Why You Shouldn’t Have Sex When You Don’t Want To

Go take a look inside a few women’s magazine on the newsstands right now, and I guarantee that in at least one of them, you will find the following admonishment: to have sex even when you don’t want to, because it’s good for you.

The more insulting versions of this sentiment are that you should have sex when you don’t want to because it’s good for your partner (they’re typically referring to your male partner), or because it’s good for your relationship.

Well, I’m here to tell you this: Having sex when you don’t want to isn’t good for anyone. Not your partner, not your relationship, and most of all, not you. So you shouldn’t do it.

Most of these magazines put forth pretty convincing arguments as to why you should let somebody fuck you when you don’t want them to. It’s great exercise! (Sassier magazines will even call it “sexercise!!!!!”). Once you get into it, you’ll like it! Sex releases endorphins, and so you’ll feel super awesome after you do it! The more you do it, the more you’ll want to do it! Or – on the negative tip, here – your relationship will suffer if you don’t do it, so spread ‘em!

Now, barring that last one, I don’t want to say that some of these things aren’t partially or potentially true. For instance, I’m sure that if you’re involved in a particularly physical roll in the hay, you’ll burn some calories. Ditto if you’re bouncing on top of someone like a deranged pogo stick. And sure, sex releases endorphins. So does regular exercise (which, incidentally, IS something you should do even if you don’t really want to).

And of course, it is possible that you’ll get into sex once it starts even if you weren’t into it in the beginning. You might get turned on and want to continue.

But you also might not. And that’s sort of where this awesome advice falls apart.

See, when you do something you don’t want to do under the guise of feeling like you should be doing it, you run a few very real risks. One is that, despite your best efforts, you will actually not “get into it” once you start. That will make the act itself – whatever it is! Sex, or finishing a book you hate, or watching a TV show that everybody loves (Girls) but you think is stupid (Girls) – utterly unpleasant, and in the case of sex, might make you actually want to do it even less the next time an opportunity rolls around.

Another is that, since sex in this context is a partner sport, you run the risk of letting resentment build between yourself and the unwitting individual who is doing sex to you in that particular moment. After all, if you’re lying there while some sweaty grunting person is pounding away, and the only reason you’re doing it is because “Cosmoglamstyle” told you it was what that person wanted, you’re probably more likely to feel annoyed about the whole situation than you are to think, “My goodness, how well we two are bonding right now.”

But all that aside – because truth be told, you probably love your partner and you probably won’t ever completely lose interest in sex just because you did it a few times begrudgingly – the most important point here is that you should never, ever train yourself to do things you don’t want to do.

It’s important in relationships and in life to know what you do and do not want, and to learn how to advocate for those things. This is actually very hard for some people, and if you listen to gender studies people, women tend to have a more difficult time doing it. For instance: It’s hard to ask for a promotion. It’s hard to tell a friend that she’s being an asshole. And it can be hard to tell your partner that you’re not in the mood to fuck.

But the answer to that isn’t “Give in and fuck anyway and hope that you like it,” any more than the answer to not getting what you want at work is “Sit there and do shit you hate until someone simply notices how awesome you are.”

The answer is: Recognize what you want, accept what you want, be fucking proud of what you want, and then do what you want. In this case, that means learning a productive way to tell your partner you don’t want to have sex when that is the case.

Besides, hopefully the person that you’ve chosen to date actually only wants to fuck you if you also want to fuck them. There is something decidedly gross about a man or woman who would be totally cool with you having sex with them because a magazine guilted you into it. Ideally, you embracing what you really want will be a move that is in turn embraced by your partner. In fact, you might want to rethink the relationship if you find that’s not the case.

Now, here’s the beautiful thing about all this – unlike having sex when you don’t want to, the more you standing up for how you feel instead of roundly ignoring how you feel, the more you’ll be able to articulate other things that you want. As far as sex goes, maybe you want more foreplay. Maybe you want to be tied up and spanked. Maybe you want to do the tying up. Figuring those things out and saying them out loud will DEFINITELY make sex better.

But ignoring what you want will only confuse things and make them convoluted, and then the next thing you know, you’ll be lying in bed one day asking yourself, “Do I want this? Don’t I want this? Shouldn’t I want this?” When you really could have said, “I don’t want this” 15 minutes ago and saved yourself the trouble.

In short, any magazine that encourages you to ignore your feelings in favor of some imagined societal ideal can go fuck themselves. Even if they don’t want to.

Share This Post:
    • Somnilee

      Great post :) I’m going through a bit of a “need to stand up for what I actually want, rather than what I feel expected to want” phase, so this was all good to hear.

      • Jessica Pauline Ogilvie

        Thanks! Yes, definitely stand up for what you actually want. We have your back :)

    • MM


    • Anna

      Yes please Gloss, this is why I love you. Very much wanted someone to say this (rather than just ‘Do the sex! Add the SPICE! Or he will DUMP YOU) and you explained it so well!

