Is it okay for a man to say no to sex without having any hidden agenda? What about when he is disinterested in it for some reason – can that happen without others thinking that he’s secretly gay or a survivor of some kind of sexual trauma? Can we create enough safe space for men to say no to sex just ‘cause they don’t wanna?
sexNspirit focuses on heterosexual single women’s sexuality and spirituality. Yet connecting with this topic means that men’s issues surface also, simply ‘cause that’s who we’re having sex with. 😉
After our final reading for our upcoming indie film, Desire’s Kiss, several people asked me about one character’s sexual orientation. Woodson has a gorgeous and caring spouse, Catherine, but his marriage of 10 years lacks intimacy and tenderness. When Catherine begins to grow in her sense of sexuality, Woodson is more than turned-off, he is incensed and considers her actions to be whorish. “Is he gay?” No. And he’s not on the down-low. And he was not molested or anything like that as a child. He’s uncomfortable with sex and hasn’t had enough safe space to work out any of his discomfort. That simple.
The Crunk Feminist Collective, a few weeks ago, posted a couple of blogs related to this issue:
These posts sparked lots of conversation, some heated, about what happens when a woman asks for sex and the man declines her invitation. The blog’s author suspects that her intended lover harbors some hidden agenda or motive behind his answer, that it’s some kind of power play. Some comments agree and some disagree. The blogger also raises the question of women’s agency and how that plays out in any rights we may have to experience love, affection, and sexual satisfaction. What it means for a man to say no also raises the question of what it means for a woman to be denied sex when she issues the invitation. The blogger is “interested in having [conversations] around effective ways to express straight Black female desire in affirmative, sex-positive ways, and thinking about what kind of world (and relationships with men) we need to have to have the reasonable expectation that those needs can be met on a regular basis, without getting into all this philosophizing about whether we have the right to have our needs met.”
After my asking her what determines if an expression of desire is effective or ineffective, she shares that it involves having a “reasonable expectation” of having needs met that took some effort to express in the first place. (I am amazed at her sharing so candidly such intimate struggles.) I share my thoughts on effective/ineffective expression and reasonable expectations:
perhaps, then, effective expression begins with whatever needs to happen within each one of us to be comfortable, to be ok with asking for whatever we need &/or want to have a fulfilling life. for me, only when i’m okay with what i’m doing can i handle well other people’s responses to it without all the heavy feelings.
so before i ask, especially if it’s an area in which i’m not used to asking, i sit down w/ myself to determine where i am with it all and how i can best respond to their possible responses. like counting the cost before i make a purchase. of course, we can never always anticipate all of what another person will do or say, but what this provides for me is a sense of being prepared which boosts my confidence & sense of security.
then i also have to know undoubtedly within myself that whether they say yes OR no, their response is about them, not me. so, if i cannot approach my ask in this way, i’m not ready to ask & should not ask yet. the best thing for me to do is to wait until i’m ready to engage at this level of living. (of course waiting means actively doing so, working on whatever to become ready.)
when i am truly ready i have a clearer assessment of whether there is “reasonable access” to what i’m seeking AND i can be ok with a decline of access, even if it is reasonable. i also know & understand that being ok w/ all of this can be excruciatingly difficult when i’ve been existing in spaces of what is or seems like perpetual denial of fundamental goodness in living.
To piggy-back on her question of the kind of world we need to create for reasonable expectations of met needs for women, I ask, what kind of a world do we need to create so that men can say no for earnest reasons that they no more have to share with us than we have to share our reasons with them – without any suspicion of hidden sexual orientations, agendas, or power moves?
announcing candi’s 2nd book!
Who Told You That You Were Naked? Black Women Reclaiming Sexual & Spiritual Goodness
Sex is a good thing! And the Church ought to celebrate it and preach/teach about it more.
Traditionally the Black church tends to teach more about religion than spirituality and is virtually silent regarding sexuality. Who Told You That You Were Naked? focuses on how Black women’s experiences and other sources for theological ethics can inform their desire to reconcile sexual and spiritual goodness. With this exploration, we can reverse the adverse effects of this tradition, thereby improving the single, heterosexual Protestant Black woman’s understanding of herself as a sexual being.
only $14.99 + S&H (please allow 4-6 weeks for delivery.)
Who Told You That You Were Naked? includes an interview with Pearl Cleage, best-selling author and award-winning playwright
“[M]any of the painful things that . . . happen in our romantic lives happen because we are still not behaving as free women. . . . I encourage women to seek out churches that address their concerns rather than trying to revolutionize a church that might not be open to these ideas.” ~Pearl Cleage
As always, thank you for your interest in sexNspirit and your support of candi dugas, llc.
© 2012, candi dugas, llc