Asking for Sex: What Do You Do When the Guy Says No?

Frequently, I tell my friends that my life is a bad romantic comedy. There’s plenty of comedy, little romance, and never a happy ending.

This has become all the more apparent as I have attempted to make sex a regular rather than sporadic occurrence in my post-30 life.

I swear that I have managed to meet the only 200 men on the planet who actually say “No” when you ask for sex. (Of course I’m exaggerating. I don’t think I personally know 200 men that I find sexually attractive.)

Feminism and becoming a grown-ass woman with a strong-ass 30+ year old monster libido has made me decidedly  less embarrassed about asking for what I want, particularly as it relates to my intimate life.

In fact, asking for what I want and need has become my mantra for 2012. One of my good friends gave me exactly this advice on January 1st of this year. And recently, I heard Joan Morgan, my feminist big sister shero say exactly this same thing at a series of wonderful discussions on Emotional Justice that I’ve been attending. “Ask for what you need,” she implored the audience, because  to paraphrase the ending, “you just might get it.”

And getting it—good and on the regular—is what I’m interested in.

But my asking hasn’t helped.

#TrueStory: chalk it up to #VenusRetrograde but last month saw exes coming out the woodworks. I had a chance to have dinner and clear the air with one that I really liked.  After a lovely dinner and good conversation (not to mention an extended drought), I asked if he’d like to accompany me back to my room.

Surprise of surprises: he declined. Exasperated (and horny) I asked “Why?” Lo and behold, he flipped the gender script and told me some version of: “I’m happy to have you back in my life. I don’t want to move too prematurely because we are rebuilding our relationship.” Riiiiight. What I wanted to know is what our “relationship” had to do with the sex that I needed to have right then and there.

For that there were no answers.

Perhaps it’s the sexual frustration talking but I have been especially annoyed by all this pop culture talk of celibacy brought on by Megan Good’s choice to abstain until her recent marriage to Devon Franklin, a Hollywood exec and devout Christian.

During last night’s BET Awards, she stayed on message, happily celebrating the fact that now that she’s married she can have all the sweaty, R&B induced sex she’d like.

Her public abstinence campaign led to several conversations about what role sex should play in relationships.

Now one could argue that men being more thoughtful about sex, rather than being the selfish entitled asses that they have traditionally been is a feather in feminism’s cap.

And I know lots of Christian sisters take Meagan Good’s story as evidence that there are good brothers who will wait.

Three things though:

A.)  We aren’t all Meagan Good.

B.)  For this one brother she found that was willing to do the quote-unquote right thing, there are 50 that won’t. I’ma PK (preacher’s kid). Trust me.

Maybe I’m just being cynical.  But there is also this.

C.)  Every woman isn’t trying to get married.

For the perpetually single sister, whether by choice or circumstance, Christianity’s general view of sexuality leaves little to hope for.

Even so, if all this celibacy talk didn’t smack of “user-friendly patriarchy” (shout out to Diva Feminist), I might be convinced.

But what I can tell you is this: Getting my courage up to ask a partner that I trust for the sex that I wanted only to be turned down left me feeling hella disempowered.

As feminists one of the major tenets of hetero-sex positivity discourse is making women feel empowered to ask for what we want, to know that our needs and desires matter. Back in the day, some of the original pro-sex Hip Hop Feminists, TLC said, “yo, if I need it in the morning or the middle of the night, I ain’t too proud to beg”

#realtalk: I’m a little too proud to beg. But not to ask. 

What should we do when men flip the script and tell us no? 

For instance in this recent piece at Essence.com, the male author had the nerve to be “concerned” that a woman might reject the possibility of a relationship with an otherwise compatible mate if his sex game was found lacking.

Now that women are prioritizing sexual pleasure, men are changing the rules. They are recognizing that sexual performance can decline with age just like beauty.

But frankly, strictly speaking from my own experience, I think that men say no as a way to regain power.

 I have a strong personality, I’m outspoken, and smart. Whatever the fuck Steve Harvey says, I know some brothers have found it intimidating. Denying sex becomes an easy way for men to let you know who’s boss.

Of late, I’ve had more than a few homegirls tell me about the negative reactions that they have gotten from men they were casually involved with, when they tried to prioritize sex in the interaction. Apparently, even when these brothers weren’t all that interested in a relationship, they took it as a serious blow to the ego, to find out that sisters just wanted to engage them for their bodies and sexual talents.

And in the classic fashion of those with privilege, they played the victim, changed the rules, and refused to give the thing they had the power to give. In this case, sex.

I wish I had some pithy insights about how to negotiate this madness. For instance, I know these kinds of stories make pro-sex feminists (of which I am one, very uncomfortable).  In a system that highly constrains choice, agency is a precious commodity, and no one likes to feel like they have no agency. And that is how this shit feels on many days.

I’ll say this one thing: I’m not indiscriminate in my sexual choices. Given the AIDS crisis among Black women, and the high rates of HPV, an STI which condoms do not offer 100% protection from and which disproportionately leads to the cervical cancer deaths of Black women at a rate 200% of that of our white counterparts, I cannot afford to be indiscriminate.

Moreover, I refuse to apologize for having standards, even for my sex life.

Truth be told, it sucks to feel like on the one hand, good long-term relationships are hard to come by (and 70% of Black women with advanced degrees are single, mind you) and on the other hand, your sexual empowerment strategy is literally a life and death situation, every single time.

This is the kind of ish that professional women of color confront on our journey to trying to find the balance, the all, that highly educated professional white women rarely have to think twice about. {Good reply here though.} I mean, fuck ALL. Can I just get some?!

But I know my desires are healthy. Human. Holy, even. I also know that #AClosedMouthDon’tGetFed. So I have no choice but to keep asking, hoping that in “asking, it shall be given, that in seeking I will find.”  And along the way, I will remember Joan’s most important words from Emotional Justice:  ”I try to be as fearless as possible in my love practice.” Word. May courage be my angel.

crunkashell

95 thoughts on “Asking for Sex: What Do You Do When the Guy Says No?

  1. As a handsome (;-)) Black man who is abstinent for nearly six years, I have some experience with turning down a woman for sex. Maybe the guy just wants something more than you’re willing to give. Maybe he wants a relationship of substance. Or, maybe he just wasn’t feeling you like that.

    Men have feelings and desires much like women.

    • @Miles Garvey, I appreciate the sincerity in the first paragraph, but resent the insincerity in the last line. Women have never been the ones to not see men as human. We are not the ones who have a history of objectifying the opposite sex. So please place your comments in context. I get that he wanted a relationship of substance, but sex does not preclude substance. And again, it’s interesting to hear men talking about substance after setting up the dating game in a way that’s all about sex.

      One thing about privilege (be it race, gender, or sexual) the privileged will change the rules in whatever ways allow them to maintain dominance and a feeling of moral superiority.

      I hear you on dealing with the humanity in dude’s choice, but the issue is that he couldn’t deal with the humanity in my request. And had no qualms about denying it. But whatever, clearly when it came to his needs versus mine, his mattered more. And I guess we all have that prerogative.

      • “I hear you on dealing with the humanity in dude’s choice, but the issue is that he couldn’t deal with the humanity in my request. ”

        You want to use a man for sex and defend your objectification of another human by claiming to be a sex positive feminist. Your hypocrisy is off the charts and I really wish you would see men as equals who are free to react to sexual request in the same women do. Men don’t have to justify their rejection anymore than a women would.

        If we are going to generalize about gender norms your injection of privilege into a discussion about sexual power dynamics is comical because women have always had the upper hand in this particular area. It’s men who generally are expected to initiate. That fact is only reinforced by the newness of women asking men for sex.

        Let me give you a tip for the uninitiated, if you become a initiator your going to have to deal with rejection. This is something men figure out how to deal with when they are very young and it’s sad it took you this long to find out. Perhaps if you made more of an effort when you were young it would not come as such a rude awakening.

        Your frustrated response resembles that of men who can’t get it when they want it and blame women for being deficient in any number of ways. It’s the wrong path and I suggest you find a more mature way of dealing with sexual rejection in the future. The personal is not political in this case. That human being who your asking has to actually want to have sex with you.

      • “Women have never been the ones to not see men as human.”

        Really? Is that why our mothers taught us never to show feelings? When we cried we were told to “man up” in some way shape or form?

        You really don’t have any idea what you’re talking about at all, and you’re putting men in a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” situation. Saying “no” has NOTHING to do with any sort of privilege – it has to do with desire. Then men you have propositioned haven’t desired you and you don’t like it so it becomes an issue of feminisim.

        You’re full of shit.

      • A quick point: the fact that patriarchy exists doesn’t mean that all living men played a hand in creating that system. A corollary to this point is that just because men have historically objectified women, that doesn’t mean that we all do that now, and it also doesn’t mean that women should feel ok about doing it to men. You can’t indict men writ large for creating the dating game. Clearly the gentleman whose post you are replying to had no hand in creating the dating game you are referring to.

        I understand there is an argument to be made that men have all benefitted from the existing infrastructure of gender relations created by our predecessors, and therefore inherently have more power within that system than women. But unless your goal is just to be angry at men for something we played no part in (although we do sometimes profit from it), why say that this man can’t complain about a lack of substance in the dating game? It’s not his fault that many men don’t look for substantive relationships. In fact, he is working against that.

        Another point: I don’t think a man should have to feel any qualms about not having sex with you. You are not entitled to sex. If you both want to do it, great, but can you imagine what this would argument would look like if I made it? “Yeah, she didn’t really want to have sex with me, but I have my needs (I am horny), so she should have sex with me.” That’s an outrageous statement. So is yours.

        If you’re casually involved with someone, I see no need for him to put your sexual needs before his.

  2. I am believer in asking for what you want, sometimes you get information that you need. My ex-husband refused to have sex a few times. Come to find out he was cheating. Notice I said “ex-husband.”

