Can’t Get Laid

Recently, the inimitable Captain Awkward provided advice to a gentleman who was flirted with somewhat avidly but didn’t end up having sex with the lady in question, and feels somewhat wrong about all of this. I’d just like to signal-boost this bit right here:

Fallacy #1: ”Young heterosexual dudes are up for sex all the time, and if a hot girl even smiles at them they are ready, willing, and able. If you’re not, something must be wrong with you. Are you sure you’re not gay, dude?”

Yeah, nothing is wrong with you if you don’t want to have sex with someone even if they maybe want to have sex with you. When you are young and not-so-experienced, it’s easy for every encounter or possible encounter to feel like a referendum on Masculinity or Prowess or Who You Are And Will Be Forever. When you are older and more experienced, you might still get that feeling sometimes and it’s usually a sign that something is off – when there is pressure to “perform” in a certain way everything is less fun for everyone. Relax. You’ll get a lot of chances at this.

Yep. There is no requirement to have sex.

Things that not having had sex in a while, or even ever, does not mean:

  • You’re unattractive.
  • You’re not masculine enough.
  • No one wants to have sex with you.
  • You’re a loser.
  • You’re a failure.
  • You’re going to be alone and sexless forever.
  • You’re going to be alone and sexless next week.

Things that not having had sex in a while means:

  • You haven’t had sex in a while, or even ever.

Look. Not having sex sucks. I get it. I’m going through a bit of semi-voluntary celibacy at the moment, and it’s getting so I want to fuck vegetables and/or inappropriate people and/or inappropriate vegetables. And even worse than the physical aspect is the psychological aspect. You don’t feel loved or wanted or desired. For men, in particular, a lot of being a Real Man is tied up in being able to get sex with hot ladies more-or-less on demand, and you feel like if you can’t do that you’re a failure.

But all of that crud… it’s your brain. It’s not objective reality. It is your mind telling you things that are probably not true.

There are lots of reasons why people don’t get laid much. A general dislike of leaving the house or meeting new people, prioritizing different things in their lives, not being willing to ask people out, only being attracted to a small percentage of people, and so on and so forth. You’ll notice that none of those reasons are “they are terrible, ugly people.” That’s because none of the people I have met who are  incredibly unsuccessful at dating are terrible, ugly people. In fact, some of them are the kindest, smartest, most interesting, and prettiest people I’ve met.

And what if your celibacy is voluntary or semi-voluntary? Holy shit, man. Men are supposed to love casual sex! And if you have an opportunity for casual sex and you turn it down, because you don’t like casual sex or you weren’t really attracted to that lady or you just didn’t want to, it is time to REVOKE ALL THE MAN CARDS FOREVER. I have slept with quite a few dudes who didn’t actually like or want casual sex, but felt like they should.

That is not a good plan. Sex you don’t really want is sex you won’t really enjoy. “Well, at least I’ll lose my virginity/break my dry spell/get laid” is a terrible mindset to enter a sexual relationship with. I mean, it’s not going to ruin your sex life forever, but the chance is that you’re going to find it unsatisfying. “Holy shit! Sex! This is awesome!” is much better. And if you’re not ready for sex, or still not over your ex, or only desirous of sex in intimate relationships, or whatever, it is perfectly okay to say no. There will be other opportunities to have sex. I promise.

A final note: whenever I find people incessantly complaining about how little sex they’re having, my first impulse is to say “I can correct that problem!” I wish that were generally considered a polite reaction…

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About ozyfrantz

Ozy Frantz is a student at a well-respected Hippie College in the United States. Zie bases most of zir life decisions on Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman, and identifies more closely with Pinkie Pie than is probably necessary. Ozy can be contacted at [email protected] or on Twitter as @ozyfrantz. Writing is presently Ozy's primary means of support, so to tip the blogger, click here.

Comments

  1. Noah Brand says:

    Man, ain’t no lie. The occasions when I’ve had to turn a lady down because I’ve just not been in the mood, as rare as they’ve been, have felt like a direct blow at my sense of identity and masculinity. Which is stupid as hell, but we don’t get to pick the weird shit that gets programmed into us, do we?

    • The stupid idea that women aren’t supposed to desire sex still fucks with me from time to time. Even though I know, intellectually, that lots of women want and enjoy sex, I occasionally still feel guilty for liking it. Because women are (legend has it) pure, angelic creatures whose response to sex is to lie back and think of England.

      • Lil Bit says:

        Don’t feel guilty. women don’t HAVE to lie back and think of England anymore because we aren’t being raped by the man that our father sold us to! we ACTUALLY get to chose now. and if you’re having sex it’s probably because that woman CHOSE to. that shoulnd’t make you feel guilty!

  2. Emmeline (@emeriin) says:

    That advice was great. If Doctor Nerd Love was like that instead of being all “I talk about male privilege but then write an article on why you shouldn’t date nerd girls”, then maybe I wouldn’t want to hurt something every time I see an article of his being linked.

    …woo! angry tangents!

  3. I’m sorry Ozy, but pieces of this article are exactly the sort of thing that piss me off.

    Don’t get me wrong, if you don’t want to have sex, there’s not necessarily anything wrong with you, different people have different libidos. If you can’t find people who want to have sex with you, that also doesn’t necessarily mean there’s anything wrong with you, you may just be going through a patch of bad luck. Nobody’s sense of identity should be tied to their (in)frequency of sexual behaviour unless they want it to be. I agree with most of what you’ve written, except for a couple of pet peeves.

    1) “There will almost definitely be other opportunities to have sex. I promise.”
    Add a couple of words and your statement is quite right, but overly broad platitudes can be psychologically harmful. Not everybody turns out happy, not everybody gets even a single thing they want, and not everybody really is okay. If you manage to convince somebody who has a real problem that that problem doesn’t exist, you are stopping them from ever trying to fix that problem.

    Most people are going to be fine. Most people are attractive. Most people will find someone who will love/accept/want to have sex with them. Hey, most people will even find more than one such person over the course of their life. But generalizing this to everyone can make it even worse for those few who never will.

    Of course, you can never definitively say that you’re among those few, because by the time it’s certain you can’t say anything anymore.

    2) “Look. Not having sex sucks. I get it. I’m going through a bit of semi-voluntary celibacy at the moment…”
    I’m going through a (mostly*) involuntary patch of celibacy which is currently at 7.5 years (with a few days break about 3 years ago), and this is not-so-coincidentally the length of time since I lost my virginity, so I get very annoyed when people complain about not having sex for a few weeks or months. I have felt my libido gradually wane over the last decade and I know that while I will almost definitely still have to go through the “awkward fumbling” stages of sexual development, I will never have the kind of single-minded drive that pushes most people through it.

    * I say mostly because it is my choice not to rape anyone (I can’t imagine any situation in which I would want to), nor to have visited a professional, though I may wind up doing the latter at some point.

