You might think that dating would come easily to someone who studies sex and relationships for a living.
Allow me to disabuse you of that notion.
I ended my five-year relationship with Declan in March of 2016. Over that five-year period we moved in together, moved across the country together and got cats together. We were in a serious long term relationship. Ultimately we both realized that we weren’t well suited as romantic partners and chose to transition our relationship to one of close friendship. I moved out on my own in September of 2016, but we remained quite close. In fact, we’re actually about to move back in together—as roommates this time. But that’s another story. The point is, I have space in my life for a serious partner and I’m looking to fill it.
You might be wondering about my lover B that I talk about regularly. For a variety of reasons, B doesn’t have much more space for me in his life than the space I’m presently occupying. We’ll never live together or get married—that position was filled long before he and I ever met and I am so happy he’s found his life partner. So I find myself in a situation where I have a serious relationship with a man I love who will never build a life with me, and I need to date because I want to find someone who will.
This brings me to Tinder and OkCupid. I’ve been experimenting with online dating for years now with pretty limited success—the one notable exception being my ex Declan who I met on the kink site FetLife. I recently reinstalled the Tinder app on my phone and have been trying to put myself out there more. This is where the struggle begins. I’m a sex educator, information which, if included in my dating profile, tends to lead to a lot of messages like this:
“Hey baby, I bet you could teach me a thing or two about sex.”
“Hey sexy, DTF?”
“Ooh a sex educator? Sign me up for lessons!”
As you might imagine, this gets old in a hurry. I can’t imagine a lawyer being on Tinder and getting messages like, “Hey baby, wanna give me some free legal advice?” and yet it seems to be a given that I would want to give out my knowledge and expertise for free. Not to mention the problematic power dynamic it creates if my role in the relationship is to help my partner get better at sex. I’m all about learning, and I will happily refer a prospective or current partner to one of my many colleagues who would be thrilled to give them support around improving their sexual prowess—for a fee.
It feels like people see “sex educator” or “CannaSexual” or even just “polyamorous” and assume that I’m down for whatever, wherever, whenever and the truth is…I’m just not. Some have advised me not to include those details, but it’s kind of an important prerequisite. Not everyone is comfortable dating someone whose job it is to talk about sex and cannabis and share details about their life and adventures in the public domain. Plus, anyone I date needs to be cannabis friendly so I’d rather get those details out up front as I’m a fan of informed consent.
My friend and colleague Charlie Glickman likes to say “I’m not easy, I’m selectively convenient,” which is a sentiment I share. He goes on, in the same post:
“I have high standards for what I want from a sexual connection, and I have high standards for the people I create those with. I expect people to come to it with an open heart, to be able to tell me their wants, needs and boundaries, to be able to hear mine in return, and to find a way to have fun within those parameters. I require honesty around their safer sex and STI background. And I demand that they respect both my relationship with my partner, and the boundaries that grow from that. That’s a lot to ask for, and that doesn’t even begin to cover the question of our individual sexual preferences and kinks. Granted, I enjoy a fairly wide range of pleasures, but that doesn’t guarantee a good fit.”
I remember reading that paragraph for the first time and actually shouting “Holy fuck! Yes! That!” out loud. Maybe that’s not your jam, but that is definitely what I’m striving for in connection with other humans. If I’m interested in you, if you create a context where it feels safe for me to be fully sexually expressed, I will rock your world. On the other hand, if you’re some dude on Tinder who thought a chick who smokes weed and wears latex is going to be down for impromptu anal, you’ve come to the wrong place.
Wait, what about impromptu anal?
Ah yes. That brings me to what prompted me to write this blog to begin with. I was on Tinder and started getting messages from a couple of different guys. Each of them, within about five minutes (or less) of starting the conversation, took it in a sexual direction. (The ones who open with “DTF” just get unmatched without response.) Now keep in mind, I love having sex. I love talking about sex. I’m also a human being with feelings and passions and maybe I’d like to talk about those things before we dive into you sticking your dick in my ass.
So here’s my advice to people on dating sites: step up your goddamn game. If you’re just there for casual sex, that’s totally fine. However, rather than jumping presumptuously into sex talk, take a second to actually inquire about your partner’s level of interest. It’s perfectly fine to say, “Hey, I’m only interested in casual hookups, so knowing that would you be willing to sext or swap pics with me?” would be way better received by me than simply jumping headfirst into dirty talk and forcing me to redirect the conversation. One guy justified this behavior by citing the amount of time (two months) since the last time he got laid. Let me count the ways that your orgasmic deficits are not my problem. Being horny doesn’t give you a pass for being a jerk. Furthermore, it’s emotionally irresponsible to work up all this frenzied sexual energy and then dash out the door (literally or figuratively) as soon as you get your needs met or as soon as you realize that the person you’re talking to isn’t willing to meet those sexual needs. As my colleague Reid Mihalko likes to say, “Leave the campsite better than you found it.”
I can tell you, I needed a kief-topped bowl followed by a CBD tincture after that whole ordeal and we’re only halfway through the week.
Where do I go from here? Stay tuned for my dating journey. It’s going to be an entertaining one.