POST-DIVORCE WOMEN AND SEX
If It’s Just Sex, I’m Going to Be Selfish
Women deserve to have hook-ups on their own terms
Please understand: I’m not saying women should only have hook-ups. I’m not proposing that a woman replace her desire for a committed relationship for a bunch of no-strings-attached affairs. I am saying that if she does decide to have a hook-up — or many hook-ups for that matter — she deserves to be selfish about the sex. That, and not feel bad about being selfish.
I know this might anger some people but I’m not trying to win a popularity contest here. I’m just tired of a world in which women are told to give and never to take. A woman deserves to take just like a man — ethically of course. That means don’t be a jerk. Always be honest. But don’t feel guilty about enjoying yourself: There’s no guilt in a woman having sex for the mere physical pleasure of it with as many men as she pleases.
You deserve pleasure. If not, end the arrangement.
Tim and I had been seeing each other for about two months when he told me, “You don’t get mad like other girls when I don’t call you for a week.” We typically saw each other about once a week. He’d call, and I’d go over to his place for sex.
He was right. I didn’t get angry about his lack of calling. I was too busy seeing other men.
I could watch Netflix at home, and besides my vibrator gave me better orgasms.
Tim and I did the “Netflix and chill” thing for a few months until it got boring for me. The sex was just okay, not mind-blowing. I always felt like his orgasm was more important than mine. (He was clearly being selfish himself.) I weighed this with the distance I had to drive to get to his place and the amount of money I paid for gas. I didn’t feel like I was getting enough back in return, so I decided to end it.
I could watch Netflix at home, and besides my vibrator gave me better orgasms.
I was looking out for myself. This is not an evil thing to do. As women, if we don’t look out for ourselves, no one else will.
There’s no shame in wanting good sex.
Which brings me to my next point: It’s okay to want good sex. It’s okay to demand great sex, in fact. There’s definitely no shame it.
Soon after I broke it off with Tim, I met Jake. Our first meeting took place at a Starbucks near my house. After we had both discussed how bad our marriages were by the end, we both agreed we had been enjoying our lives sexually since leaving our spouses.
I mentioned how much I liked the freedom of meeting people online and on apps. Jake agreed and said he wasn’t ready to go off the apps any time soon. I was fine with that because I had the same opinion. Still, he wanted to know about my last relationship. I mentioned it was with a man whom I saw once a week. He would call, and then I would drive over to his place for sex.
“You let him use you.”
This from a man who had just told me he was still playing the field. If you’ve read my other piece on the subject then you know how much I abhor this idea. How had I been used by going to a man’s house for sex? When that was all I was after? No one took advantage of anyone in this dynamic. It was a mutually beneficial arrangement. And when it ceased to benefit me — when I decided the sex wasn’t good enough — I ended it.
We both agreed we had been enjoying our lives sexually since leaving our spouses.
I let Jake know how I felt, that I believed he was projecting his own double standard onto me. I believed his viewpoint was wrong. I was pontificating pretty enthusiastically. Jake leaned in close. “Are you into that guy at that other table or something?” he asked.
I asked him who he was talking about.
“That guy who keeps staring at you.”
Sure enough, at a nearby table, a man was staring straight at me. I hadn’t made an effort to keep my voice lowered and therefore he had heard everything I’d said. No, I shouldn’t have been talking so loudly. It’s rude when people talk loudly at Starbucks. But I also resented the idea that just because I had spoken my views in a heightened voice I was somehow trying to attract another man. I also resented being told I had been used by a man with whom I was freely seeking out sex and nothing else.
Suffice to say, Jake and I never made it farther than that first coffee.
Have vibrator, will travel.
This brings me to yet another point: If it’s just sex, it should be good sex, and one way to assure that is to always have a vibrator on hand. Obviously, I love my Hitachi Magic Wand, but it’s a large and cumbersome device. A woman might not always want to travel with a purse the size of a backpack. As such, I prefer a battery-operated “rocket” that slips as easily inside a pocketbook as it does anywhere else you may wish to slip it. I’ve had men laugh about this. I take out my vibrator from my purse and lay it on the bedside table, and they exclaim with shock: “You brought that along?”
Yes, I did. Because in the chance you can’t make me come, I want to be sure I can take care of myself.
No commitment means no commitment.
There’s another issue that arises when a woman has hook-ups in this dating climate: If both parties decide there’s no commitment, that means there’s no commitment. It doesn’t mean one person gets to date other people while demanding that the other person doesn’t.
When Nick, 35, and I matched on Tinder, he was honest that he was only looking for sex.
“I don’t want anything serious,” he wrote in a text. “I’ll take you to dinner, then we’ll go back to my place, and I’ll delight your body with pleasure.”
I could get behind with that. I was just out of an almost ten-year marriage that was basically sexless in the end. Nick was cute and into music. Here he was, offering dinner and then to delight my body with pleasure afterward. Sign me up.
I asked him when he wanted to meet. “Can you meet tonight?” he wrote. I texted back that I was busy but if my meeting ended early, maybe I could swing by to experience some of his bodily delighting. He asked what I was up to that would bring me so close to his neighborhood.
