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Family / Couple

How could I help my mother? |



You finish, Sofía, the letter in which you explain your mother’s problems, telling me that without a doubt I will tell you (“rightly”, you specify) that all this “does not concern you”.

I’m not going to tell you that, Sofia. Because that would be misinterpreting what you are going through, since your mother puts you, precisely, in a position to constantly “observe”, not your present and your future, but her past. When you’re 14 and you’re her daughter, she actually talks to you like you’re her shrink. And you, prisoner of the desire to help her and perhaps also of the desire to have a place with her (would you if you refused?), you answer her as if you were. She tells you about her suffering with her alcoholic husband (your father…), and especially with her family. A family that continues, as she has always done, psychologically mistreating her, but from which she has never broken (why?). All this is, therefore, very cumbersome, and would require her to undergo psychotherapy, because there are no generalizable “keys” that can help everyone: each one must find their own in individual work. Contrary to what you think, Sophie, what you’re doing with your mother isn’t helping her, because she’s just taking her away from the care she needs. And that robs you of the energy you need to build your own life. Your mother obviously doesn’t get it. But you are, today – your letter proves it – capable of understanding it. To think! It’s worth it.

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Family / Couple

‘Sex Debt’: Why Women Sometimes Feel Pressured to Have Unwanted Sex



The conversation

Faced with such attention, many of them have sometimes agreed to engage in sexual experiences (kissing, caressing, oral sex, sexual relations) with men without necessarily wanting to, but out of a feeling of responsibility. This sense of responsibility was also expressed by some young men in same-sex relationships.

In this article, however, we choose to focus on heterosexual relationships, where this logic has emerged most markedly.

Les jeunes femmes rencontrées explicant que, si elles ont acepté, ce n’est pas parce qu’elles n’arrivent pas à dire non, mais parce qu’elles auraient dû se douter qu’en acceptant ces faveurs, elles créeraient des attentes sexualles in his house.

Always willing men and always sexually available women?

Sexuality, like other social practices, can be understood as a space where sexual relations materialize.

If the young women interviewed feel more indebted to sex than the young men, it is because they are subject to behavioral expectations linked to a system of binary representations of sexuality called “heteronormativity”.

In this system, sex corresponds to gender and heterosexuality is the norm.

In this logic, the sexual roles of men and women are understood as different and complementary: male sexuality is characterized by assertiveness, sexual performance, virility, and sexual desire associated with physiological needs. Female sexuality, of a relational nature, is linked to affectivity and conjugality.

Various studies show that these representations are still the majority in our societies today.

according to one French survey, 73% of French women and 59% of men adhere to the belief that “by nature, men have more sexual needs than women”. Also according to this survey, this belief has an impact on the sexual practices of women who recognize that they are more willing to have sex without wanting to.

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An investigation carried out in Switzerland among young people aged 26 on average reveals that 53% of the women surveyed have agreed to have sexual relations. without desire.

Sex “debts”

The results of our study point in the same direction and highlight that the heteronormative order engenders what can be called “sex debts”. We are interested in sexual transactions, that is, sexual experiences associated with an economic, material and/or symbolic exchange.

As for young women, our analyzes show that if they are found more often than young men accepting unwanted sexual transactionsit is due to the fact that in the “gender order”, female sexuality is posed as a “sexual debt” that leads them to feel indebted to the sexual expectations of men.

However, by consenting to sexual transactions without necessarily wanting it, women confirm their own “sexual debt” to men, which is to ensure an assertive, determined and desiring sexuality, and which sometimes leads them to show (apparent) detachment from women. demands.

Thus, women and men come together in the complementarity of their “sexual debts”, but in a hierarchical relationship: women think that they have no choice but to offer their sexuality in response to the supposed expectations of men, to whom they affirm that they do not they have no choice but to be willing, sexually available, and successful.

Consequently, they reproduce, without necessarily wanting it, “gender order”.

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Consent: A Negotiation Process

Sexual experiences are part of a reciprocal bargaining relationship where, depending on the situation, not everything is arranged in advance. In the case we are analyzing, the young people retain a certain freedom, which allows them to negotiate the rest of the transaction, despite the feeling of responsibility that may arise.

In particular, some young women have stated that they find some advantages in these unwanted sexual relations, which can be material (housing, food, etc.) and/or symbolic (feeling of recognition, protection, etc.). Other young women refuse to conform to the expectations linked to their gender and adopt behaviors more associated with the masculine gender, for example being assertive both verbally and in attitude or clearly expressing their limits and leaving little room for what is implicit and misunderstandings.

However, these strategies often have a limited effect, since they consist of changing the behavior of women, without questioning the heterosexual order within which these behaviors occur.

