I’m submissive and I say no.

There is this common trope within BDSM that, while worded in various ways, conveys the message that “no” is a down and out no-go for any submissive. That to be submissive – or obtain some kind of deeper level of submission, one must yield completely and without hesitation. And while for some this may express a genuine carte blanche statement for others, like myself it does not, in anyway represent me or my experiences of or need for submission. The word “no” nor the message it conveys to him has no power in our relationship. It is not something that is outlawed or rejected. It is, purely and simply a word. So I wanted to spend some time writing, what I guess you’d call the opposite statement and to show how the word no can become just another communication tool within a relationship.

But I want to make two points before I do.

First, keeping my ability to say no is a very personal and very political choice, that has nothing to do with him.

There are just under 50 countries throughout the world where a woman does not have the right not be raped by her husband.

20 countries do not have laws protecting women from domestic violence.

Dozens of women every year are murdered in an archaic attempt at restoring family honour.

1 in 6 women in my country will encounter some form of sexualised violence in her lifetime.

To me, giving up something that is so often rejected or just non-existent in so many women’s lives feels wrong. That’s not to say that other women are wrong when they make the choice to do so, it just means that for me, doing so would feel so wrong.

Second, let me make something very clear. Nothing, and I mean nothing, happens here that has not been asked for or agreed to. Our sex life, no matter how kinky, is absolutely something that is mutually beneficial and satisfying. I want this. Not is some obscure ‘she asked for it’ kind of way. But in a genuine, this relationship is sexually satisfying for me.

When I say no to him, there is something going on for me. Something that he didn’t notice or forgot about. Usually it is a response to uncertainty – I’m confused about what he is asking of me, or it is a reaction caused through fear. Not of him, but of the process or consequence of what he is planning on doing. Sometimes for me the only response I can give him is no. Anything else would be a lie and me lying to him, hiding the truth or ignoring the reactions going on within me is going to, eventually hurts me in a way that saying no doesn’t.

Because let me be completely honest here. Saying no to him hurts. I don’t want to say it. I want to surrender – that’s why I asked for a relationship founded in dominance and submission. That’s why I agreed to the way things are here. Sometimes no to him is an obvious reaction to what he is saying or doing. He may be my master but he is one heck of a human being, and sometimes he misses something that is relevant to his choice or he just doesn’t see what I do. Other times just saying those two little letters can be an excruciating experience for me. I go through this ridiculous inner negotiation with myself, where I will try and bargain with myself to try and get out of saying the word. Even though I know I need to say it. Even though I know I am going to say it and that saying it is the right things to do, I still try and get out of it. Why? No idea! I wish I could figure it out because that conversation I have with myself has, once or twice, lead me down that negative self-talk spiral and, as I’m sure some of you know, that never ends well.

No, here, is the beginning of a conversation, one that is more often than not a very long and ongoing one. Never once has no meant yes – and if anyone ever tries to tell you otherwise give them a miss. Getting me from a no to a yes is not manipulation or coercion. It is a process that we work through, together. He has an idea and it’s up to the both of us to get me, or us, to that place. Sometimes it’s a simple as him walking through things with me so I understand what it is exactly that he wants of me. Sometimes it’s been one step, stop, talk about my reaction or what I need to get to the next one. Other times it’s taken me several, sometimes very difficult conversations, to get me to even think about giving what he wants a try.

And sometimes the no remains a no. No matter how many steps forward and backwards we take, no matter how much we talk through things, no matter how much I might want to surrender; what he wants just doesn’t happen.

And that is okay.

No doesn’t have to be the end, as it is with us, it can be the beginning of something that, more often than not, turns into something amazing. But even when it doesn’t end that way, when whatever it is he wants is and stays a no, the fact that no is my response is still okay without justification.





Pity sex with hubby shouldn’t be something that goes viral…

But it seems that in 2016 it is something that we should all be reading about.

I want to preface this by saying that I started this piece before Mel released her YouTube video. What Mel has read about herself is horrifying and such a vivid picture of the current reality of being a woman online in 2016. I don’t know of one woman; myself included who has not had to deal with the deluge of comments that come with occupying any space online. The first time it happened to me I was devastated, consumed by this overwhelming grief- like cloud. It was isolating – everyone I tried to talk about it with told me to get over it, it’s only online. Confronting – those words are in your face and not things you hear in your normal day to day. Humiliating – other people are reading these things about me and I’ve got nothing that can stop them from believing every single one of them.

