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This is another issue not only asexuals face, but anyone who doesn’t want sex for whatever reason. And that is the “withholding sex” issue.
Some people accuse their partners of withholding sex from them. Sometimes people do it to friends too, telling them they are a waste of space if they don’t have sex, which is outrageous. But for the purpose of this article, I will be focusing on this issue within romantic relationships.
It’s not as uncommon as some believe to find people who may not be into sex. People feel more free and less afraid to voice their opinions and needs. Yes, not wanting sex is a real need too. And it’s not just aces, but perhaps some non-libidoist people, repulsed or averse people, also some indifferent, for religious purposes, or just not finding it so important. And many problems around sex, shaming and similar come from this bubble of obsession and telling people it’s something everyone wants, and has to want. But I talk in a different article about this.
What you have to understand is that even if you are in a relationship sex is never a given. You can expect whatever you want, but unless your partner expresses the wish for it and gives a full consent there won’t be anything going. You may not think so, but sex can be a quite a big thing to want from some people and just because you want it and expect it doesn’t mean your partner does and/or wants it as well. Often, sex is depicted as the root of relationships and it may seem to some that sex is a crucial element of romantic love. But whether or not sex is involved in a relationship is largely based on personal preferences, including but not limited to, sexual orientation, sex drive, physical health, and emotional health.
People can expect anything they want, but nothing has to happen and no one owes their partner sex. Even if you are in a relationship your partner does not owe you sex; claiming this to be the case can be a form of emotional bullying.
And yet, there are many people who accuse their partners of withholding sex from them. But being in a relationship, or even married doesn’t mean that someone has to do everything and anything for you. Any relationship, at least in our so called “civilized” world, is a free-will agreement of both sides, not slavery.
But okay, what about those who still do this? Well, the specific way I’m talking about is a person accusing their partner, who may not want sex, of withholding it from them to get. But to get sex through force or pressure is a characteristic of an abusive relationship. It’s one thing to discuss things, and something completely different to pressure your partner into something they don’t want. Pressuring people into things can be very abusive and if you actually succeed and do have sex, it can be viewed as rape, because you forced your partner into unwanted sexual activity. The magazine Bustle wrote a good article on this topic.
I have heard stories from people first hand whose partner used guilt to pressure them into having sex. And it doesn’t matter if it is a relationship, marriage or anything else. Rape is rape. And if you are pressuring your partner into it, who really doesn’t want sex, you are raping them.
It is important to remember that people of all genders can be both victims and perpetrators of rape. Sometimes, people can find themselves weakened or afraid at the prospect of refusing their partner sex, especially when it is supported so much by society that everyone has to have and want sex. You then may just feel like you really do have to do it, like you have no choice, like there is something wrong with you, and not with the way it is being demanded.
To sum this up: sex is never a given. Never. It is important to discuss comfort levels with your partner before any advances are made. If no sex is a deal-breaker for you, that is fully okay. We all have expectations. And if they are not met it is okay to move on. But it is never okay to pressure people into sexual activity.
The most important thing is communication. Many issues can be dealt with through good communication. Talk about what you want,how you feel and discuss what you are comfortable with. There often is a solution to things, it just depends on communication. And if you still can’t agree on things it is okay to move on.
It just happens, it’s the way life is. Going down on things you’d like is only your good will and you don’t have to do it, no one has.
Difference of interest and clashing expectations are a part of life. Going after the kind of relationship you want is healthy and normal.
But guilting people into sex is inconsiderate and abusive.
Eainn.org offers many resources, like hotlines and resource centers, for sexual abuse survivors, both adult and child. And also to domestic violence survivors.
Safehorizon.org and nsopw.gov both provide hotlines you can call any time, as well as online help and community programs.
And Pandys.com offered help to family, friends and partners of rape and sexual abuse survivors. They offer a forum, articles, several websites where you can write, but also books and booklets.
I hope that anyone who went through rape and/or abuse, or loved ones of those who did, will find these helpful.