Do You Feel Guilty Saying “No” to Sex? Find Out Why


Whether you’re not ready to get physically intimate with a new man or you’re just not in the mood for sex, there will always come a time when you’ll want to say “no” to a man, about sex or something else.

Unfortunately, many women have trouble saying “no” to their date or partner because they feel guilty. Why?

1. Women are people-pleasers. Since so many women are raised to be people pleasers, we’re used to putting the needs of others ahead of our own. As a result, we’re vulnerable to feeling guilty when we ask for what we want—or when we say “no” to what we don’t want, including sex.

2. Some men are pushy. It’s also possible that he’s trying to lay a guilt trip on you or simply trying to convince you to do things his way. Either way, you deserve to get what you want and put your needs first. You don’t have to feel guilty when you try to get what you want. Maybe you’re thinking, “But aren’t relationships about compromise?” That’s true—sometimes. That doesn’t mean you have to bend to his will all the time, and it certainly doesn’t mean you have to have sex when you don’t want to. It isn’t healthy in a relationship when one person makes all the compromises. If you always give in to what he wants, you’re training him to take you for granted, and you’ll probably feel resentful. Of course, if you’re married and saying “no” to sex with your husband every time, it might be time to figure out if your relationship has a problem. Otherwise, what’s wrong with a night off?

3. Women feel pressured to say “yes.” Many women feel guilty saying “no” in all different kinds of situations, like telling him you don’t want to make dinner, but we do have some extra baggage when it comes to sexual issues. Sex sells, and steamy sex scenes work for TV and movies. Some women perceive a pressure to be sexual and to be casual about sex, so saying “no” to sex becomes complicated. Many feel that men expect sex, especially in the age of dating apps and casual hookups. When a woman believes that casual sex is the norm, it often becomes harder to say “no” to sex if she isn’t ready, for fear of losing the man.

4. Women become emotionally attached after sex.
In my psychiatric practice, women often ask, “Why do I get so attached when I have sex? What’s wrong with me?” All around us, we see many couples hopping into bed together, and many single women see their feelings of attachment with sex as a problem. There’s nothing wrong with feeling attached after intimacy. Science shows that we’re built for attachment. The current hookup trend is at odds with our biology because it pressures us to dismiss our emotional needs.
This is not female empowerment. Real power comes from knowing what works for you and having the courage to stand up for yourself. When we let the media or our partner dictate our feelings about ourselves and how we “should” act, we forget the meaning of liberation: the freedom to choose for ourselves.

Deciding to sleep with a guy is a big step. When you make the decision to have sex for the first time with a man, you’re setting the stage for your entire relationship. If you’re not ready and you have sex anyway, you’re starting things off neglecting your feelings. And no matter the stage of your relationship, you always have the right to say “no” without feeling guilty.

This is one of the issues that inspired me to write my new ebook, What to Say to Men on a Date: Be Your Own Brand of Sexy. This ebook is a guide to help you say “no” to men in a way that you are comfortable with and fits your personality. It includes an entire section on how to handle questions about sex, as well as basic dating questions that most single women regularly encounter. It’s also filled with advice on how to handle men who are upset, unreasonable, or who aren’t treating you well. The ebook gives you a variety of responses to choose from ranging from serious to playful, so that you can pick the perfect one for you and learn how to say “no” in a way that works for you. All the replies are designed to get you what you want.

Start getting what you want from men. Be your own Brand of Sexy.

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  • Madz says:

    I rarely am in the mood. Medication which helps balance my hormones reduce my sex drive, I do have one, but it comes and goes. When I say no to my boyfriend I feel guilty as hell. I get this impulse to say “let’s do it tomorrow” which puts MORE pressure on me in the end leads to him asking if I’m sexually attracted to him.

    It makes me think; “am I?” then I remember when we are having sex I REALLY like it. It’s frustrating for me too because I love him like I’ve never loved anyone before. My anxiety goes to,
    1. Is he going to stop loving me?
    2.will he seek out sex elsewhere?
    3.I wonder if his ex before me “gave him sex” all the time
    4.during his hoe phase before me he slept with a lot of girls that now make up a large part of his friend group. It would be so easy for him to go and knock on there door one day

    It’s exhausting and writing all this makes me want to cry and just let him have sex with me. I guilt myself into the act, which in the end hurts me. (Previous trauma in this department). I end up hating myself and thinking my boyfriend hates me too.

    • Dr. Susan says:

      Hi Madz,

      It’s nice to hear from you.

      I’m sorry you’re grappling with this situation. It sounds very difficult.

      Have you discussed this with your boyfriend or kept it all to yourself?

      It might help to let him know how this problem is complicated, so that he understands what’s really going on. Otherwise, he’s just guessing.

      Having said that, you also could really benefit from more professional help.

      As you may know, previous trauma complicates sexual issues for people.

      You could really benefit from getting some kind of therapy.

      If you haven’t already, you can discuss the medication side effects with your doctor or get a second opinion to see if anything else can be done.

      These problems really can improve.

      Please get yourself the help you need.

      Dr. Susan

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