Sunday, February 23, 2014
Dating Timelines and Waiting for Sex
Photo credit: jppi from morguefile.com
A few, short reactions from reading various blogs over the past few weeks.
1. Moxie over at And That's Why You're Single had post insisting that folks who don't respond to online dating inquiries after 24 hours aren't serious, and should be simply be dismissed.
My general response: that's a ridiculous idea! I don't even think it's true for those seemingly hyper-speed New Yorkers Moxie appears to be speaking to.
A more nuanced comment: arbitrary timelines are far less valuable than discerning the quality of the interactions. I'd take a handful of thoughtful messages and a date after 2 or 3 weeks any day over a flood of one liners and pressure to get together after a couple of days from a stranger.
2. Somewhere, I can't remember exactly where, I read something about perceiving dating as a "battle" to win someone's heart over. Which isn't much different from seeing dating as a "competition."
My general response: these are destructive ideas. If you have make a ton of effort to "win someone over" they probably aren't really that into you. And/or their interest might be or remain dependent upon your ability to keep doing X,Y, or Z to keep them interested. In addition, rushing to "get commitment" and/or worrying about others who might "take your date from you" is a great way to create misery. How many of those rushed relationship work out in the long term? And how often has your incessant worrying lead you to a happy, healthy relationship?
3. Evan Marc Katz offers yet another right wing piece of research to support his views. Why use a video which appears to wallow in socially conservative rhetoric about contraception and modern social ills to point out that waiting for sex is a positive thing?
That basic message both he and the video in question (here's the original source) offer is totally fine. I agree with it wholeheartedly if your aim is to develop a long term relationship with someone. I also think that mutually agreement to have casual or more loose ended sex is totally fine as well. And there are enough examples of folks who didn't wait and ended up in good long term relationships too, so nothing is set in stone. It just seems easier to develop a good long term relationship when you take it slower.
Furthermore, I find it troubling that the whole works is balanced on notions about men and women that are questionable at best.
Such as the sense that men need to be "trained" by their female dates to respect them sexually. This runs dangerously close to the idea that men can't control their sexual drives, something that continues to be used to defend all sorts of abusive behavior.
Beyond that though is something more subtle. Namely, that men will only "value" women who make them wait, which to me assumes that men default at not valuing women. Which is true for some men, no doubt.
However, if we continue to assume collectively that women must keep men at bay, and their own sex drives at bay, solely (or primarily) to get men to respect them and value them - well, that doesn't strike me as anything more than coping with patriarchy.
Does this make sense? It's pretty subtle. As I said, I support the waiting guidelines. But I think we need to re-frame what they are for.
The way I see it, waiting to have sex is about giving space to learn about each other. To discover if you have enough of a connection to be more vulnerable together. Perhaps there's some sort of increased "valuing" included in this, but it should be about the unique individuals involved.
In other words, it's framed in the positive (I'm waiting so that we can come to care for each other as unique people.) It's not framed in the negative (I'm doing this to make him respect me first because I'm afraid he won't if I don't.) Do you see how fear based this is?
The thing is, I think you can both make decisions to protect yourself early on in the dating process, and also maintain the positive framework as your aim. It's not an either/or as I see it.
I could say more, but I'll stop there.