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Sex, Sexts, & the Power of No with Ali Drucker

Jun 30, 2023


Feel free to copy this mantra: you do not owe anyone sex. There can be messaging, especially towards those socialized as women, that sex is an obligation that you owe to a partner and many women (but people in general) struggle with feeling empowered to find their “NO” when they are not looking to engage in sexual activity.


In this episode of the Modern Intimacy Podcast, Dr. Kate Balestrieri and Ali Drucker discuss the power of no when it comes expectations around sex and sexts.


Sex, Sexts, and Pressure


There is often pressure around sex when it comes to casual dating and long term relationships. Whether its sexual frequency, sexual positions, dirty talk, sexual fantasies, and everything in between, finding your empowered NO can be tricky for some.


Many of these expectations come from societal messages, gender roles, media, pornography, and other forms of external influence that people take in and place on themselves and others, often without noticing.


Sexting (phone sex, voice messages, and text messages of a sexual nature) is one area people express feeling pressure around to engage in. While some are drawn to the sexual tensions that comes with hot sexting encounters, others struggle to feel comfortable with the idea of sexting, particularly the boundaries around sexting and if the person they are sexting with will protect and be respectful with their information.


For some, the pressure to send explicit sexual images of certain body parts started as young as middle or high school, which can be a very complicated time in one’s life because they are new to relationships and how to set healthy boundaries with others. Others notice that in the beginning of a relationship, they might be asked to send a picture or engage in sexual conversation and might be rejected when they wish to disengage which can sometimes lead to rejection if sexual activity is all the other person is interested in.


Sexting can absolutely be fun and can even be a crucial element of keeping sex spicy for long distance couples, but someone should never feel like they have to engage in sending or receiving sexts and their boundaries or straight up no should always be respected.


Tips for Saying NO to Sex & Sexts


Saying no doesn’t always come easy. When setting boundaries and saying NO confidently and unapologetically is not modeled during childhood, it’s common that someone will struggle to prioritize their own needs and might put other’s wants/needs before their own. The good news it, you can always hone your boundary setting skills and get more comfortable with saying no at any time to any encounter, especially those that are sexual in nature.


Flat out no


For some, boundaries might come a bit easier, and they might have no problem saying “No,” full sentence, period. This method won’t be as easy for everyone, but there is absolutely nothing wrong with giving someone a flat out no with little to no explanation. You don’t always have to provide context or reasons for why you feel the way you do or the boundaries you choose to set.


Work your way up


If a hard and fast no feels too much too soon, you can always work your way up with more subtle ways of saying no. This could look like saying, “I would really like to keep seeing you, but I am not comfortable with that just yet. I hope you can be okay with that.” A person who respects you will be okay with your boundaries and if someone pushes back, you’ll know that they might have a hard time hearing and accepting others’ boundaries, which can be a red flag.


Talk about your yeses, nos, and maybes


Conversation can be a great tool in the beginning of a relationship to ensure everyone is on the same page. When it comes to sex, you might ask your partner to create a yes, no, maybe list with you. This is a list of sexual/physical/and emotional needs that you want (your yeses), don’t want (your nos), and are open to exploring (your maybes). This list can help create clear expectations for everyone’s level of comfort and also provide insight on what is on the table to potentially explore together eventually.


Bring in outside support


If boundaries are particularly challenging and you find yourself having a hard time speaking up for yourself, it might be time to bring in the help of a Certified Sex Therapist or Sex Coach who can help provide the tools for self-advocacy. You should never feel like you are obligated to participate in sex when you don’t actually want to. It’s okay to admit you need some support in this department and can either work with a sex therapist individually or together with a partner.


Ali Drucker is an author and freelance writer covering sexual health, relationships, and pop culture.


Her new book is called Do As I Say, Not Who I Did: Honest Advice on Hookups and Relationships in College, a shame-free, affirmative sex education for college-age women, and anyone just discovering what they want.


She previously served as Senior Sex and Dating Editor at Cosmopolitan and Maxim. Since then, her work has appeared in New York Magazine, HuffPost, Refinery29 and more.


Ali lives in Los Angeles with her husband, cat, and moderately well-behaved German Shepherd.


Kate and Ali discuss the empowering of women and the mantra you Don’t Owe Anyone Sex. They talk about dating apps, porn, withdrawing consent, sexting, and tips for dating, information and insights for college women and beyond college.


Ali info:

instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ali_drucker/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ali_drucker

Book purchase link: https://bookshop.org/p/books/do-as-i-say-not-who-i-did-honest-advice-on-hookups-and-relationships-in-college-ali-drucker/15862712?ean=9781615197965

Website: www.modernintimacy.com

Dr. Kate Balestrieri 

Modern Intimacy

This is the cover for the Modern Intimacy with Dr. Kate Balestrieri podcast.
Dr. Kate Balestrieri, host of Modern Intimacy, a licensed psychologist and certified sex therapist, helps people live more fulfilled lives by shattering stigma and erasing shame. Dr. Kate invites you to join her as she investigates the relationship between sex, mental health, relationships and modern society.


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