I don’t think the feminist movement that brought our society to this place really gave sex much thought at all. It was “do it if you feel like it” – which completely fails to address the emotional side of sex, and ignores the fact that you generally need two to play the game. “Do” is sort of what we’re told by the feminists, as long as it is within your control.
My spiritual practice offers almost no guidance on the idea of sex, it is a topic that remains in the dark. Abstinence is supposed to be the only way, and sex is a dirty thing to be meditated away. I go to both Catholic mass and meditation sessions, and each is equally bad at addressing the need. “Don’t” is the name of the game.
Today, it is more and more common for people to be single in their 30s. Just because we’re single doesn’t mean we’ve lost our entire sex drive. Relationships often don’t last longer than a year or two – so if you are serial dater between 20 and 40 you’ll have a minimum of 10 partners (assuming no “rebound” guys, shorter flings, etc.) , which is about the US average for women, depending on the study.
For the four men I’ve had real relationships with, each I met in some sort of social setting. The thing that drove the relationship, especially in the beginning, was mutual attraction helped along by a little alcohol. Over course there were other things in common – but unless you have an arranged marriage, it takes a very long time no matter how you meet to figure out if you share a similar vision for life. Attraction is a big part to any relationship.
With internet dating, you are meeting someone from scratch, with no background and no mutual friends (usually – on an island like this I get paired with people I know relatively often). To take away some of this awkwardness you spend a lot of time in the beginning talking about the equivalent of your favorite color. What do you like to eat? When do you go to sleep? What books have your read recently? Where have you traveled? etc etc etc. I can be a damn good flirt with strangers, but on dates like these I fall flat.
I don’t know when is it “respectable” to actual cross over to the physical.
There are no official dating rules today. There is no consensus on the number of partners that is considered “acceptable”, or how many dates before sex is okay (just check out the crazy wide spread of comments at the bottom – a combination of guys saying 200 is okay, and guys saying more than 5 is too much). There is very little ritual left to the date. I can totally understand why a guy would be shy about not knowing how to make things go.
Good examples of 1) and 2)
The men in my life fall into two categories:
- Want to sleep with me, but are pretty clear that no strings will be attached. *See below*
- Seem interested in me, but can’t seem to make a move that crosses into the physical.
I haven’t had sex with anyone except my long distance Mr. Faraway in two years. I want to “start my clock” again in a real relationship. But, man, I really, really fail to get nice boys to want to take me to bed. I am polite, but really? do I need to drag them to bed? why is this so hard? I’m ready to be flirty and strong and independent, and yet truly prefer a more subordinate role in sexual relationship. So can someone please tell Romeo to kiss me?
The saying that comes to mind is definitely “You can’t have your cake and eat it too.”
*The newest member of this category is one of the background pirates on Pirates of the Caribbean 4 and 5. I’m not entirely starstruck, but having a notch for one of the Pirates seems like a good story for the memoirs someday. The insiders’ gossip is that Pirates might be coming back to Hawaii to film number 5 soon.*