Dating and sex

When is the right time to have sex? Can I have sex on the first date? I don’t want him to think I’m a slut. If I don’t make him work for it, he’ll never respect me, right?

I don’t know the answers to these questions.

In a perfect world, the answers would be: ‘There is no right time’, ‘If you want to have sex on the first date, go for it!’ ‘What’s a slut?’ and ‘He should respect you no matter what!’

Unfortunately, I have to live in this one.

But there is more to sex than timing. Sex is an interesting energetic vehicle. I didn’t realise when I was young how much my self-esteem was tangled up in it. How being intimate with the wrong people, with people who didn’t really care for me, would affect my sense of self, my sense of power, my sense of self.

There is so much power in the act of sex, there is an energy that can be created, an electric force that is born from two bodies joining. This force can be healing, it can create a charge and in turn, it can energise us.

I remember fantasising about sex when I was a kid. What was it going to be like the first time? Who was it going to be with? What would he look like? What would I be wearing? Where would it happen? Of all the questions, there were two things I was sure of, we would love each other and it would be the best experience of my life.

Needless to say, when I finally had sex for the first time I was wildly disappointed. I remember thinking; is this it? Is this what I have been waiting for this whole time? It took me four years after my first sexual experience to have sex with another man.  It took me even longer to have an orgasm during sex. Up until then, I didn’t really understand what the big deal was about. I even actively avoided having sex for a good while because without even the flickering hope of an orgasm, sex is pretty boring and very few guys that I had sex with even knew what foreplay was or much less cared.

So I began a full-blown study of self-exploration. If I didn’t know what was going to get me off, how could I expect a partner to? I also started practising with my boyfriend at the time, started to figure things out. Started to learn what worked for me and what didn’t. Started to be more vocal about what I wanted, what I needed. It wasn’t love-making, it was an exploratory task, a science experiment. I cared for my partner at the time but it wasn’t anything close to love, so after the exploring was over, sex became empty, it became a chore. I got bored. We broke up. But I never forgot my lessons and sex soon became an exciting prospect again.

Over the years, I’ve talked to many women about sex and have been surprised at how many have confessed they have never achieved an orgasm from sex. Some of them have just been unlucky, a few bought into this idea that they were incapable of achieving an orgasm, and quite a few were just too embarrassed or ashamed to explore their own bodies. When I questioned them about what happens when they masturbate, many have confessed that they don’t feel comfortable doing it. It is possible that they just don’t want to confess to me that they touch themselves, female masturbation still carries the stigma of shame for many women. But I wonder how the hell a dude is supposed to know what turns a woman on if she has no idea?

It’s not our fault. Sexual empowerment is still a grey area for many women because in many ways we are still not allowed to be sexual beings. We are certainly not allowed to be sexual beings in the same way that men are. 

When I was younger, I thought I had to submit to my partner, that being too sexually empowered would be intimidating, that I might be mistaken for a slut. Nowadays, I don’t give a fuck. If a man is intimidated by my confidence in the bedroom, by my needs, he probably shouldn’t be in my bedroom in the first place.  My needs are just as important as my partner’s and the days of me being a mere vehicle for a man’s sexual release are gone. I am not a receptacle. I am a conduit for energy. I am a motherf***ing witch, a goddess, a sorceress.

I’ve spent my whole life believing I owe men something. That by not giving them sex when they want it, I am selfishly keeping something from them that is rightfully theirs. I am shamed for not giving it away and when I do, I am shamed for that too. I am shamed if I give it away too quickly, often abandoned if I wait too long. And God forbid I make a man ‘work for it’. Shame. Shame. Shame. Shame. Shame. I feel like Cersei making her walk of atonement in King’s Landing. It’s a game I cannot win.

There are also the men (and more often than not, young boys) who seem to be under the illusion that they can trade acts of minimal kindness or compliments for sexual acts. But sex is not currency and neither are kind acts and compliments. People should be kind because it is an ethical, compassionate thing to do, they should give compliments because it makes another person feel good, not because the giver expects something in return. Who is teaching our boys? Who is educating them on how to negotiate sex, how to understand consent?

Cue crickets.

I sold a guy some concert tickets once and after picking them up from my house, he messaged me a few days later asking for a date. When I declined with, “Oh thanks, but no,” he responded with “Fucking slut.” The weird thing is, even after this overblown, aggressive response, I still felt guilty for saying no.

But we should be able to say no, at any point, to any advance and not have to feel shitty about it. I should be able to want what I want without feeling guilty about it, without feeling less than.

If I just want to be your friend, I shouldn’t have to explain that. If I don’t want to talk to you at all, I shouldn’t have to explain that either. I can’t wait til we get rid of the term friend-zone, which only serves to further institutionalise this ridiculous notion that women owe men sex and that women are not in charge of their own bodies.

The sad thing is, we’re not. Not really. Our bodies still belong to men and to other women and to advertising and to the government and to our parents – to anyone but us. I have spent my entire life trying to claim my body back, to raise a flag, to make me my own again. I don’t need some dude on a first date or a second date or a third date pressuring me into sex, pressuring me into anything I don’t want to do. If you wanna have sex, have it. If you don’t, walk away, you don’t owe him anything. The only person you owe in a situation like this is yourself.