Originally published @ Refinery29
Birthday sex, Valentine’s Day sex, anniversary sex… Father’s Day sex? When it comes to Hallmark holidays, Father’s Day doesn’t seem like the most romantic. Yet, many women feel that (if they have kids) they “owe” their husbands or partners sex on this special day. And, according to some polls, fathers expect sex on Father’s Day, too.
The idea seems to be that men deserve sex for, you know, taking care of their kids. Yet, when Mother’s Day rolls around, you rarely hear of husbands gifting sex to their wives. We can talk on and on about why sex is considered a gift for men and not for women (*cough* the patriarchy *cough*), but in the aftermath of #MeToo, it feels more important to squash the idea that sex can be “owed.” So let’s make this clear: You don’t have to have sex with your husband/partner on Father’s Day (or any other day).
And men shouldn’t want obligatory sex anyway, because sex that someone has out of a sense of duty isn’t sexy. “If a client walked into my office and said, ‘Oh my gosh, I feel like I have to give my husband sex for Father’s Day.’ I would ask when did sex become a chore?” says Holly Richmond, PhD, a somatic psychologist and certified sex therapist (CST). When you first started dating your partner, or were first married to them, there’s a good chance that sex was something you both wanted to do. “You wanted it, you craved it. There was a libido and arousal,” Dr. Richmond says. If you’ve lost those feelings so much that sex (on any day) feels like something you just have to get through, she suggests remembering that romance and sex shouldn’t be a duty.
But, if you want to have sex with your husband this weekend, then there’s really no problem with giving sex as a gift, Dr. Richmond says. Best case scenario, Father’s Day sex is something that you and your partner both want to do. “Some couples really get into the performance and the role play of making sex a gift,” she says. If you’re really excited to use Father’s Day or any other special occasion as an excuse to make your sexual adventures for the night extra special, then go for it.
The problem arises when Father’s Day sex is something your partner expects and you feel that you can’t say no. “In the wake of #MeToo, consent and wanting to have sex is so much at the forefront of everyone’s radar,” Dr. Richmond says. “You have to look at yourself and figure out ‘Do I want to do this? I want to do it, but how do I want to do it? And why do I want to do it?'”
If Father’s Day sex isn’t something you really want to have, then it’s just not worth it. And your partner should understand. “One thing that passion hates is a sense of duty,” says Rena McDaniel, MEd, LCPC, a gender and sex therapist. “If a wife feels like she owes her husband sex, that isn’t exactly an aphrodisiac.”