So we kick around all these phrases like “sex is not a universal need” and “sex can’t be something you owe someone” and “nobody’s entitled to sex with you” and all that, and although I agree wholeheartedly, I think I’ve noticed a blindspot — or at least, an angle that could use more emphasis. Regardless, it’s good to practice saying it more, and I think more people need to hear this.
*takes a deep breath*
Sex is not necessary healthcare. Sex is not inherently “healthy” the way vitamins and omega-3s are. Your partner does not need sex the way a plant needs water. They’re not going to wilt and die on you for lack of sex.
Sex is not a drug. Your partner is not going to experience life-threatening withdrawals if they go without it for too long. It’s not necessity to protect their immune system. It’s not vital medication. It’s not like food and shelter.
Your refusal or withdrawal of consent at any point is more valid than their moping. If having partnered sex were a matter of such dire importance to them, they could go and find it elsewhere rather than sacrificing you on the altar of their own pleasure.
A partner who likes sex is a partner who likes sex. A partner who likes sex more than they like making you feel safe is exhibiting selfishness.
Your “no,” even an implied, temporary, or interrupting one, is not that big of a deal. Insufficient respect for it is.
And if they’re going to punish you for knowing that — whether in words or in looks or in anything you’d rather avoid —
even if you’re not ready to leave them, I support you.