A friend of mine is about to start dating again. He's a little nervous about it, and I don't blame him. In particular, he's concerned about maintaining physical boundaries that he's set for himself.

I can understand that-- I think that the older we get, the more awkward that can feel. What was common at 17 become very rare at 25.

My friend was more concerned about his own actions than he was about how those actions will be received. This is largely because he came at the issue with the following concept: Because there are fewer men who are saving sex for marriage, people will appreciate it. Those few men will stand out as caring and sensitive.

Au contraire, I told him.

Look around you. Look at film, books, music, art. Look in bars, coffeeshops, grocery stores. What's the single thing for which women are pursued most? Sex. Obviously sex.

Now date someone, and tell her that you don't want sex with her. Every other guy she knows about wants sex with anyone who has 2 legs and the right chromosome (depending on the man's preferences, that may vary). But you don't want to touch her.

All of a sudden, my friend is doing the right thing, but his date feels about an inch tall. To her, even the person who seems interested in her still isn't as interested as he should be. What's she doing wrong? What's wrong with her? Isn't she pretty/interesting/funny/smart enough? She's pulled herself off the market for someone who doesn't even care that there is a market.

I don't envy my friend, I'm glad that dating is behind me. If only marriage was the noticeably easier of the two...

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous7:16 AM

    But not all women judge whether they are pretty/interesting/funny/smart enough based on whether a guy wants to have sex with her. In fact, if she sees that all guys want to have sex with her, can she really rely on that as an indicator of her worth? If all guys are wanting sex with her, they can't be that discriminating... I think its entirely possible your friend will find a woman who finds his view refreshing. And as long as he is able to explain WHY he doesn't want to have sex (not just with her, but with anyone for now) I think she'd understand.

    And just because he doesn't want sex doesn't mean they can't be intimate, and it doens't mean he can't show her how he appreciates her physical beauty.


"So keep fightin' for freedom and justice, beloveds, but don't you forget to have fun doin' it. Lord, let your laughter ring forth. Be outrageous, ridicule the fraidy-cats, rejoice in all the oddities that freedom can produce. And when you get through kickin' ass and celebratin' the sheer joy of a good fight, be sure to tell those who come after how much fun it was."
-Saint Molly Ivins