Nkem Says: Who Uses Sex as a Bargaining Tool?


One of my decisions for the New Year is to become more social, slide into DMs, accept more invitations and hang out more with people who are in a different place in life than I am. In a bid to kick off this decision, I agreed to meet up with a couple of friends on a Tuesday night. Who hangs out on a Tuesday night? Well, it was at a friend’s apartment. There was food, wine, and good music. As you would expect, there was a lot of ‘talk’, as well. Some of the topics discussed, to be honest, I considered utterly boring, but one, in particular, caught my attention.

The host has teased one of the guys, asking him why he had not shown up with his wife and if they had sorted things out. Rather than laugh, the guy got riled up and threw out a question to the rest of us. He asked: “Why do people feel it’s okay to withhold sex from their partners as a form of punishment or revenge?”

As he asked the question, I mentally cautioned myself not to make any comment, because as a child of God, I should not know of such things *side eye* Yes?

It was illuminating, listening to them dissect the topic, though.

According to the guy, the wife had the habit of withholding sex from him every time he acted in a way she found unpleasing. For instance, when he refuses to buy certain things for her, wins an argument, or disagrees with her on something she considered monumental; even threatening him with “no sex for you” when he argues with her. Basically, she had settled for taking sex out of the equation whenever he exhibited a habit she could not abide.

The other guys in the room, of course, agreed with him that women were notorious for this behaviour, as they are fond of hiding under the phrase “I am not in the mood”. They also mentioned that sometimes, the woman would even offer sex (perhaps a particular style she knows he enjoys the most) as a sort of bribe to make the man do something for them or buy them the expensive item they want.

A lady friend in the room, however, disagreed and shared that one of the guys she had dated in the past had displayed the same habit, and it was not something you should associate with the womenfolk. According to her, what he liked to do was refuse to address issues or communicate when he had a problem with what she had done or said to him; instead, he would take it out on her in the bedroom. They would start to make love and immediately after foreplay when he knew she was turned on and ready, he would refuse to go any further –  saying he was no longer in the mood. In her words “he would literally refuse to let the serpent into the forest, even though it was quite evident the snake needed to go in”, leaving her frustrated and heartbroken. He seemed to gain some morbid satisfaction from her agony.

Listening to them go back and forth on the issue, I had several questions: If a woman really was upset with what her husband had done and was really not “in the mood” was she inadvertently using sex as a weapon and punishing her husband? Again, when did sex become a tool to get what you want out of your partner? Isn’t sex supposed to be a pronouncement of love, not a weapon or reward? How is it that this manipulative scheme even works? Aren’t there repercussions?

As though one of them read my thoughts, he said: “It is normal and alright to be angry at what your partner has done and not be “in the mood” as a result. Just don’t tell him/her you are taking sex away because you feel it is the best way to get back at them or form the habit of using sex as a weapon and reward in your relationship. It may work at first but eventually, it will backfire”

As the conversation continued, the one who had fallen victim went further to mention some of the possible ways using it could backfire: the passion shared between the partners could quickly fade and sex stops being fun; one partner could start resenting the other, become more distant and eventually break up with  or divorce the other. They could start cheating on their partners; start to lie to them, and even improving on their lying skills as they figure out exactly what to say and how to say it to get back in your pants; the affected partner  could also turn around and start  withholding sex from the other and no one ever gets laid; e.t.c.

I say: think twice before you take sex away. Sex is something that should be given without a price. Nobody should need to work for it, bargain or pay for it. It should be given unconditionally as a way to express love for each other. And even more, saying “no” to intimate relations with your partner because you’re mad at them is a form of emotional abuse. It is based on power and control. You do not want to risk losing that love as a result of playing selfish manipulation and control tactics.

Are you guilty of using sex as a weapon or are you a victim? what are some of the consequences you have reaped as a result? Share your experience!

Written by: Nkem Ndem, a dynamic freelance writer and editor who can be reached for online writing(web content and blog) and editing, screenwriting, ghost writing, copy proofreading and reviews. She has since worked with Jumia, SpiceTV Africa, Bella Naija and Glam Africa. Check out her Instagram: @kem_dem, twitter: @ndemv and snapchat:@ndemv. Email: nkemndemv@gmail.com

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