There’s this current idea about relationships circling around, where the guy takes a girl out for dates and offers comfort and she takes care of his (sexual) needs. I mean, reciprocity is an interesting enough concept, but the fact that this is what our dating culture is founded upon is quite scary. Nobody talks about dating culture here in Egypt, but really, it’s an exchange of toxic love for sexual favors – at the very base of it – and whether we like it or not, doesn’t make any of this okay.
Let me tell you a story, one you’ve all probably witnessed:
A girl and a guy, let’s name them Malak and Mohammed for the sake of the story, like each other, they’re physically attracted to one another and they’ve went out enough to acknowledge their feelings. They start dating, the moment they both say “we’re bf/gf”, they both expect things from the other. Malak is usually expecting dates, sweet texts, small gifts, being treated like a princess/queen, being offered a solid chest to cry on, and generally having Mohammed be everything she needs in her life. Mohammed may genuinely love Malak, but as a hormonal teenage boy who grew up in a culture that condones rape and violence, having a gf and treating her well means he’s a good enough guy to deserve having his sexual needs taken care of. He’ll more often than not tell Malak “don’t you love me enough to…..?” So, even if Malak is hesitant, she’ll feel like she has to reciprocate his kindness and love for her in the “only way” she can.
Does any of this NOT sound familiar?
To our “Malak”, whoever you are, rom coms are nice but unrealistic. Love is not measured by material objects. Wanting to be loved is perfectly normal, but love itself is not expressed through being “given the world”, that’s nice and all, but what truly matters is that your partner gives you respect and compassion. They have to respect you enough to never resort to emotional manipulation, blackmail, or the like to get you to do something (sexual or not), because that in and of itself is taking away your consent, a huge red flag. Let’s also agree that a person loving you has nothing to do with whether they give you material tokens of “love” or not, rather, they should be a supportive force in your life, a person you can count on, and a partner that will not only listen to you and understand you (yes, through PMS too), but also rub your back when you’re menstruating – cause that shit matters, it’s 2 weeks of every month y’all.
To our “Mohammed”, whoever you are, being decent is the supposed-normal, you being a decent human being doesn’t warrant a standing ovation or sighs of longing. Basic human decency means being a compassionate, understanding, and respectful individual – to everyone, not just the girl you like. Yes, I understand that you’re a hormonal teenager with sexual needs, but whether or not you engage with your girlfriend instead of your hand is entirely up to your girlfriend. If she is 100% consenting, if she wants to service you, then and only then, you do. If she consents only to digital play (sexting, nudes, etc), then you don’t save any of it, and you definitely do not send it to your sick group of guy friends. If she doesn’t want to, you don’t guilt trip her, blackmail her, or manipulate her into giving in to your needs, because that is technically rape.
If you both choose to be adults about your relationship, that means you communicate, if you engage in sexual activities you stay safe and give pleasure to your partner like you receive it, and you have to be very clear about where you see this going and how serious you are about it from the start. Be respectful, kind, and loving – always.
Finally, y’all, please remember, your boyfriend doesn’t owe you love, your girlfriend doesn’t owe you sex.