    3) “You don’t feel loved or wanted or desired.”
    If you have ever felt loved, wanted or desired, consider yourself lucky. If you feel this way on a regular basis, consider yourself extremely lucky.

    4) “A final note: whenever I find people incessantly complaining about how little sex they’re having, my first impulse is to say “I can correct that problem!” I wish that were generally considered a polite reaction… ”
    I have that same wish, but the fact that it is not is part of the reason that this kind of topic gets me pissed off at the sexually repressive culture we live in.

    • elementary_watson says:

      Thanks, Yiab, for pretty much writing what I was thinking (but too lazy to write it, myself).

      WRT 1), I’ve often found the bewilderment expressed by some (feminist) women that many men try to turn every friendly encounter with a woman into something romantic/sexual to be quite, well, bewildering. “They will have so many encounters that might naturally lead to something sexual, why can’t they just take and enjoy female friendliness for what it is?” is pretty close to what I read quite a few times; well, the matter of the fact is that experience tells most guys that if they don’t push, *nothing* sexual will *ever* happen with another woman (of course, even further experience will tell them that trying to get laid every single time there is the slightest glimmer of hope isn’t a viable strategy, either …)

      WRT your 2), I do understand the annoyance of fexual active people talking about their “lack of action” when they haven’t had sex for, like, 10 days; however, having been in a relationship that was very* sexless for the last few years, those kinds of comments now somewhat amuse me and reassure me that there was nothing wrong with my getting frustrated if there was sex only once every four months or so.

      * I was about to write “extremely sexless”, however I’m sure that there are many people, male and female, out there who could easily top the sexless periods of my former relationship. It’s all a matter of perspective.

      I totally agree with what you wroteabout point 3, and point 4 … Yeah, I do wish directly stating a willingness to have sex with someone would be generally considered okay, but on the other hand, in my experience it is not uncommon for women to see a direct, personal admittance of involuntary celibacy as apathetic way to express of the wish to break that sexless period with the woman he admits this sexlessness to.

      • “They will have so many encounters that might naturally lead to something sexual, why can’t they just take and enjoy female friendliness for what it is?”
        Hooray for cognitive biases! Often the same behaviour which causes them to ask this would, if they were sexually interested in the man in question, be described as “naturally leading to something sexual”.

        “* I was about to write “extremely sexless”, however I’m sure that there are many people, male and female, out there who could easily top the sexless periods of my former relationship. It’s all a matter of perspective.”

        Yes, I didn’t mean to imply that I was somehow the worst off, I’m sure there are people out there who have it worse than I do, I just get so frustrated with topics like this.

        “in my experience it is not uncommon for women to see a direct, personal admittance of involuntary celibacy as apathetic way to express of the wish to break that sexless period with the woman he admits this sexlessness to.”

        Really? For some reason I seem to be expecting that it will be interpreted as “No other woman I’ve met in years likes and trusts me enough to let me get close. Will you?” or possibly as a desperate attempt at a pity fuck. Then again I am frequently mistaken when it comes to the way other people will interpret things, so for all I know one person will interpret it to mean “Madagascar is an island near the East coast of Africa” and another will interpret it to mean “take me to your leader, Earthling”.

        • elementary_watson says:

          Actually, I’m not really buying the notion that straight female behaviour towards men they find attractive is indistinguishable from the way women behave towards men they like “as friends”. (I know, broad strokes, there isn’t a female hive mind dictating how women behave. You don’t have to point it out.) I really do believe that there is a certain way a woman would look at a man she desires that she would never give a man she likes without anything sexual in this liking. It’s the kind of look that makes me nervous when I’m not currently in the “yeah, you’re right, I *am* awesomely hot” mindset.

          However, not all people who find you incredibly hot are actually willing right now to have sex with you, and not all people who would rank your attractivity pretty much in the OK range would mind making out with you to see how it feels. I think you can tell whether a woman would rate your attractivity at 6/10 or at 9/10 from the way she behaves towards you; what you cannot tell is how open she would be towards sex/a relationship with you, as attitudes about sex and relationships play a probably even more important role than pure, raw attraction does.

          “in my experience it is not uncommon for women to see a direct, personal admittance of involuntary celibacy as apathetic way to express of the wish to break that sexless period with the woman he admits this sexlessness to.”

          Really? For some reason I seem to be expecting that it will be interpreted as “No other woman I’ve met in years likes and trusts me enough to let me get close. Will you?” or possibly as a desperate attempt at a pity fuck.

          Either I put a “not” too much or too few into what I wrote, or you read one “not” too much or too few, but I thought I was describing women interpreting admittence of involuntary celibacy as a desperate attempt at a pity fuck.

          • “Either I put a “not” too much or too few into what I wrote, or you read one “not” too much or too few, but I thought I was describing women interpreting admittence of involuntary celibacy as a desperate attempt at a pity fuck.”
            The way you put it sounded to me more as though it would be interpreted as honest desperation, whereas I think my phrasing sounds more like an interpretation of deceptive manipulation. Roughly the difference between being pitiable and trying to elicit pity from others.

      • I’ve often found the bewilderment expressed by some (feminist) women that many men try to turn every friendly encounter with a woman into something romantic/sexual to be quite, well, bewildering.

        If this is confusing to you, I’d like to give a friendly suggestion to broaden your horizons. We can chat about it on the open thread if you like.

  4. Many WASPY computer nerdy men are high functioning autistic. Bad social skills, awkward about touch and can’t figure themselves out. They have no idea how to navigate themselves better yet a woman. To top it all off, we live in a repressive perverted American culture. We’d rather read and watch CNN or CSI about morbid stories of sexual violence oagainst children (by other repressed waspy men) than to actually explore our own sexuality.

    I don’t feel sorry for any man who “can’t get laid”. I have lived and traveled around the world. European, African, Caribbean, Latino and Asian men remember their sexuality. American men do not. All you have to do is dance, meet a girl, do something romantic and touch her buttons. I guarantee you women will respond. Too many of today’s men are afraid of their own penis. Our men have become asexual robots who can’t tell the difference between confidently pursuing a woman and aggressively seeking out a woman. Confidence and sexual identity doesn’t make you a rapist or a jerk. Get out there and see if you can be the man that some women needs! Instead of waiting for something to literally land in your lap.

    • Hot-tall-intelligent-mature-HWP-blonde-blue-eyed-woman says:

      Yes, AY!

      So there is an article here about the ‘guy with the really big belly.’ I’ve gone out with that guy. Not that particular guy in the article. Why? He was confident, caring, attentive, had great hands, was hysterical, and he was an active listener. Half Native American, retired-Marine Doc. If you are in touch with yourself, if your spirit shines through your 4-layer biosuit, if you are a listener, if you can genuinely enjoy yourself as you are, you become sexually attractive.

      And guess what? Anyone can have fantastic sex by themselves, without porn, focused entirely on themselves. There are healthy ways to channel your sexual energy back into yourself and not feel so “desperate.” There are tantric practices that are literally like masturbation meditation. Or express it in other ways. Creativity is very much like sexual energy. It is not necessary to have an active partner all the time to have a healthy and vibrant sexlife.

