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Before and After-Part I

I’ve been inspired to do a little “self-experiment”. No, nothing weird but it has become more and more apparent that I have major hang-ups about dating and sex. I’m kind of old-fashioned when it comes to sex, yet when I’m attracted to someone I don’t really want to wait too long either.  I also don’t want to jump into bed before I even know if I like a guy. This contradiction may be why I rarely date because I have conflicting views on how dating may lead to sex. The classic devil and angel on my shoulder. One telling me to go for it because I’m craving physical touch and the other telling me to be a “good girl” and keep my legs shut. Listen, women have needs too and we shouldn’t feel shame for indulging them once in a while yet we are conditioned to attach more meaning to sex than we may think.

To dive deeper into my psyche, you have to understand that I was raised by Irish-Catholic parents and grew up going to a Catholic school where it was drilled in your head that if you had sex for pleasure and not procreation within marriage you were going to burn in hell. That tends to stay with you as you grow up and I thought that having an orgasm was equivalent to dying a fiery death in the depths of Satan’s underground lair. Thinking about sex and masturbating was equivalent to a jail sentence in purgatory for 20 years to eternity for God’s sake. I still have trouble using “God’s name in vain” too.

If that doesn’t give you hang-ups about your sexuality—I don’t know what will. Fast forward to today, although I have come a long way—I still have major hang-ups about sex. To the point where I avoid dating because I hold a belief that all men are predatory and just hunting around dating sites for sex.

Well, it’s true—they are, but why is that so wrong? As long as they find a willing partner to participate is there anything wrong with it really. Well, therein lies the big question. Do men and women view sex differently? Of course they do. Women in our society are hard-wired to view sex as love and intimacy.

Yes, we have sexual desires but we tend to want sex to lead to love and romance. Men just want to get off. Let me rephrase that—men can get off and not have any attachment to the other person. Yes, men want love and commitment too but they can compartmentalize sex and love whereas women have a harder time distinguishing between the two. Not all women of course but most.

Because of this twisted mindset about men and sex, I find myself immediately looking for red flags when I start talking to a guy. My internal dialogue when starting conversations is completely negative and I really need to check myself and reverse my thoughts. For example, a guy just started messaging me the other day and as the conversation progresses I am finding myself waiting for him to say something stupid that will raise those red flags. Will he ask me what I’m wearing or what color my panties are? Will he send a dick pic? You know—the usual. I’m not a prude but I do have standards and it really turns me off when guys lead with sex. At least pretend to want to get to know me as a human being first. So far, this guy has been a complete gentleman. Quite sweet actually. What do I do then? I look for signs that he’s a loser or a serial killer. I realize this does not make for a healthy view of dating. I have problems—I admit that but if you dated the people I’ve dated so would you. Yet, I know that I need to be more open and willing to believe the person might just be the love of my life as long as he doesn’t hide bodies in his basement. (I’m joking of course.)

Tonight I meeting this guy for drinks. I am forcing myself to remain optimistic and open to possibilities. This is very hard for a cynic like me but I’m trying really hard. I’m not even judging the fact that he chose to meet at the 99 restaurant. I mean, of all the places he could have chosen…he chose the frickin’ 99 restaurant! Yes, my eyes might have rolled into the back of my head but I’m trying not to be “judgy” so I agreed to it. Begrudgingly, but with an open mind. I admit I’m a little booshie when it comes to restaurants. I’m sorry but the 99 is where my 70-year-old parents go for the early bird specials. No offense to anyone who loves the 99, it’s just not my cup of tea.

So, I’m going to get ready for this date. All I know about him is that he works in construction during the day and a massage therapist by night. If nothing else, maybe he can fix the hole my dog chewed in my back door and give me a great massage too. There will be no “happy ending”. I know you were thinking it so just get your mind out of the gutter. I decided I’m not going to have sex with anyone unless I feel there is potential for a real relationship. However, if I feel there is chemistry and physical attraction then I am not going to beat myself up if I have sex with them either. To be perfectly honest, I’m not all that attracted to this guy but sometimes people are more attractive when they have a great personality so we’ll see!

Wish me luck! Part II of this story will be written shortly after the date. I wanted you to get inside of the mind of a woman struggling to shift her negative mindset before a date and then let you in on the gory details of the aftermath. Who knows! Maybe I’ll be pleasantly surprised and it will be the first date of many. I’m not holding my breath but stranger things have happened. I’m excited to see where this self-experiment will lead. I know I sound snarky about all this but I swear I am going into it with positive open-mind and allowing the night to unfold. He seems very nice and not one red flag went up (other than when he said he thinks he knows where we go when we die). That has me slightly on edge but he says he believes in Karma so he can’t possibly be a serial killer, right? Stay tuned!

With Faith, Hope, and Love,

~Teresa

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