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Nkem Says: Who Uses Sex as a Bargaining Tool?

Nkem Ndem



One of my decisions for the New Year is to become more social, slide into DMs, accept more invitations and hang out more with people who are in a different place in life than I am. In a bid to kick off this decision, I agreed to meet up with a couple of friends on a Tuesday night. Who hangs out on a Tuesday night? Well, it was at a friend’s apartment. There was food, wine, and good music. As you would expect, there was a lot of ‘talk’, as well. Some of the topics discussed, to be honest, I considered utterly boring, but one, in particular, caught my attention.

The host has teased one of the guys, asking him why he had not shown up with his wife and if they had sorted things out. Rather than laugh, the guy got riled up and threw out a question to the rest of us. He asked: “Why do people feel it’s okay to withhold sex from their partners as a form of punishment or revenge?”

As he asked the question, I mentally cautioned myself not to make any comment, because as a child of God, I should not know of such things *side eye* Yes?

It was illuminating, listening to them dissect the topic, though.
According to the guy, the wife had  the habit of withholding sex from him every time he acted in a way she found unpleasing. For instance, when he refuses to buy certain things for her, wins an argument, or disagrees with her on something she considered monumental; even threatening him with “no sex for you” when he argues with her. Basically, she had settled for taking sex out of the equation whenever he exhibited a habit she could not abide.

The other guys in the room, of course, agreed with him that women were notorious for this behavior, as they are fond of hiding under the phrase “I am not in the mood”. They also mentioned that sometimes, the woman would even offer sex (perhaps a particular style she knows he enjoys the most) as a sort of bribe to make the man do something for them or buy them the expensive item they want.

A lady friend in the room, however, disagreed and shared that one of the guys she had dated in the past had displayed the same habit, and it was not something you should associate with the women folk. According to her, what he liked to do was refuse to address issues or communicate when he had a problem with what she had done or said to him; instead he would take it out on her in the bedroom. They would start to make love and immediately after foreplay when he knew she was turned on and ready, he would refuse to go any further –  saying he was no longer in the mood. In her words “he would literally refuse to let the serpent into the forest, even though it was quite evident the snake needed to go in”, leaving her frustrated and heartbroken. He seemed to gain some morbid satisfaction from her agony.

Listening to them go back and forth on the issue, I had several questions: If a woman really was upset with what her husband had done and was really not “in the mood” was she inadvertently using sex as a weapon and punishing her husband? Again, when did sex become a tool to get what you want out of your partner? Isn’t sex supposed to be a pronouncement of love, not a weapon or reward? How is it that this manipulative scheme even works? Aren’t there repercussions?

As though one of them read my thoughts, he said: “It is normal and alright to be angry at what your partner has done and not be “in the mood” as a result. Just don’t tell him/her you are taking sex away because you feel it is the best way to get back at them, or form the habit of using sex as a weapon and reward in your relationship. It may work at first but eventually, it will back fire”

As the conversation continued, the one who had fallen victim went further to mention some of the possible ways using it could backfire: the passion shared between the partners could quickly fade and sex stops being fun; one partner could start resenting the other, become more distant and eventually break up with  or divorce the other. They could start cheating on their partners; start to lie to them, and even improving on their lying skills as they figure out exactly what to say and how to say it to get back in your pants; the affected partner  could also turn around and start  withholding sex from the other and no one ever gets laid; e.t.c.

I say: think twice before you take sex away. Sex is something that should be given without a price. Nobody should need to work for it, bargain or pay for it. It should be given unconditionally as a way to express love for each other. And even more, saying “no” to intimate relations with your partner because you’re mad at them is a form of emotional abuse. It is based on power and control. You do not want to risk losing that love as a result of playing selfish manipulation and control tactics.

Are you guilty of using sex as a weapon or are you a victim ? what are some of the consequences you have reaped as a result? Share your experience!