      Turn off the TV. Tune into yourself. Then tune into your surroundings. Then tune into your prospective partners. It’s literally like magic.

      I’ve gone months, years w/o sex. Due to circumstances of life, due to choice, due to needing to heal a broken heart from a lost love. It happens. You have to stop judging yourself. That is extremely toxic.

      Guilt and shame are seriously like bad cologne or a fart in an elevator.

      • “Guilt and shame are seriously like bad cologne or a fart in an elevator.”

        Thank you for giving those of us who can’t get away from guilt and shame even more reason to feel guilty and ashamed.

        • Sorry, I think I need more of an explanation than this.

          Guilt and shame are the emotions that encourage us not to repeat actions that were a bad idea, but caused no direct physical harm. If one person hits another, sees the pain they caused, and feels empathy with the injured party, it is guild and/or shame which prevents them from doing it again.

          You are correct that there is far too much guilt and shame in modern culture, but I cannot abide the tactic of trying to shame people out of feeling guilty or ashamed. While it certainly does work for some people in showing them how they are feeling more guilt and shame than is warranted, it can do active harm to people who have psychological or neurological conditions which cause that additional guilt or shame.

    • “I don’t feel sorry for any man who “can’t get laid”.”
      You don’t feel sorry for any man with a genuine mental disorder? You don’t feel sympathy for a man who is perpetually depressed and occasionally suicidal, who knows that the number of rejections he’d have to go through to find someone willing would psychologically crush him? You don’t appreciate that it’s not quite so simple for a man to change who he is, and it’s that very self which is preventing potential partners? You don’t think that some men actually need literal, direct, verbal, accurate, reasonable instructions on things that most other people find obvious and intuitive?

      “All you have to do is dance, meet a girl, do something romantic and touch her buttons.”
      I can’t dance (I mean I go deer in the headlights), I have no clue what is or isn’t romantic for any particular person, and I have literally no idea what her buttons are. The standard advice is to be yourself, but unfortunately that only makes sense if who you are is someone people usually like.

      Some people are an acquired taste, and I think that idea applies to me. I’ve seen this in the way I make friends – if I follow the advice to “just be myself” right from the start, I don’t make any friends. On the other hand if I let people see some aspects of myself (like my general acceptance of others or my appreciation and admiration of qualities that differ from my own) before others (like the fact that I think abstractly and analytically by default and I am very opinionated), I do make some friends.

      • Lil Bit says:

        not being able to get laid is a mental disorder now?
        I don’t feel sorry for guys who don’t get laid either. I feel sorry for the reason’s they’re not getting laid though.
        if sex wasn’t a conquest in itself and instead benefit of one, maybe it wouldn’t be tied so tightly to self worth.

        So to your reasons you give yourself why you can’t get any:
        you can’t dance… no, you’re to self conscious to let go enough to dance. jumping around in a circle while flailing your arms is dancing. Look at all the cultures around the world then tell them they should stop dancing because “they don’t know how” (because what our culture deems “good dancing” is in contradiction.) You know who can’t dance? all the guys actually out of the dance floor rubbing themselves up against someone’s leg like a dog in heat. I personally get a little giddy seeing a guy actually out of the floor, “no rhythm”, “no fluidity”, genuinely enjoying himself knee jerks, arm flails and all! I don’t wonder if maybe he’s having a seizure; I know he’s dancing. Seeing someone letting go in this fashion shows 1 confidence and 2 joy. letting one’s guard down is much easier when the other person is confident in themselves and enjoys being happy.

        Romance is hard because it’s not generic and you can’t have a manual for it. You actually have to GET TO KNOW THE PERSON. but when your goal is to get laid then knowing the person is quite the hindrance to said goal. You could go with “acts of humility” not acts to HUMILIATE but acts to HUMBLE oneself can go a long way. but of course this would also be wasted time if your goal is to “get laid” (it may well get you laid but it seems like a lot of work and sacrifice)

        well and the same with “knowing her buttons” tricky thing is you have to actually KNOW HER.

        And the way you say you make friends should be the same way you make relationships with women… nobody’s “themselves” from the start. everyone “eases their way” into relationships.

        Unfortunately you can’t always ease your way into someone’s bed.

        • “not being able to get laid is a mental disorder now?”
          Not as far as I know, but it can be the direct result of a mental disorder. My post was meant to point out that the reasons you gave were not so universal as you implied, and to point out that “all you have to do” is actually something monumentally difficult for some people.

          “I don’t feel sorry for guys who don’t get laid either. I feel sorry for the reason’s they’re not getting laid though.”
          So you don’t feel sorry for the person, but feel sorry for whatever it is that’s causing their problem? I think there may be a language problem here.

          “you can’t dance… no, you’re to self conscious to let go enough to dance.”
          Quite probably true. The problem is that the advice “just go ahead and do it” doesn’t help me to actually go ahead and do it.

          “You know who can’t dance? all the guys actually out of the dance floor”
          No, they dance badly. I have an involuntary psychological block to dancing. I’m sure I would dance badly if I got out there, but my own will seems to be irrelevant in the matter.

          “Romance is hard because it’s not generic and you can’t have a manual for it.”
          Yeah, like I said, it’s not a simple matter. When it comes to things like this, it just takes me longer to get to know someone than it does for most, whereas if it were the sort of thing for which a manual would make sense, I’d probably learn it faster than most.

          “but when your goal is to get laid…”
          Are you still talking about me? I don’t put much effort into trying for a one-night stand. What I want is a serious, long-term relationship. Also I’ve done everything (other than the dancing) you’ve mentioned here, and it’s always resulted in friendship (sometimes extremely good friendship, sometimes very worthwhile). It sounds to me like you’re saying that if you want to walk a thousand miles you just put one foot in front of the other – obviously true, and useless to someone who is trying to walk up a mountain.

          Please, I am not looking for your help or your pity, I don’t know you so I wouldn’t know how to accept either. I am trying to get you to understand that your mental model of social/sexual interaction may very well work for you, but assuming that it will therefore work the same way for everyone else is simply false.

    • “European, African, Caribbean, Latino and Asian men remember their sexuality”

      Haha, oh wow

      Yea, high-functioning autism and nerdiness are American inventions and… no, I can’t do this, sorry.

    • PursuitAce says:

      Don’t worry. We don’t need your sympathy. Oh, that’s right. You don’t care. How about just staying on the sidelines for this one. You can be an ally here and just keep quiet.

    • So basically – if it’s easy for you than anyone for whom it isn’t as easy is just bad and has only themselves to blame?

      Classy, real classy.

      Different people have different strengths and weaknesses. And we need to respect that people have weaknesses if we’re to build an honest dialogue. Denying the challenges some people face because you don’t have that problem is just selfish, rude and frankly contributes nothing to the discussion.

