A female friend of mine was recently sharing about a frustration she was having with her husband. Almost as an aside, towards the end of her rant, she slipped in surreptitiously something along the lines of ” . . . and I’ve even offered him sexual favors and he still didn’t do what I wanted.”
When I heard that, I felt a little hook in my heart, and this distinction came screaming at me that I’d never actually seen before.
It was the distinction between Sexual Favors vs Sexual Gifts.
(Of course, this isn’t just about sex or sexual favors, but this is one of the biggest and most obvious areas I see this show up in my client’s relationships.)
The word “favor” holds inside it the expectation of something in return. I don’t believe it’s an accident that we call them sexual favors even though often we pretend that what we’re offering is sexual gifts.
Oftentimes, underneath our desire to offer a sexual gift, either consciously or unconsciously, there’s a tit for tat mentality.
It’s not always as simple as or as obvious as “I’ll go down on you if you go down on me,” but more along the lines of “I’ll give you a blow job tonight, and you’ll pay attention to me tomorrow.”
If you’re bringing the energy of tit for tat—I’ll do this IF you do that—that’s what you’ll evoke from your partner, and that will become the energetic flavor of your relationship. Some form of scarcity will creep in under the surface, and there won’t be this beautiful sense of synergy and generosity.
**Side Note: One way to tell if the (sexual) gift you offered last night was actually a favor in disguise, is to notice if you feel resentful the next day that you’re not getting what you want(ed) in return.
Of course, it’s your partner’s responsibility also, but if you’re the one reading this, you can start by taking 100% responsibility, just because you can.
Ask yourself, how can I bring a gift to my relationship? In what area can I genuinely offer something without an expectation of receiving something in return? And: What would truly light my partner up, if I brought it to him or her?
(See my post on Generosity for more on this.)
If you can’t offer something with a generous spirit—without expecting anything in return—then consider not offering it at all right now. Or at least upfront about wanting something in return!
**Side Note: This could look like vulnerably requesting the thing you want, instead of subtly trying to manipulate your partner into giving it to without having to ask.
Because when you do it subtly, and you pretend like you’re giving them a blow job for fun, but really you expect something in return, you’ll end up resenting them when they don’t give it to you, and that’s neither fair nor fun, for anybody.
What are some things you can do that make a difference to your partner’s life? Maybe it’s having dinner ready when he or she comes home, or putting your dirty socks in the hamper instead of leaving them on the floor, or sending them a sexy text message in the middle of the day. Or giving them your undivided attention and listening to them talk about their day, without making it about you in any way.
You don’t have to do any of these things!
But you could . . . as a gift.
Letting go of any way that they owe you anything in return.
And then watch what happens when you start adding these moments of real generosity and gift without expecting anything in return.
A version of this post was originally posted on KendraCunov.com and is republished here with permission from the author.
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