The other day, an old acquaintance from high school texted me the following:
“Hi. I won’t be awkward about this either way. I see you writing about relationships. My intentions are good and I respect you. I’m not at the right place to be dating right now, but would you be down to have sex with me? We can chit chat a bit so we’re less like strangers if you’d like. I find you attractive. Super professional. Yes.”
I know. The message itself is corny and weird, but I bring this up because this isn’t the first time I’ve gotten a blatant request for sex from friends, dates, and strangers.
I get it. We're in an age of straightforwardness and there are people who like to get to the point. We're young, we're attractive, let's do it, no strings attached. Instant gratification. I understand that's a lifestyle and that is a perfectly valid choice people make and a way of dating a lot of people subscribe to -- in all walks of life.
But at the same time, I find it disturbing and rude and I do take a personal offense to it when guys ask me these things. Call me a prude, but these are my standards and I stand by them always.
Don't ask me to have sex with you. Don't ask me to be your f**k buddy. Don't ask me to be your no-strings-attached-friend.
One of my friends used to roll his eyes whenever I told him these stories; stories of catcallers on the streets who would yell out rude, lewd, sexual comments, and stories of men who would ask me out for pure physical reasons.
"Oh c'mon. Poor little Clarissa. You're getting attention and you're complaining?" he'd say. And he'd tell me I was overreacting. I was speechless.
This is a form of harassment and I take it very seriously.
Listen. I am not a piece of meat. I am not a sex object. I am not a walking vagina. I refuse to treat my body that way because I believe in true connection and I believe that sex should be meaningful and safeguarded because it's an act of vulnerability and trust. These are my personal mantras; ethics I live and breathe by.
At the very least, get to know me first before you bring up such a request. Don’t assume all women are receptive to these sorts of comments.
Once, after a first date, a guy and I immediately established that we just didn't have an emotional connection. "Great meeting you," I texted, thanking him for his time and honesty.
"You too," he replied. "But hey, if you're down to be friends with benefits... I'm up for that. Yeah?"
I deleted his number immediately.
The hierarchy of dating seems to be this: Physical connection first. And then when we're entangled in a heap of sheets and sweat, we'll sort out the emotional part... when convenient.
Sometimes that works out amazingly and people get lifelong partners from that. But more often than not, it just leads to pain and confusion and heartbreak. Plus, sex messes with your brain. It amps up the hormones so you can't think logically.
What if we did it the other way around? I bring this up as a counterpoint to the widely accepted hook-up culture. For both men and women.
What if we pursued the emotional and mental and spiritual connection first, and then let the physical part come afterward? It’s terrifying to demand that from people, but scientifically it makes sense.
Women tend to have oxytocin levels that are ten times larger then men have. These chemicals can last in the system for two days for a woman. For a man, the levels drop off after orgasm.
That’s why I prefer to hold back on the physical intimacy -– because I want to be able to discern a man’s character and value and not be blinded by a surge of love hormones. Bottom line: It’s hard to think straight once we hit the sack.
"Can I tell you something?" my friend Andrea asked, as we were sitting in Mari Vanna New York, under the dim fairytale lights of the Russian eatery.
"I don't think people believe in love anymore."
And then we proceeded to talk about the dating culture and how it's so hard to find people who take you seriously and how people are so focused on sex that it's impossible to wade through all of that and get to the heart and soul of another person.
People don’t believe in love because love is too difficult. People don’t prioritize love when it comes to intimate relationships because it’s painful.
Love means you have to strip down all the protective layers and bear your soul, naked and exposed. Love leaves people completely vulnerable. Love is a world where hard work, sweat, and tears are required. Love is an arena where you have to sacrifice and give and learn the importance of selflessness. Love is where you are challenged beyond your wildest beliefs -- where you are forced down on your knees in complete humility.
Sex? That shit is easy.
And so, why am I writing this? If I'm conscious that the hook-up culture is a choice; a choice that I don't have to be a part of, but a choice that people make? None of these guys are forcing me to have sex with them.
Because to ask a question like, "Want to have sex?" out of the blue or as a pickup line means that you do not respect me. To call out, in the street, "Hey you have a hot ass, want to hook up?" is rude and demoralizing and straight up harassment. You do not respect me as a soul, as a woman, as a human being. You see me as sex. I am not flattered that you find me physically attractive. Not in the least bit.
I am saddened that all you care for is skin deep. I am disgusted that you see me as a means to fulfill your desires. You are not interested in my soul. You view me as an embodiment of pleasure... of your personal pleasure.
I am offended because plain and simple, you do not respect me. With that said, well, the feeling is completely mutual.