  3. I usually don’t like to wade into internet comment areas, but here goes:

    Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar. Especially when it comes down to the interaction between a particular set of two people. Whether or not one person, male or female, actually wants to engage in sexual activity with another at a particular moment is dependent on a lot of things, many of which don’t have to be related to macro issues like patriarchy or feminism, but are intensely personal and particular to one or both of the parties themselves. Maybe he just ain’t feeling you like that. Or maybe he’s mature enough to be deliberate in his actions. Or maybe he had some things on his mind that made him just not be in the mood (contrary to popular tropes, it happens to men too). There is a dear male friend of mine who has a healthy sexual appetite (I know from experience) but I also know that he is rather shy and is not at all turned on by relentlessly aggressive propositioning. Point being that there ain’t always a patriarchy conspiracy behind every door.

    I am having a hard time understanding why it seems to be alright for women to change their “traditional” roles in the quest for a little action but men cannot do the same without being accused of “changing the rules.” We can’t have it both ways. If women have the right to shift then men do too.

    I think also, just as women do not like to be reduced to flat, essentialized caricatures, we would do well to refrain from doing the same to the brothers. There are stereotypical notions many of us carry in our heads with regards to male sexuality–some of which may be rooted in *a* reality (i.e our own personal experience or that of our associates), but don’t reflect at all the complexity, nuance, or diversity that is the male experience/perspective.

    And frankly, the shade that seems to be thrown at Megan Good is rather thin. I understand that her choices aren’t for everyone, for a wide variety of reasons, but neither are your decisions for everyone either, and I doubt that you would agree not to talk about them just because some folks ain’t feeling where you coming from. If she and her now husband chose to wait, apparently it worked for them and that’s all that really matters at the end of the day. If she wants to share her story and perspective on sex-she has that right. Just as you do. If it works for you, great, if it doesn’t, that’s your business. But what is not cool is to somehow imply that she has not right to share because it doesn’t jive with everyone’s trajectory. That’s hogwash. There are a lot of ways to be a sexual being.

  4. I don’t consider men saying no to sex to be “flipping the script”. Men have desires and needs, just like Miles said. They have every right to say no to sex; consent goes both ways. They have their own reasons to say no to sex, and that is totally valid and should be accepted at face value.

    Surely you expect your “no” to be taken at face value and not prodded for explanations as to exactly why? Because your reasons are your own. So are those of any man (or ANYONE) you may ask to have sex with you.

    Being rejected blows, but accepting that rejection is possible is sort of mandatory in a world that isn’t just about you. You need to be able to ask for things you want and need — but you also have to be able to accept that sometimes those things aren’t what the other person wants or needs.

    • I’m exploring how to get my needs met. Of course I get the incongruency of the other person’s needs with my own. But as my needs were not his concern, his needs are not my primary concern.

      Who said his no wasn’t valid? It can be a valid expression of his emotions and still be implicated in patriarchy, particularly if we take male privilege on things related to sex and gender as given. And I do.

      I also reserved the right to ask for an explanation because I know him. We have a past. Asking for an explanation doesn’t invalidate his reply.

      • “Who said his no wasn’t valid? It can be a valid expression of his emotions and still be implicated in patriarchy, particularly if we take male privilege on things related to sex and gender as given. And I do.”

        Your trying to stereotype men and even men you know using theories you read or created in your own mind. Then you have the nerve to get angry that they are not defending themselves against your biases when they do not consent to sex. Your falling all over yourself trying to come up with a reasoned argument but it’s pretty obvious to everyone reading that your just struggling with being rejected. The shame will pass and you don’t have to repackage it as a form gender oppression. That will only make it harder to accept the truth which is some men will not want to have sex with you even though you want to have sex with them.

        Something you should know about men is as we age our interest in sex tends to decline. As you get older so are the men you were with. They don’t want it like they used to. I don’t want it like I used to. If they don’t submit to the pressure to be ‘the man’ they just might say no, instead of doing something they really don’t want to do.

        I don’t think this post was the right way to work through this issue. I would hate to see either gender pressured into sex to fit some kind of gender role expectation. For so long male identity was tied to sexual virility and being ready to go at anytime but the truth is not all men are like that. Lots of men are romantics, some of them have a low sex drive, and others are struggling with inner turmoil.

        Men are a lot like women in more ways than we care to see. The thing that kept them playing the old role was often the expectations society pushed on them. They like women are now free to be their more authentic selves and as a result women should be prepared to see some changes.

  5. ["What I wanted to know is what our “relationship” had to do with the sex that I needed to have right then and there."]
    Wow. Can’t tell you how many guys I’ve known who’ve been burned in effigy over that one… :)

    [“...user-friendly patriarchy...”] Did you have a link for this? I’d like to read more.

    ["But what I can tell you is this: Getting my courage up to ask a partner that I trust for the sex that I wanted only to be turned down left me feeling hella disempowered."]
    Welcome to our world… LOL!

    ["But frankly, strictly speaking from my own experience, I think that men say no as a way to regain power."] I’m sure at times. But to defy one’s social programming and actually not have to hit everything moving (especially just because it’s offered) can be quite liberating for men opting to grow the fuck up… Wait, would that some “grown-ass man” shit? HELL YES. Lol!

    ["Apparently, even when these brothers weren’t all that interested in a relationship, they took it as a serious blow to the ego, to find out that sisters just wanted to engage them for their bodies and sexual talents."]
    So…after being taught by feminism that sexual objectification is inhumane…you want men to just shut up and take it? Hmmm…

    ["And in the classic fashion of those with privilege, they played the victim, changed the rules, and refused to give the thing they had the power to give. In this case, sex."]
    Actually, I always thought that women flipped the script and changed the dynamics by challenging the gender power dynamic of sex and relationships (rightly so). But I have a question, if men only deny sex to invoke gender privilege, then what has it been when women did it? And is there any context where men can say no without it strictly being a re-invocation of patriarchy?

    ["Given the AIDS crisis among Black women, and the high rates of HPV, an STI which condoms do not offer 100% protection from and which disproportionately leads to the cervical cancer deaths of Black women at a rate 200% of that of our white counterparts, I cannot afford to be indiscriminate."] Real talk. Thank you for posting this.

    • When your world is informed by having your sexual desires and options influenced by the operations of patriarchy, then we’ll be in the same world. I dislike the failure of the men in this thread to reflect on the fact that Black men do have more power than Black women. Male privilege is a real thing, and it is especially true when it comes to sex.

      Moreover I understood what no meant. It meant he didn’t want to do it. And he didn’t have to do it. Nor did he. Surely men are not so obtuse (or more to the point intellectually disingenuous) that they can’t understand the coercive ways that men go about getting sex from women and how that is wholly different from my asking a partner to clarify in the moment what it is about the prospect of sex with me that he finds undesirable.

      Gender matters here. This is not a one-to-one flip. Men tend to get this with racial questions but act completely baffled when it comes to gender.

      Makes my ass burn in a major way.

      • And I don’t agree with how the only acceptable male response to you seems to be silence, or rather, an implicit acquiescence to whatever you argue.

        And I agree that gender matters, and we do benefit from gender privileges, but that doesn’t mean that the ways in which it works are not nuanced and sometimes contradictory. More so, it is not intellectually disingenuine to suggest that black men’s privilege is intersected by our own gender and race oppression. Most men code “gender” with “feminine,” and don’t often realize that what we call racial oppression is also gendered against us because we are black men.

        And I didn’t see any evidence to the fact that his saying no suggested a flexing of a power you don’t have. Your approach seems to suggest that he either give you a reason you would accept or service your desire. But you haven’t seemed to entertain an acceptable “no” that didn’t seem to be dismissed as patriarchy. Male or female, a no is a no.

      • No is no. On that we agree.

        I don’t demand acquiescence. I do call foul when I write a post that attempts to get at the more complicated ways male privilege operates in intimate interactions and the men who read the post (and most commenters have been male mind you) all automatically empathize with the guy, and proceed to make the comments section an amen corner for discussing male desire and discounting the legitimacy of female frustrations and struggles. It’s a classic male privilege move (the act of recentering men’s narratives) if ever there were one.

        Since Black feminist scholars are the pioneers of Black masculinity studies, I’d venture to say that this is not a blog space in which you have to preach about how Black men’s male privilege intersects with racism. But you should recognize that a core tenet of Black feminist thought is that racism does not discount the operations of Black male privilege in Black male-female interactions (platonic, romantic, or familial).

        One of the things about privilege is that even when folks are committed to dismantling it, some times it will work in their favor, because privilege does not just operate at an individual level. So for instance, part of my own journey around feminism and sex has been about learning how to ask for what I want, whether that has been to have sex or to not have it. In my twenties, sexual pleasure was largely a function of what men wanted, because both men and women (hetero) are sexualized to see sexual pleasure as the domain of men. Part of becoming sex positive has been about acknowledging my own sexual needs and being willing to ask to have them met.

        In my twenties, men exercised male privilege by demanding sex or moving on to women who would give it to them. Now that I”m in my thirties and dealing with older men who are not the horn dogs they were in their twenties, they want to slow down and be substantive. In some ways, men and women move in reverse. Women become a bit more sex positive the older we get, and men become less prone to make all romantic interactions about sex. (Yes, I know these are broad generalizations). But the effect of that is that straight women’s options for having the types of intimate lives we want to have are always constrained by the men in our lives. Like I alluded to in the post, I’m sure I could just go out and fuck with abandon, but HIV and HPV are real, so I tend to engage brothers with whom I have some level of connection, even if it’s not commitment. That is as much about safety as about intimacy.

        So this doesn’t mean that men are wrong for being more discriminating in their sexual choices or that they always have to say yes in service of feminism. That’s absurd. But it doesn’t change the fact that those choices can still participate in a system of privilege that ultimately leaves the end results of negotiations of sexual desire in the hands of men. It does mean that men live in a system where whatever they choose (to have sex or not to have sex) is always a viable option. When women can’t achieve the same level of choices under the same healthy conditions, the system is unequal even if individual choices are totally justifiable.

