The other day I was giving off massive “let’s have sexy times” signals to my boyfriend, and felt like I wasn’t receiving anything back — or at least, anything I knew how to interpret. (We’ve been slowly having conversations to this extent, normally started by me at the point at which I get upset about not knowing what he wants. This time, it got a bit clearer.)
Me: So do you want to have sex or not?
Him: I thought you wanted to be in charge, so I was letting you go with it.
Me: But I’m going to stop at some point unless I receive a clear yes from you.
Him: If I didn’t want to have sex, I would have stopped you from taking my shirt off.
Me: So anything that’s not a clear no is a yes? If you tell me that, I’m ok with it, but I’m not going to assume that.
Him: Well, sometimes I might not be horny at the moment, so it’s more like “convince me.” But you have to be convincing enough.
Me: And if I’m not? I don’t really want to get to the point where we’re both naked and you’re like, nope, don’t really want sex now. I mean, I’ll stop whenever, but that’s a bit more upsetting than merely disappointing. I’d like an answer before that point.*
Him: I don’t think it’ll get that far.
Me: So what you’re saying is, anything that’s not a clear no is a yes.
Him: I guess so…
Me: I mean, I kind of understand what you’re saying…it’s not like I walk around being horny all the time. But I’d like an answer faster? Maybe? Or I guess I can just assume it’s a yes… But I’m not sure I like doing that.
The next day we both had separate realizations that amounted to the same thing. In essence, my “convince me” threshold is a lot lower than his is. What might take 10 minutes for him to make up his mind, takes about 15 seconds for me. So while I understand his need in theory, the part that’s bugging me is the time it takes. The point at which I want an answer of “so are we or aren’t we having sex” is later than when I would have made up my mind; so if he doesn’t have an answer by then, I start to get upset because I don’t know what he wants. And I don’t understand why it’s taking him so long to decide.
Because at that point, it’s not just a “no, I don’t want sex.” It’s an “I don’t care enough to give to a clear answer, therefore, I don’t care enough about you to give you a clear answer.” I feel like a non-answer is a rejection of me more than a rejection of sex. But if he’s clear enough to say “I haven’t decided yet” or “convince me” then that’s an answer I can deal with.
But by understanding that it simply takes him a lot longer to make up his mind than it takes me, I can be more patient and not get upset when I haven’t gotten a clear answer yet. A non-answer is still a question mark, in essence a yes, unless replaced by a no.**
Because sometimes I might not want sex but he can convince me to have sex. Except that can happen after just snuggling with him… Like, it doesn’t take a lot to convince me. My horny threshold is just a lot lower than his. (And most of the time, that low threshold is specifically attuned to him, not to any random person, in case you were wondering.)
And thresholds are something I can understand.
*Please take into consideration the fact that this conversation is happening in a long-term relationship with lots of previous communication. I think the disappointing-to-upsetting ratio is different for different circumstances. Though, of course, you always stop if someone wants to stop.
**Again, this “yes unless a no is stated” is specific to this relationship, after discussion about it. (More discussion than fits into this blog post.) It is not a general thing.