Nkem Ndem is a dynamic freelance writer and editor who can be reached for copywriting, editing and proofreading. She is also a content creator (web, T.V, radio) who has had stints with Jumia and SpiceTV Africa e.t.c. Now she works at Glam Africa as Online editor and BellaNaija as Features writer. E-mail: [email protected]; IG: @kem_dem; Twitter: @ndemv


  1. Ukachi Cynthia E.

    January 13, 2018 at 4:02 am

    Lolz….I just had to laugh first. Thing is, we know its wrong for a woman to deny her husband sex for whatever reason but then again, overtime, it has proved to be a potent weapon oo. Btw, i blog at . Back to the gist, personally, I think some women overdo it. It makes the man get used to not having sex “with” his wife and since men have a kinda high sexual tendency, he’ll go looking elsewhere for it.
    The baseline is for everyone to always do things in moderation, period.

  2. Dolly

    January 13, 2018 at 4:35 am

    Nkemmmm “refuse to let serpent into the forest’ #dead

    I agree sex should never be used as a tool when mad in a relationship, except you’re genuinely not in the mood.
    One of my girlfriends once said, she and her nigg wasn’t talking the whole day and at night he crawled into bed from the couch to get some cookie. The next day they resumed beef till they sit and hash out their issues. Now that’s funny i mean isn’t that suppose to be make-up sex or maybe i’m just that serpent loving girl lol

    • Fizzy

      January 13, 2018 at 1:38 pm

      Not just you. Most women are serpent loving. That thing called “SEX” is a terrible thing. Failing people in their hour of great need. Who does that? Continue beef in the morning? Well, women do. If only women know how much power they wield over men.

  3. hadiza

    January 13, 2018 at 5:43 am

    Some women do use sex as a bargaining tool. They want to control men with their bodies (not that it’d work forever). But I would not be happy to have sex after having an argument or fighting. I genuinely would not be in the mood. That’s how some women feel. I can’t just spread my legs or bend over after you make me angry.

    • Ezinne

      January 13, 2018 at 9:17 am

      I was wondering the same thing. It’s selfish to want to mate when there’re obviously issues hanging over our heads. If we’ve had an argument and you don’t want to go to bed mad at me, how about you start a “mend fences” discussion. Soothe your partner’s wounds, and you could cuddle through the night and sex in the morning. It’s all about being sensitive to the one you say you love. Sometimes I get a “you’re upset, that’s your business, me I just want to sex and go to sleep” vibe from one partner, what of the feelings that are hurt. Let’s be more sensitive to the needs our partners. It goes both ways to the sex witholder and the sex wanter.

    • CrazyWorld

      January 13, 2018 at 10:02 am

      Wait o! Is this the same Hadiza? So there is a possibility that sex will happen between Hadiza and a man? What a great time to be alive!

  4. Yes!

    January 13, 2018 at 6:48 am

    Witholding sex is the best way to give your man brain because that is where their brain is…between their legs.

  5. Dave

    January 13, 2018 at 7:58 am

    Definitely a bad idea. And if you ever have a petty partner, they would find a leveler too

  6. bruno

    January 13, 2018 at 9:40 am

    nkem ndem I can believe u followed us to enter 2018, I thought u were going to stay in 2017.

  7. Loki

    January 13, 2018 at 10:27 am

    Two ways to look at it.
    1- women tend to connect emotions with sex. So while the average man can probably stick himself into a crack in a rock if it’s moist enough, most women either from an evolutionary, biological or social conditioning perspective have to be in a good place with their partners mentally to want to have sex with them. So having a massive row is probably not going to lead to sexy time. Resolve the conflict before trying to part the red sea with the rod of Moses, you heathen.
    2. That being said, many women essentially punish their partners when they don’t get their way. Wont give me money- no sex. Won’t buy me that expensive handbag which I won’t really use but want it as a tool to intimidate other women- no sex. Won’t go with me to visit my loud mouth friend who doesn’t like my choice of partner and shows it every time she sees you by making sarcastic comments, just because her father kind of died and I totally did not kill him, – you’re unsupportive; No sex for you.
    Grow up. The sun doesn’t rise and set in your vagina.

    • nekky

      April 26, 2018 at 9:18 am

      Lol to the sun doesn’t set n rise in vagina!!!

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