    • Alle C


      All caps required.

    • Jessica Pauline Ogilvie

      You guys are awesome.

    • Eileen

      You know, half of me wants to say, “This is so spot-on.” The other half thinks it’s not so simple.

      If you actively don’t want to have sex, then absolutely, don’t have sex. Anyone worth having sex with will accept and understand. But we all do all sorts of things we aren’t 100% in the mood for in the interest of having a mutually beneficial relationship. Maybe he likes baseball and you like basketball, or you want to eat Greek food and he wants Indian, or you want to listen to German opera and he likes Italian better. Everyone compromises a little, and while I have no problem saying, “I don’t want to have sex,” I don’t think there’s anything wrong with occasionally having sex when maybe you’d rather flip through a magazine and go to sleep, just because you do care about your partner and it’s your turn to compromise.

      (Partner, obviously, should also be compromising and occasionally doing things because you really want to)

      • jen

        you completely seem not get the above article and just reaffirmed what all the magazines tell us to do (not Womans Aid tho) woud you expect your husband to eat a dinner when he wasnt hungry or would he even eat it !
        What are we teaching each other ourselves (to respect ourselves the only thing we really own) some people out there are having a rough time with this sort of thing,
        I was taught when I didnt want to do a certain thing I should never ever have to, the crux of the matter is there are no grey areas just ……………..
        yes or no, stop or go, leave or stay, truth or lie

    • Speakup

      Sex is a gift, a personal expression of love requiring a great deal of vulnerability on the part of the giver, and that is why it is okay to hope for gifts, maybe even request them, but not to expect or DEMAND. When sex is demanded of me, that person destroys my gesture and the emotion behind it. It is damaging. I feel less human when I don’t have the freedom to say no without reprise.

    • That realness

      I’m not upset but here’s some real talk. I’m sorry, but this s**t sounds like from some prude a** h**. Don’t do it because it could build resentment? I take it this is intended for couples with some miles (and I’ve been there) on them, but If you actually take the time to build up to sex, you’ll get there in the right state of mind; given that you actually like the person you’re with. Not just spread wide open for him and let him have it. We’re not living in the Game of Thrones and you just take it all night like some slave. Get yours most definitely ladies, but suck him up, and f*** like you mean it. Stop with all that “my feelings” BS. I feel this is just another woman trying to empower women into controlling sex even more. He does a lot of s*** he doesn’t want to do or even deal with, because of how whiney women get. Same goes for women dealing with a bunch of s*** men do/want. Women have an obligation to their man and play their role just like men do. I pretty much guarantee you, if you only do it when you want to, it’s going to suck balls. Maybe not for women, because of course, this article is all about them and they’ll get what they want. But for the man, you’re treating him like some hound dog that has to be ready only when YOU want them to. Like for real? and this B**** is worried about building resentment? Your man is gonna resent you because you shut him down and probably find some other girl that will. It ain’t about having self respect for yourself as a women. Like I said, you’re not being treated like some sex doll (unless you’re into it), make sense meaningful, and if you are just getting mounted and in for a boring ride, that’s a different problem. If you think you might not get into it, then you’re doing it wrong. You better start exploring and find some kinky s*** to do to get that flame back. Do it in the car, or in the movies. F*** around and grope each other, feel young. But if you’re too worried about your feelings and self respect then you’re not gonna have a good time. Nobody wants some covered up little angel that thinks she’s being disrespected when it’s time to get dirty. You gotta be a lady in the streets and a freak in the bed; there’s nothing wrong with being dirty and acting like a slut. S**t you’re with one F***ing guy, so you shouldn’t feel that way actually. These women are just too afraid of getting nasty and having fun with sex. Maybe it’s a white people thing; I don’t know, but it definitely gives me that vibe. If you don’t like what Im saying and you’re a woman, you’re probably that woman I’m talking about. Boring in bed, pancake ass, and too worried about her image and feminist values than just getting on her knees and pleasing her man, and letting him do the same. He likes you enough to only want to F**k you, if he makes you feel sexy, desirable, treats you good, then reward him. Because isn’t that all women want anyways? Stop with this dumb s***, please. You’re only ruining yourself. Because when you come onto him, he might of already laid eyes on that nice sexy ass secretary, or that hot ass MILF next door, because you made him feel like you ain’t want him. not speaking from experience, just seen it happen time and time again and it’s silly. Excuse my strong language, but it doesn’t discredit the real s*** that I speak. It doesn’t make me any less intelligent for those who want to focus on what’s not the task at hand. Read what I put fully, and don’t let your knee jerk reactions get the best of you. I speak the truth, and you know this. Have fun with sex, do that nasty ooo-wee s*** and you’ll thank each other. Get out of them clothes, and show that body and remind him why he gets hard. Stop with that victim role, you love sex and you know it. Being a lady is only good half the time.

      • Donwanna Fakya

        Why thank you, that rapeness