We talked about this in the spring with The Good Wife, but I like it for this too: This idea that asking people for things paradoxically makes them like you more than giving them things:
Do you know how many times I have been taught to play pool? Or chess? Works every time. You can look the person in the eye and say "This is what I am doing right now, it is a magic spell on your brain using brain science," and they would love you more for saying it out loud. I mean don't say that, that's a weird thing to say, but the point is that if you did, it wouldn't matter. We love to give, we love to be owed, we love to be shown vulnerability, and we love to spend whatever particular capital we have. If I say "I need you to do this thing for me," what your lizard brain hears is, "You have the power to do a thing I can't," which generates all four of those forms of affection.
Now, implicitly I just described men, but obviously the same things are true of women. So think about that for a second: When I say about men, "we love to give, we love to be owed" it sounds powerful and magnanimous, or like a little boy with his chest out. If I say about men, "we love to be shown vulnerability," you think of beta wolves rolling over to show you their neck. Right? But imagine if I said about women, "they love to be shown vulnerability" or "they love to give." What image does that paint for you? Nothing flattering, nothing we haven't collectively been fighting for fifty years. But they're the exact same words and they come from the exact same place. The exact same impulse. It's just that we're trained to see one side of that as power, and the other side as weakness, because what is masculine is good and what is feminine as bad.
I love that song "Running Up That Hill" because it's great and iconic and all of those things, but mostly I love it because it's a trick and a trap: You hear it and you think it's about trading something for something -- "I'd make a deal with God / And get him to swap places" -- when the truth is, it's about sex. Penetration. And the non-insertive partner in this case saying that even just the assumption that he's hurting her, or getting something from her, is itself offensive: If you honestly think fucking me is hurting me, then how much am actually I worth to you?
You don't want to hurt me/ But see how deep the bullet lies
Unaware I'm tearing you asunder / Oh, there is thunder in our hearts