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The V-Spot: I Get Ghosted After One Night

Hi Yana,

I’ve had an above-average number of sexual partners (70+) and at least half have been one night stands. The pattern is: I start talking to someone on OKCupid, we arrange for a date, we have a few drinks, have sex.

Sometimes, it’s more mutual, and neither of us wants to see the other again. More often, I’ve enjoyed the sex (and they have too) but are not interested in meeting up again. Among those are situations where I’m interested in something casual but continuous. A few of them, I actually like a lot and am interested in something more than casual. However, overwhelmingly it seems that first date sex means no more dates. And I’m ghosted/soft rejected (“I had a fun time”).

There have been other situations where I’ve been sexual with someone on the second or third date, and it’s also happened. And that’s partly my dilemma. I tend to date a lot of women who identify as sex-positive, and though I don’t believe in a timetable for sex, it seems to happen sooner than later. And I don’t believe there’s anything wrong with that but I’m a bit tired of one night stands, despite my love of sex.

My hunch is that the fault lies with both parties in failure to communicate. Perhaps either one of us should take a moment before sexual activity to briefly discuss STIs and expectations. I have had only two such conversations in my life, both initiated by women. If I know it’s likely a one night stand, the interaction resolves better.

Still, why do you think first date sex seems to kill long-term potential for me? What do you think I can do to adjust my behavior for a different result? I feel it’s more complicated than simply delaying sexual gratitude.

—One and Done

 

Dear One and Done,

I think it’s great that you end your reflections about this pattern with wondering how you can adjust your own behavior for different results. A great way to wait a long time for change is to wait for other people to change while we kick back and stay the same. And this is especially true when it comes to sex and relationships.

I think initiating an up front conversation about sexual health and expectations for the interaction is a great idea. It sounds like having mistakenly high expectations for the date distresses you the most and adjusting them might make a big impact. Think of how much confusion you could clear up by simply asking someone if they’re interested in having sex or not, if they’re open to something other than a one-night stand, or if they want to be just friends, etc. Sure, it’s not “slick” but it certainly helps keep expectations and your date’s boundaries clear and intact.

Online dating apps like OKCupid make it a little easier to have these chats up front and could even be included somewhere in your profile that you’d like to talk expectations before you go on a date.

Of course, we can’t plan and account for everything before it happens…continue reading…

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The V-Spot: How Do I Tell Dates I’m Heartless?

Dear Yana,

I have a cold, dead heart.

Well, not really but pretty much, yeah. I was married to my ex-wife for nearly a decade and the end of our relationship was really complicated. I feel almost certain that I don’t have the capacity to be in love or be in a relationship ever again.

That being said, I still want to get laid, of course. But my issue is this: I feel as though I’m being pretty up front with my dates about my emotional limitations from the start. However, even though they tell me that they’re okay with not being in a relationship and just having sex, it always ends up feeling like they actually aren’t okay with keeping it casual, expect more from me than I have to give, and I end up disappointing them and being the bad guy.

To make things more complicated, I take a little longer to warm up to people so I’m not very well suited for random, one-night stands. I’m more looking for a friends-with-benefits arrangement that can stay that way without becoming more.

Is this possible? Is there some way that I can avoid this pattern from happening over and over again? It makes me feel as though I just shouldn’t date or have sex with anyone at all and am incapable of not hurting the people that I get involved with and that just sucks.

Thanks for any advice,

-Hopelessly Heartless

Dear Heartless,

I’m catching a whiff of at least a tiny bit of heart left in that chest in your concern that you’re hurting the people that you date when you can’t give them as much emotional connection as they would like. So, we can at least cross off the idea that you truly do not care for others and/or have the emotional landscape of a serial killer — phew!

Being guarded after such a long-term relationship and what sounds like a very disappointing heartbreak is understandable. It’s also understandable that you feel stuck between a one-night-stand rock and a just-enough-emotional-connection-but-not-too-much hard place. It’s not an easy balance to strike and it’s certainly not an easy one to strike with another person’s mind, body, and emotions involved.

To achieve this kind of connection, you’ll have to get better at stating your boundaries even when they’re not ones that your date wants to hear, and probably at times re-stating them, with plenty of check-ins and honesty.

Know that you’re allowed to have boundaries around your emotions, body, time, and space. They don’t have to be the boundaries everyone else has and they certainly don’t have to be the boundaries that anyone else wants you to have. Part of a consent process in any capacity — emotional, legal, sexual, etc. — involves a negotiation process: you present what you want and are interested in (sex outside of a true blue Relationship plus friendship), your date does the same, and then you each decide for yourselves if you want the thing the other person is offering.

Your responsibility here, Heartless, is…continue reading…