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My friend Julie in Baltimore decided to dip her toes in the OKC waters, which inspired the two of us to go at this together. Much like workout buddies, we are there to remind each other to hold our heads high and not to give up — and to share some of the insanity that runs rampant on the Internet. We also thought it would be interesting to compare and contrast the Los Angeles and Baltimore dating scenes.

Because some of this material is too good not to share, we’ve decided to share it with you in the form of weekly highlights. You’ll get them until either one of us finds love (don’t hold your breath) or gives up (more likely).

A few days ago, Julie posted a survey on her blog post. Should she or shouldn’t she have sex on the first date. Here are the results, as well as her thoughts on the matter — and on what, exactly, ending up going down.

From Julie:

SURVEY RESULTS
Respondent demographics:
Female: 44.64% (25)
Male: 55.36% (31)
Straight: 92.86% (52)
Gay: 0% (0)
Bi: 7.14% (6)
Other: 0% (0)
Single-Never Married: 47.27% (26)
Divorced: 7.27% (4)
Married: 34.55% (19)
Long-Term Relationship: 10.91% (6)

How long should she wait to have sex with him? [with phone calls, emails, IMs beforehand, aka the baseline]
The same day they meet is fine: 16.36% (9)
The next time they get together: 12.73% (7)
3-5 dates: 27.27% (15)
More than 3-5 dates: 5.45% (3)
Whenever she wants: 30.91% (17)
Fuck if I know: 7.27% (4)

SELECTED COMMENTS:
“No sex before monogamy IF you want the guy to stick around. Sad but true, more so on OkC.”
“There must be *some* sort of talking first about what it is.”
“Sex is over-rated.”

How long should she wait to have sex with him? [with minimal contact–virtual or IRL–beforehand, aka less than the baseline]
The same day they meet is fine: 16.07% (9)
The next time they get together: 8.93% (5)
3-5 dates: 21.43% (12)
More than 3-5 dates: 16.07% (9)
Whenever she wants: 30.36% (17)
Fuck if I know: 7.14% (4)

SELECTED COMMENTS:
“But she should be okay with never seeing him again possibly.”

How long should she wait to have sex with him? [after cyber-sex or sexting, aka more than the baseline]
The same day they meet is fine: 27.27% (15)
The next time they get together: 20% (11)
3-5 dates: 10.91% (6)
More than 3-5 dates: 1.82% (1)
Whenever she wants: 30.91% (17)
Fuck if I know: 9.09% (5)

SELECTED COMMENTS:
“As long as there’s physical attraction, you’d be nuts not to.”
“I have had cyber and phone sex with people who I did not at all want to do it with IRL. So it’s always the same: whenever they both want it. If either one doesn’t want it, then no.”
“Always do whatever, or whoever, the fuck you want!”

If you are married or are in a long-term relationship, how long was it before you had sex with your significant other?
1-2 dates: 39.39% (11)
3-5 dates: 25% (7)
More than 3-5 dates: 35.71% (10)

SELECTED COMMENTS:
“Hard to define ‘how long was it’. Knew her a long while before officially ‘dating’.”
“Friends for years before one night things changed.”
“Waited approximately 3 hours after I met him. Cause I fucking wanted to.”

SELECTED GENERAL COMMENTS:
“We’ve been married for 15 yrs and we still keep each other on our toes (intellectually and in the bedroom). I’m old fashioned and feel like respect (of self and from suitor) is important. Be worth the wait.”

“the mores of caution may be puritanical, but if you consider the heightening of arousal you’re experiencing from delayed gratification it’s a bit of a wash in terms of waiting. in terms of keeping yourself attractive to men too: (we cretins) i’d say if you ‘put out’ too soon, it can set the stage poorly for a strong future.”

“Is this for real?”

“For me, waiting to have sex isn’t a power play. It’s more about giving me time to get to know someone and to figure out what sex with him would mean to me — and to him.”

“I really think it’s fine to do it on the first date. How else do you know if you want to bother with another? Sometimes, though, you want to wait; not only because you are not sure, but because the wait can be pretty fun. I personally lean towards ‘do it now’ when I am not 100% sure (and ‘wait a little while’ when I am 100% sure I want it), and I have never regretted it.”

“The actual second date conversation went: her: I’m not going to have sex with you. Me: Define ‘sex’. her: …no.”

“JUST DO IT.”

So, in summary, the plurality of respondents said the woman should do whatever she wants (so long as the guy is willing).  A greater number of respondents were comfortable with her having sex after the first date if sexting or cyber-sex had occurred beforehand.  And a plurality of respondents in long-term relationships had sex after 1 or 2 dates.

PROGRESS (OR LACK THEREOF):
I’m not going to say that the survey determined my decision, but we did look at the survey results during the date, and, yes, Mr. Muddled Mint and I had sex. And, no, it wasn’t the right decision, but not for any of the reasons put forth in last week’s post or discussed above. It wasn’t the right decision because sex *does* complicate everything. As Rick James might have said, “Oxytocin is a hell of a drug.”

In the midst of sex, I realized he wasn’t the person I’m looking for. I’m sure this is an epiphany that isn’t unique, but it was the first time it had happened to me. And that’s an awful way to figure it out. If we had gone slower, I probably would have realized it before we had sex, and that would have made everything easier. I have such an ease and comfort online in general, and had that with him in particular, that I forget it isn’t real life. Online mirrors back what you expect to see or want to see.  Real life is more complicated.

WHAT I LEARNED FROM OKC THIS WEEK:
That I’m not the nicest person and not the best me I can be. Well, I knew that before, but it hit home pretty hard this week. I value honesty over almost all else. I believe in directness with those whom I respect. But even within that framework, I’m sure someone else could have handled things better than I did. I’d never been on this side of things before (in the past, I was the one being told things wouldn’t work out or it was a mutually agreed upon decision). My lack of experience coupled with my directness meant I was more blunt, less sensitive than I should have been. I made it unnecessarily complicated when I should have been more to the point.  It was a mess. Maybe the nature of these conversations is such that they can never go well.  All I know is that I hurt someone I care about deeply and that never doesn’t suck.

So what did I learn? To trust my best friend, I suppose, even if she was right for a different reason than she originally shared. To give myself enough time to get to know the other person in real life before I jump into bed. That delaying physical gratification is even more important if I already care about the other person and hope for a long-lasting relationship of any type. That what I’m looking for is probably rarer than rare if someone who seemed so perfect a match wasn’t actually what I want from a partner.

But even knowing it’s probably exceedingly rare, I’m not giving up. Not because I need a relationship, because I don’t. Not because I don’t like being alone, because I do. But because I’m still optimistic about my prospects, despite everything. Because this journey has still brought more pleasure than pain. Because even if I get my heart broken, that means that I’ve felt something extraordinary. Carpe That Fucking Diem indeed.

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