  5. I kind of wish that you’d included a sentiment on the tendency within the various genderspheres to label and malign anyone who cares about the ways the world’s various kyriarchies fuck men over as a Fat Loser Who Lives In His Parent’s Basement and Can’t Get Laid. I know you talk about virgin shaming occasionally, but it seems like there’s a worthy connection here. That attacking them in that way is a way to enforce the stoicism requirement of the masculine gender role, which makes it shameful to talk about any real problems that might be hurting men.

    • I say we do away with the word virgin entirely. It’s supposed to mean a young girl. It shouldn’t apply to women or any age of males.

      I agree that shaming is a problem. I still am not entirely sure that socially aware people can’t “smell” sexual inexperience, even if the person isn’t acting in a sexual manner. There’s a folklore that it goes along with certain interests, pastimes, physiques, clothing…and there are no cues from society to contradict all that. Probably because how much sex you’re getting is, finally. nobody’s business.

      Not exactly my problem, BTW. I had an 11yo GF at age 8. Since then, however, things have been pretty rough.

      • I say we do away with the word virgin entirely. It’s supposed to mean a young girl.

        I don’t think so. It did in Latin, yes, but the English term for that is “maiden”.

        Unless you specifically mean a young girl/woman who hasn’t had sex, in which case the proper term is “vestal”. I’ve never heard of “virgin” being a female-only word in English, not even historically. (It might have been, but probably not for centuries.)

  6. Thank you, Ozy.. This has come at s time when I need it.

    I’ve never, ever been in the situation where I turned down sex. Ive never been in a situation where I could have sex (and for the record, I have almost anti-Aspergers: a tendency to be extremely outwardly emotional.$

  7. We don’t know one another at all, so I’d just like to state that I’m saying this primarily for the way I find amusement in the way these thoughts line up and hope Ozy and others will as well, and distant secondarily because from reading your writing you seem pretty awesome that if I *did* know you I might mean what I’m about to say more. If this is creepy I sincerely apologize.

    A final note: whenever I find people incessantly complaining about how little sex they’re having, my first impulse is to say “I can correct that problem!”

    I’ve been having a bit of a dry spell, and it’s frustrating…

    I’m going through a bit of semi-voluntary celibacy at the moment, and it’s getting so I want to fuck vegetables and/or inappropriate people and/or inappropriate vegetables.

    If that’s less voluntary than semi, such that it’s a problem, I can correct that problem!

    Regarding the substance of the post, I agree with Ozy and Noah: there’s some fucked up shit in my subconscious that suggests there’s something wrong with me if I ever even contemplate turning down sex for any reason. Which combines very poorly with a rather erratic libido.

  8. You’ve done several posts like this, and with every single one I try very hard to understand the plight of the person that wants sex so desperately to the point of depression if they cannot get it. Intellectually I can? Sort of like how intellectually I can understand dedicating your life to base jumping, but I cannot in the marrow of my bones understand that within the context of my reality.

    This is coming from someone who gets sex from her husband twice a year (LDR) and hates masturbating. So, trying. Very very hard. Maybe someday I’ll be able to understand and sympathize with the plight.

    • Try going nearly 40 years with nothing – a tiny fraction of intimate contact and a lot of fantasies built up.

      Combine that with a culture that associates your basic value as your gender with “success” in that matter, plus the notion that if you fail in that area, it’s your own lack of confidence, plus the belief that just “being yourself” is enough, plus the belief that the gender you’re attracted to is not superficial so you can’t chalk it up to your looks….

      Sorry, I’m rambling because I just got dumped again, was told it didn’t really have anything to do with me, and that (sigh) I was a “nice guy.” so I’m not exactly receptive to people saying this isn’t anything to complain about.

      • Yo! dude she hit you with the nice guy rap? ahw man.. My condolences.

        • I should point out that she didn’t use those exact words, and she definitely did NOT mean Nice GuyTM. It was more along the lines of “don’t take this personally” or “can we still be friends?”

          She is a genuinely cool person, which makes me more bummed.

      • “Try going nearly 40 years with nothing –”

        UNCLEAN! UNCLEEEEAN!

        lol

    • FlyingKal says:

      I dunno, ppl are just wired differently. But maybe “husband” is the magic word here.

    • Copyleft says:

      Men face a scarcity issue regarding intimate contact that many women literally cannot comprehend. They can sympathize, but they have no equivalent life experience to draw on.

      • So the nice straight lady I know who is in her late twenties and has never had a kiss, much less a boyfriend, doesn’t face a scarcity issue? So all of the adult female virgins who write in to Captain Awkward don’t face a scarcity issue? I’m just saying, barring a whole bunch of mono-female-poly-male relationships, every time there’s a man who can’t get laid, there’s a woman who can’t get laid either.

        This really fucking annoys me, personally, because I was female-assigned, and I have been fairly sexually successful. There are also times I’ve spent days without leaving the house, or weeks without talking to someone other than an immediate family member, a service worker, or a teacher. That is really fucking lonely. I feel like blanket statements like that erase the pain that I and other people like me have had.

        • Emmeline says:

          I feel your pain, Ozy. There was a time when I was a teenager when all I would ever get is homeless men leering at me and nothing from guys my age. It made me feel crying, and if anyone says “well at least you got something”, I’m going to throw a tantrum.

        • Claiming that straight women on average have it easier to get into a sexual relationships doesn’t invalidate the experience of individual women who are struggling with this. When it comes to other gendered issues we make this distinction too. Though, I agree that it’s important to avoid vast generalizations.

        • Quite right, there certainly are women (and female assigned people) who have a scarcity of opportunity when it comes to sexuality. Also quite correct that there are many forms of loneliness and many different ways of experiencing that loneliness – person A may feel perfectly satisfied in one situation while person B would be unbearably lonely in the same situation.

          “every time there’s a man who can’t get laid, there’s a woman who can’t get laid either. ”
          This assumes that frequency of sexual desire balances out between the genders in aggregate, which is something I don’t think we can just assume to be true. It also assumes that, for example, the frequency of one-side-poly-one-side-mono relationships is equally balanced between the genders, something which if history is any guide is definitely false.

          It also assumes that the standards of “good enough” are roughly equivalent between genders, which is something I can’t really imagine how to measure in any objective sense. Then there’s the question of ability and willingness to communicate that desire, expected and actual reactions to and consequences of that communication and so forth. Some of these things may fall under the umbrella of the individual’s choice while others may reasonably count as a question of ability but the difference between the chosen restrictions and restrictions caused by other factors should not be taken as strict.

          “I feel like blanket statements like that erase the pain that I and other people like me have had.”
          Yes. Definitely. Which is why I took issue to the previous statement of yours – sometimes it’s not just a matter of people not being able to find each other.

        • Copyleft says:

          “So the nice straight lady I know who is in her late twenties and has never had a kiss, much less a boyfriend, doesn’t face a scarcity issue? ”

          No, she really doesn’t. She can get intimacy any time she wants it, simply by lowering her standards and making her availability public. She won’t get the sex she _wants_, but she will get some sex. There is no equivalent option for men.

