How to Pick a Lover

Breathes there a man with soul so dead
Who never to a girl has said:
“Let’s go to bed.”
—Evan Esar

You want, in a lover, a man who relates to you on many levels and a man who will not insist on having his own way regardless of your wishes. A lover who understands mutuality.

All married couples know that going to bed together does not necessarily mean they are going to make love. Lots of other wonderful things happen in bed besides sleep. It’s snug, dark, comfortable, and private: an excellent place to think or talk or cuddle.

You can tell a lot about how your interaction with a man is going to be by going to bed with him with the expressed, explicit intention of not having sex. You say, “Yes, I’ll sleep with you tonight, but I won’t have sex with you tonight. All right?”

Some men will bristle indignantly at this; some will be amused, being certain you will change your mind; some will be secretly relieved as this strategy allows the growth of intimacy without any performance demanded on his part or yours.

Without those words, it’s understood by everyone that he’s obligated to try to make love to you. And you cannot really say no without hurting his feelings and creating misunderstandings. By saying no in advance and meaning it, you create an atmosphere of no pressure. You can be sexually deprived for twelve hours. It helps, in this, to have a good excuse for not making love, something outside the relationship and something non-negotiable. An obvious one is to be having your period. Even if he says he doesn’t mind, it’s understandable that you might, at least the first time. Any kind of physical impairment is an understandable excuse. Or you might simply avoid going to bed at all and lie down and eventually sleep on the living room couch. It’s not as comfortable, but it is much less ambiguous, and you avoid the critical point of confrontation when you have to negotiate who is going to sleep where and what it means.

If a man agrees to your arrangements and then gives you a night of constant hassle—groping, nagging, whining, and otherwise carrying on—you have lost a night’s sleep. You may, however, have saved yourself a lot of trouble in the future because you now know how he’s likely to behave on other occasions when he doesn’t get what he wants when he wants it.

Listen ... Rape is a polictically volatile top...

Photo credit: marsmet451

There’s a pattern of psychological bullying, stemming from incredulity that anyone, any woman, could actually oppose him with a will of her own. That attitude is the opposite of mutuality. Whether or not you give in on that particular night and let him have his way with you, as the Victorians used to say, you can know what to expect on future nights should you happen not to feel like having sex.

The best kind of lover acknowledges the fundamental idea that sexual encounters should involve two people who, if not equally enthusiastic, are at least compliant enough to be willingly involved. He doesn’t want to impose himself upon someone who is reluctant. He may be disappointed that the evening isn’t going to end with you as the dessert, but he’s willing to wait for a time of mutual desire.

A man with that attitude usually does not have to wait very long.

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Comments on: "The First Time You Sleep Together, Try Sleeping" (4)

  1. With as much as you write about relationships, I wonder if you have any understanding, or advice for people who are demisexual (AKA People with little to no sexual attraction outside of romantic engagements). People who still are “sexual” per say, but only desiring of sex with a specific person. Also, your dating advice tends to be geared towards heterosexual people, what about bisexuals, or homosexuals? Dating between two women is a quite different ball of wax than that between heterosexual men and women. For me personally, I see spending the night with someone in a non-sexual way to be incredibly endearing and selective exercise. Being less sexual makes this easy, however most women I meet are more sexual than I am. If you have any input on how to navigate this? I will add, this is slightly easier with other women, than between women and men.

    • My understanding is that a demisexual is a person who does not experience sexual attraction unless they form a strong emotional connection with someone. It’s more commonly seen in but by no means confined to romantic relationships. The term demisexual comes from the orientation being “halfway between” sexual and asexual. Never the less, this term does not mean that demisexuals have an incomplete or half-sexuality. In general, demisexuals are not sexually attracted to anyone of any gender; however, when a demisexual is emotionally connected to someone else (whether the feelings are romantic love or deep friendship), demisexual experiences sexual attraction and desire but only towards a specific partner or partners. Demisexuality may make forming romantic or sexual relationships more difficult for some people. Demisexuals often have rocky relationships with asexuals because the demisexual’s feelings may become more sexualized with time, which the asexual may find inappropriate or unexpected. Or as in your situation, when sexual drive is expressed independent of a strong emotional connection. In any relationship, having a better understanding of one’s sexual needs and desires and how they may differ from one’s partner may help facilitate communication to clear up misunderstandings.

      You’re correct that my blog focuses primarily on heterosexual relationships. While there may be some underlying commonalities between heterosexual relationships and those between two women, they are, as you note, “quite a different ball of wax,” as are relationships between two men.

  2. Funny, reading this, i think back to 2 opposing situations. The first is my recent ex and how he was often the one stating wo lying that we would only be sleeping, truly sleeping together on a given night. I began to wonder if this was some sort of power play… Or he was just tired.

    The second was a scenario where in another relationship the two of us had been backpacking, hardcore style. There was this night coming off two consecutive 12 hr bus rides. Falling asleep together in a real bed, in each others arms – it was as Gwen stefani put “the best sleep I ever had”

    Great post. I will try to live it more

  3. Wonderful! I found over the years this mutual relationship of sleep, cuddle and love to be truly empowering for both people.

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