“I’m meeting with another guy,” I responded. “But if it doesn’t work out, I can come to meet you.”
Had he assumed that during this non-monogamous adventure I would not see other people?
Silence. No texts back. It took a long time for Nick to finally respond. I had already intuited that I’d said something wrong, though I didn’t understand what. My logic was simple: I had plans to meet with one guy for the first time, and if I didn’t like him, then why waste a twenty-mile car ride in Los Angeles if Nick lived in the same neighborhood? Simple enough, right? Wrong.
“I don’t like your attitude,” Nick finally wrote. “I don’t like the way you’re trying to manipulate me.”
“You’ve handled this badly. Un-match me and erase my phone number from your contact list.” I was told to never contact him again.
I did what he said — I erased him — but I was still flummoxed, to say the least. He said he didn’t want a relationship. He stated clearly that it was just a hookup. I responded that I was okay with that. What was the problem? Had he assumed that during this non-monogamous adventure I would not see other people? If he wanted a “girlfriend experience,” there were a lot of places he could find that, but it wasn’t going to happen with me.
All I could take away from this was that Nick wanted a hook-up but also to feel like I was his girlfriend. I wasn’t. I was dating other men and being dishonest about that struck me as, well, dishonest.
A woman deserves to be honest if all both people want is sex.
You deserve to date multiple men.
Of course, my next point is related. If it’s sex without a commitment then there’s no use pretending it’s anything else. Yes, I believe in romance. Yes, I believe in treating people nicely. But no, I don’t believe in lying about where things stand, as I mentioned above.
Take my experience with a man named Shawn. I invited him to my place for lunch with the ulterior motive of having sex. It was our second date, and lunch at my place also seemed like the best choice as he was in between jobs and I was recently separated and low on cash myself.
After lunch, we sat on the couch. I made the first move, and we began to kiss. Things progressed, but then Shawn stopped us. He wanted to talk.
“I just want you to know I’m not looking for a commitment,” he said.
“Okay,” I said and tried to kiss him again.
He held me at bay. “There’s another girl I see, too.”
“I didn’t know you were seeing so many other guys,” he said.
I told him I was also fine with that.
“You are?” he said. He didn’t seem convinced. I sensed him waiting for an explanation, so I gave him one.
“Today I’m here with you,” I said. “Tomorrow I’m meeting with this Croatian guy. The next night I have a date with a man named Chris. Yesterday I spent the night with Alejandro. A couple of days before that I had dinner and a sleep-over with Ben. So you see, I’m okay that you’re also seeing someone else.”
“I didn’t know you were seeing so many other guys!” Shawn said.
This from a man who had just told me he was seeing someone else, too.
Yes, I was not just seeing him and one other man, but many other men. I had that right if he was proposing to just have sex with no commitment.
You deserve to move on even if he doesn’t want to.
My next point is tricky. What if you’re just out for sex, but a guy decides he wants more. This one necessitates you be ethical. You must be honest with a man, and if you decide you’re not interested in anything more serious, then you have the right to move on and not feel guilty about it.
Case in point: John was a TV executive who had a lot of money and loved to take me out to dinner. That was fine, only the issue was he was recently divorced, a single dad himself, and by the third date he’d made it clear he was angling for something more serious.
The problem was I was still deciding whether I was interested enough in him to continue dating him. He was moving fast, too fast for me, and I needed more time to think if I wanted to commit. After years of marriage, I was having fun playing the field, and I wasn’t quite ready to settle down.
For our fourth date, John took me out to one of those “small plates” restaurants where you have to order a bunch of different dishes because the portions are so tiny, but each dish still costs $20. Add in drinks, and the bill must have cost a fortune. But I had been invited, John had the money, and I thoroughly enjoyed talking to him.
After dinner, we went back to his place. We had kissed before but had never been in such an intimate setting. Soon, we were in his bedroom.
We had sex. The problem was I didn’t enjoy it. There wasn’t enough foreplay and I didn’t like the look of his body naked (he needed to stop eating so many dinners out: he had a paunch!). His penis was the size of a magic marker, which might have been why he had to overcompensate by taking women out to so many expensive dinners. I knew I would never see him again after the sex.
His penis was the size of a magic marker, which might have been why he had to overcompensate with so many expensive dinners.
Of course, he called me the next day. I was honest that I wasn’t interested in seeing him again. He offered a trip to a spa so I could think it over. I didn’t want to think it over. I wanted to end it.
I felt bad. I knew he liked me, and I now felt a little like I had used him. Unfortunately, my desire to just have sex had confused him. He had wanted something more serious while I had not.
But I couldn’t beat myself up over it. I accepted this happened sometimes. Dating is complicated. It can be difficult to navigate the contemporary dating climate when you’re a woman who just wants sex.
For the most part, however, a woman can de-complicate her life by being as honest as she can. She can look out for herself by approaching each encounter on her own terms. She can do her best to make sure her needs are met. It’s impossible to make everybody happy. We can only try to make ourselves happy by taking care of ourselves first.