Is Playful Sexual Harassment of Our Significant Others Healthy or Harmful?
The question is legitimate, and in this case written and explored from a male perspective. I’ll begin the way I should: I am in no way downplaying the concepts of sexual harassment, or sexual misconduct. At the conclusion of this piece I will attach two articles that express my sincere and comprehensive thoughts (and disgust) on the matter in general.
That said, I believe if you are involved in a romantic relationship, impromptu sexual teasing can be a healthy outlet to everyday relationship stress.
For any healthy romantic relationship, boundaries must be mutually heeded. The beginnings of any union is exploratory, and often a matter of give-and-take as one determines the limits of the other. The limits I refer to include joking and horseplay, devotion, love, and sex, among others. Unions often fail as a result of betraying these boundaries. One member has an affair as their needs are not being met, for example.
No, I do not recommend that undertaking, unless the other is okay with it. Communication is key. If needs are not being met, talk about it. If the need is important enough for one member of the relationship and a compromise cannot be met, the union may well dissolve.
Being incompatible with a mate is not a crime. It is a very human trait. If those involved in the relationship can respectfully follow the other’s boundaries, that’s half the battle.
Joking and Horseplay
I am one of the lucky ones. I’ve been married to my beautiful wife for over 19 years. We have many of the same interests, and yet enough differences to keep our marriage exciting. We both try new things based on the interests of the other. For one, I never thought I’d enjoy opera. I’m now a fan. Further, I was dragged kicking and screaming (okay, not literally kicking and screaming but the metaphor is not far off) to a documentary about Bollywood. I loved it so much I’ve now optioned the project as a television miniseries. My wife, for her end, has actually enjoyed “Star Wars” films and even became fascinated by the pro wrestling biz, for which I began my writing career under less than auspicious circumstances.
Most of all, though, I’m an inveterate jokester while my wife is more serious. The truth is I go overboard on more than rare occasions. She runs 50–50 with my practical jokes, so I need to improve there. As I remain very attracted (an understatement) to my wife, I’ll stand behind a door in various states of undress to send a message ... though I admit I know in advance she’s not always in the mood.
“I was just trying to lighten things up,” I’d say.
I’d typically proceed to get dressed if stared down. If she’s not in the mood, I need to respect those boundaries.
Similarly, I tend to isolate myself in my home office, with the door closed and buds in my ears as I write, which is my full-time vocation. It is not unusual for my wife to open my door, slowly, just out of the shower as a tease. She knows I’m on deadlines … and yet those door opens are always welcome.
We play with each other, sexually, in other ways. During hugs, passing the other in the kitchen … nothing is off-limits, until the other says “No” or “Not now.”
We’re respectful of the other’s space, which is a big reason why we’ll be celebrating our 20th anniversary next year.
I’m a guy who, regardless of the frequency, always wants more sex. I’m being honest. I have no complaints whatsoever, but I can never get enough.
And so I let my wife know, again until she says “No” or “Not now.”
Thing is, I only want to be with my wife. Thankfully, she only wants to be with me. I have no issue whatsoever with threesomes, alternative lifestyles, fetish play or any of it. What works for consenting adults works for consenting adults.
As for my wife and I, though, we’re old-fashioned. We’re comfortable with each other, and we’re comfortable in our own skins.
I never thought I would be fortunate to get married, frankly. I had and have quirks that would drive most normal people crazy: I’m a manic writer, I cannot eat peanut butter on pita bread nor jelly on a bagel, I can only have my pizza with vegan cheese, I have a wellspring of horrific jokes and puns within me … and yet someone fell in love with this mess.
She accepted me, for me. And I’ve changed what I needed to for her. We both consider ourselves works in progress, so we grow together.
I believe I truly am the world’s most fortunate man. Neither one of us has the cheating gene in our genetic makeups.
Both of us have been cheated on before by others.
Neither one of us would dare risk what we’ve worked so hard to earn.
Speaking of …
I’m a former special education teacher who became a full-time writer over a decade ago. My wife is a former pharmaceutical sales rep who presently produces television.
When I became a full-time writer, my professional passion, she pushed me in all the right ways. She would never let me give up on my dream as she saw the potential in my work. Similarly, my wife relocated to Los Angeles by way of Detroit to become a TV producer. I never let her lose those dreams.
We both took circuitous routes to be where we are today.
Love is sometimes intertwined with sex, and frankly in any romantic relationship I believe it should be.
We have considerably more fun that way.
Sex is one of my favorite topics. I enjoy the act; I enjoy writing about it.
Writing honestly about the subject while exploring readers’ limits can be challenging …
I enjoy experimenting with the woman I love. What goes on behind closed doors between two (or more) consenting adults is no one’s business beyond those in consent.
My wife and I can be sexually provocative in words and language with one another and that’s fine, as long as our mutual boundaries — that we spent years to learn and relearn as they evolved — are respected and followed.
I admit to having very few of those boundaries myself when it comes to the woman I love, but alas. Playful sexual harassment to my wife and me is not harassment at all. It’s teasing, sometimes for a hopeful end, sometimes for the sake of it.
In the end, it’s all about respect. Our predilections are ours alone and, on repeat, not meant for public practice or consumption. That’s where playfulness can veer into harassment or even misconduct territory.
Yes, a significant other can indeed be a victim of sexual harassment or misconduct on the part of their partner if pushed too far. Mutual consent and respecting of boundaries is pertinent. Exploring one’s sexual nature in all its facets can be healthy with one you trust, but in all instances always pay attention to their wants and needs.
Thank you for reading.
For other articles I’ve written on this topic, see here: