There are a number of vanilla blogs* I read, written by women of 40+ who are single and dating. Sex bloggers. Good ones. And by that I mean that they write well, are smart, funny, open, honest and raw.
There is a hugely stark contrast between all of them and me in that they are all prolific daters, are on multiple dating sites, are very sex-focussed, are delighted to have casual sex/open to late night booty calls/will happily have sex with men at first meeting.
I am envious of their freedom and their enjoyment of sex just for the physical pleasure of it. I often wish I was wired differently and could do the same.
There are three reasons I can’t.
The first is obvious: My introversion means that dating is a trial to be endured, so it’s not fun for me. That means that each time I agree to meet someone, it’s a Big Deal, and I don’t do it unless I think there’s something worth pursuing.
The second is that my sexual response is difficult to trigger. I don’t seem to have a drive or need for sex that operates independent of external stimulus: that is, when I’m not aiming my sexual energy at someone in particular, it essentially goes into hibernation. What works for me is to have a target who inspires that feeling, who hits my buttons just right. And how that fires up is complex and touchy and takes real connection.
The third is that casual sex with random men leaves me feeling used and devalued. It relates to both of the above since it’s ‘work’ to meet someone in the first place, and he’s unlikely to be able to press the buttons that rev me up unless we have developed a strong connection first. My (limited) experience with casual sex has been dissatisfying both on the ‘sex’ part and on the ‘how I feel about it/myself/him afterwards’ part.
I think a lot of this comes from the tediousness of being an object of desire in my younger years (the emphasis there is on ‘object’): I learnt very early that most men’s primary objective in any interaction with me was to get into my pants. Having sex never felt like something wonderful that was about our mutual pleasure, it felt like ‘giving in’ (because men would be angling at it from the start): it felt horrible and dehumanising and I would NEVER ‘give in’.
My dominant roots, I think, were in realising the power of saying ‘no’. Rather than turning men off, denial made them more interested, compliant, and eager to please. Go figure.
But what it means for *now* is that I’ve internalised all of those things, so dating for ‘fun’ and casual sex as ‘even more fun’ are completely foreign concepts in my mind. This is true even though I now have the confidence and maturity to make sure that I get what I want in casual encounters (and no doubt most mature men genuinely WANT to give their partner pleasure).
I’m tempted to move WAY outside my comfort zone, post a vanilla profile on a vanilla dating site and force myself to go on dates with nice vanilla men who seem lovely ‘just for fun’ (okay, fine, it wouldn’t be fun exactly, but maybe I would learn to see it as less of a trial). I doubt that casual sex is ever going to be on the cards for me, but I’m curious whether immersion in dating can get me over my aversion. Also who knows what amazing gems I might find. Yes, even in the vanilla world.
*There are many, but the sex blogs I was thinking of specifically are these: