroom and if you wait to find that out, you’re relationship is doomed even if no one is having an affair, or some other such non-sexual problem.

    Nuff said.

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

    • Kitt Crescendo says:

      Could not agree more with you on both paragraphs. With reference to your first paragraph, that’s why I talked about focusing on someone who would enrich the experience for you v. as you pointed out…under some seriously negative circumstances. Pressure, drunk, etc… The first time should be special…and spent with someone who will respect and help to enrich that moment for you…so that if it’s not your forever person, at least you’re looking back on that time with fond memories and not regrets. 🙂

  9. Emma says:

    Love is a Battlefield… It’s going to be stuck in my head now!
    I think a lot of us women have used the “you can sleep on the couch tonight” line when we’re pissed off. I know I have. I never viewed it as a weapon, just that I’m mad as hell and want to be alone tonight.

    • Kitt Crescendo says:

      You’re welcome for the earworm…LOL!

      As for your second comment, I think there’s a big difference between needing space to cool off v. withholding affections to punish and torture. Having said that, I also think it’s hugely important that you are clear with your partner when those moments do crop up. Furthermore, I believe that for a relationship to work in the long term, it’s important to address and talk about what caused the anger as quickly as possible and move forward so that those kinds of wounds don’t have time to fester. They can turn very toxic when not handled quickly. 🙂

  10. Tana Bevan says:

    Touche’. Of course, “peer pressure” works both ways. If you come from a background in which there is great pressure on you to remain “pure” until your wedding night and you don’t, that can mess with your head. (A few friends comes to mind.) By the same token, if you come from a background in which there is great pressure that “only fools are virgins on their wedding night,” and you don’t enter your wedding night in that state, that too messes with your head. (A few friends come to mind.)

    Bottom line, going AGAINST your own INNATE and INNER constitution, messes with your head (psyche, emotions and quite possible your physicality).

    One of the most important skills a parent can impart to a child is they learn to listen to THEIR Little Voice. They master tuning out all the noise of “oughtas,” “gottas,” “shoulds,” and focus on what is good/nurturing/right FOR them. If that entails intimacy without marriage, great. If that entails beginning intimacy only within marriage, great.

    Also, I love Professor Taboo’s explanation of the four with its pillars and circles. Makes for a very visual understanding of a relatively abstract idea. Thank you both.

    • Kitt Crescendo says:

      You’re absolutely right. Peer pressure can work both ways (and usually neither is good for the person it’s exerted upon). I agree that the parameters with which you decide on physical intimacy need to be aligned with what your inner voice tells you.

      Professor Taboo did a great job with his explanation, I agree. It’s one of the reasons I love when he pops in. 🙂

  11. Cowboys and Crossbones says:

    Oh I’ve kicked more than one man out of a bedroom but mostly because I couldn’t look at him one second longer without possibly killing him. I didn’t realize that I was using no sex as a weapon. But really, I just was trying to avoid jail time…! 🙂

    • Kitt Crescendo says:

      I think it’s different when you’re angry and need to clear the air/communicate first before physical intimacy is resumed (although there’s definitely something to be said for angry sex). First, if there’s true anger, that should be talked out. It’s not healthy to let it fester. Second, I was thinking more in line of those times when it’s designed to deliberately manipulate someone to gain your personal desired result rather than because you both need to cool off. I know you know exactly what I’m talking about. Most of us have seen that move in action.

  12. filbio says:

    You should be teaching seminars about this stuff. Another great post. I think many times most of us have used sex, or lack of it, holding it hostage, etc, as a weapon. Or bargaining chip so to speak. Sometimes we dio it without realizing it.

    Oh, and I love Pat Benatar but suprised you didn’t use this instead –

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