        Last thing: your penultimate statement is poppycock. This guy is a friend. We have a past. I asked for an explanation of his rejection in light of that past. This idea that asking for an explanation is the same thing as negating the legitimacy of his no is ridiculous and is clearly a misunderstanding of no means no. No meant no. He told me no. And he didn’t do the thing I asked, nor was there any possibility that I could (or would if I could) force a different result. I accepted his no and told him so. Whether he offered an explanation or not, the result would’ve been the same. He explained his choice because we are friends. Furthermore, I don’t have the physical ability to exact some type of threat based upon his refusal or to force him to “service my desire.” You seem to be suggesting that my questioning in and of itself was coercion, and that again is a disingenuous account of male-female power relationships. And in fact, having this convo about the phrase “no means no” with a bunch of men who haven’t fully worked through male privilege is like trying to have a conversation about what is wrong with the phrase “reverse racism” with a group of white people who haven’t fully acknowledged the operations of white privilege.

    • ["During last night’s BET Awards, she stayed on message, happily celebrating the fact that now that she’s married she can have all the sweaty, R&B induced sex she’d like.]
      Oh and having experienced married life for nine years, in the immortal words of Terrence Howard in The Best Man, “In what world!?!?!?”

      • Crunktastic,
        I want to thank you for your thoughtful remarks to me a few days ago. I wanted to return the favor and consider your words very carefully, and reflect on them to the degree they deserve. And also, in as much as we may disagree on certain things, I do respect your intellect and depth.

        [“I do call foul when I write a post that attempts to get at the more complicated ways male privilege operates in intimate interactions and the men who read the post (and most commenters have been male mind you) all automatically empathize with the guy, and proceed to make the comments section an amen corner for discussing male desire and discounting the legitimacy of female frustrations and struggles. It’s a classic male privilege move (the act of recentering men’s narratives) if ever there were one.”]
        First, you engaged Black men in your subject choice. So we chose to respond. Secondly, it is not the “complicated ways male privilege operates” that I think people disagreed with you on…I think it was the scenario you invoked. It didn’t seem to support your conclusion. I agree that men do such things (absolutely!), but I just didn’t see any evidence of it in your described evening. In fact, he seemed to be attempting to exhibit a genuine affection for you, and if there isn’t another way to interpret such a tender display than as a re-invocation of patriarchy, then female/male gender dialogues are in a terrifying place. To dismiss responses as merely “recentering men’s narratives” provides little opportunity for critical engagement, and suggests that the only response you’ll entertain is one that merely accepts your argument without qualification.
        [“Since Black feminist scholars are the pioneers of Black masculinity studies, I’d venture to say that this is not a blog space in which you have to preach about how Black men’s male privilege intersects with racism. But you should recognize that a core tenet of Black feminist thought is that racism does not discount the operations of Black male privilege in Black male-female interactions (platonic, romantic, or familial).”]
        Not everyone on this blog space has extensively studied Black feminist analysis and praxis. Hence, the attempt to include. And, I’m not suggesting that racism discounts male privilege. I’m arguing that intersections between race, gender, and sex are complicated. And as such, your assessments of Black male privilege don’t seem to include the ways that gender oppression works against Black men. In other words, you can competently describe Black male privilege, but unlike White men, Black male privilege is linked to Black male oppression, and complicates the nature of its link to Black female gender oppression. This does not exclude Black men from the admonishment of our enjoyment of gender privileges (and it shouldn’t), but your assessment of the power dynamic is too narrow. And yes, Black women are the pioneers of Black masculinity studies, but Black women prescribing Black male gender study narratives can only be suggestive. As Black men speak to gender in more comprehensive ways with their own voices, the dialogue moves into new spaces. So yes, I will speak without undue reservation despite where my field of study originates (and as PK myself, I don’t preach).
        [“So for instance, part of my own journey around feminism and sex has been about learning how to ask for what I want, whether that has been to have sex or to not have it.”]
        I applaud you for this. I do know that this is contradiction to the social conditioning women have had regarding sex, and the degree to which women are “supposed” to be ignorant and powerless in regard to it. I would also add that your ex’s actions contradict his social programming too, and I merely suggest that there may have been more constructive things happening here than you acknolwedge.
        [“Part of becoming sex positive has been about acknowledging my own sexual needs and being willing to ask to have them met.”]
        True. And I hope this is something that more women do, as it is not a practice society supports. What comes with such growth, however, is the very same terrifying/ego-shattering vulnerability of having a “no” with little explanation. And again, I don’t think he needed to give you one.
        [“In my twenties, men exercised male privilege by demanding sex or moving on to women who would give it to them. Now that I’m in my thirties and dealing with older men who are not the horn dogs they were in their twenties, they want to slow down and be substantive. In some ways, men and women move in reverse. Women become a bit more sex positive the older we get, and men become less prone to make all romantic interactions about sex.”]
        How true! Before my wife passed away, we, and ALL of my married friends, grappled with this switch in sexual positions. But in a different way. Our single friends described what you’re dealing with. Our married friends, however, in each scenario, noticed that no matter how they approached intimacy, the women lost interest in sex.
        The other interesting thing here is that I believe men’s growth is intimately tied to women’s decision making power. The coercive ways men get sex from women you mentioned before can be quite exploitive, but it can also be a response to the vulnerability and pain of being rejected by women. In other words, some men do move on to other options when no is the answer. Had you chosen to call another male friend the night your ex said no, would that mean you were being manipulative? Maybe. Or maybe it could’ve meant that you wanted company and intimacy, and you explored an option available to you when the one you really wanted was not. Or both.
        [“But the effect of that is that straight women’s options for having the types of intimate lives we want to have are always constrained by the men in our lives.”]
        We constrain you…we re-invoke patriarchal narratives on you…we re-center our narratives… Is that all we do? Are there no other ways to interpret such gender interactions other than this binary?
        [“You seem to be suggesting that my questioning in and of itself was coercion, and that again is a disingenuous account of male-female power relationships.”] What I question is how in your assessment and (most likely) exhaustive study of historical gender-power relationships, you seem to overlook how women can and do coerce men, and further accuse me of being disingenuous for pointing that out. And yes, questioning can be coercive (although maybe you didn’t—I’m not accusing, merely examining the possibility).
        [“And in fact, having this convo about the phrase “no means no” with a bunch of men who haven’t fully worked through male privilege is like trying to have a conversation about what is wrong with the phrase “reverse racism” with a group of white people who haven’t fully acknowledged the operations of white privilege.”]
        Wow. How presumptive. To assume that all of the men on this blog haven’t “worked through male privilege” because we disagree with you is presumptive and patronizing. I acknowledge my male privilege, and I disagree with your interpretation of your evening. Can the two function in the same space simultaneously? It doesn’t mean that I haven’t accepted my privilege just because I don’t accept your critique carte blanche, nor am I denying that you could be right that he was re-invoking patriarchal privilege. But I am uncomfortable with how limited your options of interpretation were. Also, The Black female/male dynamic is not as similar to White/Black relations as people seem to invoke. Unlike such dynamics, Black men and women are having a family dispute. We share a history, a culture (or cultures), an experience, and a context. And we have both suffered from racial and gender oppressions for the last several centuries from White society–and we both still do. I hoped this site could be a space for such critical dialogue. It is the very reason I created my blog http://newblackmasculinities.wordpress.com/, because I think that Black men have been unfairly depicted in and out of the community, and this retards dialogues with Black women.
        I don’t discount the myriad ways privilege can re-emerge, but as I stated before, you seem to only entertain a few narrow possibilities regarding men, we either: provide you with a conciliatory silence that supports your conclusions without qualification or we re-invoke patriarchy. I disagree with the lack of Black male humanity you propose, but I do applaud your demonstration of sexual forthrightness. As far as you being the initiator goes, whether you choose to admit it or not, women do have power. In the Gramscian sense, no group is completely powerless, and between Black men and women, Black men’s gender privilege is an extension of White society’s pre-occupation with gender power dynamics, and it as yielded oppression and privilege for Black men and women. The degree to which you ignore this re-invokes the very “victim/villain” binary you challenged a commenter on in your last article subject.
        I realize that this can be a harsh place to explore intimate subject matter, and I applaud your courage in doing so, but to dismiss male responses because they “missed the point” I think is a bit arrogant. Many men may not have learned the context that Black feminist work from in detail (something I work against), but that doesn’t mean that we all just “don’t get it.” And to abandon the discussion because it didn’t go the way you wanted it to doesn’t have to mean you weren’t understood… Don’t take your ball and go home. What you’ve raised is important.

        PS- “Poppycock?” Lol!! I dig you Crunktastic. I may disagree with some of your conclusions, but I still think you’re the shit!

      • Many thanks for your continued willingness to dialogue. Your post was lengthy, lol!, and I won’t attempt to parse all of it, but I will make a few observations.

        In this post, I attempt to explore what it looks like to make female desire central in a discussion about Black hetero relationships. By choosing to use a scenario from my own life (one that is representative in general of my romantic life, unfortunately, I might add), I introduced men to the discussion. That doesn’t mean that it was okay for the comments section to become as I say an amen corner about Black men’s perspectives.

        If you scroll back through the comments, you’ll notice precious few comments about Black women’s sexual desire, even though one goal of contemporary feminism is sexual empowerment. In some ways the comments section has demonstrated my point. When Black men’s needs are in conflict with Black women’s needs, Black women’s needs always take a backseat as we are forced to defend ourselves, to PROVE through copious amounts of evidence, that the shit we say is happening to us is really happening to us.

        So let me be clear: I think men have every right to say no, for whatever reason. No one should feel compelled to give an explanation. I felt comfortable and justified in asking for one based on the nature of my relationship with this particular man. But one of the best ways to understand the operations of privilege is to acknowledge that in a system of unequal power, the exercise of rights does not happen on a level playing field. So for instance, white folks have the right to use the money they’ve earned to move to whatever neighborhoods they choose. They haven’t technically done anything wrong by wanting to exercise choices about where to live, work, and raise families, but gentrification is real, and there are other families (Black and Brown families, usually) who are actively disadvantaged by their choices.

        Let me extend this to the scenario at hand: the brother in question is a really good guy, has a lot going for himself, and can have his pick of partners. He could turn down sex with me because he has a range of options for getting his romantic and relational desires met. Where his record of achievement and success (coupled with his character) have expanded his options, my level of success has in some ways constrained mine. Again I point to the startling rates of singleness among Black women with advanced degrees.

