I watch Cougar Town. I’d be ashamed of that fact except I’m not wracked with insecurities about trivial shit.

It’s a fun show and usually makes me smile but it makes jokes about one thing that I consider truly horrendous.

Now it should be noted that I laugh at some of the most distasteful things one can imagine. I have an extremely dark sense of humour and generally take the opinion that dealing with the harsher aspects of life with laughter makes for a happier existence than tears.

That said the concept of treating sex as a reward in a “healthy” relationship really turns my stomach.

Ellie-and-Andy-Cougar-Town-Best-Quotes-GalleryThis is most notable with Ellie and Andy. In the past Ellie is supposed to have been quite the loose woman. However during the events of the show seems to mostly treat sex as a tedious chore to be avoided and endured as little as possible.

A recent episode (S04E06 spoilers, if you care) had her husband, Andy, secretly save up the sex coupons he had received for Valentines Day each year. Ellie had thought that he’d lost them for the previous decade. Andy planned to use them to thoroughly ravage her to demonstrate just how passionate he still is about her.

Firstly the concept of sex coupons (not the first time they’ve appeared in E&A’s relationship in the show) disgusts me. Sex is fun, why on Earth would one ration it out as if there was some sort of finite supply?

Secondly Ellie avoids Andy after the first few coupons and is then extremely relieved when he notices and presents her with the remaining six, voided, in a box.

I use Cougar Town as an example of this sort of thing simply because it’s the most recent bit of content to stick in my craw with regards to this issue. If she’s not interested in sleeping with her husband then something is seriously wrong with the relationship. I think the humour is intended as light hearted but to me it just sounds like a resounding advert of one of the most tragic subreddits: /r/DeadBedrooms

Treating sex as some sort of reward is quite possibly the most off-putting thing I can think of in the context of what might otherwise be a healthy relationship. If I was offered that for my benefit I would refuse. Sex is a two way thing and if my partner has no interest in it then I do not feel comfortable doing anything with them. I am trying to be a less selfish person, not more.

Furthermore the idea that I am so undesirable to my partner that the main reason for sex is as some sort of gift or reward disgusts me. If they are so disinterested in me then why are we together? I am not some sort of cave dweller whose life is to be brightened by some self-appointed goddess descending from her ivory tower when a worthy offering has been provided. The only time that sort of thing seems healthy to me is when that specific dynamic is agreed upon as part of a BDSM-based relationship. In that case the level of communication required indicates a rather more intimate relationship than the more vanilla equivalent!

I rather like that this is dying off in other parts of popular culture even if it is taking a long time. Marge and Homer seem to have a relatively healthy approach to their sex life in The Simpsons, for example. In S021E05, The Devil Wears Nada, Marge is rather saddened by her husband’s stress-induced exhaustion and resulting lack of sexual appetite to mirror her own.

Essentially I’m sick of seeing things that make withholding sex/rewarding with sex an acceptable dynamic within modern couples. I’m not trying to suggest that if one wants it the other should always provide merely that (unless otherwise stated) a couple should see each other as equals and communicate what they want. Misunderstandings for the purposes of comedy are fine, of course, I’m not a monster.

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