          • As I said in another comment here, context always matters.
            There are places where a straight woman can have a very difficult time finding a partner, if we assume that the limitation to male partners is a standard for which we won’t fault her. For example, she might be attending a women-only college in an isolated location, or she could be part of a subculture/community which most people outside that subculture/community won’t appreciate in a romantic context and which has an unbalanced gender ratio (like nerds are with respect to men), or she could have a mental illness which prevents her from getting into situations where her availability is even relevant.

            So basically, if she’s willing to change her location, her appearance, her habits, her neurochemistry, her standards, and to lie about herself, then yes she can get sex. How is that different from men?
            Personally I don’t think it’s reasonable to deny that she faces a problem there which is outside of her control. I also don’t have a good solution to propose, just as I don’t when it comes to men in similarly problematic situations.

          • I completely agree, no sex is better than bad sex. I went through long periods of celibacy in my life. I have never been a “hottie,” I’m an introvert and I’ve always struggled with my weight. I knew I was not particularly attractive to men, even when Iwas in my 20’s, and in my 30’s it just got worse. Sometimes I felt so sexually frustrated I thought I’d go insane. So, could I have gone into a bar and walked up to random guys and found someone willing to have sex with me? Probably yes. But would it have been enjoyable, rewarding sex? Probably not. I knew I would have been having sex with a guy who basically saw me as a desperate, unattractive slut, with all that entails. Why put myself through that kind of emotional misery for a brief sexual release? Assuming the sex would even be satisfying, which you never know with a random dude. I’ve had casual sex a few times in my life and none of the experiences were memorable in the slightest. I need a certain amount of affection and trust to really relax enough to enjoy sex, and that is impossible in a casual encounter.

            So, yes, women love sex as much as men, and perhaps it’s easier for women to find meaningless casual sex, but I think personally I’m looking for GOOD sex, not just any sex with any random guy.

            • I think this is part of the difference – for at least some men, bad sex is better than no sex, they see at least a few women who complain about the difficulty of finding a partner for sex while turning down opportunities for bad sex, and see that as having too high standards.
              This is why I like to point out that standards and desires differ between the sexes, and experience doesn’t necessarily translate. This is also part of why I dislike when a member of one sex tells people of the other sex (setting aside non-binary individuals for the sake of brevity) that they understand what it’s like, or that they are being too hard on themselves, or that they’re worrying too much.
              I don’t pretend to understand what it’s like to have the only people who see you with lust be threats to your autonomy or even your life.
              I dislike it when someone who hasn’t had the experience claims to understand what it’s like to never be looked at with appreciation, let alone lust.

            • Addendum: I deliberately phrased the last two sentences neutrally with respect to gender, as I recognize there are people of all genders who have experienced each of these, though I think there is a strong statistical bias in each case.

            • Maartje says:

              I’ve asked my husband about this. He’s also of the ‘bad sex is better than no sex’ variety, but when I amended the question to ‘would you rather not have sex or sex that’s a mixture of scary, boring, painful and annoying, does NOTHING to get you remotely horny while someone jostles your body and gets annoyed when you try to make it fun for you, too, and leaves you with no chance of an orgasm?’ the answer was ‘ah, when you put it like THAT…’

              I’ve had bad sex like that, and it just left me depressed and in a black rage. (And sore, and frustrated.) If the worst I could imagine was ‘vaguely unsatisfactory sex that still results in orgasm’ I’d be more liberal with whom I shared my affections too.

            • elementary_watson says:

              I’m a bit puzzled by the focus on orgasm (not that this focus excludes any other ugly facets of bad sex), because I really wonder how important getting to have an orgasm is for involuntary celibate men (or even women and other people who aren’t men).

              I’d be interested to hear the opinions of other people who very rarely have an opportunity for sex, having an orgasm is the one thing about sex I don’t need a partner for.

              (I would also like to know if those horrible-sounding bad sex encounters where the man apparently didn’t care about the woman’s enjoyment happend rather with men who had quite a few one night stands or with inexperienced men.)

            • @elementary, I agree overall there is a lot more to sex than orgasm. But in a casual encounter, that’s the primary reward (in my view). In my relationship, sex is also about affection and intimacy. Sometimes I don’t get an orgasm, it is still satisfying. But in a casual encounter, there’s no emotional intimacy and not much affection since you hardly know this person. With no orgasm, for the woman involved, the whole experience can end up feeling like some awkward rapid humping with no payoff. At least that’s been my experience. And it’s not that the guys in question didn’t try to please me, but I need to be very relaxed to have an orgasm and in a casual encounter, I feel anxious and nervous with this unknown person, and it just ain’t happening.

            • As a het man in mid-20’s who’s never had sex or a relationship and is upset about that, it’s not about the sex for me at all. It’s about being loved and cared about, having someone to talk to and do stuff with, having somebody who wants me to be a key piece of their life. Sex would probably be a part of that, and that would be cool, but it’d probably still be cool if it weren’t a big part of that.

              And to be honest, I think not having sex as an emphasis might be part of the problem- my variant of the “nice guy” script might be the man who only treats the women he’s interested in as friends because he doesn’t know how to treat them as someone he’s sexually interested in, so the women only see him as a friend.

              (I probably could get some of this stuff from my friendships. But I don’t know how, and it wouldn’t be all of it even if I did.)

            • elementary_watson says:

              @Sarah: Just to be sure: Are you coming from the perspective of someone who is (or has been at one point) celibate for a far longer time than she wanted? As that was who I was talking about.

              I’m not questioning you because your view goes against my expectations, but rather because you state being in a relationship and talked about your experiences with casual sex, which many involuntary celibate people don’t have.

            • elementary_watson says:

              Addendum @Sarah:

              I agree overall there is a lot more to sex than orgasm. But in a casual encounter, that’s the primary reward (in my view).

              For me, the primary reward of casual sex would be feeling like a fully sexual being, and someone (female) being okay with this (preferrably, someone female being thrilled out of her pants about it).

              You’ve got your view, I’ve got mine, they are different, but none is more or less valid than the other.

            • Maartje says:

              @elementary, for me it’s the other way around than for Sarah. I can orgasm in 30 seconds from a cold start and don’t even need to feel any arousal to get there. Orgasm is easier to achieve than arousal for me (my greatest sex organ is definitely between my ears, and that takes some time to learn how to work with), so I’m being UNdemanding when I say that’s the least I want to get out of it.

              At least an orgasm would give me 2 or 3 enjoyable seconds in an otherwise pretty awful experience.

              (Of course, I do know it’s possible to have GOOD sex, too, and I’ve had it, but right now we were talking about the bad kind, right?)

              I would be interested in knowing whether men have the same kind of ‘first encounters are generally awful’ experience. I think it would depend on how easily you get aroused in the first place – when you’re aroused, things that otherwise feel stupid suddenly feel good. The stereotype is that men get turned on quicker and turned off less easily, which gives a higher chance that an encounter is enjoyable.

