Are Women Passive When It Comes to Sex? Yes, I Never Make the First Move.

What Women Really Think
June 14 2013 11:47 AM

Are Women Passive When It Comes to Sex? Yes, I Never Make the First Move.

Earlier this week we asked female readers to write in telling us whether they experience their sexuality as relatively passive and male readers to write in telling us if they see female sexual passivity as the norm (or not). Many responded. We published some responses yesterday and have a few more today.

From: Elizabeth

Advertisement

Do you, as women, experience your sexuality as relatively passive? For you, does female desire feel like a fundamentally receptive force?

After reflecting on my sexual experiences over the past five years, I've discovered that my answer to your question is yes: I am a woman, and much of how I internally construct sex relates to receptivity. Here are some details to illustrate my response.

My sexual awakening occurred at age 35. Up until that time I believed strongly that I should always strive to subordinate my desires to those of others. My divorce was one result of an end to that way of thinking.

I became involved with an ex-boyfriend of mine who, it seemed, had learned a thing or two in the seven years we had each been with other people. His birthday came around a couple of months into this iteration of our relationship. I took him out to dinner, and we got a little drunk. After the cab ride home he pushed me against the wall of my bedroom and took my clothes off. The next morning he asked me a little sheepishly if that had been OK.

I sighed, "I was waiting for you to do that."

Later that winter, he got into bed with me at my place, complained that he was exhausted, and fell asleep. I really wanted to have sex with him and barely slept at all. The phrase "climbing the walls" made it into the journal entry I wrote later.

At dawn he found me in the kitchen, angrily grating frozen butter for a blueberry scone recipe. He wanted to know what was wrong. Finally he weaseled it out of me.

"Well, why didn't you tell me last night?" was his response. Initiating sex with him would have been perfectly reasonable, but I didn't do it.

I am now in a romantic relationship that is only a few weeks old. However, the feelings between my new lover and me had already been acknowledged on the day that I decided I would let him have sex with me. Note that I did not think to myself, I am going to have sex with him; I thought instead, I will let him. During the date leading up to that initial encounter, I tried to be strategic with my body language. After dinner I sat close to him at the bar, placed one foot on the floor while the other dangled over the barstool, and partially faced him. When he talked about something that was preoccupying him and mentioned that he would probably be thinking about it while staring at the ceiling at 1 in the morning, I said, "No, you won't." As we strolled out of the bar I said, "You live walking distance from here, right?"

I sent him a strong message, and later that night I got what I wanted. I'm not sure I would call this passive behavior, but at least based on my perceived process of inviting, waiting, and experiencing rather than initiating, I would have to answer your question with a yes.

Previously in this series:

TODAY IN SLATE

Medical Examiner

Here’s Where We Stand With Ebola

Even experienced international disaster responders are shocked at how bad it’s gotten.

Why Are Lighter-Skinned Latinos and Asians More Likely to Vote Republican?

A Woman Who Escaped the Extreme Babymaking Christian Fundamentalism of Quiverfull

The XX Factor
Sept. 22 2014 12:29 PM A Woman Who Escaped the Extreme Babymaking Christian Fundamentalism of Quiverfull

Subprime Loans Are Back

And believe it or not, that’s a good thing.

It Is Very Stupid to Compare Hope Solo to Ray Rice

Building a Better Workplace

In Defense of HR

Startups and small businesses shouldn’t skip over a human resources department.

How Ted Cruz and Scott Brown Misunderstand What It Means to Be an American Citizen

Divestment Is Fine but Mostly Symbolic. There’s a Better Way for Universities to Fight Climate Change.

  News & Politics
Politics
Sept. 22 2014 6:30 PM What Does It Mean to Be an American? Ted Cruz and Scott Brown think it’s about ideology. It’s really about culture.
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 22 2014 5:38 PM Apple Won't Shut Down Beats Music After All (But Will Probably Rename It)
  Life
Outward
Sept. 22 2014 4:45 PM Why Can’t the Census Count Gay Couples Accurately?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 22 2014 7:43 PM Emma Watson Threatened With Nude Photo Leak for Speaking Out About Women's Equality
  Slate Plus
Slate Plus
Sept. 22 2014 1:52 PM Tell Us What You Think About Slate Plus Help us improve our new membership program.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 22 2014 9:17 PM Trent Reznor’s Gone Girl Soundtrack Sounds Like an Eerie, Innovative Success
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 22 2014 6:27 PM Should We All Be Learning How to Type in Virtual Reality?
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 22 2014 4:34 PM Here’s Where We Stand With Ebola Even experienced international disaster responders are shocked at how bad it’s gotten.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.