In this sixteen part series over the next five weeks, we will explore how we can use our bodies and our sexuality with a partner with whom we’ve completely accepted as a soulmate and an extension of ourselves. Don’t feel like you’ve met that person? Consider that you may want to hold off before going completely into the water until you are completely sure that he is your guy. Oh yeah and I was kidding about the sixteen part series. This is just a normal length blog, nothing crazy.
I don’t want to be objectified. I don’t present myself as a sex object. I want to be respected as a person; the sum of the individual that I am. I don’t want my humanity and dignity to be ignored or my worth to be reduced to my physical appearance. All of that is an absolute given but what happens when you’ve found a partner that treats you as a partner and their favorite human. What happens when you accept that you’ve found your person and you acknowledge that you are indeed his sole sexual supply? When your guard is down and your walls have crumbled, can you intentionally reverse those objectification habits? Can you accept that he must use your body as the object of his affection within the context of your relationship?
Ok so you are married or in some sort of an exclusive relationship with a man. You understand that masturbation and self-pleasure have negatives and you’ve either accepted those negatives or come up with a method of regulating his behavior. Understand that all aspects of our being thrive when we are sexually satisfied and both of you are no exception. Through communication and intimacy, come to an understanding about sexual expectations within the context of your marriage. What is ok? What is out of bounds? What is an effective way for each of you communicate those seasons when your sexual needs are not being met?
While I would agree that objectification is not compatible with a loving relationship, I would also agree that objectification is also essential. I want to be the object of his desire and I want him to be the object of mine. I think we both need to objectify each other because I want to be the object of his affection just as he is mine. My incompatible view of objectification made me do some more research (nothing new there, folks). Objectification is fine in a sexual setting but the problems happen when objectification denies the autonomy of the objectified. If you can mentally interchange the person with objects or a you can mentally reduce him or her to body and appearance objectification is a serious problem.
There also needs to be a distinction of general objectification and objectification within the boundaries of a romantic relationship. If I dress sexy for Kev, I absolutely want him to sexualize and objectify me. It would be a lie if I said that I didn’t want him to sexualize me. It is important to my self confidence and my sexual image of myself. I sexualize and objectify myself sometimes and I think it is perfectly healthy to do so. When I have a strong sexual image of myself, I can better enjoy my sexuality because I feel like I am more comfortable with the way that others see me.
I am not without flaws but I feel good about myself and that includes the parts of me that aren’t perfect. The problem is when objectification is at odds with the flaws. If elimination of perceived flaws becomes tantamount to happiness then objectification is an issue. Have you ever experienced a partner that was obsessed with your weight? Contrast that to a partner who accepts you at whatever weight you feel most comfortable at.
I think the motive behind sexualization and objectification is tremendously important. True love is the basis of compersion and compersion is impossible when negative objectification is present. So what are some examples of negative objectification? Does his objectification make you feel sexually charged or dehumanized? Do his sexual advances make you feel like he thinks he is entitled to your body? Do you use your bodies to grow closer together or does he use your body as a vessel for his own sexual gratification?
Sexualization and objectification are not purely female terms. Men can be objectified too but they are often objectified differently. Compare the following “Have you met my new boyfriend? He is a handsome lawyer!” and “Have you met my new girlfriend? She has a great butt!”. Both of these examples reduce the new boyfriend/girlfriend to something that does not define them. For women, financial security is important and for men, physical attractiveness is important. Neither of these are wrong however they show the double standard that I hear even among my own friends; many of which self identify as feminists. Do you see your husband as a him or a that? Is he a man with a wonderful heart who enjoys fly fishing and the outdoors or is he a lawyer with a great chest and shoulders? Do you see your wife as a dentist with a nice rack or do you see her as a loving and devoted partner who enjoys yoga and baking?
What we often get wrong is the relationship between objectification and desirability. When a man or woman is desirable, they are more sexually valuable to us. When we are overly familiar with our partners, we often begin to lose the objectification as we become closer and more intimate with our partners. Remember the beginning when he was the latest conquest or when you couldn’t get her off your mind? That is all but a distant memory now, five, ten or even twenty years down the road.
