How to Avoid Being a Sexual Conquest

Geplaatst op 03-02-2023

Categorie: Lifestyle

In the discussion following my most recent post at Loveawake dating site, readers understood the need, or at least wisdom, of communicating one’s desires and intentions before sex. Anthropologist Helen Fisher says sex is never casual:

“Any kind of sexual stimulation of the genitals triggers the dopamine system in the brain and can push you over that threshold into falling in love with that person.  And in fact, with orgasm, there’s a real flood of oxytocin and vasopressin, other chemicals in the brain associated with the feeling of deep attachment.  So, casual sex is really never casual unless you’re so drunk you can’t remember it; something happens.”

Physiologically, sex is a big deal. We’ve evolved to attach during sex, so it’s in our best interest to figure out beforehand if getting more attached is a good idea.

Understanding this and actually getting the words out are two very different challenges. Most women go into a sexual experience with some feelings of attachment to a guy already in place, hopeful that the attachment will deepen and be reciprocated. At the same time, I’m convinced that most women don’t communicate this hope in advance, because that kind of vulnerability feels scary, not to mention awkward. We’d rather take a chance on getting hurt later than initiating that awkward convo now. But who wants to be nothing more than a sexual conquest?

Most of the young couples I know began having sex together before they were officially dating, often without explicitly discussing their hopes and expectations. I also hear from a lot of women who dove in, fingers crossed, and then the guy walked away.

No one can eliminate all risk from dating, nor do I believe that would be desirable. We love the chase, the feelings of infatuation, the racing pulse of new desire.

Believe it or not, there also is value in getting your heart broken, there is value in suffering. We learn from our experiences and gradually figure out what we want in a life partner. At the same time, we want to mitigate the risk so that we avoid being devastated.

When two people begin dating there are four potential relationship outcomes:

  1. Both parties want to be in a relationship with each other.
  2. Neither party wants to be in a relationship with the other.
  3. The girl wants a relationship and the guy does not.
  4. The guy wants a relationship and the girl does not.

Outcome #1

Helen Fisher found in a study of 515 people who went into a casual hookup that 50% of the women and 52% of the men hoped to trigger a longer relationship. Those aren’t terrible odds, particularly if you’ve been paying attention during the early stage of dating.

Outcome #2

We know that 10-20% of both men and women want a no-strings hookup. That’s a pretty good proxy for two people not looking to get more involved.

Obviously, both parties will only be happy with the outcome if they are on the same page, whether it be 1 or 2. And that’s about 60-70% of the population.

Avoiding Outcomes #3 and #4

That’s leaves 30-40% destined for disappointment or heartbreak. A woman will want to do everything in her power to suss out the guy so she can rule out Outcomes #3 and #4. (Naturally, avoiding #3 is her highest priority.)

How can you tell a guy that you don’t want to have casual sex with him, but you might like relationship sex with him? Or that the sex you want to have with him will not be casual for you, and you wonder if he feels the same way?

One Potential Roadmap

I don’t claim to have the secret to unlocking commitment from the man of your dreams, but I can offer some suggestions that will help you figure out whether you are both on the same page. No doubt many of you have had experiences worth sharing, and I look forward to hearing your thoughts and suggestions in the Comments at the end of the post.

Reading the Signs: Early Dating

Is he acting like a boyfriend or a hookup? 

A guy who wants to be your boyfriend will slip into the role gradually but steadily from the beginning. He’ll be looking to signal exclusivity to see how you respond and to begin taking you off the market. The best way of knowing what he’s feeling is to be honest about how you’re feeling. If you have no idea whether he really likes you, that means he is not showing any signs of investment. Not a good sign. Some specifics to look for:

  1. Is he openly focusing solely on you as a romantic prospect?

Is he in touch frequently, making plans to see you next time? Do you have a sense of how his week plays out on the nights you don’t see him, or are you in the Sunday box?

Have you sensed that he prefers to keep some information to himself? Is he vague in his responses, or does he fail to update you on what’s been happening from day to day?

  1. Does he offer signs that he appreciates you? 

Does he say things like, “I think this is going really well.” or “I’m so happy I decided to go to that party where I met you!”

  1. Is he responding well to your attempts to create emotional intimacyand efforts to make him your boyfriend?

You should have a sense that the two of you are growing closer. You’ve made yourself vulnerable, and he’s responded in kind.

  1. Is he the relationship type?

What is his relationship history? Have his relationships been positive experiences or has he left a long string of furious exes? Has he avoided commitment in the past? Has he cheated or been cheated on? Often our past choices say a lot about who we are and what we’re looking for.

  1. How does he talk about the future?

Does he primarily discuss his personal plans? Is he open about planning a move or making a big life change within the next year? Or does he include you as he thinks about future plans? Perhaps meeting his friends and family, or taking a trip together.

If all of this is happening smoothly, then confirming you’re on the same page will be easy, and will probably happen organically before sex happens.

Communicating Your Desires, Hopes and Expectations

Many times you will need clarification. You think things are going well, but you’d feel much better if you could confirm he’s in it to win it. The best way of doing this is to be vulnerable yourself and describe your own wishes. In doing so, you invite him to confirm that he feels the same way, or give him an opportunity to express that’s not the case.

For example, you might say after an intense makeout session, well before he tries for sex, “Listen, you should know that I’m not someone who does this with more than one person.” He will either:

Top two responses are on track, bottom two are clearly headed for Outcome #3. Often, this kind of exchange will inspire a deeper conversation about where things are headed, whether this feels like something “real,” etc.

The worst possible situation is one where he clearly wants or expects sex right now, and you feel insecure about how much he likes you. That usually happens when the Early Dating Signs are not encouraging, or when the guy escalates to sex very quickly. Neither of these is a good sign, but many women will be tempted to have sex in the hopes of hooking him that way. Others are simply inexperienced, naive or in denial.

The best course of action is to communicate your reservations.

This does not consist of making demands. Nor is it a proposal to exchange a relationship commitment for vag access. You simply state in a clear, matter of fact way what you want or need. E.g:

“Listen, I like you a lot but I don’t do casual.”

“Sex means a lot to me – it’s important for me to be emotionally connected to someone.”

“We’ve known each other just a short time, and I prefer to wait until we know one another better.”

“I think sex is a big deal. It’s how I express really caring for someone, and I need to know they feel the same way.”

You’re not applying pressure for a particular outcome, you’re simply stating your own personal boundaries around sex. It’s also important to tell the guy that you really like him. You take that risk and create the opportunity for him to reciprocate.

Let’s be honest. What women are usually most afraid of is that the guy will say, “Whoa! Pump the brakes! I’m just looking to have fun here!” In which case, would you rather hear that now, or 4 weeks and 8 sexcapades from now?

A guy who wants to be with you will be gratified that you are selective and pleased that you have selected him. He will respect your position and accommodate your timeline (within reason  ).

If you are rejected, I doubt you’ll be truly surprised, but regardless, hold your head high and peace out. You just dodged a bullet and deserve a lot of credit.