            • @elementary, actually I have been through periods in my life where I was involuntarily celibate. During several years in my 30’s, I only had sex a couple times total. I probably could have found more opportunities for casual sex, even though I was not in a healthy place mentally or physically, but I found that casual sex isnt physically OR emotionally fulfilling for me. If I wanted just sexual satisfaction, i.e. orgasm, a casual encounter doesn’t work for me. And it definitely doesn’t meet any emotional needs. At least that was my experience. YMMV :-)

            • elementary_watson says:

              @Sarah: Thanks for the reply :-)

          • Emmeline says:

            I have a question to you and all the other men who think this: will you ever change your mind on this? Because God knows how many times I and other female-bodied persons have tried to prove how offensively painful “any woman can get any sex she wants” is.

            • I don’t know. I think it stems from how much being in denied sex / intimacy can hurt, people sorta seem to feel like it’s so horrible that they should at least get some kind of recognition for how “uniquely unfair” life has been to them. It sucks, but at least it gives them a way of being special…..

              When truthfully, dating and sex is a process that craps on everyone. It does it in many different ways, and some of those ways are probably gendered in how they play out (owing to how tied up gender roles are in all of this). But trying to make a scoreboard out of how deep and smelly it is where you’re standing is just dumb.

              And frankly, apart from protecting peoples ‘special pariah’ status, the whole who has it worse discussion is kinda pointless.

          • Copyleft says:

            Of course bad sex is better than no sex at all! And I can see why that core difference prevents many men and women from understanding each other’s perspectives and experiences.

            Compare it to food: I don’t eat a dry, stale moldy roll sitting in my trash can because I know I can always go to the kitchen (or a restaurant, or the store) and get something better. But then, I’m not starving to death in a desert with no other options. If I were, I’d gobble that roll up in a heartbeat and be glad of the opportunity.

            That’s sexual reality for a large number of men.

            • “even that just seems like so much “masturbating with another person””
              Yeah. To some people, that’s still better than masturbating without another person.

              “Compare it to food…”
              That’s a good analogy, but it’s not universal. I’m arguing that when a woman (or a man or whoever) turns down bad sex, it’s likely that the entire analogy does not apply to them.
              But people for whom this analogy does not apply also need to realize that there are people for whom this analogy actually does apply.

              “cause if you are that hungry, something has gone really wrong”
              Yeah, it has. That doesn’t mean it can be fixed easily, by oneself, or even during one’s lifetime.

            • “Cause if that person is mostly just a moldy scrap of trash bread…”
              I don’t know if this is the way CopyLeft was thinking about it, but I was thinking about the moldy scrap of trash bread as being analogous to the sex, not to the other person. The other person definitely is a person (and quite possibly a wonderful one in their own right), but the physical activity of sex is not a person, and an act two people undertake together does not need to define how either one of them feels about the other, even if they never see each other again.
              In the same way you can have great sex with a terrible person (or so I’ve heard) and be able to separate the two, you can have terrible sex with a great person and be able to separate the two.

              “I just think the problem is bigger than lack of sex.”
              Sometimes it is, yes. The point I’ve been making throughout this thread is that sometimes lack of sex is a symptom of a deeper problem, and assuming that things will get better on their own can stop people from addressing that problem. What that problem may be (or even if there is such a problem) differs from person to person. Some people think of members of the opposite sex like complicated sex toys, some people have difficulty communicating, some people live in a place which is not conducive to their sex life, and there are many other possibilities.

              In the same way, if you are looking through garbage cans for moldy bread just so that you’re not starving, something has gone wrong, but what has gone wrong may differ from person to person. Some people are hiding from police and don’t want to enter a place with video cameras, some people are schizophrenic and think that prepared food is poisonous, and some people live in a country that doesn’t have any type of social safety net for the poor, etc.

              I’m saying that those of us in wealthy countries who have enough money and time that we can write posts on the internet shouldn’t pretend that just because we didn’t eat for a day or two when we got lost camping doesn’t mean we understand what it’s like for a person in Africa who hasn’t eaten in three weeks. (Obviously that’s far more severe a difference than anything we’ve discussed in the comments here, but extreme examples can often help people to see the intent behind less extreme ones.)
              The analogy is not perfect of course; when it comes to sex there is much more variation in individual need/desire than there is with food. Also in my example above there may well be no hardship we suffer here which can compare to the suffering of a starving oppressed person, whereas when we are talking about differences in sex things are not necessarily one-sided. And of course in the food analogy you don’t need another person in order to eat.

            • Moldy bread isn’t a good analogy . A person who is literally starving will die without food. The choice between moldy bread and death is easy . But no one is ever literally going to die from lack of sex.

              Also, if I’m desperately horny, I can masturbate. I don’t need the “moldy bread” to release my sexual tension. I can deal with my frustration, hoping something more appetizing and satisfying than moldy bread presents itself.

            • Copyleft says:

              Orgasm is not the same as intimate contact. It’s the scarcity of intimate contact that men are facing, and it’s simply not one that women have to deal with–at least, not in the same way.

              The feeling that someone is genuinely willing to touch you is one that many, many men will never experience even once in their lives, no matter how hard they work or what they try. And it crushes men.

            • Dolores Haze says:

              That is one of the most heartbreaking things I have ever read. Ever. I want to apologize, but I don’t know what for.

            • “The feeling that someone is genuinely willing to touch you”
              And allow or even want you to touch them.
              Well put.

            • Copyleft, what do you mean? do you mean touch of any kind? Are you thinking that women are never touch deprived by men they find attractive? Or just in sex? What and why do you think this problem occurs? I’d really really like to have this conversation with you, so if you don’t want to do it here, will you email me? julie @ goodmenproject .com

            • That is very sad. I have a lot of geeky guy friends and I see how some of them suffer. They can’t figure out how to connect with women at all, and I don’t know how to help them.

          • Let’s say Sam and Jamie really want to get laid on a given weekend. Sam finds five people who are willing to sleep with zir. Jamie finds ten people who are willing to sleep with zir. Would you rather want to be Sam or Jamie?

            I certainly would want to be Jamie because among the ten people I can choose the one I have the most chemistry with. When we talk about scarcity it’s not so much about sex itself. It’s about the opportunity to have sex. This was the whole starting point of the discussion. The letter writer from the post Ozy links to agonizes over such a lost opportunity. Captain Awkward tells him don’t worry you will have plenty of opportunities. Many men here disagree that the opportunities are that plentiful.