When I watched Mel’s video this morning I seriously considered deleting this piece, not because I think there is anything wrong with what I’ve written. I was just concerned that it would come across as another piece attacking Mel and her post. I’ve sat with this for a few hours weighing up my choices and decided that, while sticking to the overall premise of my piece, I will change the tone of it.

Mel more than likely will not read what I’ve written, and that’s okay. But someone who has something that she wants to say will. Someone who thinks, at best, that what she has to say couldn’t be important or at worst, who is afraid that the words she uses will become the next play thing for trolls. Please write it! Write the things that come to you, the things that you want said and heard. It’s tough and there is nothing you can do to stop those who choose to troll from doing what they do. But there will be someone, somewhere who will read what you have to say and it will be exactly what they needed to hear – just as so many women connected with what Mel had originally written.

I don’t usually pay attention to what goes viral. Sure some of it is funny and my teenager is always showing me the next must watch video. But when the post by Mel Watts; blogger at The Modern Mumma titled “Did we just have a quickie?” popped up for the fourth time in my Facebook feed I stopped and read it. I got a laugh and could sympathise with Mel about the perils of balancing motherhood with some sort of intimate relationship with your partner/spouse. I filed it the “remember to write something about motherhood and sex” and got on with everything else I needed to do for the day. But there was something that just kept coming back to me about her piece, specifically her line

“I’m not normally your day time quickie kinda person but today I thought the amount of effort he has put into every sexual advance it would just be plain mean of me.”

I was struck by this image of a woman who, after what seemed like days, of badgering and passive aggressive attempts at seduction, was motivated by obligation, guilt and the thought of being able to sleep “without dick jabbed in my back” was having, well pity sex with her husband.

We often think of pity sex as something that happens to younger men and teenagers. Those who are deemed of little sexual currency but who, for some reason outside of genuine sexual motivation, deserve to be fucked.

I’m not saying that this is the case with Mel, she writes her experience as something very different from what I’ve imagined. But it’s very hard for me to see this and not think about some of my first steps into sex as a teenager and young woman. Where I believed that if he (whoever he was) played this flirtation game or put time into me then I was somehow (I still don’t know why) I was obligated to have sex otherwise I’d be mean. I now see it for what it really was – sexual harassment and manipulation, but as a 19-year-old who thought she was in love for the first time, it seemed funny, cute, sexy even romantic!

What made me think about this part of my sexual history was the assumption that Mel’s husband brought into their sex life. That his arousal, his charm, his dad sex jokes were the only things necessary to have sex. There was nothing about her arousal, her sexual charm nor did she use any words – jokes or otherwise, to communicate her desire or intentions. In fact, she’s just the vessel that accepts all of this, addresses his sexual need and then goes on with her day grateful that his hardon won’t be pressed into her back that night.

Don’t get me wrong I love spontaneous sex with my husband. We both look for any excuse to connect on that sexual level, heck we’ve given our teenage daughter money to go clothes shopping just so we can have the house to ourselves. But it’s something that we both desire. Those quick found moments are something that satisfies the both of us equally.

But there are times where sex is the last thing that I have wanted, and sure, he will ask (we don’t do passive hinting here) but no is just as much an acceptable answer as yes please. Sex, regardless of our dynamic, is not for him, and I have no obligation to have sex with him in order to fend off cheesy dad jokes and his hardon. I won’t have pity sex with my husband!

Rape culture is rape culture. Please do not for a second think I am accusing this man of raping his wife. While the narrative created around this has got me thinking, this is nothing more than consensual sex. Those cultural messages of female availability rather than agency exist within our own intimate relationships, even in marriage.

Mutuality is not a constant and this has to change! Women, yes even us married ones, are entitled to genuine body and sexual autonomy and sexual pleasure free from obligation and coercion.

Wouldn’t it be great if one day soon, while I’m scrolling through my Facebook feed, drinking my morning coffee and I come across a viral post about a woman having a mutually desired and pleasurable quickie with her husband while to kids were sleeping and with the neighbours?