Initiating Sex or Asking for It

To me initiating sex means asking the question, rather than only giving the answer.

As I mentioned in my last post, I, as a girl, have been taught that I am the gatekeeper to my vagina.  But as a gatekeeper, I am only allowed to say yes or no, I am not allowed to ask the question.  Over time I have decided that this is stupid.

But obstacles still remain to me initiating sex.  One of those is that, as a girl (although this is possibly true for other non-girl or non-exclusively girl subcultures that I don’t know enough about), I have been taught to please others over myself.  As a gatekeeper, this means it is difficult for me to say no.  (Something that has been rather easy for me to get over.)  But as an initiator, it means that I am likely to make assumptions about what the other person wants and take that as Truth so that I don’t feel like I’m being Pushy.

Because being Pushy is the Greatest Sin Ever.  Not only does it force other people to be extra firm with their boundaries, sometimes it convinces people to do things that they don’t really want to.  And it means that I am being bold about wanting sex.  Which again, is Not Allowed.

But what does “pushy” really mean?  And not a dictionary definition, but “pushy” as defined by cultural norms.  Can my idea of “pushy” actually force people to do things they don’t want to do?  The answer is a resounding no.

Because when I say “pushy” I don’t actually mean asking for sex over and over again in the face of resounding signals that say the other person doesn’t want it.  It means something more like this:


I was at a camping event with my boyfriend this past week, and I wanted to have sex.  (Sex in a tent!  Exciting!  New!)  But we were sitting around a campfire with a bunch of other people, some of whom were children, so I wasn’t going to be obvious about it.

Me:  So are you planning on sitting around the campfire and then going to bed?  Or do you want to do something else before going to bed?

Boyfriend:  What do you want?

Me:  I was thinking maybe we could do something else in the tent first… *significant look*

*time passes with no response*

Me:  So did you want to stay here or do something else before going to bed?

Boyfriend:  What do you want?

Me:  *significant look*

Boyfriend: Hmmm…

*time passes with no response*

Me:  So do you want to stay here or do something else before bed?

Boyfriend:  What do you want?

Me:  *slightly annoyed*  You’ve asked me that three times and my answer hasn’t changed.  The question’s back to you now.

Boyfriend:  Hmmm…let’s go back to the tent, then.


The above example is one where I felt like I was being Pushy.  But if I take a step back I can see that I was merely asking a question over and over with zero response, and not until I actually got a response did I stop asking.  Turns out the response was one that I liked – but it hasn’t always been.  And I’ve always stopped asking after the response.

Once upon a time I would have stopped asking after the first time, or maybe the second, assuming that the answer was no.  Because a lack of a response always means the other person isn’t interested, right?  Wrong.  A lack of response is just that, a lack of response.

After our lovely voyage into tent sex, my boyfriend was like, thank you, that was fun.  Suggesting that he wouldn’t have decided to have sex without my prompting, but was glad that I had done the prompting.

Here I’m going to put in a caveat and say that you must be careful in interpreting responses.  In the context of an established relationship, some signals mean different things to different people, so might be interpreted differently.  (In the context of flirting, or a very new relationship, you have to be even more careful.  However, I think that if people are paying attention, signals about sex are actually easier to understand in that context because they tend to be more universal.)

For instance, signals could be enthusiastic kissing, they could be fondling, touching back/chest under shirts, or they could be simply asking.  Always the fallback should be simply asking.


Next week…Communicating Sex


About mybodymystory

Looking at things differently. I write about my personal experiences with society, especially regarding what messages I, as a woman, have received over time. I write about my body, not the body the media thinks I have or wants me to have. I write about my responses to sex, relationships, and political issues. This is my story of my body. There are a lot of things I write about that I believe overlap with other women. Come check out my story and see if you agree. Feel free to disagree, just be respectful about it.
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