        That is the systemic level of the conversation, and it’s difficult because Black men certainly shouldn’t feel compelled to pursue romantic options they don’t want for the sake of politics. There is also the individual level which is about men wanting to remain in control of the terms on which sex happens. So when I saw several conversations about Black men and celibacy, I wanted to explore here what this shift in social discourse might be indicative of. And whatever good it might indicate, I also think it will create challenges for some Black women.

        So anyway, when this brother made his decison, however justifiable his reasons may have been, that doesn’t mean that the impact of those choices didn’t constrain my options to choose partners that were affirming for me in the ways that I need. And that really is the larger point. Part of my frustration is not about blaming brothers, but rather about the fact that when I (and many other sisters I know) find themselves in this situation, there is no one who is accountable. The brother can always invoke his rights, and rightfully so. But the sister who has particular needs then just has to live with not having them met. I’ve lived it. And based upon the book I cited earlier, Averil Y. Clarke’s Inequalities of Love, it is pretty clear that women in my same socioeconomic and educational category struggle with it too. The book actually says that overall, highly educated Black and Brown women have markedly less sex than other groups, and that is due in large part to sporadic access to romantic partners. It’s not a game.

        But what it is is a form of inequality. And while Black men may not be responsible for it on an individual level (though sometimes they very much are), they have the privilege of not having the same kinds of worries about how to get their intimate needs (around sex) met. And that is a privilege.

        You indicated that you didn’t think the scenario backed up the conclusions. The challenge here is that I don’t want to have to tell all my business in order to prove a point. Nor will I, :) . But I suspect that however much detail I might have given, I still wouldn’t necessarily be believed. All it would do is provide more fodder for people to pick apart. If folks read this as a victims and villains narrative, the person who wants sex is always the bad guy to the person who wants the relationship, and that is even more so, if the person wanting the relationship is a brotha! [I know lots of sisters think I’m a fool for turning down his offer!} (For the record, I never indicated that I was not open to a relationship, but what I was trying to suggest was that relationships and sex are not the same thing. I wanted sex in that moment, and the discussion about a relationship could’ve happened later.)

        This resistance to thinking about Black women’s limitations around sex (outside of a sensationalized media narrative that casts it as a problem of character and desirability) has to do with the fact that I don’t think folks really believe Black women can be victims of the system. Folks seem to think that us talking about the ways our choices are constrained in intimate relationships a.) means we are picking on black men b.) that we have too high of standards and/or c.) that we refuse to recognize the choices we do have (and one of those choices seems to be for some commenters, that I just go out and fuck indiscriminately!) And that was the point of the post: I insist upon having agency and having options but it feels incredibly disempowering to have your exercising of those agency and options thwarted at every turn, particularly since being indiscriminate is not actually an option in an AIDS/HPV epidemic!

        I do find your account of intersectionality troubling, because while you say that Black men have privilege, the entirety of that discussion seems to be about mitigating the effects of that privilege on Black women, and that to me says that in fact there’s not a real understanding or grappling with Black male privilege. So yes, I do assume that if commenters argue in a particular way, namely by recentering Black men’s narratives, by minimizing my perspective or feeling entitled (since that phrase has been tossed around a lot) to the primacy and truth of your narrative, it is the operations of privilege. And one thing men have to learn (whatever their race) is that just like we expect when we deal with white privilege, those with particular forms of privilege always have to have a posture of checking themselves, not defending their rights. Anytime you find yourself arguing in defense of all the pains your privilege doesn’t cause, you’ve missed the point. I try to maintain this posture when I’m in conversations about hetero privilege, able-bodied privilege, etc.

        Finally, the deep irony of this conversation is that in its focus on men’s right to give consent, commenters have set up consent as a straw man vis-a-vis Black female desire. I reject those terms, because as I said in another comment, desire and consent go together; they are not competing.

        I find it very troubling that my desire has largely been cast as predatory, as not the attempt to find or have access to something I need, but rather as a set of commitments that fundamentally deny Black men something that they have the right to. And that narrative, that Black female agency threatens and preys upon Black men’s sense of well-being is one of the oldest (and most ignorant and AGAIN disingenuous) arguments against Black women and feminism that has existed.

        But it also effectively becomes another way to police Black female sexuality, by limiting the terms around which we can advocate for ourselves.

        I am now rambling. So I will sign off. Thanks for reading.

      • Sorry about the length… Can I link this to my blog so as not to take up such room or are there permission issues?

      • Oh the length was okay, lol. My reply was longer. Um if you want to quote from the blog or the comments, as long as its properly cited, there shouldn’t be an issue.

  6. Whenever ANYONE turns you down for sex, you get over it. And they don’t need a reason. Responding by calling it “madness” and claiming that they just want to have power over you (uh, by not having sex with you when they don’t want to?) – that’s not sex-positivity, it’s Creep Factor Bazillion.

    • The madness is the world in which professional Black women struggle to find partnering options.

      But call me a creep again or passively aggressively imply it and you’ll find your comments not posted.

      • I get where you are coming from, Crunktastic, and I have a lot of respect for you and many things you have written. On first read (and without the context of other things you have read), this post does come off a bit entitled (and your statement above “professional Black women struggle to find partnering options” – it is a real problem, but this statement sounds (and I know this is not your intent) like you believe everyone is entitled to a partner, which is simply untrue. It would be nice, but no one has to like us so that we won’t be alone). And the titele also made me kind of uncomfortable. What do we do? Say “okay, just thought I’d ask.” And fight sexism and misogynoir, of course. I agree that there is a power difference between the sexes, and I have no issue with your choice to ask for an explanation given your history with that man, but in general, even if a man’s reason is misogyny and feeling threatened by a woman’s assertive sexuality…well, anyone gets to say to sex with anyone for any reason, ever.

      • I totally believe you, and I will check out that book. And I said “I have no issue with your choice to ask for an explanation given your history with that man.”

        I don’t believe partnership is a right, because my rights end where your rights begin, and I don’t have any rights that entitle me to someone else’s heart. Yes, discrimination and racism narrow the options for women of color, particularly educated women of color, and we should fight that discrimination, but as a person who has always been unpartnered (not of my own choice), I don’t have a “right” to a partner. I have hope that I’ll find one, I have the right to set my own criteria for a partner, I have a right to fight against the sexism and discrimination that would make me seem less of a desirable partner in the eyes of some, but finding a good partner is good luck, good timing, good communication, and shitload of chance.

  7. Thank you for writing this! I’m a 30 something year old hetero white woman in a long term relationship. I am more educated and make more money than my partner. We don’t have sex unless I initiate and I’ve been trying to figure out why this bothers me. When we first met, I was coping with a sexual assault and preferred being the one who initiated. But with some distance from my trauma, that’s all changed. I really want to see some research on sex frequency for women who make more than their male partners. I think it’s about control, like you said (if there is actually a pattern here). But then I also try to reflect on my own deep-seated notions of how sex is “supposed to be” (i.e. dudes should be perpetually hard and always want sex). Still, it’s difficult for me not to feel undesirable and ugly…and that really hurts.

    • Does your partner know what you just shared with us? From what you wrote, I think it is conceivable that he might be trying to respect your boundaries, or to avoid aggravating your trauma.

      I dated a woman whose past partner hit her. She flinched once when I tried to caress her face, and I was hesitant to initiate physical contact for a long time afterward. I felt guilty, actually, for even *wanting* to initiate contact, as if I were emotionally brutalizing her. From her perspective, this made me seem distant, and it undermined her sense of self worth. On my end, I thought she was amazing – I just didn’t want to hurt her. If your partner has the same, misguided mindset I did, some open communication about his lack of initiation, and how it makes you feel, might encourage him to take the initiative. I would hope, at least, that he is making you feel undesirable by accident, and not on purpose.

  8. “But what I can tell you is this: Getting my courage up to ask a partner that I trust for the sex that I wanted only to be turned down left me feeling hella disempowered.”

    welcome to the world of sexual equality. now you know what every guy goes through. for every one time you might’ve been turned down, a guy’s been turned down x number of times. you’re not gonna get a yes every time. that’s life. not a big deal. move on, and ask someone else. it’s just a matter of percentages, i guess. the more you ask, the more nos you might get, but the greater your chance of a yes too.

    • I love that sexual equality is being measured by men’s ability to deny women access to the sex they want rather than by women’s ability to have access to they sex they want.

      • “I love that sexual equality is being measured by men’s ability to deny women access to the sex they want rather than by women’s ability to have access to they sex they want.”

        I think they were measuring sexual equality in terms of both genders initiating and thus facing rejection. If you don’t initiate then rejection never happens. You can’t create an equality where women ask and men who must say ‘yes’ without demanding women also always say ‘yes’. I believe either gender being free to say ‘no’ is preferable.

        You are not entitled to the sex you want from a person who does not want to have sex with you. Women are not entitled to access to sex from whatever man she asks. I don’t know how you came to hold views like this while being a feminist. If anything feminism has taught me a great deal about how important it is for people to be able to say ‘NO’ right down to rejecting the idea of people even pressuring others to have sex with them.

        That message was meant to empower women who were under tremendous pressure to have sex with men, especially when they are young. Those women are not helped by women spouting the same kind of entitled attitudes men once did to justify things like sexual harassment and date rape.

        If you were a man I would be far less sympathetic to the way you are handling this rejection. In that I am being sexist. I find your perspective here out of sync with the positive messages feminism has brought us over the years. Men should not have to fear being pressured into sex for fear of being labeled a enabler of patriarchy.

      • How is sexual equality supposed to be measured? It’s not some singular, linear object that can be measured in a cup or by a ruler. Sexual equality means equality in both directions. It means men are able to to make their own choices and respect the choices of women while women are able to make their own choices and respect the choices of men.

        I consider myself a feminist, and this is the kind of feminist statement that gets me heated. Why act like feminism and sexual/gender equality is only for women, or that the equality we strive for can even possibly be achieved without adjusting, changing, and redefining the roles men play in our lives. It’s not possible. These aren’t issues that can be separated. For women to achieve equality we also need to address the issues within male society.

      • One, no, you don’t ‘love’ that. And two, sexual equality is measured by the fact that both women AND men are able to deny a potential partner intimate access when they request it, and both are able to verbally ask for intimate relations.

