My Libido Makes Me Sleep with Mr. Wrong

Dear Em & Lo,

I feel like I’m stuck right now. I meet plenty of young men that are very interesting, and eventually, after spending some time with them, I get attached. Something that sounds very normal but turns out to be very painful in the end. So here’s my problem: no matter how hard I try, I can’t stop myself from getting intimate with all these guys quickly. (I respect the “no sex on the first date” rule but I’ll go for it sooner than later.) Also, these guys are never “available” to be a boyfriend to me because they are so busy with their lives. They all seem to have something else on their minds that prevents them from building something with me. So I end up happy in bed (most of the time!) but lacking for anything to call a relationship. It never seems to stick, like as if there was a problem with my approach. I really enjoy sex and I’m afraid that it’s jeopardizing my chances to fall in love.

— Stuck in the Booty Ghetto

Dear S.i.t.B.G.,

You don’t have to give up sex to get a relationship, and you don’t have to give up relationships to get sex, but you DO have to figure out (a) whether or not the person you’re seeing is relationship material, and (b) if they’re not, then whether or not you’re one of those people who can enjoy sex without becoming TOO attached.

If you’re not one of those (b) types, then, yes, you’ll have to sacrifice partner sex until you find a guy who’s relationship material. (Hey, that’s why god made vibrators.) But if you are, then the solution to your problem is really just a mental trick: Sleep with the guy whenever you feel like it, but if he’s not relationship material, then just be sure to tell yourself — in a very stern voice — “This is just scratching-an-itch sex.”

However, based on your history of getting attached to interesting young men, we’re guessing that you’re not really made for scratch-an-itch sex. In which case, you’ll want to avoid sleeping with guys who aren’t relationship material. And this is the really tricky part. We wish we had a fail-safe solution for you. Normally, our default position is communicate-communicate-communicate — which, in this case, would simply mean asking point-blank, “So are you looking for a relationship, or is this just a casual thing to you?” Unfortunately even if a guy IS looking for a relationship, a question this blunt very early in a courtship — like, on the second date — may scare the shit out of him.

Which means that you’re just going to have to learn from experience. Why don’t you look back at all these guys who blew you off and see if you notice a pattern. For example, did they not return your calls or texts, or did they take a week to do so? Did they seem uninterested in hearing about how your day went? Was it always you suggesting the next date? Did they text you at 11pm “just to say hi”? Once you’ve established some kind of pattern, be extra wary of guys who seem to fit the type. And by “extra wary,” we mean DON’T HAVE SEX until you get to know them a little better. And once you know them a little better, then it’s more than acceptable to break out the R word.

For the record, we’re not big proponents of “holding out” on having sex in order to steer a guy toward a relationship. Sure, there’s a lot to be said for not having sex on the first date — some guys are just weird about that (fortunately not our wonderful Wise Guys, however!). But holding off on the sex until you’re comfortable with them and trust them and feel like they might want a relationship — you do that for YOU. You don’t do it because you think it’ll change the guy’s opinion of you. Because if a guy is only interested in you for the sex, then he’ll disappear as soon as he’s reached that goal, whether you made him wait 24 minutes or 24 dates for the pleasure.

All that said, we would be remiss if we didn’t mention a third thing you may have to figure out: c) if there’s something about you that’s scaring everyone off. A propensity to talk about your exes or Oprah, an immediate clingy-ness that borders on stalking, a creepy teddy bear collection…? We’re not assuming it’s “your fault” — you could be a real catch, but plenty of young guys just aren’t interested in anything serious — we just want to be sure we cover all the bases.

No attachment without written approval!

Em & Lo

Not ready to give up on that playa?
5 Steps for Getting a Pickup Artist to Commit


  1. I feel like it’s worth explicitly stating that the “very busy life” excuse is always BS. If someone has gone on a date with you, and feels warm and fuzzy when they think about you, they’ll MAKE time to see you again. Actions speak louder than words on this one. Don’t fall into the trap of “He really does like me; he just doesn’t have the time to squeeze me in”. No, you’re just not important enough to get penciled into his itinerary. The continual brush-off on his part is all the evidence you need.

    1. Agreed! We’re pretty sure that in the entire history of dating, no one has ever got trapped under an extremely heavy object on their way to return someone’s call.

      Unless someone’s running to be President of the US of A. But who’s ever going to vote for a single president? We think a married atheist would probably beat a single guy (or gal).

  2. I used to believe women with healthy sexual appetites should do what they wanted and not worry about men who couldn’t handle it. Unfortunately though, it seems too many men are stuck in the dark ages – thinking women who are forward about sex are not “relationship material.” We ladies think we’re liberated and feel good about our sexuality, but when men keep treating us like worthless tarts, well, it starts feeling lousy.

    It’s sad that lots of guys are still so far behind on this one. Until they catch up though, maybe it’s best to keep it in our pants.

  3. How old is S.i.t.B.G.? I’m 23 and to be honest, have come to the conclusion that the “type” of guy I like won’t be ready for a relationship until they’re about 28 (well, I don’t think MOST young men are…I run into problems even when the guys claims he just wants a hook-up). So either I have to wait it out, or make an effort to try to pursue other guys. I think preferences can change with your own age too.

  4. It’s been a while (now married) but it never seemed to take longer than 2-3 weeks/2-3 dates to figure out if things were going to work out reasonably well. The wait was always well worth it if that meant avoiding a messy “now that we’ve slept together how do I gracefully say ‘that was fun but now that I know you better I’ve changed my mind about our long term prospects’.”

    And for us guys, God made lube!

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