I don’t owe you Sex- Part. 1

When sex is seen as a favor for good behavior what do you do?

I have often been placed in this predicament (as many women have) when either men I’ve gone on a date with or have been with for a certain amount of time, feel it’s their god given right to get sex just because they did something “nice” for me, or they felt I owed them. In their mind sex is some sort of reward. And by nice I am not talking about saving my life, or buying me a very expensive car, which in this case heck why not right? (just kidding!) But to those who do, more power to you.

I’ve wondered how this expectation came about. Is it their upbringing? Is it society in general? Is the prevalence of transactional and power play sexual encounters just a male mentality? In all the instances of “expected sex”, I wondered (as many women do), If I owed these men something, because that was the approach or the explanation given to me. This implied, or expected reward for good behavior sent me into a moment of self reflection. Did I invite this? Do I owe them some sort of explanation as to why I don’t want to have sex with them? Is this really being asked of me? And what allows for such an expectation?

Looking back at the events that lead to these still unanswered questions, I have yet to understand how the dynamics between men and women are formed, in allowing such expectations to exist, and why we accept living in a society that still creates them.

Case №1 — New York fall 2013

New York fall 2013. Having freshly arrived a few months earlier, I was still bouncing around from home to home and job to job. I was still insecure about my decision to drop my life in Athens, and live in a new city with absolutely zero job prospects. My surviving skills needed sharpening while sustaining myself on the very little money I had saved up. After feeling somewhat settled in and with the help of friends, I found a part time job as a dog walker for a company in Manhattan, but this was hardly enough to keep me afloat. Unlike many Greeks emigrating to the U.S I wanted no part in asking for handouts or favors; I knew full well what working with, and alongside Greek business owners could entail. Just because I was Greek, didn’t mean I cared to or wanted to immediately work in the Greek community, and despite my general rule to stay away from the insulated world of the Greek-American diaspora; I had a need to connect with “my people” and maybe find a better job suited to my education and skills.

After many inquiries and searches, I was introduced to an up and coming Greek American social coordinator, banker, and well known fixture in the Greek American community. Having spoken several times about potential job opportunities, we agreed to meet up in person, after maintaining email communication for several months.

After a pleasant dinner at a Greek restaurant in Astoria, and a somewhat general but also flirtatious conversation, he paid the bill and hailed me a cab to where I was staying. As we continued our conversation and fun banter in the backseat of a cab, he proceeded to corner me and get as close to me as possible. After trying quite a few times to kiss me, and repeating several times that we could end up at his place to fuck. I pleasantly thwarted his advances, and in the end pretty much had to push him off me with a smile. Beyond the dinner I had zero intention of sleeping with this man, and made zero allusions as such.

I got out of the cab, sent him on his merry way and pretty much knew I would never see him again. Upon arriving at my home I got a text message. “Why did you have dinner with me and let me kiss you, if you didn’t intend of having sex with me? You mislead me and that was a waste of my time.” It got me seriously thinking what exactly in my demeanor, our conversation or agreeing to go to dinner with this man gave him the idea that I was open to any kind of further contact? Did he think he was paying for sex with dinner? Or that a dinner was enough to warrant some sort of sexual favor?

This is not the first time or the last time this has occurred, and to be clear not all situations end up like this. Not all men or women for that matter are that manipulative, yet the idea of sex as a commodity never really appealed to me and certainly not as a reward for “good behavior”. I have experienced instances where, seemingly powerful people, and men in particular; like to wield their power in a sexual way and for the most part do so without repercussions. Those same people feel that sexual reward is par for the course, while blatantly stating that: “if I buy you dinner, take you out, get you a cab ride home; or do you a favor, I’m getting what I paid for, and If you don’t comply, I’m wasting precious time If you don’t deliver.” In all these instances, of sexual powerplay, I was never in a position of power. I was either broke, in some need, or seemed lesser or weaker than I actually was. This clarified in my mind what all sex, and power play games have in common.

Blatant insecurity.

Despite any unpleasant interactions I’ve experienced over the years with situations like this; I never felt I had to repay any dept or favors. My experiences did however make me think twice before accepting any further dinner invitations.

Share your story or stories of predicaments like this – I’d love to hear from men and women who might have been placed in similar (unwanted) reward sex situations. 

Eleana Kouneli

A former dancer, current yoga teacher, writer, curious traveler and wild soul. My fuel and desire is to learn from others and spread healing and joy as I go. Follow my adventures and see where they lead you! All the stories are true, all the poems are real and all the writing is mine. Enjoy

4 comments

  • Eleana, it’s Bull shit to have that expectation. What makes these men so self-important? I know there are men who feel that way, it’s never made sense. It has to do with the obvious Societal [Men’s] expectations. Society “tells” Men these kind of actions are “okay”, not necessarily directly but through shown roles in advertising, in sports, even entertainment, though maybe…that’s changing.
    And of course the age-old nemesis, power.
    It sucks. ✊🏼

    Liked by 1 person

    • It does suck but only when we keep pointing it out will be passe to rely on such ancient power structures to get ahead. Expectations lead to embarrassment and stagnancy. The archetype is overused. Let’s recreate ourselves and move up.

      Liked by 1 person

  • It never stops. I was in a Latin American city, walking in broad daylight in the most busy part of town when I realised I was followed by a man for about two blocks. He came close to me and persisted that he ‘needed me’. He wouldn’t let go. I almost had to push him away. After that incident, I looked around and I saw that no woman my age was walking alone on the street. A similar thing happened to me twice more within seven days, again in broad daylight, again in mid town buzz. When I asked, somebody told me, what did you expect? You walk on your own ‘you give the wrong message’. So, even walking can give the ‘wrong message’. There is no such thing as the ‘wrong message’. It is only a matter of respect -or lack of- on the part of the person who feels ‘entitled’ to sex or other form of attention. Until the point when some men-and I am sorry to say it is men- respect women as human beings, there is nothing , absolutely nothing that we can do to ‘prevent’ this.
    What happened to you and me ,and I am sure 100% of all women who read this, was harassment. We need to start perceiving it as it is. And the ‘entitled’ must start respecting us for who we .are, human beings, just like them.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Very true my dear Angeliki,

      thank you for sharing your story with me. I hope that the more more I write the more people will be able to connect to common experiences and overcome these destructive patterns.
      greetings from NYC!

      Like

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