  9. “But what I can tell you is this: Getting my courage up to ask a partner that I trust for the sex that I wanted only to be turned down left me feeling hella disempowered.”

    I sympathize with that feeling. But I’ve always felt the empowerment is in the ability to ask and get a honest answer from the other person — not the empowerment to get everything you ask for (no matter whether you need it or not). Twenty, thirty, three hundred rejections doesn’t take away your ability to ask, even though rejection certainly feels like your asking doesn’t have the power to get you what you need. And rejections don’t mean that you won’t eventually find the right person or persons to help with this.

    • I would like to see asking as fully empowering in its own right. But consistent denial of one’s requests certainly undercuts the power one finds in the asking. At least for me. But I appreciate the sympathy, truly, and I remain committed to asking for what I need. In all things, forward movement.

      • I really appreciate your blog posts, and hope you can find what you want (more importantly, what you need).

        Sexual frustration affects us all, but I lament that for you and many others it’s wrapped up in a power struggle. Sex should never be used to manipulate someone, but can any of us claim innocence in that regard? I’ve done it – even without conscious intent, as have many sexually active women and men I know.

        Is the goal of sex-positive feminism to remove this power struggle from the equation, or at least find ways to mitigate it? What can we do when every interaction – from flirting to consummation – seems to be wrapped up in this game?

      • Many thanks for reading. Indeed it is a power struggle, and I’m sure how to mitigate it, but I think radical empathy, the intentional commitment to understanding your potential partner’s position and needs in the interactions and the ways in which your privileges affect those needs, is a starting point.

      • Honestly, as a man, I would certainly love to see asking for sex as empowering, and I will try to implement that change. But, if what you are saying is true, that rejection undercuts the power of asking, then realize that a vast swath of males are similarly disempowered, as they are rejected even more, less respectfully, and from a younger age than you have been.

  10. I thought this post was brilliant! It’s honest, and as a young black feminist I find this post to be spot on. The comments I’m reading especially from some of the male readers leave so much to be desired. Women are shamed for having sex to begin with, but as black women that shame is magnified because society already views us as hos, unrapeable, and generally only good for sex which makes asking for sex that much more difficult, even though its healthy, and very human.

    Some individuals may feel that the comment about Megan Good was shade, but it’s true. There are so many factors that play into that situation. One she’s not your average Black woman, by profession and economic standing alone, if you tie in lookism we can have a completely different conversation, yet average black women and by no means do I mean that as an insult, are looking to uphold those standards yet I’m sure they will be met with contempt by many of your average black men.

    The idea that men are saying no as a means to regain their power I feel is spot on, in our society sex is about power. The norms of society would have it that men are the ones who should be seeking that particular form of power and if a women attempts to do so then actions ( such as saying no) must be taken so she knows she was out of line. That’s not so say that every time a man says no it’s about power, however people have said for years that women say ‘no’ to control a man, or she’s saying ‘no’ so she won’t seem easy. So how is it that when a woman looks at the reason a man may say no, she’s met with such hostility especially if one of those reasons is to uphold his male privilege?

    Unfortunately when it comes to progressive movements black women are often asked to choose sides, we’re working against racism just as much as black men, but also against sexism from men in general, and I refuse to choose one oppressor over the other, when it is I who will always suffocate.

    To the writers at CFC, this post didn’t go in vain for no uphill climb is ever easy!

    • I really needed to hear that this post was not in vain. Many thanks to you!

    • If your a young women I suggest you not take men saying no to sex as a power play and instead like men learn to move on until you find a willing participant. Men have been in the position of needing to do the asking for a long time. Even if a man rejects you he knows it’s far easier for you to find a willing partner than it is for him. He knows where the power is and it’s not with men.

      Of course there are a few men who command that kind of power but their rarity and relative exclusivity makes them irrelevant. A average women will always have more sexual power than the average man.

      If men had the sexual power there would be few strip clubs, the porn industry would go bankrupt, and clubs would have Men’s Night instead of Ladies Night. Use some commonsense and don’t take on the attitudes of older women dealing with the flagging libido’s of older men suffering from dwindling testosterone levels. If men were viral all their lives erectile dysfunction drugs wouldn’t be so popular.

      In a man’s dreams he is with the women he can never say no to and I imagine the same is true for women. As it turns out we don’t live in a dream, and in the real world sometimes the answer is NO.

      • I love how you feel entitled to give the young black woman advice that she neither asked you for or, based soley on your comments and analysis kamrin, likely does not care to hear.

        Edward, you are a piece of work: Your comments on this thread just serve to clearly demonstrate crunktastic’s, kamrin’s, a few others point: when it comes to black female-male relationships (esp but not limited to intimate one), black women are always in the wrong and that black male privilege is ALIVE and PROSPERING.

        Sad, really.

        Thank you crunktastic and kamrin and others for talking about this tender issue: I can only imagine what it’s like to share something so intimate to be torn to shred by other black people, but especially black men, because THEY refuse to see the full humanity of black women and to stop blaming us.

  11. I’m not going to write some super-lengthy thing here, but I have handful of questions.

    1. If it’s just about sexual desires, just wanting the other person’s sexual prowess or whatever, why not go solo? You’re not required to have another person in your sexual activities if what’s most important to you is just an orgasm or whatever. On top of that toys are usually more efficient, less demanding, ALWAYS say yes, and often can do things that a human partner cannot. If it’s NOT “just an orgasm” that you want (e.g. you want activities that require extra hands or whatever), why not seek out situations in which non-committal sex is expected and consent is explicitly negotiated for all involved parties’ safety?

    2. If “just an orgasm” won’t suffice, what are your own personal notions about what sex and being a “sexual being” are? Is sex “not really sex” when it is solo? Is Christianity’s conception of sex (if there is supposedly some singular conception of it within Christianity) is what “leaves little hope”, is it really fully separate from the view you’re conveying here in which solo sex just doesn’t count? What about participating in sex with people of particular sexual interests (e.g. anonymous and non-committal sex)…does it have any value??

    I’m just lost as to why anyone’s sexual empowerment requires the participation of another person, particularly a male person and specifically a person who hasn’t already made clear that they’re merely looking for someone SIMILARLY interested in engaging in a particular sexual experience with whoever is willing to give it. Please note I don’t buy the idea that people into particular kinks and such are simply “too risky” to have sex with, especially when someone’s saying that the lack of sex partners is so agonizing.

    • I don’t value one type of sex over the other. I value both and I want both to be a part of my life.

  12. As an educated and professional black woman, I have to agree with you. You enlightened me. I’m glad you had the insight and gift to create this discussion. I was wondering why I was meeting people and things go well but when it comes to sex things go south. I can attest to being in relationships where things went down exactly as you describe. They don’t answer when I call or they attempt to lead me by the nose in a non-existent relationship thinking that will keep me around in case they want sex.

  13. This is an interesting and thought provoking post. I applaud Meagan Goode’s decision to be publically celibate. Not because it was totally unproblematic (lookism, her career playing sex-kitten roles, etc) I see it as a generally positive alternate image of Black female and Christian sexuality. No, everyone ain’t Meagan Good, BUT, in individual relationships, you don’t have to be. Every dude ain’t Tyrese, either (praise God).

    I think more men choosing to be celibate and thoughtfully discriminate in their sexual choices is a good thing. Patriarchy does put a lot of pressure on men, to perpetuate the imbalance of power, despite what their personal preference may be. Your ex’s motivations are only known to him and what he shared with you, so I can’t necessarily comment on what the power dynamic really was there.

    Power dynamics in relationships are not about always getting everything we want. There has to be compromise.

  14. Thanks for posting this; I found it highly interesting to read your perspective on this. As a white male from a culture quite different from the US, I’m not sure its useful for me to try to contribute to the discussion.

    Just wanted to say that I can emphasize – rejection sucks, in any shape or form. I hope you manage to keep on asking for what you want. And it sucks double when you walk away with the impression that sexual dynamic and your sexual desires are being used as part of a power game.

  15. Really? Who are we kidding here?! Of course men say no as a way to regain power. Women have been doing it since the dawn of time. For a long long long time it was the ONLY power women had in a male dominated world. Now that women have the liberty to be more sexually open about their needs and what they want it does innevitably hand over some power to men. Just admit it fellas.

    My fiancee tried that with me, thought it was funny too. Ha, he wasn’t laughing very long. But if you do want it, someting the direct approach isn’t the right one. It may be the empowering one but not the most effective. A direct question gets a direct answer, you have to think like car salemen. :)

  16. The responses here are interesting, but they totally miss the point. Your point was not lost on me–and I’m someone who, albeit extremely liberal and liberated, is conservative in terms of sexual partners because, frankly, as you said, I’m too afraid of STDs. People are conflating two things:

    1) That men withholding or postponing sex is a sign of their sexual maturity and willingness to have more meaningful relationships.
    2) That women’s (or at least author’s) willingness to challenge why men do so means that she is enacting a double standard since women were previously the ones to withhold/postpone sex. By challenging men, the author appears to be engaging in a double-standard.

    From my understanding, the author doesn’t have a problem with men saying “no” or postponing sex because they truly desire a more meaningful relationship. She is challenging men who are constantly engaged in a power struggle to preserve their patriarchal position by withholding sex JUST so they can maintain the control and not for meaningful reasons. It’s about control and power. Period.

    Perhaps you’ve never been caught in this tug of war, so maybe the author’s post is lost on you. Let me share a personal anecdote. I was a situation not too long ago where the guy was sending all types of ambiguous messages: wanting me, but saying that he needed to control himself, getting physically close to me but pulling back, texting me late at night (translate: booty call) to the point where I blocked the fool because as an empowered, straightforward woman in my mid thirties I don’t have time for that type of ambiguous behavior. What he was doing was straight game-playing, masked under some false chivalry (and mind you, I love genuine, honest chivalry). Again, this was about maintaining some patriarchal power. If *I* as a woman acted in such a stereotypically “female” manner, I would be called a “temptress”, a Jezebel, etc.; hell, women who have behaved in such a manner have been blamed for being raped. As a woman I was taught that acting in such a manner would have negative consequences for me. Hence, I always made sure that my behavior was clear and direct; that my “yes” meant “yes” and that my “no” meant “no”.

