sex as a weapon
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Sex as a Weapon

Are you guilty of using sex as a weapon? You might not think so or even admit it. But withholding sex as a weapon to make your partner do something is actually a mean manipulation tactic, and it’s pretty toxic.

Have you ever used sex to get your partner to do the dishes, clean the house, or give you a lengthy massage? Or maybe even threatened to take it away from them if they did something you didn’t like? If you have done any of these things, you’ve used sex as a weapon.

It may sound harmless compared to other manipulation tactics, but using sex as a wepon can actually spell big trouble in your relationship. So, how can you stop manipulating your partner and stop weaponizing sex? Read on to find out.

Should sex be used as a weapon?

Maybe you withhold sex sometimes, and you’re wondering what the big deal is. It can’t be that bad, right? Well, imagine if you overheard a conversation between a customer and her stylist at the hair salon. And at the beginning of the conversation, it sounds as if the two women are discussing their children and their allowances. 

The customer says, “Unless Joe finishes all his chores, there’s no way he’s getting anything.” To which the stylist replies, “Well, I’m going to reward Sam with a blow job tonight if he gets the gutters cleaned out.”

It was at that point you realize the women aren’t talking about their kids and allowances, after all. They are talking about their husbands and sex.

This example obviously follows an age-old set of rules that, by today’s standards, are outdated and obsolete. 

Believing that whoever controls the sex in a relationship also holds all the power is off the mark; sex shouldn’t be withheld as a punishment or given as a reward.

Sex is one of the most important ways couples show love for one another. It’s a powerful experience within the confines of a committed relationship. Not a reward for “good behavior.”

The subtle signs you are using sex as a weapon

Do you think you’re weaponizing sex against your partner? You might be doing it but not even know you are. Here are the signs that you’re guilty:

1. You withhold sex if you don’t get what you want

We all have expectations and desires when we’re in a relationship.

Maybe we want our partner to buy us flowers, give us a foot rub, or simply just clean up after themselves at home.

So, if you don’t get what you want, you get resentful. Then, you start thinking—either consciously or subconsciously—“How can I get what I want?” Ah ha! By withholding sex.

2. You withhold sex because you’re mad

While not getting what you want will usually make you mad, there are other things that will rile you up too.

It might be that you dressed up for them and they didn’t compliment you. Or anything else that sets you off.

Maybe subconsciously you even want makeup sex. If you tend to be a dramatic personality, maybe that is fun for you. It’s not healthy, but it might be a pattern for you.

3. You are overly sexy in public 

PDA and being sexy when you go out in public are perfectly acceptable.

Being sexy is one thing, but being sexually inappropriate is a sign that you’re trying to use your sexuality to gain power over your partner.

So, don’t be overly sexy, like straddling your partner or running your hands up their skirt/pants. You should only be doing things like brushing up against them or touching them in other discreet ways.

4. You tease too much

Teasing can be fun, but it should only be done in private. Either way—public or private—teasing your partner gets them excited and they think that they will be having sex with you.

But if you don’t intend to follow through with your teasing, then you are using sex as a weapon. If you’re teasing them so much that they are so turned on that they are losing their mind, that’s not fair. In fact, it’s just cruel.

5. Too many sexual comments

This is very closely associated with being overly sexy in public. Sure, your looks and actions are part of your overall sexiness, but what you say adds to your overall persona too.

So, if you are constantly making sexual comments to your partner but, again, not having any intention of following through with what you’re saying, that’s called using sex as a weapon.

6. Denying sex out of spite

Just because your partner said or did something that you didn’t like doesn’t mean that you can use sex against them. It could be anything from them not defending you or taking your side with another person or simply that they’re lazy.

That doesn’t mean you should withhold sex out of spite. Ask them about it. Learn to communicate with them in an effective, mature manner. That way, you can see if you can work through what’s bothering you instead of just denying them sex.

7. Being passive aggressive

A lot of people can be very passive-aggressive when they are angry or upset.  Being passive-aggressive is an indirect expression of hostility which includes negative attitudes and passive resistance to demands.

So, if you feel hostile and angry toward your partner, maybe you are being passive-aggressive and using sex as a weapon.

Sex as a weapon: The drawbacks and destruction

You can technically use sex as a weapon: it’s a darn good one. However, there are definitely some drawbacks to using sex to get what you want.

It may be a quick fix to your current problem, but it will ultimately lead to a worse path.

If you want to use sex as your personal tool to finagle your partner into doing what you want, beware of the consequences. The next time you think that you can trade your body for a chore around the house, think about these harsh truths:

1. If you use sex as a weapon they won’t appreciate sex as much

Sex is supposed to be something loving and enjoyable between two people who are in a loving relationship. It probably started out that way with the two of you, but now it has turned into you using sex as a weapon. That’s not very sexy, is it? 

They’re not going to appreciate their time having sex with you if they always have to do something to earn it. They will feel like you only want to get naked with them if they do something for you.

This not only removes the joy from having sex—it will also put a damper on their self-esteem. They’re a person, not a dog, and sex is not a “treat,” but a vital part of your relationship.

2. If you use sex as a weapon you’re also using it against yourself

Um, hello?! Who in their right mind would deprive themselves of sex just to prove a point and win an argument? Well, if you don’t like to have sex, then this could work to your advantage. But if you do enjoy sex, why would you do this?

Using sex as a weapon against your partner also hurts you. Have you ever thought of it this way? 

Not only do you harm your partner by withholding sex, but you also begin to resent them when you start feeling deprived—as if it’s their fault! 

3. You won’t enjoy sex as much

You should have sex because you care about your lover and because you want to.

But when you start using sex as a weapon, you’re only going to see it as a means to get what you want, and that really takes all the joy out of the act.

