Wednesday, September 14, 2011

"Men Like a Challenge"

Men don’t value something if it comes too easily.

If you sleep with us on Date 1, that’s a pretty strong indicator that you’ve slept with plenty of other people on Date 1. And most men don’t like to think of their future wives as “easy”, even though, intellectually, we can acknowledge that there’s nothing wrong with a woman who enjoys sex for sex’s sake.

Basically, men like a challenge – to pursue you, to win you over, to charm you, to work our way around the bases and accomplish what few men have accomplished before. And the more you slow us down and give us the opportunity to get to know you platonically, the more reasons we’ll discover that we want you to be our girlfriend.

If you sleep with me on Date 1, I’ve climbed the mountain too fast and haven’t discovered what makes you amazing personally. The thrill of the chase is gone.

I’m not talking about whether this is a good thing or a bad thing. I’m saying that it’s real and that your best bet to a relationship is to delay sex. If you can handle sleeping with perfect strangers and hoping it works out, go ahead. No judgment here.

This is a quote from Evan Marc Katz, whose comments and posts I tend to like. This particular comment, though, doesn't fly with me.

Here is what I wrote in response.


Oh man, I’m so on a different wavelength than Evan on this. Which is good because it offers the women here another male take to complicate things :)

First off, the the longest relationship I have been in included sex on the third date. It really never crossed my mind that she was “easy” or that she was someone who “slept” around. What happened happened naturally. There wasn’t any excessive flirting or enticing going on on either end because neither of us were like that.

Second, I despise chasing and pursuing. Absolutely despise it. Perhaps it works well for some men and women, but I also find that for a lot of others, it seems to be a series of games and push-pull challenges that create a lot of frustration if things don’t work out. dating is hard enough without adding unnecessary games to the process.

Third, if I start seeing someone (i.e. it’s gone beyond a few dates), I tend to stop looking at other “options.” In other words, even if we haven’t decided yet that we’re going to be exclusive, I treat it as exclusive so that I can get a clearer picture of who she is. This is probably not something many people do these days, given how much date juggling seems to go on. But I find it a hell of a lot easier, and I guess more respectful in my mind, to focus on one woman if we’ve made it past the intro. stage.

Now, with all that said, I actually have mostly chosen to delay sex beyond the first few dates. Not because I think it’s wrong, but because it just hasn’t felt right for me. And I also don’t find that I have enough of a connection after a single date, or even two usually, to even consider becoming that intimate with a woman. The few times I have rushed in were in situations where both of us basically weren’t in a position to have a committed relationship – i.e. were on the rebound and a bit desperate. However, with the Ex I mentioned above, we both commented on how it felt early to being sleeping together, but at the same time, it felt right.

I do think a lot of this comes down to intentions though. Evan and I might differ on approach to some degree, but we both have had the intent of finding a woman to stay with, grow with, develop a life together with. If you have that kind of intention driving you, then you’ll probably treat sex differently, regardless of when it ends up happening.


I want to expand a bit on the "chasing and pursuing" portion of the comment. What I mean by that mostly is the playing hard to get kind of nonsense that some women pull, partly because it's "fun" for them, partly because it's a power play, and partly to fulfill this story that men "need" the thrill of the chase. I also reject the idea that I am supposed to, as a man, "woo" a woman with gifts, dinners, and whatever else. And finally, if I need to "charm you" and "win you over," perhaps we aren't a good match in the first place.

With that said, I'd like to think that some of the elements of the above might occur more naturally during the dating process. That who I am, and how I naturally act and care for others, for example, will be charming and "a winner" in a woman's eyes. That, if I find out you interested in a novelist I don't know, for example, I might go and research that writer and then be able to have a conversation with you the next time we're together. Or if I know you like a certain kind of food, I might offer to prepare it for you sometime.

Part of the goal of this blog is to advocate for being more authentic with your relationships - particularly intimate romantic relationships, but I think that at least some of what I talk about could be applied to any relationship in your life. When we rely on games, power plays, lists of desired traits, stereotypes, and arbitrary rules to drive the way we handle relationships, we tend to cloud over who we actually are and what our deepest wishes and intentions might be. Obviously, it can be useful in a practical sense to, for example, have a list of desired traits or to have a set of dating rules to guide you, but all of that should really play a secondary role in my opinion.

What do you think?


  1. Personally, I'm much like you - I despise chasing. Hard-to-get is about the easiest way to get me to lose interest in a woman, short of witnessing her defecate on my mother. My choices of whether or not to date someone are based on intellectual and personality characteristics, not the length of time between when we met and when she let me stick my penis inside of her.

  2. God, I wish this "men like a challenge" trope would just die already. (Here's my response to its appearance in the book "He's Just Not That Into You".)

    Here's how I feel about Evan's reasoning:

    I just don't get this "easy" thing, or "climbed the mountain" or whatever. I have this weird notion of sex being this thing people do together, like, as a collaboration. It's not a prize in a competition!