    So it seems to me–or what I get from the author’s post, is that *some* men (not all) are flipping the script not out of a genuine emotional progress but to maintain some power dynamic that feminism has fought to erase. That said, as sad as I am to express this openly, this is precisely why I am conservative about my sexual choices with men (even though I consider myself to be a very sexual being) because unfortunately, patriarchy–particularly black male patriarchy, is alive and well. Feminism has turned into the proverbial whooping girl that gives men (and some women) an excuse to up the ante in the power struggle. I refuse to play.

    • “What he was doing was straight game-playing, masked under some false chivalry (and mind you, I love genuine, honest chivalry). Again, this was about maintaining some patriarchal power. ”

      You have construed a system of reasoning in which men who reject women are guilty of perpetuating male dominance as well as the men who passive aggressively pursue you for sex. I don’t think you could create a more self serving pile of hogwash if you tried. Could it be that people are just trying to serve their self interest on both sides? The man who does not want sex did not want sex. The man who did want sex but was indirect was trying not to appear to forwards for fear of offending you, but his ultimate goal was sex.

      You disparage the man for wanting a booty call, while applauding the author disparaging another man for rejecting a booty call. This isn’t making any sense. It would the play at gender power is not coming from these men but the women whom seem to think getting what they want is the sole means of defining equality.

      Equality will not exist in a world where men can’t ask and men can’t say no. That sounds a lot like some backwards gender oppressive cultures in which women can’t choose their husbands and they can’t say no to sex or ask for sex. Men are not signing to have women treat them in that manner, and feminist rightly fight against it where it such injustice is oppressing women.

      • Excellent comment. Spot on Edward.
        Being rejected = patriarchy. Being pressured = patriarchy. Basically all human sexual interaction that I have any negative issue with = patriarchy.

        This is just painting rejection as a conspiracy theory because of an inability of the author to handle rejection. “If I’m rejected, there must be something wrong with the rejector (or a ploy at work)”

    • Thank you so much for this very thoughtful response. You absolutely did get it and I appreciate it.

      To others:

      Unfortunately, this thread has begun to pivot around the issue of consent such that my original goal of really thinking about the politics of Black women expressing desire and finding safe welcoming spaces for those desires to be met has been lost in a discussion that disingenously equates asking for an explanation of someone’s no with a denial or devaluing of consent.

      It is clear that consent and the expression of desire are not competing goals but they have been cast that way in this discussion and that means the conversation has become wholly unproductive.

      That is regrettable.

  17. I am a heterosexual male and my comment is the perspective of a heterosexual male. My chief concern is heterosexual men of color. I do not claim to speak for anyone not of that group.

    Maybe you’re just sexually frustrated. I feel like it leaps from the page and I need to go smoke a square off the heat of it. The best sex partners are cerebral and if your blog is any indicator may God bless/help the next man that dares to meet you at your apartment. The homie’s in trouble. Lol.

    I had to read this three times. Reading the posts on this blog leaves me asking question of myself and my gender and I try to have empathy for a lot of what I read even if I do not agree. I pass the readings on to my friends and we talk about them. But something about this post does not seem fair. Your answers are eloquent, educated, and they even make sense in the way things can in the hands of someone of your skill. But it feels like there is a lot more than good ‘ol male privy going on here. It feels like – based off your prior relationship and comfort with this chap – you felt entitled to his penis. This may not be what you felt but your story could read that way.It almost says “he is a man and if he is turning down sex then there is something else going on. Something nefarious.” In my experience sex is rarely just sex between two people who have shared more than just sex. Perhaps this is why he said no. You can fairly suspect male privy/power but that does not make you right and for whatever reason he said no I don think he owes you an explanation.

    I believe that nothing is presented on this site without the best of intentions so I do not think you are attempting to be unfair. However beyond the hyper-chivalrous men that try a little too hard, it will be tough to find a hetero-man with good intentions to 100 percent co-sign this because we deal with the realness of rejection and for those of us with the best intentions the realness of “no” being not just the answer but the “why” as well. And we deal with “no” in our personal relationships even when we sense that the negative answer is a result of someone trying to claim/reclaim power. And it is real whether it comes from a former, current, or perspective sex partner. This may be a reason for the push back. I know the concerns of men are not your concerns (cool) but if the conversation is to be expanded beyond the relatively few people paying attention it has to feel more fair for both sides.

  18. As a liberated woman myself I am appalled at the entitlement within the blog post because let’s not kid ourselves, it is entitlement. I’d rather a man give himself to me willingly as opposed to simply right a millenia of sexual inequality.

    Seriously, we women don’t accept every holler that comes their way, for reasons that the author would surely agree are ours to decide, including retaining power over their sexuality but also because sometimes they simply just don’t want to. Please, Megan Good is a free woman who made the choice of embracing her man’s celibacy is her decision to make, much like I am free to walk away from a guy who decides to hold on to his goods for whatever reason.

    I think to make this a feminist issue is disingenuous IMO. One phrase I’ve read a long time ago and that make sense even in this topic is that if you put yourself out there like a man, then you need to learn to accept rejection like a man.

    • To clarify a part of my comment since I can’t edit:

      “we women don’t accept every holler that comes their way, for reasons that the author would surely agree are ours to decide, including retaining power over our sexuality an sometimes also because sometimes we simply just don’t want to.

  19. Though I thought your post was very well put together and gave lots of food for thought after reading it a few times I think it missed the point of laying out what to do when a guy says no. There was probably the inference that a woman should keep asking until she gets a yes, which in my opinion is not a difficult situation, because lets be real a woman can give herself away faster than I can get it.

    As a man who in his 30′s went 3 years with no sex I can say part of the reason for it was dealing with the strong-black women who spent more time talking about their degree, cars, job, and what was between their legs than what they substantively could bring to the relationship table. For that reason I chose to be left alone. Fast forward to 2012 and being with the same woman for over 20 years in which we have dealt with the ups and downs of sexual libido the one lesson we both have learned is there are times when even guys will say no even though we are by design creatures that think about sex every few nanoseconds of our hours awake.

    In my teen years we used to call ladies that asked constantly “five o’clock hoes” which meant no matter what time of the day or night even at 5 am we knew we could get it. I am not saying women today are in that category but the “I need it when I want it” argument puts them very close to this category. In my 46 years on this planet when it comes to sex there is nothing more stimulating than a woman who has it all but carries herself in a way that she does not feel the need to carry a bullhorn to shout her accomplishments. That in some cases may be part of what causes a man to say no. It has more to do with it being a total turn off than it being intimidating.

  20. I saw a really good discussion in the comments area. I think everyone was respectful and covered most of the opinions of this topic. As men age, we simply do not give sex the same weight as we once did, especially for us men who’ve had enough trim. It becomes less of a priority. It could be that these men saw you as a woman that he wanted more from, and that in and of itself is a compliment. I dont discount male privilege as a factor in sexual relations, but at the same time, dont discount the power of the P, because it is REAL lol. I will have to read more of your posts to get a general idea on your view of Black Feminism, but I just want to remind you that there are many brothas out here who are Black Feminists. As stated in the Combahee River Collective, “We struggle with Black Men against racism, while we also struggle against Black Men with sexism.” We are linked, Sista. Peace and Blessings.

  21. Crunktastic, I HEAR you on your sexual frustration, and the struggle for educated, career-minded Black women to find partners. I’ve been there, and several of my friends have been there as well. Women should have no fear asking for what they want/need, sexually or otherwise.

    However, I found your analysis flawed at best, bordering on reverse sexism at worst.

    Several of the commenters suggested that your reaction to rejection by your ex smacks of entitlement, and I concur. Be honest: you were expecting an easy booty call from a man who knew what you liked, whom you had a history with and probably at some point loved. You asked, he said no, and you didn’t like the answer. I’ve been on that side of no with a man I liked and desired (and who I thought desired me back), and it SUCKED. But to couch his rejection in some flimsy patriarchal construct (without direct evidence to back it up) is disingenuous and frankly troubling. A man has the right to say ‘No” to a sexual proposition the same way a woman does. The reason doesn’t matter. Period.

    I’m not writing this to be snarky. I respect you putting yourself out there with this post. But your experience, in my opinion, wasn’t about feminism or patriarchy or disempowerment. You were lonely and horny, and had to go another night without the sexual therapy you needed from a man you felt safe with. Sometimes the simplest answer is the right one.

    • I believe in “reverse sexism” about as much as I believe in “reverse racism,” which is to say not much.

      My last comment in response to Lordamaru is fairly lengthy and lays out in some ways more clearly than the original post, an analysis of how patriarchy and power operate here. Feel free to check it. Or not.

      Peace.

      • I read your reply to Lordamaru (and to others) before posting, and that–at the risk of sounding snarky, which truly is not my intent–was a lot of analysis and wording to address what is IMO was a simple and straight-forward situation.

        And I brought up the spectre of “reverse sexism” for this reason only: If that post had been written by a MAN, to somehow justify his disappointment or anger at being rejected by a woman, the sisters (and some men as well) on this blog would have ripped that guy to shreds.

        My final point: power, as you know Crunktastic, is not just about institutions and rhetorical space. In the situation you described, you had power. You asserted it when you asked for what you needed. And guess what? You didn’t LOSE it when the guy said no.

        Take care.

  22. It’s very interesting to me that this post among all others has generated so many comments from men. As opposed to dealing with the arguments there’s a move to call this post reverse sexist as opposed to dealing with the arguments at hand. You can disagree with the arguments but to say that an individual woman asking questions, talking about her experience is enough to upset an institutionalized, systemic, global practice is absurd.

    This is not reverse sexism because reverse oppression of any kind does not exist. Period.

  23. Pingback: Asking for Sex: Revisited « The Crunk Feminist Collective

  24. I find the resistance by Edward, fascinating. I\’m curious as to your unwillingness to honestly explore the position of men withholding sex as a power play. When I encounter people who are so unwilling to engage in exploration, I become very curious as to what they are avoiding and not wanting to see…what feelings/thoughts are you concern will arise.

    What has been exposed in the author\’s recount of her experience that has shaken you? Just curious.

