Recently, I was perusing my facebook and noticed this Madame Noire article quoting singer, Sevyn Streeter saying that doesn't believe you should tell your man "no".
"I think that when you commit to somebody and you take them off the market, right? I think that it is your job as a woman or as a man to– I don’t think you should ever say no. Anal sex I’m not into, but I mean, if you’re tried–‘Oh, I’m tired, I don’t feel like it.’ No. Because at the end of the day, you took that person off the market. They can’t go and be with somebody else because they’re with you. So, don’t you ever say no".
Further, 'Charlemagne (the interviewer) argued that the statement actually opens the door for a man to cheat if she ever finds that she has to say no. Sevyn said that she actually agrees, homeboy should be able to step out, if the woman holds out.
I'm interested in hearing more about your thoughts on this topic, but this brews up so much for me.
These statements take me back to comments I'd hear about "if you don't do it, somebody else will'.
It brings me back to respectability politics in that a woman has to be a "woman in the street and a freak in the sheets" mentaility.
It brings up conversations I'd have before I got married about making sure I don't say no to my spouse even when I'm tired. To always wear lingerie to bed. To make sure I'm always "ready" for him. Making sure I was "fresh" for bed. LOL! (girl,ain't nobody got time...)
It also brings me back to my teaching of middle schoolers where I constantly have to let them know that their bodies belong to themselves and people have to ask and get permission before anyone can touch their bodies. And every class, I have kids that are completely baffled that just because you're in a relationship does not entitle a person access to their bodies whenever they want!
I find Sevyn's music great (except for that "And it Don't Stop" song- Ugh! they played it too many damn times!). Her comments surrounding this topic are troubling. Usually, in our society, women bear the brunt of sexual responsibility, sexual morality, and in all situations damned if do and damned if you don't. If we get pregnant, our fault. If we "lose" our virginity, sluts. If we say "yes' everytime, freak/ho. And in the case of this situation- if we say "no", we're prudes and according to Sevyn, we're not allowed to. We're plagued with messages about what you should and shouldn't do when it comes to sex, and none of those things speak to the agency we have over our bodies.
We can always say no.
Second of all, relationships aren't transactional. I believe good relationships are built on some key components- communication, respect, and understanding. No one is here to respond to anyone's physical beck and call. To use someone's "no" as a way to cheat is childish and if someone uses that as a strategy to manipulate their partner, then they don't deserve to be in a relationship. Keep it moving.
Another key factor here is consent.
Consent = Yes. Yes. Yes. We can do the damn thing.
No Consent = No.
= No. I'm tired.
Moral of the story? Stop being rapey and respect people's agency. "No" is within everyone's right and I'm saying Sevyn, NO more terrible relationship advice.
What do you think about Sevyn's advice? Have you ever gotten this advice growing up? From girlfriends? From Partners? Please share!