Dates & Nuts: Fast, but not furious
The ramifications of going too far on a first date
After recently ending a long-term relationship, I’ve been meeting a lot of men through online dating. I’ve been referring to it as “trying new things” since I was out of the dating pool for several years. I’ve admittedly been intimate with these men rather quickly—and yes, some incidents even occurred on the first date. However, I’ve actually connected with a few of these men on a deeper level and have been disappointed when I don’t hear from them afterward. I discussed it with my therapist, and she says I need to dial back on sleeping with them so quickly. Right now, I’m just having fun, so I’m not sure I see a problem with it. I’d eventually like to meet someone for a more committed relationship. What do you think I should do?
Little Red Corvette
Something tells me that if you were a man, you probably wouldn’t be seeking advice from a dating columnist or talking with your therapist about your recent frolics around the proverbial “eggplant” patch. You’d likely be in a sports bar, pounding pitchers of Genny Light, and high-fiving your bros about what a stud you are. You’re moving on with your life and getting some action. Go, you!
Alas, being a woman is a funny thing, isn’t it? On one hand, we’re told to empower our sisters, be liberated and self-sufficient, buck tradition, and go out and do whatever we want with whomever. On the other hand—you know, the hand that’s hiding behind someone’s back and likely equipped with a knife? That hand is calling other women bitches, whores, and sluts for doing the very things that most males have been celebrating for centuries. The result is that a lot of women are left feeling guilty or ashamed about what you describe as “trying new things,” and quite frankly, they shouldn’t.
Double standard rant aside, here’s the part where things get complicated: you admit you have had a “deeper connection” with some of these men; and despite being in the game for the “fun,” you are still struggling with the fact that they haven’t contacted you after your dates. Methinks you have contracted a case of the feelings, or as the kids say, “the feels.”
I’m neither a biologist nor a sex researcher, and I don’t exactly subscribe to John Gray’s notion that men and women are from different planets. However, I do think they are hardwired a little differently when it comes to sex and relationships. Men appear to be able to separate sex from a relationship, and despite women becoming increasingly more casual with sex, they still seem to have emotional ties with the men they’re shtupping. This is why you experience disappointment when you don’t hear from these men after being intimate. Unfortunately, they are just not on the same page or are possibly dating other women.
I recall an awkward but memorable conversation with my mother when I was a teenager. Most of our conversations about suitors and sex consisted of responses to my inquiries with, “Ugh, here. Go read this book.” One particular comment stuck with me, so I’ll pass my mother’s words of wisdom on to you, Corvette: “Look—if you’re going to have sex, make sure you do it because you want to do it—not because your friends are doing it, not because some guy is pressuring you to do it, and not because you think you’re going to get something out of it. You do it if you want to do it.”
I can’t really put it any better than my mother, but I will add that the key to mastering the discouragement—like many other things in life—is managing your own expectations. If you go on these dates with the notion that having sex quickly will put you on the fast track to stability, security, a relationship, love, or all of the above, then you are likely setting yourself up for failure.
Assuming you are practicing safe sex with these men, I don’t see any reason for you to stop dating and having a good time, providing you can keep your relationship expectations in check. However, when the pendulum swings back toward a more committed lifestyle, it might behoove you to pump the brakes a little, Corvette. By waiting, I’m not suggesting withholding sex as a means of control or manipulation—rather, it’s simply ensuring that hot sex isn’t clouding your judgment about whether or not a person is actually worth your time and attention. It’s really easy to determine if you find a person physically attractive and ultimately bang-worthy. It’s another thing to get to know a person—their personality, likes, and dislikes—and to figure out whether you are compatible on a social and intellectual level. Companies call this “culture” and “fit” when they’re hiring staff. Start being the HR manager of your life and your bedroom—you’ll realize you might want a few more opportunities to interview.
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Stacey Rowe is a freelance writer based in Rochester. She can be found on Twitter and Instagram as @thestaceyrowe and at staceyrowe.com.