    And the more you slow us down and give us the opportunity to get to know you platonically, the more reasons we’ll discover that we want you to be our girlfriend.

    With me, it's the opposite. The more you slow me down, the more I'll think you don't want me and the less interested I become in getting to know you. I like to be saying, "Are you sure? We can go slower if you want." If you seem disinterested, then I think there's no enthusiasm, no genuine desire - I start to think that you view sex as as a prize or as a trading commodity to get something from me (which is an instant turn-off in a relationship - but not in a roleplay scene!) I am happy to wait for an enthusiastic "yes", but if I feel like I'm being put "on hold" and "slowed down", then just feels like it's never going to be genuine.

    Sticking to platonic exchanges just means we end up in the "Friend Zone" - I speak from experience. One potential date ended up like that because we each thought the other wasn't interested when actually we both would have liked to have asexual relationship. By the time we figured out our mistake, it just seemed wrong.

    I see a relationship not as a chase, but as a shared journey. We discover each other.

    As it happens, my previous relationships have all had sex early on (often the first date), even though I was ready and happy to wait. Not once has it in any way lessened how much I valued the relationship because - again - the relationship is a shared journey, and the journey is its own reward and its own value. The route taken is much less important, as long as I am sure my partner wants to walk it with me.

  3. Nathan, I love your blog, and find myself vigorously nodding in agreement with all of it.

    This is Ms. Bee from Evan's blog by the way. I censor myself on there way more than I would like. I'm in another world from most of the posters there. And my (actually pansexual, polyamorist, BDSM top, BSDM fashion model, makeup-wearing, transwoman-dating) fiancee would be bashed horribly by the "manly" men if I got too specific.

    So contrary to Evan's advice, we screwed on the second date, and are marrying in May. I usually screw one to three dates in, and it usually works out just fine. The "me man, me chase woman with club, drag back to cave" trope is tired, and for many people, doesn't even exist anymore. I see evidence of this all the time locally, especially among the younger set, where more and more women are outearning the men, taking initiative to set up dates, paying their own way, and having sex however and whenever they want to. This upsets a lot of people, because, so they say, it's not "natural," and it's not "how it's supposed to be." But how do you stop it, if that's what people actually want to do?

    On EMK's blog I notice that even when we women have good points to make, see things from male perspectives (on dating matters, I'm a REALLY good source of advice for straight women), provide interesting insight, and stay respectful, we get no props. All Evan told me was that it was tiresome to hear about exceptions and that he was almost always right. In fact, you and another guy said the same thing I did at one point (stuff's not so black and white, something like that) and Evan gave you props. I mentioned my real-life experience, and I got "A broken clock is right twice a day, but we don't use it to tell time." He also edited a comment of mine so it seemed I was agreeing with him that I, in "breaking all his rules," was "super, super rare."

    I mean, bisexual or pansexual erasure and glossing over anyone who doesn't conform to rigid gender roles isn't quite please erase my perspectives, too.

    Sure, I understand EMK is selling a certain dating program to a specific type of woman seeking a specific type of man in a specific, competitive dating market in major metro areas. I know I'm not the target audience. But he's not the only one pushing the "let the man lead, and let the woman be passive and flirt" trope. The Rules ladies are, the He's Just Not That Into You team is, and I can easily come up with dozens more.

    How come it's 2011 and it's not ok to deviate from rigid gender roles and tropes? And on that rare day when we women who do deviate from them get to speak, no matter how polite we are, we're characterized as unladylike, rude, aggressive, and chasing off all the good men – why's that cool, or even applauded? (I'm not even talking about on a blog here – I'm talking generally.) Dating books, dating blogs, women's magazines, men's magazines, and many major mainstream movies and TV shows keep reminding us that being assertive or taking control of a situation is not ok. And my being pansexual and genderqueer just makes me disgusting and deviant besides, in our society. (St. Stephen wonders why mental health issues are so common in the GLBT community? Seriously?) Honestly, I think this kind of stuff makes dating more frustrating and more difficult for people, because it adds mind-games and confusion where there doesn't need to be any.

    From your perspective, as a guy who doesn't see things the "traditional" way, how does it make you feel that women who don't conform to gender tropes aren't acknowledged? Do you feel unacknowledged also?

  4. it's true, we love a chalange, but not that difficult chalange, for example if i meet a woman for three concecutive dates and she's very hard to seduce and attract, i'll leave her be and would go find another one.

  5. this is an immature blogspot, we have all heard women like playing games etc, well truth is, and everyone will admit, everything would be easier w/o games, not saying play the nice guy role either, but fact is to defend the notion that 'yes, please play hard to get women, we men like a challenge' is to set oneself up for immature games in a superficial-dominated atmosphere which is the dating game. It's already bad enough, but you have to actually tell women to make you prove yourself(i.e. 'challenge me'), seems illogical, and accepting you just don't have enough game in the first place...

  6. May be it comes down to biology - men that enjoy the chase have more testosterone than those that dislike it...

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