Talk about being manipulative.
For generations, men and women have been attempting to control each others' behavior. We know how we want our relationship to be, and when it isn't what we want we tend to point fingers at the other person, believing that if he would just do things differently life would be so much better.
Many people use controlling behavior to get their partner to do things their way. They may complain, blame, criticize, nag, threaten, and punish in an attempt to get their partner to change. These negative behaviors might work. In fact, that's why they're so powerful and continue to be used over and over again.
You just might wear your partner down into giving you what you want. But what have you lost in the process? Anyone who's ever "won" an argument this way surely knows what it feels like to "win the battle, but lose the war." You may get what you want in the moment, but you're ultimately chipping away at the very foundation of your relationship.
There are some who have learned this lesson and work at not being controlling in a destructive way. They believe that rewarding "positive" behavior is better than punishing "negative" behavior. However, this raises some issues:
- Who decides what makes behavior positive or negative?
- What gives anyone the right to try to change another person's choices?
- How does a person feel when they're being controlled by someone that professes to love them?
- Should intimacy — which is supposed to be a freely given expression of one's passion and feelings — be reserved for good behavior?
- If you're rewarding your partner for good behavior, wouldn't that necessarily imply that you're withholding sex during times you aren't feeling particularly supported?
The study suggests that women are more likely to reward with sex than men. This makes sense, because women know exactly what will make a man feel deprived. A man is more likely to reward a woman with romance and attention, since that's typically what women covet.
But 78 percent of respondents didn't think there was anything wrong with using sex as a reward. Those who said so are unaware of the long-term consequences of having to "work" for something that should be freely given without strings attached.
In my experience of talking to audiences around the world, I haven't yet run into anyone who says they don't mind having sex dangled as a carrot for good behavior. Sure, a man is interested in sex. When it's offered in connection with an expectation, however, it doesn't feel right.
Yes, he'll likely perform to get the reward (sex), but how do you think he's feeling toward you? If you're attempting to control him through a sex reward, he isn't feeling particularly loving toward you.
Anytime anyone, male or female, is attempting to control the other person in their relationship — whether by an unwanted behavior or by rewarding a wanted one — they're running the risk of damaging that relationship. Many relationships will be able to sustain some of this kind of damage, but when it becomes a repeated behavior over time, the likelihood that you'll remain together is reduced exponentially.
Loving for no reason is one of the sexiest things you can do in a relationship. Have sex with your partner just because you love him, and are grateful for his presence in your life. Besides, it can be fun, relaxing, and is a great stress reducer.