Monday, June 16, 2014

What Everyone Should Know About Sex In Relationships

Written by: Fenna Vlekke 

I hear it around me too often; people in relationships being manipulated or guilt tripped into having sex. It’s a frighteningly common thing that seems to be ingrained in our culture. Because, despite the law stating very clearly that being in a relationship with someone doesn't imply consent to any sexual act, a lot of people still seem to think otherwise.

Image courtesy of marin /
Some time ago, I was talking to someone who told me she had problems with sex, because it always hurt. This made her not want to do it. But her boyfriend got really frustrated about that, and would be mean to her, and manipulate her. So sometimes, because of him coercing her, she had sex with him. He knew she didn't want it because it hurt, but he did it anyway. Now, although she did understand he was quite mean about it, she didn't seem to understand how wrong it really was. Because, she said, they were in a relationship and having sex is a part of that. I was shocked, because she didn't understand that what he did to her was not okay. She truly believed she owed him sex, because that was an inevitable part of a relationship. 

I’ll be as clear as I can be; nobody owes anyone anything! I do understand that people view sex as an important part of the relationship, I truly do. But believe me, having sex with someone to keep the peace, when you really don’t want to, only damages the relationship. And, more importantly, it damages you. Just like anyone who had to have sex with someone without wanting it, I can tell you it can be a truly traumatising experience. It will have an impact on how you view your body, your self-worth, and relationships in general.

I would never say that if (lack of) sex in a relationship is bothering someone, nothing should be done about it. But guilt tripping or manipulating someone into it isn't the answer. I’d say that way, sex in a relationship is far more damaging than not having sex. If for whatever reason you find it difficult to have sex with your partner, talk to them about it, seek help if necessary. If you're the one dealing with a partner who's often reluctant to have sex, make them feel safe, be open to intimacy they are comfortable with and keep it light and fun. You'll find that once your partner feels confident that their needs are important to you, they will be more open to having sex with you. Don’t be selfish about it, and see it as something that can strengthen the relationship, instead of something you just really want for yourself. Because believe me, someone who didn't want to have sex in the first place, will want it less and less if you keep pushing.

I think it’s sad to realise that so many people are in relationships where they feel they ‘have to’ or ‘need to’, instead of ‘want to’. Although sex might be viewed as really important, that doesn't mean you don’t have the right to say no. It also doesn't mean someone can get angry with you or withdraw affection when you let them know how you feel. Everyone needs to stop thinking of sex as mandatory, and instead look at it as a very pleasurable option. Trying to convince someone to have sex, should be about making them want it too, not making them feel like they have no option.

Written by: Fenna Vlekke


  1. Excellent read once again, thanks!
    I think sex in relationships is very important, and if something is wrong with it, something may be wrong with the relation I think it is kind of a mirror... my idea of the solution: solving it together... that's probably hard, but then again, so is keeping up a relation right? But does that mean it's not worth the struggle? Anyways, I think the hurting is perhaps a different thing, though I think that too may be solved together... cause if it (both sex and relation) hurts with one person, why won't it hurt with the next, so you might as well work on it right now.... right? Thanks again!

    1. Hi Nardo. Thank you for your comment! You're right, sex can be very important in relationships. But at the same time, nobody owes someone else sex, even though they are in a relationship. If people both want to work on the relationship by working on their sex life, then great. If it's purely because one person expects the other person to have sex with them, and doesn't really care if they want it or not, then something goes horribly wrong. The mindset that no one owes someone else sex can help a lot I think, and that can have an automatic effect on their sex life (because I think most people want sex more often if they know their partner only wants to engage in it if they freely participate).