No man or woman is put on this earth to be an object for you. If you think that way, you are probably on board with slavery and human trafficking since all of these concepts imply ownership over another. True objectification will never be compatible with love however situational or objectification, being able to see your husband or wife as a manifestation of their sexuality is healthy.
I felt your eyes glaze over at that headline. What can sex and economics have to do with each other? Quite a bit actually. Sex is a commodity which has both a demand and a supply side. As the oldest profession on the planet, it arguably was instrumental in building the first economies. In the vast majority of sexual “transactions” the woman is the seller and the man is the buyer. In the relationship market, women compete on sex appeal with the goal of finding a man who will provide resources while men gather resources with the goal of finding a woman with sex appeal. While it is far more complex than that, you can read this deep dive analogy into sexual economics theory.
I encourage you to do things to feel better about yourself, dress sexy, be overtly sexual with your teasing and lovemaking but ensure there is more to it than a role of sexual supply. If you are solely his/her sexual supply, you are merely a means for them to their own pleasure. As a role of sexual supplier, you are no more than a gas station who provides for the needs of another. A girlfriend who gives you your ration of pussy. A boyfriend who gives me a good fucking. You can be these things but these things cannot define you or your relationship. Someone who uses another person is a textbook narcist so watch for other narcissistic behaviors if you feel like things may be unhealthy. Seek counseling and make sure to surround yourself with friends who can see these sorts of behaviors from an outside perspective. Sometimes they can be difficult to see from the inside especially if your partner is manipulative.
Married? You should be each other’s sexual supply because a sexually healthy relationship fosters an incredible bond. The key is that your marriage must be much more than a sexual transaction. The healthiest types of bonds are a best friends with benefits sort of relationship. When sexual teasing is as much part of the relationship as verbal teasing banter the level of fun and play makes bond less of a transaction and more of a partnership. For some of us (mostly the fellas), physical and sexual communication is more important than verbal because it seems more real and impactful. Men aren’t used to receiving compliments and most aren’t very good at accepting them. Women on the other hand are typically good at receiving compliments but we don’t often find the sexual and physical communication to be authentic. We are mirror images of each other in so many ways.
Let’s introduce chastity into our sexual supply and economics discussion. Not only does locking him up change the dynamic but it changes the equation. He is now reliant on her as a provider of sexual release. It will take a few days for the it to set in at a subconscious level but he will start looking to her instead of outward pursuing sexual flirtation. He will start subconsciously looking to satisfy her emotional needs instead of flirting with the barista to get the coy smile that she offers in return. With the change of the sexual supply equation, she becomes even more valuable and you see a resulting demand curve. Fun. Right?
What does pegging have to do with sexual economics? In economics, pegging is a method of stabilizing a country’s currency by fixing its exchange rate to that of another country. That has absolutely nothing to do with what we are going to talk about here but I wanted to point out that pegging is an actual econ term. In the context of sexual economics, pegging is the act of reversing the sexuality equation. The woman is the penetrator and the man is the penetratee. Pegging is often initiated by the woman as a way to experience the role of sexual penetrator or aggressor. I am sure there is a vast marketplace on bdsm sites but in mainstream heterosexual sexual culture, there are more men looking to be the penetrator. In my relationship, I know that his preferred type of sexual activity is vaginal sex and mine is pegging. I desire the deeper emotional connection that we get from pegging. It usually results in cuddling and conversation both of which are very appealing to me.
So what about expanding the economy? We all know that printing money can lead to economic collapse so it should be done with great caution. In sexual economics, expanding the economy may involve adding a third person to your economy. This could be a short term market increase or a long term market increase. This brings us back to where we started in terms of a healthy sexual relationship. If he objectifies you, he will see a third person as a threat to his resources. If he looks at sex as an extension of your humanity and womanhood then you venture into healthier feelings of compersion. Regardless of which camp he is in, watching you flirt with another man will increase your value in his sexual economy. Your value and desirability are correlated as he watches you enjoy the company of another. On the flip side, for some men this may completely diminish your value in the sexual economy. Communicate with each other and make sure that you understand where you both stand.
I near the end of this blog, I realize that I am running low on both my comprehension of economics and analogies. What do you think? How does economics play into your relationship? What do you think about objectification? Is it compatible with a romantic relationship/marriage?