It was almost 2am when I got his text:
“I’d like to speak my truth if that’s ok”
I didn’t know anyone outside acting classes or therapy used that expression, let alone the freshman I’d just recently started seeing casually. He went on to explain that I was the first girl he’d ever slept with outside of a committed relationship, or as he put it, “without being intimate first.” His choice of word struck me. Contemporary vernacular equates intimacy and sex, and here was this frat bro football player who not only dissociated them, but clearly expressed a need for the first in order to feel comfortable moving onto the second. In a few very simple and genuinely nice texts, he let me know that we would no longer be having casual sex, because he didn’t think that would be the best thing for him. I didn’t push for more of an explanation, partly because by the time he finished “speaking his truth” it was around 3am and I was past the point of exhaustion, and partly because I couldn’t quite process what he was saying.
I never thought of my own sexuality as unhealthy or even problematic. I’ve only ever had one semi serious relationship and many short-lived “things” (ha.) After a while, it just seemed like getting emotionally attached or having expectations of another only caused more damage than was necessary. Recently, I’ve been sticking to noncommittal arrangements that begin and end without ceremony, sometimes even without a call or text. In all fairness, I am not an ideal person to be in a relationship with, and I made it clear to this latest boy that I was in no position to be in one. At the time, he agreed and said he was on the same page -then again he’d just came and probably would have agreed to convert to Scientology if I’d whispered the request into his ear. Two days later, though, he didn’t feel like he could “do that” again.
I would never get mad or shame someone for wanting to have meaningful sex, it’s just not something I come across often. I’ve never really had a no-strings-attach proposition turned down. Really, that’s all I wanted -which is why I didn’t try to keep him from cutting me off. But is that normal? To only want someone to tease, fuck, hold and sign out of the building once we’re done? Years of being imposed this pattern by men who were reluctant to engage in anything more than that has probably rubbed off to the point where I can’t tell if it’s what I really want, or what I’ve been conditioned to want. Don’t get me wrong, I am an ardent feminist and a huge supporter of women’s sexual liberation. I strongly support those who freely chose to sleep with who they want, when they want. I’m just not sure if this series of partners is my choice, or a tactic I’ve settled on to keep from getting attached and then hurt.
The last thing I told him was that I respected his position, although I had different views on the matter. Now I’m starting to question that this is the case.