            Last but not least, I’m going to quote Ozy zirself from another post: “The nature of privilege is that it’s invisible to those who have it.“

          • “… why have sex if it is totally unsatisfying and with someone you don’t even like/aren’t even mildly attracted to? That’s not intimacy, that’s…not even masturbation (which I’d suspect would be more fun). …”

            At the risk of loosing my man card I (cis-het-man) have to agree.
            Maybe I’m just exceptionally primitive and unsophisticated, but in my case masturbation is actually quite effective in alleviating the primal urge for raw sex. What I really crave when I’m single is intimacy and companionship. And I can’t get that from a random woman whose whole qualification is “female, alive, consenting.”
            So yes I have standards (at least a spark of attraction, trust, some form of connection), not exceptionally high ones mind you, but yes, sex that doesn’t meet that standard isn’t worth pursuing.

            And on a more general note: I think many men seriously underestimate how picky they really are.
            Under the “women aren’t allowed to be active” rules (yes, I know, that is thankfully changing, but today it’s still a good approximation of reality) not getting you butt in motion and chatting her up is the the male variant of rejection. Because she has no recourse: your (in)action aborts any possible relationship. Under the “only men are active” parameters that refusal is equivalent with saying “No thanks, but thanks!”
            If you look at it that way, most guys give out more rejections than most women.

            This may be painfully obvious for women who have spend many an hour trying to send telepathic encouragement to guys they found attractive, but men usually don’t see it that way.

            • elementary_watson says:

              Under the “women aren’t allowed to be active” rules (yes, I know, that is thankfully changing, but today it’s still a good approximation of reality) not getting you butt in motion and chatting her up is the the male variant of rejection. Because she has no recourse: your (in)action aborts any possible relationship. Under the “only men are active” parameters that refusal is equivalent with saying “No thanks, but thanks!”
              If you look at it that way, most guys give out more rejections than most women.

              Uhm, no? Like, totally no? Unless you live in a culture where a casual “how do you do” gets translated into a casual “hey darling, you’re looking sexy today” when a man greets a woman, or talking about a man who behaves as if he was living in such a culture, “not actively flirting with a woman” does not equal “sexually rejecting a woman”. That’s because a rejection settles the matter (or it should, ideally), while inaction settles nothing, for once. For twice, it’s because this line of reasoning is very close to the reasoning of the mother who bought her son two different t-shirts and then shows her disappointment when her son shows his dislike of one t-shirt by wearing the other one first. Not voting “yes” does not equal voting “no”, in most situations!

            • “… That’s because a rejection settles the matter (or it should, ideally), while inaction settles nothing, for once. …”

              If women aren’t allowed to ask for a date and the man is inactive, the matter of the date is settled. It will not happen. It isn’t some kind of Schroedinger’s date in a limbo. It isn’t pining for the fjords. It’s an ex-date.

              “… For twice, [snip] …”

              I don’t really understand what is supposed to be analogous to what.

              Let’s modify your analogy: the boy represents the man, one t-shirt represents the woman, a worn t-shirt represents a date.
              The boy can choose between leaving the t-shirt in the closet (~not asking for a date) or try to put it on (~asking for a date). If, and only if, the boy tries to put on the shirt, the shirt can choose to unravel (~the woman rejects the offer of a date). The t-shirt can not drag itself on the chest of the boy (~the woman cannot ask for a date herself).

              The boys decision not to try to put on the shirt, and the shirts decision to unravel are functionally equal: both will result in a t-shirt not worn.

            • elementary_watson says:

              If women aren’t allowed to ask for a date and the man is inactive, the matter of the date is settled. It will not happen. It isn’t some kind of Schroedinger’s date in a limbo. It isn’t pining for the fjords. It’s an ex-date.

              The date isn’t “dead”; it hasn’t even been conceived! There isn’t anything there YET to be killed off. It’s like saying a married couple kills some of their children each time a single one of the man’s sperms is hindered from fertilizing one of the woman’s egg cells.*

              Let’s say there is a woman, let’s call her Jane, at a bar and I find her attractive without having seen her before.

              How many seconds of eye contact does it take before my not going over to her to say hi to her becomes a rejection? If I do go over and say hi to her, how many sentences may be exchanged between us before my not asking her for her phone number becomes a rejection? How many days does it take before my not phoning her to ask for a date becomes a rejection? How many dates does it take before not trying to get a good night kiss becomes a rejection?
              [snip]
              How many months being married does it take before my not proposing to get children becomes a rejection?

              Fact of the matter is, even among completely passive women, the respective numbers aren’t the same. One woman might go, “this guy has been talking to me for five minutes but hasn’t asked for my phone number yet, clearly he isn’t interested in me” while another woman might think, “this guy is asking for my phone number after we only talked for ten minutes, that’s WAY too forward!” (And it is quite possible that the man in the first situation actually is interested in the woman, while the man in the second scenario isn’t.)
              ——————————–
              The analogy with the t-shirts is that just because the boy doesn’t wear one of the shirts today, it doesn’t mean that he also won’t wear it tomorrow. Or the day after tomorrow. Or maybe he actually likes the shirt he doesn’t wear so much, that he saves up wearing it for the first time for a really special occasion. You cannot tell whether or not he “rejects” the shirt until someone asks him. The same with dates: You can’t tell whether a man definitely rejects the possibility of a date with a particular woman until you ask him.

              *In the spirit of your reply, I felt like I should make an “every sperm is sacred” reference.

            • This gets a bit to abstract for me. My point was “I think many men seriously underestimate how picky they really are.”

              “Women who can’t get laid” can’t get laid because they’re invisible even for the “I want contact with a woman, any woman” crowd. Because there is no conceivable way to think that sex is an incredibly scarce resource for guys while every woman drowns in willing partners without erasing the women who can’t get laid.
              Because Ozy is right you know: for every man who can’t get laid there is a woman who can’t get laid. Simple math.
              And that invisibility is a choice of the guys, because it represents the decision not to see them as possible partners. Picky.

              The notion that every woman could get partners by the drop of a hat if she just lowered her standards and got more active isn’t really helpful. Because to the limited extent this is true, it is also true for men.

              This whole “sex as a unequal scarcity situation” doesn’t get any more true by parsing if ignoring the “ugly chicks” is “not conceiving dates”, “aborting dates”, or “killing dates.” The fact remains that these women don’t have dates, and for them dates aren’t a plentiful resource.

            • This post is intended as a response to NaHa.
              Many ““Women who can’t get laid” can’t get laid because they’re invisible even for the “I want contact with a woman, any woman” crowd. ”
              Add one word an you’re fine. Without that word it’s an overly broad statement. Some women can’t get laid because their standards are too high, some men can’t get laid because their standards are too high. The statistics are another matter and I feel can’t be resolved without real-world research being cited.

              “Because Ozy is right you know: for every man who can’t get laid there is a woman who can’t get laid. Simple math.”

              Please don’t assume that math proves something when it doesn’t. The number of sociological, biological, psychological, anthropological and geographical assumptions which need to be made before math can come to this conclusion is staggering.

              Men and women do not pair up one-to-one in the “can’t get laid” sets, because they don’t pair up one-to-one in the “can get laid” sets. One person of either gender can have any number of partners, so it is mathematically feasible for one person to have literally all the sex for their gender. It’s unrealistic, but math does not deal only with realistic scenarios.

