By: Heather Fawn
A frustrating search for the elusive, unsolicited, enthusiastic “YES”……
There is no neutrality in sex.
Sex is the question to which the answer is always, “Yes!”
My entire sexually active life has been an amazing feat of breath-holding. For a long, long time, I have been accustomed to and well-acquainted with the idea of not getting what I want. In high school, not even my juvenile delinquent, deadbeat, drop-out, first-time lover wanted to fuck me. It pretty much never got better after that.
My second boyfriend was the quintessential teenaged pothead. What set him apart, I suppose, is that I did not get a return on my investment. Dating a teenager, especially a dude, is supposed to be like buying a new car—you’re supposed to be able to ride that mother into the ground. But it didn’t work like that. Aside from the fact that he was often MIA, either smoking weed or fucking a mutual friend, he really didn’t deliver the performance I had imagined. The repression spiraled into a constant anticipation that since I hadn’t seen him in x amount of days, he would certainly want to stay up all night with me. And while he upheld this idea, we weren’t always locked in naked wrestling matches.
At some point, a precedent of self-limiting and self-fulfilling thoughts became cemented into my brain: sex is a precious, scarce resource for which you have to arrange perfect odds. I precariously juggled an enormous deficit of unmet needs, of desire never sought, and of ironic human longing. It manifested in every relationship. I stayed in the moment, down to each second. I analyzed every movement, the atmosphere of the room, the mood of my partner, their routines. I did this because I was constantly assessing the likelihood that I was going to have sex that day. Many times—sometimes, more than once in a day—I would ask; I’d cajole, bribe, flirt, push, shove, beg. In my longest-standing relationship of 5 years, we had a pattern set within the first month of living together although it took me a long time to see it. But it should have been obvious as when I tried to climb on his lap and he pushed me off with his hands and his feet, that something was off. It should have been obvious— when I on so many failed occasions, came waltzing into our living room in just my “knickers”, and his response was an amused snort—that nothing, not even kerosene and a match, was going to start a fire.
Sometimes, the comments from my partners were upsetting:
“You want me to be all over you!” (Said in exasperation.)
“All you want is sex.” (Said in exasperation.)
“You’re like a pet.” (Implying that even when shooed away, I try to sneak back into their lap.)
Sometimes, I recant my tales of mismatched libidos to new friends, and they look at me like I’m speaking another language. I have met people who have never encountered this problem. They can’t even speculate as to how this could happen. The basic psychological hypothesis is that the more you want something, and make it known, the less likely your partner is to want to give it to you. Because no one likes feeling like they have to do something.
First of all, everyone knows that boobs and vaginas are awesome. I happen to have both. Second of all, sometimes, people tell me that I’m pretty. I thought pretty girls were the kind of girls that never go wanting for sexual attention in their entire existence. Why will a guy go on and on about your looks and then…leave it at that? And lastly, what kind of person doesn’t want to make their partner happy? If someone wants something really bad, don’t you want to give it to them? If you love them? If you think they deserve to be happy?
FOR FUCK’S SAKE, WHY DOES THIS KEEP HAPPENING TO ME?!
I have heard a lot of strange excuses. I have talked about it with other people for hours. I have talked to counselors, friends, women, men, the partners themselves, strangers at bars.
No one has given me the kind of answers that could put my mind at ease.
Moving on from this truly disappointing relationship phenomenon has not been easy, either. I am so warped by the process of failing to get my needs met, of a fairly solid track record of the rejection of my sexual advances, that I am, beyond a doubt, completely fucked in the head when it comes to hearing the word, “No.”
And the truth of the matter is, I am so well-versed in the art of hearing, “No,”, of reading body language that goes from interested to yeah-fucking-right-get-away-from-me, that I can pretty accurately call the moment when someone stops wanting me passionately. Yes, it is a gradual process, but I will probably know it before they do.
I have had knock-down, drag out fights with partners because they didn’t want to have sex with me. I think the most painful and difficult aspects about being rejected have to do with the approach, and the current sexual trends. Someone telling me how much they want me earlier in the night, then getting home and passing out is pretty much guaranteed to make me feel like someone is politely declining to help me breathe when I’ve asked for assistance. I will lie there for 45 minutes wanting to punch their face in for tricking me. One of life’s simplest pleasures denied. It makes me crazy.
And all they have to do to shut me up is to unreservedly indulge me. The irony.
It doesn’t help if there has been a sexual lull, either. Once a precedent is set, I am only comfortable if I am the one tweaking it. And because I am a female, I sometimes reserve the right to decline an offer, but only because I am ill or about to slip into a coma. This seems like a double-standard at times, and maybe it is.
I have never understood the concept of someone becoming “comfortable” with their partner. To me, “comfortable” is synonymous with words like, “bored”, “lackluster”, “tolerant”, or, “preoccupied with someone else’s snatch”. I maintain a high level of novelty about the other person because humans are fascinating, complex, and sometimes unpredictable. I am very enthusiastic about someone I’m into. In that I don’t want them to wear pants behind closed doors.
Everyone who has ever had the pleasure of being smacked in the face by my complex sexual needs seems to express a certain resignation that they can’t help me at some point, which devolves into them not wanting to. I have often felt icky and hopeless about it, like I’m holding someone held hostage sexually. At the same time, I will, without any shame at all, cry about it like a child who doesn’t get a lollipop. It’s unbecoming.
And all I want is a natural, unsolicited, enthusiastic, “yes” to me as a sexual being.
I’m single now, and I do have hope for the future. I am not giving up on the idea that there are people out there who can whole-heartedly sign on to administering an unconditional supply of “yes”. Finding that “yes” would be one of the greatest discoveries of my existence.
Really well written and personal. I too spent the better part of a decade and a lot of time wasted with partners that made me feel like some sort of deviant about my “appetite”. I never really thought about it being a libidinal mismatch but, your encounters and analysis are extremely relatable to me. Great piece.
Look at me waiting 2 months to respond. At first it didn’t occur to me to do so. But suddenly I realize that it’s pertinent to, firstly, tell you that I appreciate your comment. So thank you. Also, it is awesome to talk to other people, particularly women, about this. I feel a lot less psychotic about it than I used to, mostly because I’ve talked about it with someone who also had this experience. It’s still weird though. Hope you find/have found a much better match.
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