Back in the day, “Sorry Not Sorry” wasn’t just the shockingly catchy hit by someone who manages to remain the least interesting ex-Disney star even while releasing a documentary about her cocaine addiction Demi Lovato—it was also the title of a ~*very political*~ Pantene ad that encouraged women across the world to spend less time apologizing and more time buying shampoo. While I won’t get into the ad itself, or the thousand and one think pieces that followed, people generally agreed on a few things: 1) Women say sorry a LOT and 2) Men are less likely to have this issue (though there is the occasional caveat for British men).
While I’m never going to stop using the word “sorry” in work emails, because it’s usually about my lateness that is my personal choice, I do find myself apologizing (or worse, genuinely feeling sorry) more often than I’m happy about in one, less-clothed area of my life: while hooking up. I’m not sure where the intense pressure for women to be constantly primed for and expertly skilled at sex comes from—porn, plot structures depicting women as prizes for leading men, and this article entitled “The Troubling Reality of Sex Robots” all come to mind—but it definitely affects how we act and feel in an already vulnerable situation. So, while we’ve already covered what you shouldn’t do in bed, consider this your official Betch hall pass to stop apologizing for the following very reasonable things:
1. Not Wanting Sex
As a general rule, there is no scenario in which you are obligated to allow someone to put their dick into you. None. Zero. I don’t care if he drove four hours through a blizzard to see you or solved your parents’ murder—sex is not a debt you incur simply by being in the presence of a man whose objective is sex, and who has exerted a certain amount of effort in your direction. Bake him some cookies, write him a check—just please drown any apologetic feelings about “not providing sex when he’s there and wants it.” If he doesn’t care whether you want sex in the first place, he’s certainly not going to care about what you want during—and sorry not sorry, that’s a dealbreaker for sure.
2. Wanting Sex “Too Often”
On the flip side, if you find yourself sexting 8 times a day but your fuckboy du jour is (unapologetically) rarely in the mood, you shouldn’t apologize either. You also cannot demand that he have sex just because you want it (see section one), but you’re not committing an offense by being a walking version of that purple devil emoji. Apologizing for wanting sex more often than a guy perpetuates the idea that, by making your horniness known, you’ve now presented a guy with a challenge he has to feel bad about not completing. But your impending orgasms are more than a Rubik’s cube for the nearest dick-owning individual, so please feel free to continue getting off as often as you want.
3. Needing More Foreplay
Personally, I’ve more than once experienced a slight panic when a guy’s, uh, “readiness” for sex attempts to bust through his jeans and directly into my spleen is made apparent to me and I’m still thinking about the Cheeto I was holding when we started making out. It’s like that moment at the end of a college lecture when you realize that everyone else has evaporated from their seats, and you have 30 seconds to gather up your Starbucks cups and get out of there before being trampled. It makes you feel awkward and high-maintenance for taking the time to get yourself in order, even though it’s a perfectly reasonable thing to do. If a guy is not committed to you being 100% turned on and into it when you have sex, again, see section one and cut him loose. He doesn’t care if you enjoy sex, so it’s fairly certain you won’t.
4. Trying New Things
Similarly, maybe you’ve been there for 45 minutes and his hand is cramping, but you’re still not exactly a Slip ‘N Slide. At this point, it is strongly recommended for both your sakes that you either assist him or encourage him to switch it up. This is not an attack on his abilities if the timed routine he had for his ex doesn’t work exactly the same way on you. Our sex drives and body parts are confusing, and we’re not doing anything we need to apologize for if there’s no reaction to a certain move—if we could vindictively instruct our bodies like that, I think we’d start by shutting down the whole monthly river of blood situation, not by trying to decimate your sex egos. “Sorry, can we try something else” implies that you getting off is an inconvenience you’re having accommodated, rather than a prospect you’re mutually excited about. Think about phrasing your requests to try new things the same way a guy asks if he can cum on your face: with very plain language, and no caveat other than “it’s hot”.
Ultimately, the key point to keep in mind here is that sex is a team sport in which “winning” is mutual sexual satisfaction. Don’t sleep with guys who don’t understand that, and don’t apologize for doing things that prevent you both from being the sex equivalent of the US men’s soccer team. (Losing. I am talking about losing.)