These results show that sexual consent is a complex process that cannot be reduced to saying “yes” or “no” and that “accepting” does not necessarily mean “wanting”.

Thus, the feeling of responsibility reveals the logic associated with a “gender order” based on heteronormativity. However, sexual consent is not the sole responsibility of individuals, especially women, to assert their rights. Our conclusions invite us to understand sexual consent as a negotiation process, between conformity to gender norms and the bargaining power of individuals.

An article published in The conversation through Mirian CarbajalProfessor, University of Social Work, Western Swiss University of Applied Sciences (HES-SO) and Anamaria ColomboProfessor, Friborg University of Social Work, Western Swiss University of Applied Sciences (HES-SO).

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Family / Couple

A dad gives 4 tips to help mom while breastfeeding



Breastfeeding is a moment of sharing and helps strengthen the bond of attachment between mother and baby. However, it can often make you thirsty, hungry, or very tired. Many dads want to help more but don’t always know how. This was the case of Cédric Rostein, father of a three-year-old girl and author. By dint of testing and taking initiatives, he found some tips that he wants to share in his book “You’re going to be a dad.”

guarantee logistics

It’s these simple little gestures that, once you get used to it, make everyday life easier. We all have them in our homes and it works the same way when there is a baby in the home. “It is to make sure that all the equipment is ready, for example to extract the milk, wash it, sanitize it, buy what is missing…”, illustrates the young father.

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Family / Couple

5 sensitive topics that are slowly killing the couple and how to really talk about it



The division of household chores

Poll after poll, the verdict is the same: women make much more than men. They take care of the shopping, meals, laundry, ironing, cleaning, not to mention the many tasks related to the upbringing of the children. To this already known mental burden, is added the ” kinship”, a peculiarity, pointed out by sociologist Carolyn J. Rosenthal, that weighs heavily on women’s mental health. This additional burden further widens the gap between the distribution of daily tasks in the couple and designates the woman as “guardian of family cohesion and unity”.

The best husbands “help” their wives with all of these tasks, illustrating the difficulty of evenly dividing the famous mental load: it’s okay for a man to do the shopping. Think about the need to do them and do them without even talking to your partner, that’s much better! An observation made by Carolle & Serge Vidal-Graf, authors of But you never told me that! – Intimate communication in the couple, (ed. Jouvence).


What is mine is yours and vice versa? the theme of money in marriage it is often the source of many conflicts. Does each of the partners have their own personal bank account and feed a joint account for household expenses? In this case, according to which distribution key: 50% each or a proportional contribution to the income? What if one of them doesn’t work?

All of these issues, which are important in terms of the balance of power this will generate, are rarely discussed between the partners. A reality has been installed without having been the subject of real negotiation.

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Tensions can be high: “you spend too much”, “you don’t earn enough”, “you are stingy”, etc.

The relationship of the couple with the families of origin

When the families of origin are very different – ​​culturally, economically, religiously… – the relationships of each member of the couple with the family of origin of the other can become a sensitive issue.

For one of them, visiting their in-laws every three months is completely enough, while for the other it is unthinkable not to see their parents every weekend.

When the families of origin are very different, spouses will sometimes have to display treasures of patience and tolerance in order not to endanger their partner.

Some allow themselves by mutual agreement not to frequent each other’s family – or only on very rare occasions – which avoids many disputes.

How to talk about it?

Once these 5 issues have been identified, knowing how to talk about them can alleviate the tensions that they may generate. For this, Carolle and Serge Vidal-Graf recommend psilent listening rattle.

This particular form of regular communication, say once a month, creates the best possible framework for reciprocal and in-depth listening, they explain. Specifically, what is it? While one talks, to address one of the sensitive issues, the other makes a formal commitment to do nothing but listen. He undertakes not to interrupt the speaker, not to ask questions, not to make comments or suggestions. He forces himself to honor this commitment until the speaker says, “I’m done, I said what I had to say.”

It is about letting yourself be touched by the words of the other: listen to his word as an expression of HIS truth and not of the truth.

When it is the other’s turn to speak, he will refrain from conceiving his speaking time as a response to what he has heard. It’s about sharing what you have to say and not reacting to what you just heard.

Silent listening is not a magic potion, a universal panacea, but it is a very valuable tool that really allows you to approach sensitive topics in a different way. You risk nothing by trying it!

A practical tip to finish: fix, at the end of each silent listening, the date of the next meeting! Otherwise, time passes and you risk “forgetting” to make an appointment…


What do your couple conflicts say?
Daily love life is full of conflicts of all kinds. Opportunities to curse, take offense or argue are not lacking. Find out how they do or don’t conflict and what that says about your relationship.

By Carolle and Serge Vidal-Graf

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