You will actually start to see sex as a chore instead of a fun way to connect with your partner and get intimate. When you remove the fun of sex in a relationship, it’s mostly downhill from there.

Sure, as time goes on in a relationship, the sex does die down a bit. But that doesn’t mean it should become weaponized. You still want to enjoy sex, don’t you? Who wouldn’t?

4. Using sex as a weapon throws a wedge into the dynamic of your entire relationship

This is especially true if you’re new to using sex as a weapon. When you have a routine going in your relationship and the two of you are doing well, withholding sex so they’ll do what you want throws it off balance.

They’ll wonder if you’re having second thoughts, or may not even understand what you’re doing, and you’ll feel like you always need to use it in order to get the things you want. It effectively ruins the loving dynamic of your relationship.

5. Withholding sex sends the wrong message

When you’re in a monogamous relationship, you are your partner’s only source of sexual activity and physical affection.

Withholding sex as a punishment for a behavior you don’t like sends the message that maybe they should look for sex elsewhere.

Think about it for a minute: couples use sexual intercourse as a way to connect with each other in a way they don’t connect with others. Therefore, sex is sacred in a committed relationship. If there’s no sex, that might cause wandering eyes.

6. When you use sex as a wepon you’re ignoring yours, and their, needs

Most couples don’t share the same sex drive. But declaring you’re “not in the mood” simply because you want to punish your partner *rather than because you’re actually not feeling well or you’re tired*, is the same thing as using sex as a weapon.

Of course, there are nights when you go to bed angry, and making love is the furthest thing from your mind. That’s okay. It’s the act of continually withholding lovemaking until they’re “good” that amounts to emotional blackmail.

7. Using sex as a reward becomes a way for spouses to dole out approval

When couples begin giving sexual favors as a reward for doing things, or because the other has been “good,” it starts to take away from sex as an act of love and turns it into an act of approval.

Sex should be more than just intercourse, especially in a committed relationship. It should encompass the sensual and spiritual side of your relationship. When sex is given as a reward, it becomes less about passion and sharing between two people and more about the mechanics of the act to satisfy a “good” partner.

It’s true we use allowances to get our kids to do their chores. And we also give our dogs treats for behaving appropriately. So, giving sex as a reward to our partners changes the dynamic of the relationship from beloved partners to master and slave.

8. You’re not confronting the issue

When you use sex as a weapon or a reward, you’re not really getting to the meat of the problem at hand. Ask yourself what you are really angry at your partner about. You may or may not know the answer to that, so you’ll have to do some self-reflection. 

When you use sex to “solve” your problems, all you’re doing is pushing those issues out of the way by having sex, and then keeping them there until the next time you get angry.

Instead of resorting to sexual manipulation, you need to learn how to communicate better with each other. Learn to tell your partner what is bothering you and ask them to do the same. Work through your conflict as a team, not as enemies.

9. Research shows that trading sex for chores may not lead to more sex, after all

A couple of years ago, three women published a paper in the American Sociological Review that contradicted the argument that “the most erotic thing a man can do for a woman is… the dishes.”

After analyzing data from the 7,002 couples who participated in the National Survey of Families and Households, the authors ultimately favored the idea that it’s not men helping out with household chores that leads to more sex. 

Instead, it’s men being masculine doing their chores and women being feminine doing their thing that leads to couples having more frequent fun in the bedroom.

It just goes to show that using sex as a reward system doesn’t necessarily reinforce the “good” behavior that leads to sex.

It’s the fact that women are turned on by their men’s helpfulness and men are attracted to their woman’s femininity, leading to more frequent sex. Nowhere in those findings is sex used as a bargaining chip.

10. If you use sex as a weapon they won’t learn anything

Using sex as a weapon teaches your significant other that they can have sex if they do what you say. That’s not teaching them anything or adding any value to the relationship at all.

Communication is the only way you can really teach your partner to do the things you like in order to make you happy. Sex should never be used as a mechanism to “train” them.

11. They’ll expect sex as a “reward” and will be disappointed when you don’t comply 

Your significant other should do kind things for you because they care about you, not because they’ll only get laid if they do.

When you start putting this mentality into them by using sex as a reward system, they’ll be angry and upset when they do something good, but don’t get to fondle you later. That’s your doing, too, so you can’t get mad at them for it.

12. Manipulating destroys self-esteem

For the person who is using it as a weapon, they can’t feel very good about themselves for doing it. They know darn well that they are manipulating their partners using sex.

The other person also can’t feel very good about themselves either. If your partner would only have sex with you if you “did” something for them, that wouldn’t make you feel good, would it? You want your partner to want to have sex with you.

Now you can see why using sex as a weapon destroys the self-esteem of both people. One knows they’re being manipulative and can’t feel good about it. And the other one feels unloved.

13. Using sex as a weapon will actually lead to more fights

Since you’re not solving anything, but holding onto all of the issues and putting them aside for the time being while you get busy between the sheets, you’re bound to “explode” one day.

Not only will you have a big blow-up about pent-up anger, but you can create new fights when your partner realizes they only get sex when you get something in return. By using sex as a weapon, you’re actually causing more problems in your relationship.

A final note on sex and chores

Everyone uses sex as a weapon from time to time, especially when both spouses are super busy and no one has the time or energy to tend to everyday chores like doing the dishes or washing the laundry.

And women seem to take on the bulk of the household chores. It’s understandable that they get jealous when their significant other is sitting on the couch enjoying a movie on TV, while they’re on our hands and knees scrubbing the toilet.

But holding sex over your partner’s head isn’t the answer. Open communication and working as a team is the best way forward.

Although many of us use sex as our best weapon against our partners, we should really stop and think about the harm it could be causing in our relationships. Nothing good comes from using sex as a weapon.

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