I stepped out of my comfort zone and started online dating about a year ago. I've had no shortage of matches (it's the red hair) but all of my dates turn the conversation to sex at some point before we even meet. Sometimes it's in the first few text messages, "You're a BBW?" Or if it's a last-minute text asking, "Why don't we just skip drinks and meet at a hotel instead?"
Growing up as a curvy girl, I always felt self-conscious about my body. It took years to come out of my shell. Now that I'm in my late 30's, I've been embracing my curves and little by little I've been feeling beautiful and sexy again. I'm attracting a lot of 20-somethings, it’s helped me feel more confident.
But I want to know, why am I attracting men who only want sex and not attracting men who want to get to know ME? I'm exhausted from having the same conversations leading to the same disappointments. I'd love to date respectful, chivalrous, alpha men in my age range. How can I project in my online profile that I'm worth getting to know...that I'm not just online looking for a one-night stand?
Andrea I - Iowa City, IA
Let me tell you something about men. When it comes to dating, there are two kinds:
- The kind that only want to have sex with you
- The kind that want to have sex with you and get to know you.
This is a common misconception—thinking it’s either “sex” or “get to know me”—but it’s not or, it’s and.
For the most part, men don’t date people they don’t want to have sex with. Yes, there are asexual men out there looking for just romance, but for most guys on the dating scene, sex is definitely on their to-do list.
So, how can you tell the difference between the ones who only want one thing and the ones who want the whole package?
Good news! The ones who only want to have sex with you let you know right away. It sounds like you’re already running into this type of guy. He doesn’t have anything to lose if you wince when he rolls out lines like, “Want to play, Barbie? I’ll be Ken and you can be the box I come in.” They don’t hang out for ten dates being all sweet and respectful and then suddenly bust out, “So are you DTF or what?” over the blueberry muffins you brought on that hike for date number eleven. If the guys who only want sex can’t tap that quickly, they move on.
Now for the not-so-great news: You won’t be able to stop the guys who only want to have sex with you from contacting you. Those dudes are plentiful—and vocal. It’s part of the online dating experience, but luckily for you, you’re equipped with an index finger and a delete key on your keypad.
I believe that the guys who want to get to know you (and also have sex with you) are going to be smart and respectful about it whether you ask them to be or not. They’ll read your cues, follow your lead, and act accordingly so they don’t blow it with you. The ones just looking for a fuck are going to run the show their own way regardless of what you say in your profile. That said, if you want to be proactive about it, you could add something like this to your profile: “Thanks for reading my profile. I don’t respond to sexual advances from strangers. Please be respectful of this and get to know me before you make any sexual comments and offers.”
To be clear, you’re largely writing this for you. You’re still going to get those emails you’ve been getting. Do it anyway. Send a message to the universe that says, “enough already, I’m not going to tolerate this shit anymore.” Universal energy is a powerful thing, so lay that boundary down, and who knows maybe the number of hookup-minded DM’s will decrease a bit.
I would be remiss if I didn’t talk about the true nature of timing. Our culture says it matters: sex on the first date and he’s out of there, and a long courtship will lead to a relationship that lasts a lifetime. Well, I have personally road-tested this in both directions, and neither of those statements are true. Does it help to know someone for a little while to see if their actions sync up with their words? Sure. Is it better to learn what their particular flavor of crazy is before committing to anything major? Totally. But the “when” is not necessarily linked to something that lasts unless you’re with someone who’s super clear they’re just DFT and nothing more.
I know countless married people who had sex on their first date. I personally have had loving, multi-year, meaningful relationships (both long and short) where yeah, we had sex quite soon.
I’m not telling you to employ this strategy of having sex right away, especially as you’ve indicated you’d like to wait. But part of my job here is shattering that cultural myth—it’s a bullshit myth, and it’s intimately tied to your self-worth when you shame yourself for “giving it up too soon.”
A good guy who wants to get to know you and have sex with you will date you to get to know you until the dating turns into something more, and how quickly sex happens often won’t matter to him (unless you’re making him jump through hoops and wait too long to connect with you sexually for no reason other than making him wait).
Which leads us to more good news! There’s no such thing as a “right time” for it to turn into something “real,” and while a good guideline is to wait until you actually know something about this stranger besides their hair color and what kind of whiskey they prefer, it doesn’t mean that if he taps that—or hey, if you’re the one doing the tapping—he’s gone for good. It just doesn’t.
Follow your instincts and determine for yourself when the right time is for you on a case-by-case basis. Ditch the ones who come on too strong or inappropriately at the start, because this will allow you to sort faster and more efficiently.
PS: Super great job embracing your curves and loving your body as it is! Sexy comes from what we think of ourselves and our willingness to enjoy the sexual and sensual, so well done.
Good luck out there!