    What I also find interesting in some of the responses is the deviation from the original topic of discussion.

    • Look, you were rejected. Men deal with this all the time. You’re not making a coherent argument than male privilege empowered this ex bf to reject you.

      There’s no male privilege in not giving a reason that is sufficiently satisfactory for you. This is merely a case of a man using the power of his individual agency to control his body.

      He owes you nothing, not even an explanation if he so deems. If you felt compelled to have sex with men in your 20s or guys would go elsewhere, fine. There’s no reciprocal ideological obligation that falls on anyone else , least of all in “men ” as a homogenous mass entity.

      You’re dragging in irrelevant talk of privilege to make it seem as if you’re hard done by.

      Nobody owes anyone else sex, as individuals or a group. I’m sorry if you felt this way in your younger years, but if no man ever sleeps with you again, this remains absolutely fair.

      Look, deal with this: if women have individual agency and no one can question it, then thus is in all and every respects applicable to men.

      You are prevaricating and ideologically gesticulating, but not a single person is falling for it. You’re frustrated because you want sex with a man you want, but this is hard to come by.

      Tough. There’s no ideology here at work.

      He’s not denying you some sex you are otherwise going to get: he’s not playing for power. He’s acting out his own will and control over his own body. Period.

      YOuve made no case at all fit any patriarchal agent here. There’s no privilege, except the privilege to control ones own body.

      There is a power dynamic. This ex bf owes you nothing, and doesn’t wish to have sex with you, for whatever reason.

      Your self-aggrandizement and pandering notwithstanding, …

      There’s no exercise of male privilege here. There’s the exercise of any individuals free will.

      If you’re on the horny losing end of that exchange, it’s unfortunate for you, but there’s no male privilege operating.

    • That’s called “derailment”.

      The basic question in the post as I understood it is “What are some of the best ways for a woman of color to get her needs met, in the face of rejection that might be about power, in a racist, sexist, still patriarchal culture?”.

      Those men’s replies, as I saw them, boil down to “Men face rejection too” — which as far as I can see, is not only completely lacking in empathy based on the inherent one-down position of women in a society that privileges men, but is also completely, and I mean completely, nonresponsive to the point of bordering on irrelevance.

  25. Wait. Now I see the problem.

    You’re imputing the following motivation:

    “(male) doesn’t like it when (female) approaches. It seems aggressive. Otherwise, he’d say yes.” >> Operation of double standards and patriarchy.

    Result: selfishness on his part, not servicing your sexual desire when you want it.=

    This is what it boils down to.

    The root cause of misunderstanding here is your imputation of his motive. He may be saying no for a vast panoply of reasons; he may not even be attracted to you at this point, or may be wishing to avoid emotional complications, or may not be into sex right now, or might have another woman and be lying to you about that, but still doesn’t want to cheat.

    It could be literally anything. For social reasons, he may not want to reply to you with the truth.

    You’re assuming:

    - As a man, he will always want sex, so when he says no, it’s a power play
    - A power play by a man is sexist in any context
    - Gimme!

    I totally get where you’re coming from. However, a power play by a man is not always sexist or an actio nof the patriachy – it may just be individual. Your imputing of a motive to him is like making assumptions – great if they’re true, but you have no means of knowing if this is true.

    The rest of your post – how women feel obliged to put out in their 20′s or men go elsewhere, … is more or less irrelevant. There really is no trans-age-specific “deal” in which women contract to put out in their 20′s and then collect in their 30′s.

    I’ve read the very respectful posts made in response to this blog post, and though they oftne touch on the central issues, like this one:
    http://21centuryrelationships.blogspot.kr/2012/07/sex-power-and-patriarchy.html?m=1
    they try to hard to avoid the main issue:

    By positing patriarchy as the power-play motivator or excuse, you imply that there is an alternative result: That the man should have sex with you.

    The moment you begin to imply that another result is or should be forthcoming absent patriarchy, you’ve just removed the man’s ability to consent – or say no – without any inherent obligation.

    And as far as selfishness is concerned, that all slams down on you.

    The default condition is “No Sex”. You want to alter that condition. This requires mutual consent, preferably enthusiastic consent.

    What you’re saying is that even if he doesn’t want to, it’s unkind of him not to give you no-string-attached sex on demand. I’m going to suggest:

    You asked. This is your right, and is perfectly reasonable.
    He said no. This is his right, and without explanation, is perfectly reasonable.

    It’s selfish and unkind of *you* to then demand that someone who clearly has no wish to tap that to service you because of the sex that you want right here, right now,

    personally, I can understand this guy. I’ve been on the receiving end of requests for sex when I didn’t want to engage in it, and this was the result, inevitably.

    - You don’t love me.
    - You’re a selfish prick.
    - You’re cheating on me.
    - You’re not that tired.
    - If you’re that tired, work less and get home early because it’s killing me.
    - Guys always want it. It means there’s something else going on. Let me speculate.
    - You’re cheating on me.
    - Prove to me you love me.
    - Prove to me you’re not cheating on me.
    - Disagreeing with me is just another sign of how this is a man’s world.
    - Men always want it. I want it now. That’s fair!
    -… insert reason here.

    I’ve even had it said that I was a misogynist, for not understanding a woman’s need.

    In every case, were the sexes reversed, the one protesting and badgering and coming up with ideological examinations would be called an insensitive, misogynist dick. I find it a compellingly ironic situation when the roles are reversed, instead of this being individual, again it’s touted up as… the fault of Men and Patriarchy.
    (Men want too much sex, manipulate to get it: patriarchy. Don’t want it with an individual woman: Patriarchy).

    This is an interesting analysis you’ve done, but it’s a very, very thin gruel spread over a massive sense of entitlement : “Gimme! Relieve me!”

    when guys do this, they’re properly lambasted.

    You’ve just given a nice shiny polish to the same argument.

    While it’s possible that this dude was uncomfortable with you asking, and maybe he does want to be the hunter and you the prey, it’s equally likely, if not probable, that there are a host of other reasons he doesn’t wan to engage.

    In the end, the upshot is:

    married, unmarried, dating or single: Nobody, not even your husband, owes you a tussle. Ever. For any reason. If married, then the only obligation I see changing is a requirement for an explanation.

    I’m not sure if you can see through this miasma of frustration, but the patriarchy ™ is not holding down your sexual satisfaction, here. You may want to paint it that way – in order to assuage the howling libidinous demons inside you – but from this and all the commentary, I can’t see it as being germane to the problem.

    Though it’s an interesting discussion.

    But the tone throughout the piece, despite the articulate a nd fascinating but ultimately flawed argument, is this:

    You’re Owed. Somebody Owes Me.

    And this grandiose sense of entitlement shreds the rest of your argument.

    it’s too bad, because there may be a (small) case for men using privilege (the privilege of denying at will, assuming no such privilege for women) in some circumstances.

    This is not one of those cases.

  26. Okay. I get your point now. Due to an unfortunate series of convergences, power plays in the social order result in you not getting laid, because your positive need for the sex with men that you want is not being met, because men have the PRIVILEGE of saying no, because they can go elsewhere, while you are left with fewer options.

    It might be concluded that you are therefore positing an alternative in which the men you want do say yes to you because that have no more opportunity to get sex by going elsewhere.

    How’s that?

    But, of course, this is true in reverse for women in their 20′s. All they need to do is choose from among the most desirable men if they want some nookie.

    Still, there’s the sense that people are owed:
    -partnership
    -sex

    You flatly say that people are owed or deserve partnership.

    The vital problem with this notion is that this is not a right – it’s a privilege that you earn or are bestowed by others. As independent beings, no person owes any other person companionship or sex.

    *IF* you happen to get it, good for you. If not, … kinda, tough luck. Deal with it.

    The notion that a person is owed companionship (by whom – a person, society, the universe?) is absurd, really. We are independent and aren’t really owed anything by random strangers.

    I know you don’t think you’re owed anything by your ex. I’m just saying – if you’re single but not by choice for the rest of your life, … then that’s kind of too bad, but there you are. Nobody owes you a partner. Whatever problem you have with that is purely your own, and has no connection to other people. it may just be that other people don’t like the (hypothetical) you. that’s unfortunate, but that’s their absolute right.

    You don’t have a right to their appreciation, companionship or partnership. Nobody owes you a mate, and this is a sexual market free-for-all:

    You get what you get. If you remain celibate, … that’s not a problem or a crime of anyone else’s creatoin.

    Part of my frustration is not about blaming brothers, but rather about the fact that when I (and many other sisters I know) find themselves in this situation, there is no one who is accountable.

    And this is a good admission. Nobody is accountable: You can exercise your right to ask, and this is where your rights cease entirely.

    You have no right to a positive response. You just have the right to enter the sexual marketplace.
    It’s unfortunate that this marketplace treats black men better than black women in their 30′s, … but it treats black women far better than black men in their 20′s.

    The brother can always invoke his rights, and rightfully so. But the sister who has particular needs then just has to live with not having them met.

    And this is reality. it’s the reality of not being a mass-being. We are individuals.

    It’s disingenuous to criticize men for whatever privileges they have in this regard: Nobody is owed anything.

    I’ve lived it. And based upon the book I cited earlier, Averil Y. Clarke’s Inequalities of Love, it is pretty clear that women in my same socioeconomic and educational category struggle with it too.

    This is only true because of the lack of choices for successful black women. In other words, …

    Alter your standards. You’re not entitled to Men I Most Want. Any man who thinks he’s entitled to sex with the hottest women he wants is usually called insane. This is how the market plays out; i tplays out to the advantage of some and disadvantage of others.

    It plays out hard for unattractive men and women, for example.

    Alas, we have not yet socialized sex. When we set up a system in which pure equity is arranged – then perhaps you may have a better case.

    The book actually says that overall, highly educated Black and Brown women have markedly less sex than other groups, and that is due in large part to sporadic access to romantic partners. It’s not a game.

    But what it is is a form of inequality. And while Black men may not be responsible for it on an individual level (though sometimes they very much are),

    But this is their right: a black woman is not owed partnership, nor sex. This is the same entitlement theme again.

    Nobody owes you a man. if you get one, goot for you; if not, … ?

