I feel like I get laid purely by accident. Which, when I read that sentence by itself, makes me sound like a total douche. But really, I’m not a pickup artist or the hot guy at the bar. Any time a woman wants to have sex with me there is still a little part of my brain that goes, “She wants to sleep with me. Isn’t that silly?”
Girls were not much of an option for me for during a large chunk of my life. I was a socially awkward, friendless, chubby high schooler. I never wanted to fuck the hot chick at school but instead wrote love poems to my crush-of-the-month. So when a feminist porn producer/actress began unbuckling my belt one night last month, there was some explanation needed for how this came to be.
I wrote an article for xoJane in July about male eating disorders and my struggles with body image. (Remember me?) You ladies were extremely supportive and (mostly) had nothing but kind words for me. Your tweets and emails left me overjoyed — and made me feel very safe after opening up about a subject so near and dear to my heart.
Men are not traditionally supposed to display their emotions and it’s not considered manly to be so vulnerable. But I’ve never really been “one of the guys.” I always felt more comfortable with girls and gay men in college than I did with my straight male peers.
Even now, in addition to being a man on Weight Watchers, I tend to run into a lot of gender role reversals. I’m a sensitive, witty guy who loves football and crying during Tom Hanks movies. It wasn’t unheard of in college to catch me on a Sunday afternoon in the common area watching the Jets game drinking a beer . . . while knitting a sweater.
Looking back, a few girls tried to get my attention growing up. I was just super clueless. The first girl to express any interest in me chased me home from church one Sunday afternoon, asked if I had a girlfriend, ignored the terrified look on my 13-year-old face, and asked me out. My first relationship was born!
Years later, she would introduce me to her cousin — with whom she was trying to get pregnant. Later come-ons by female suitors were probably overlooked by a nervous teenager desperately trying to fall in love. And maybe touch some boobies.
See, I’m currently single — but not for lack of trying. I do fairly well with women, but I seem to find the ones who tell me they want to keep things “super casual.” I love sex — but I also love love. Sadly I have had a hard time mixing the two. So I started a podcast (I have a podcast; who doesn’t?) to figure out where I’ve been going wrong.
I host a dating and sexuality show called The Manwhore Podcast: A Sex-Positive Quest for Love. Each week I sit down with former hook-ups and failed romantic endeavors to talk about sex, dating, sexuality, and gender. The podcast allows me to discuss topics I am very passionate about, such as comprehensive sex education, gender equality, and slut-shaming. It also allows me to gain insight into my past relationships with women to prevent future follies. I figure the best way to hear about why things ended would be to ask the women themselves!
So I was perplexed when I received a message on Twitter from a Canadian woman saying that she loved the vulnerability of my xoJane piece, which led way to her listening to The Manwhore Podcast. She told me how she enjoyed the open and honest discussions with my guests each week and that she wished there were more men doing the same. There may or may not have been a compliment about me being either adorable or having pretty eyes (I forget which one). I was even more surprised when she offered to be a guest on the program.
She is Feminist Porn Award winner Sophie Delancey. In addition to chatting with past lovers, I occasionally have on special guests, who’ve included sex researcher Dr. Zhana Vrangalova and porn star Sara Jay. Sophie is the vice president of an artsy pornography site that is run by women. She runs the company's public relations, social media and on-set productions. I was obviously intrigued and told her I’d love to have her on next time she’s in New York City (where I live and record).
I attempted to be professional in my emails and direct messages with Sophie. I refrained from being too explicit or flirtatious, which is a cute notion. I’m naturally a very flirty person but I did not want to come off as a creep and lose my interview. I played it safe in my compliments as to not overstep whatever level of journalistic integrity I pretend to have. But in the weeks leading up to her trip to New York, our emails became filled with more overt compliments and a load more winky faces.
We met the night before our interview. We grabbed a drink and I introduced her to the best white pizza in Manhattan. Sophie and I are like-minded beings (and both fairly attractive, if I may say so myself). I almost forgot that we were going to do a podcast the next day because it felt kind of like a date.
We laughed. We made sexual innuendos. Thighs touched. Eyes fucked each other. All of this amid conversations about body positivity, why Canada is a silly place, and how sexy consent can be. To skip the graphic details: Someone was invited to a hotel room, female aggression presented itself at its finest, and worlds were rocked.
So as this naked Canadian feminist rolled over for cuddles, I asked her why she'd decided to bed me. Sophie told me that a man in touch with his emotions and sexuality was incredibly attractive. She felt she could trust someone who is willing to be such an open book, whether in person or to countless strangers on the Internet. That xoJane article first grabbed her curiosity because, to her, my vulnerability signaled an impressive amount of confidence.
Everyone will tell you that the No. 1 thing women want in a man is confidence. Unfortunately, the standard mental image of confidence is a man approaching an attractive woman at a bar with his charming smile and a witty opening line. One pictures a well-dressed dude displaying typical signs of masculinity, not a guy crying in the theater during Interstellar. However, I’d argue that there is no greater demonstration of confidence than being emotionally transparent to another human being. You’re saying, “I’m so confident with myself that I’m comfortable even when I’m being vulnerable.”
Guys who behave as if their sole goal is to get laid, whether they’re pickup artists-in-training, desperate drunk frat boys, or some hideously sweaty combination of the two, wonder why they’re not always successful. The reality is that the pickup artist has to trick women into sleeping with him. A truly confident person can connect with someone on an intimate sexual level without an instruction manual.