I’ll give you one romp in the sack for one clean kitchen.
I’ll give you lots of romps in the sack for one NEW kitchen!
Okay. Maybe I’m oversimplifying it. Or stereotyping it?
Rarely do I think bartering for sex happens so blatantly, like how things go down at a swap meet for classic car parts. We don’t “negotiate” for sex and then seal it with a handshake.
But bartering for sex does happen in some marriages.
If it’s playful banter, that’s one thing. “Bartering” in a playful sensual joking sort of way can be its own form foreplay. So arousing. So passionate. That kind of bartering for sex in marriage is fun and sexy.
“Come on over here, baby, and let me rub your back. We’ll see where things go from there!”
“If you want them to go somewhere AMAZING, you’ll throw in a foot-rub!” Wink. Wink.
Ahh, the joys of playful sexual bartering. But what if the motive is anything but playful and altruistic? It’s the passive aggressive “I want my own way” kind of bartering that is a problem.
When we handle sex as a mode of exchange, we manipulatively hone in on reciprocity. It’s all about getting the most by giving the least.
I will do this. If you do that.
Sex becomes transactional. No one would probably use the term “conversion rate,” but that’s essentially what each would be silently calculating in their mind. Was the trade equitable? Did I give away too much?
And if the spouse who wants sex doesn’t want to do whatever that is, the sense of ownership only deepens for the spouse dangling the carrot. The spouse who holds the keys to sex feels all the more entitled to clench them tighter. Weird rationalizations start happening.
“Well. He could have had sex. He chose not to.”
Ironically, the dysfunctional pattern of all this is made worse, not better, if the spouse who wants sex gives in to the bartering, even if they do so because they’ve learned it is the only way they will get any sex. Some sex is better than no sex is how the rationalization might go.
One would think both spouses would end up happy, right? They each would have gotten what they wanted. But what if arriving at that place only erodes the relationship and trust even more? What if they wind up with no authentic intimacy?
The costs are high. Bartering for sex is no small issue. It flys in the face of all that is good and holy and right about sex in marriage.
If there is bartering going on in your sexual relationship, humbly ask yourself if it is the playful kind or if it is the passive aggressive kind.
One will enhance your oneness, love and passion. The other will cheapen it.
Copyright 2020, Julie Sibert. Intimacy in Marriage Blog. Links may be monetized.