I never thought about my sense of agency until recently a friend who is like a brother to me told me of when he initiates the block method in a romantic relationship. For him, it is used when he feels like his endeavors are being ignored and it is the first step, I hope, in moving on. For other people, blocking indicates you are ending things with the blocked individual. And in some ways, that is my response as well. But it depends on things. Usually in a romantic relationship, when I am mad, I take away access to myself.
In my limited dives into the dating pool, I have a set of standards that I employ before I am willing to be with you. And they determine where I hope to stand with you. And in my opinion, if you have standards for your friends, why not the person you choose to share your bed with too? If the influx of materials on romantic relationships is any indication, you think we would put more structure to this.
As a teen, I choose to do this. And at the time my list was simple:
No interest in kids (condom usage)
getting into bed with me is a romantic pursuit, not a conquest
having an interest in me that goes beyond the bed
See, living as a Black woman in a hyper-sexualized community and culture dynamic. I actually looked at why the adults around me had sex. I looked at all the material and stress that came along with it. All the factors of just having sex were annoying but the social dynamics around the act and the loose ideas that came along with it, I was thrown into a mild panic. With all the options, I did not know how I wanted or should act. So I started with standards.
Standards as a teen stopped grown people in their tracks. My peers did not know how to act. I had more conversations about the need for standards leading up to looking for a partner for sex than the actual act. And I am fine with that. But it is the opinion of this writer that if you are inviting someone into your haven were you rest your head, why would you disrespect your own personal space by letting anyone come to play?
Even when I am preparing to enter a life long monogamous relationship, and my standards being met, I still value this conversation before we enter our shared bed space. For me, even with the innate knowledge that my partner is ready and willing, I will not take away his agency by assuming.
And I hope he offers me the same opportunity.