    There’s no injustice there.

    Incidentally, that’s also how it works for men.

    they have the privilege of not having the same kinds of worries about how to get their intimate needs (around sex) met. And that is a privilege.

    Your e xmay have had the privilege of having other options. or he may have had the privilege of not really wanting any right now.

    So he didn’t need to take your offer.

    In the same way, I’m privileged by not needing to sell my house, and not needing to buy a new car. ??

    You proceed from the presumtion that you’re owed success for your expression of your desire for sexual fulfilment.

    You’re owed the right to express yourself.

    But in no systematic way are you owed a positive answer, a partner, a mate, sex, or a commitment (if you ever want one).

    All you’re owed is the right to express your desire.

    Not having that desire met may result from the specific black men you want exercising privilege and not needing you, but to whit–

    that privilege ultimately comes from being individuals, free and clear. what you seem to desire is a situation in which whatever further privileges they have are denied to them, to equalize them – thus delivering the men of the correct social status, class and attractiveness level into your hands, because then they have no where else to go.

    Ahem —

    Not so much.

  27. I read lots of resentment at lack of fulfilment, but this notion that anyone owes anyone else anything is absurd.

    Even less does the social order owe you success in mating.

    All the social order owes you is the right to ask. Which you very competently assert. That’s all that any society owes anyone.

  28. Thanks moyazb for explaining that reverse oppression doesn’t exist :) #wegonlearntoday

    I’m somewhat surprised by the critical comments so far. This post rang true for me in some ways… I’m a thin, able-bodied, light-skinned Black, straight, cis female (of course not an objectively good thing, just what is often unfairly considered more attractive than other forms of Black beauty and gives me more privilege than some) and I find myself feeling very unwanted by men – Black and otherwise. And this isn’t just a “me” thing, many of my Black female peers echo my sentiments.

    I attend a predominantly White private college, so there are very, very few brothers. I reckon there are more than twice or three times as many Black women as Black men here. Many Black men on campus — many realize it, some don’t — have a huge amount of power when it comes to heterosexual relationships. Mates appear somewhat easily available; White women want them, Black women want them, other WoC want them. It’s very rare to see a Black man with a Black woman on campus, and it’s even rarer to see a hetero Black woman in ANY sort of romantic relationship. Honestly, it’s hard out here for a hetero Black lady, and it feels very disempowering (not to say it isn’t hard for other PoC and queer folks, I can only speak from my experience).

    The “no’s” from men often feel structural and even unjust when the cards are stacked against you like this. It doesn’t feel like one particular Black guy saying no to one particular Black girl. It feels like a rejection from society, from Black men, from men in general.

    I’m sure Black women are not the only ones that feel this way, but I do think that, when expressed by Black women, these feelings and experiences are often dismissed as being uppity or selfish. Somehow our feelings are never allowed to be evidence of anything except our faults.

    • “The “no’s” from men often feel structural and even unjust when the cards are stacked against you like this. It doesn’t feel like one particular Black guy saying no to one particular Black girl. It feels like a rejection from society, from Black men, from men in general.”

      I think you express this very well. You acknowledge that there might be no wrongdoing on the part of the individual man, and still convey the message that imbalances in society disproportionately and negatively impact some demographics (like black women) in terms of the availability of sexual partners. I think that one reason Crunktastic has so much negative feedback is that her posts in this thread often make it seem like she is accusing the individual man involved of oppression. There are men who use sex as a weapon – I do not deny this – but she does not give a reason to suspect the particular man she references of this motive, and still she seems to indict him. If she does not intend to, then many, many of the male respondents, including myself, have misunderstood her.

      “Thanks moyazb for explaining that reverse oppression doesn’t exist.”

      Personally, I think that the idea of “reverse sexism” is predicated on a false model of how sexism works. In my experience, both men and women are subjected (by society – not necessarily by each other) to stereotyped gender roles. Sexism occurs when anyone tries to box someone else into the assigned role. Frequently, these societal expectations harm their subjects. Women, indubitably, are victim to many harms of gender expectations. There are also cases in which men become victims – not of women, but of society’s bigoted notions of manhood. For instance, a boy who is viciously beaten for playing with dolls is a victim of sexist role assignment, even if the bullies are also boys.
      The chief failure of the “reverse sexism” mentality, in my opinion, is that it frames sexism as an us-vs-them, men-vs-women struggle in which one gender has to lose out for the other to be treated with respect.

      • Rephaite writes:
        “I think you express this very well. You acknowledge that there might be no wrongdoing on the part of the individual man, and still convey the message that imbalances in society disproportionately and negatively impact some demographics (like black women) in terms of the availability of sexual partners.”

        You mean like many times more black men over women being murdered or in prison? Strange, I would see the primary victim of these dynamics as the murdered and imprisoned men. It must suck that black men being lowest on the totem pole meaning black women have fewer prospects for coupling, but let’s not lose track of what is really going on.
        Just because black women are black and women does not mean they are lower on the totem pole than black men (as many including the author seem to be trying to state). Black men face many more times over black women (as do men in general over women) being the targets of stranger violence, homlessness, suicide, on-the-job deaths, drug and alcohol issues, and incarceration. Black male education is a shadow of black womens.

      • John, this is not the place for that. You should already know. You’re not even talking about the issue at hand. Focus

      • I would add that from the male perspective, a rejection can ‘feel’ the same, a statement by society that ‘you are inadequate’, a rejection from women in general. The more I think about it, the more I think that his reasoning, above, is *why* a rejection hurts so much, for anyone. A rejection by one feels like a rejection from all, especially if these requests are not frequently made.

  29. Where do you live ? Obviously the men who live in your area are are neanderthal. You sound like a catch to me.

  30. Pingback: Dealing with rejection | Single & Happy

  31. Pingback: “no.” – ok for men too? « sexNspirit

  32. Hahah. I had the pleasure last week of telling a woman “No means no.” Then when she, in her drunken state, still persisted, “What part of ‘Back the fuck off before I call the police.’ do you not understand?” I can tell you, it is empowering to take back control of your own sexuality, and not just acquiesce to the role of being a slave to THEIR hormones.

    I’ve heard the rhetoric all my life about how all I want is to wrap my penis up in a girl’s vagina, and I am sick of it. Every time I think about sex with a woman, her expectations about it make me want to puke. before you start attacking my sexuality or my worth as a person, I’m not gay, I want a relationship, but sex is at the BOTTOM of the priority list. I’ve had my share of “fuck buddies” and I can get laid if I need to. I’m looking for more noble attributes in a woman.

    Sex shouldn’t be the factor that binds a man to a woman, ever. It’s as natural a part of life as eating, breathing, and sleeping. Saying that sex MEANS something is to burden your biology with social expectations, clearly reinforcing gender roles.

    Men, have children with someone, be a father, because you WANT to experience it with that person. Doing it because it’s your social obligation will only lead to your bitterness and contempt of your partner.

    It’s no wonder we are witnessing divorce in record numbers and the breakdown of the family unit. Men are getting married to fulfill the needs that they are otherwise denied in society, sex and emotional support, not because they WANT to raise a family with someone. Men, stand on your own principles, say no to societal expectations, do your future children a favor and put your immediate emotional needs on the back burner and critically look at the person you are marrying for who THEY are before you make the plunge.

  33. I find it both pathetic and comical that a woman who discovers late in life that male human beings are capable of exercising choice, have the right to not be somebody’s disposable fuck-doll and who exercise their own right to say no, are being told effectively to “check their privilege” The author of this post should probably do that herself.

  34. I just wanted to say that the author of this article is oozing with hypocrisy and stupidity.

  35. Okay, really? So we’re demonized for wanting sex AND for not wanting it? It’s like walking through a heavily mined field blindfolded. How can you even suggest that men turn down sex for power? Sometimes I just want to hold my girlfriend and talk to her, not because I want to overpower her, but because I would rather know her better as a person. Feminism, specifically radical feminism, has turned into an argument less for women’s rights and more for women’s dominance. Please try to understand that many men do not view women as inferior to men or just as objects.

  36. The media might give the impression that we’re sexed crazed animals who can’t restrain ourselves but the truth is that is a whole load of codswallop.

  37. Holy fuck, you will never be happy. When a man is chomping at the bit for sex you exclaim that he’s using you for it and is a selfish, sex crazed misogynist pig. When he refuses sex you think he’s trying to exert some sort of control over you, the control you hate so much. As a heterosexual man, fuck if there’s a choice that doesn’t leave me painted as a women-hating, arrogant prick.

  38. When this came across my tumblr dashboard it was highly edited in a negative and short way, so much so i had to check the source to see if this was actually real. Thankfully i see that what I saw WAS NOT the meat and truth of this post. I still have to say,respectfully this is objectification and projection. When you say,

    “he flipped the gender script and told me some version of: “I’m happy to have you back in my life. I don’t want to move too prematurely because we are rebuilding our relationship.” Riiiiight. What I wanted to know is what our “relationship” had to do with the sex that I needed to have right then and there.

    For that there were no answers.”

    Its as if when he declined, there was then a lack of interest in any of his feelings, his emotional state, and any acknowledgment of him as a human being with a soul, heart, and mind.I understand that in america, women, black women, and women of color have NEVER had a equal share in anything or a fair deal with men but with that said the goal of any empowering movement is never to belittle and disempower those that oppress but to establish equality, power, and respect of self/group apart from the oppressor. We are human and we react and feel how we do but to say that him saying “no” is a reverse power play to me is really appalling. He has the right to be respected and not to be emasculated for his decision to not be interested in a sexual encounter just as you have the right right to be respected and empowered and not be called any or made to feel less than womanly by antiquated social conventions by asking him for the sex.

    Before any of us were man or woman we were and are HUMAN

    The fact that you know this person and I do not means that you can attest greater to his personality more that I can so it could have truly been him enacting a reverse power play play against you, but from the tone of the article one can not tell as such. As such information is not provided i can only say that if you trust this man for a sexual encounter and him declining would be truly hurtful to the ego. Yet, to take his rejection as new power move and commentary from the entire male gender, again I would say step back and bit and make the man a woman and the woman a man and you’ll see as I stated in the beginning, this is objectification and projection.

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