              Here’s what I think a reasonable (and highly oversimplified) model of the situation would actually look like. For the sake of simplicity of the model, we will make the following assumptions which are false in the real world:
              1) Each person falls into exactly one of the two available genders.
              2) Each person desires sexual encounters only with people of the other gender.
              3) All sexual encounters which occur are consensual.
              4) We will only look at a fixed length of time, and assume that this time period is representative for that person.
              5) A person’s desires do not change during that time.
              6) Each sexual encounter involves exactly two people.
              Each person of each gender has some number of sexual encounters they want during a given time period. During that period of time, some number of sexual encounters actually occur, and at the end of the time period some number of people of each gender have had fewer sexual encounters than they wished.
              Here’s what we can conclude at this point: The number of sexual encounters had by one gender is equal to the number of sexual encounters had by the other.
              In order to get any further, we must make one more assumption, of questionable relationship to reality.
              7) The total number of sexual encounters desired by each gender is the same.
              With this additional assumption we can conclude that the number of sexual encounters desired but not realized is the same for each gender, but we still have no indication of how those unfulfilled desires are distributed among the actual people involved.

              If you’re going to say that you meant it statistically rather than literally, let me just say that statistics in the real world is never simple and requires rigorous data collection and analysis at the very least, so [citation needed].

              The fact is, NaHa, that I agree with your last two paragraphs, I just don’t like to see math misused.

              Oh, and one more thing:
              “And that invisibility is a choice of the guys, because it represents the decision not to see them as possible partners. Picky.”
              This idea removes all agency from women. I am not one to claim that it’s all womens’ fault, but I must insist that neither is it all mens’, as this statement implies.

              Phew. Now I need to go look at pictures of puppies.

            • In a hypothetical culture where women are literally not allowed to initiate things, then no approach is indeed equivalent to a passive “no”. In a culture where it is frowned upon it is making things very difficult for the woman if she wants to initiate, and in a culture where it is merely a rarity it is making things somewhat more uncomfortable for her.
              Of course the culture of the modern West certainly does not disallow women from initiating, I would guess that we are in some mixture of “frowned upon” and “rarity”.

            • I can understand where you’re coming from, but I don’t think you can really equate inaction with rejection. Rejection comes when there is a clear understanding of what is being rejected – inaction can occur for a myriad of other reasons which can include such simple causes as plain being oblivious, or not having the self-esteem to believe she could really be flirting with him.

              I do wonder if there’s a way to make these signals clearer, or a way to teach men who are otherwise ill-equipped to receive them to be more attuned to it. This inaction contains more than a few missed opportunities for both parties, it may help if we can find a way to grease the wheels a bit here.

              Both being required to take an active role, or being required to take a passive role in courtship suck in their own ways.

        • Untrue. There is NO one-to-one ratio. You are making that erroneous assumption.

      • J P McMahon says:

        Julie, Look at “Date Lab”, a weekly feature in the Washington Post. The staff on the Post’s Magazine pairs up people, gay and straight, all ages, but mostly attractive young professional people. They obviously don’t pair up people randomly. They try to make sure that people are in the same ” league” as far as their looks, age, wealth, and educational attainments. Then they send them to a bistro for a date. Even with this kind of help, how often do the daters make a connection of any kind? Almost never. The He said, She said business is practically unrelated to the issue being discussed, because that was only one dude, and at least he was already IN a relationship. I have dated woman where I was in the half century plus number of lovers, and as long as they weren’t possessed with a communicable disease, I could care less. Your post also bases its theoretical construct (people could just enjoy each other more, and eventually pair up) on all things being equal. They’re just not.

        • I asked for suggestions on how to close the gap. Do you have any?

          • J P McMahon says:

            Honestly…other than going overseas to meet more women, which is mostly a scam of course, at least when done commercially…no. Have you ever heard of a dating activity or party game like “speed dating”, but where people are randomly paired up by lot, and they have to go go home with each other? Me neither.

            • marcmagus says:

              Have you ever heard of a dating activity or party game like “speed dating”, but where people are randomly paired up by lot, and they have to go go home with each other? Me neither.

              I hear “key parties” are enjoying a bit of a renaissance right now, actually.

            • I would imagine like most other variations of sex parties consent still reigns. Chances are if you got paired with someone that is not interested in you they would be able to say no free of consequence (I hope that it’s in some confidential way so that the person that gets turned down doesn’t have to have it happen to them in front of everyone).

            • J P McMahon says:

              The veracity of key parties as a trend is questionable. It’s on Snopes, and a lot of fictional television shows, so draw your own conclusions. I have met some women that were willing to “swing”, but I can’t see any of them acquiescing to something like this unless it was a very limited group of people, all of whom were know in advance.

            • J P McMahon says:

              The scads of reality shows, like “Jersey Shore” and the “Real World” and others to numerous to mention don’t do that? Name a popular movie where sex between unmarried people isn’t at least implied. College hook up culture?
              I have read about, and have had friends go to resorts like Hedonism where it is basically anything goes. Everyone paying to money to go there knows that. But over half the guys going there without a woman (to share?) get zilch, unless they get hooked up with a ringer that they have to pay, which makes her a… It’s a numbers game. If a guy is tall, good looking,and has half an ounce of social skills, this is never a long term problem for them.
              How about a campaign to get women to try guys that are “nice”, but don’t look like Christian Bales? How about Sex and the City, except that most of the guys are smart, funny, overweight, and bald? Would HBO pick that one up?

            • Copyleft says:

              Making it socially acceptable to settle for less than absolute perfection? That’s crazy talk!

            • Emmeline says:

              “How about Sex and the City, except that most of the guys are smart, funny, overweight, and bald? Would HBO pick that one up?”

              I could switch that around to any TV woman who is meant to be a love interest. But no, the male demographic has to have their eye candy, right?

      • I though for sure I had replied to this but it’s not here. Oh well.

        I think a great start would be to stop treating female virginity like its a treasure that must be guarded until marriage and male virginity like is a curse that must be dispelled as soon as possible (and when you think it about in terms of heterosexual sex these two almost contradict each other).

        But in order for that to change it would call for changing the way sex is regarded at some pretty fundamental ways. Look at the stories that pop up over parents being mad because of what a sex teacher said in class. Look at how people reach for religious texts to back up their beliefs on sex. Those are base level things that have to be changed (or at least no longer be allowed to have a controlling influence on the conversation).

        I think that making the world a more sex friendly place would help a lot. In terms of heterosexual sex it would free up women to pursue the sex they want and it would free up men to not be expected, nigh demanded, to pursue sex. (I think you might see a change where the number of women pursuing sex increases and the number of men perusing sex decreases, in terms of heterosexuality at least, closer to even numbers maybe?). And of course in a more sex friendly world people would be free to pursue whatever sex they are into without being beat over the head with presumptions and demands of heterosexuality and male/female gender identity.

      • Julie, I’m quite convinced that on average men have to work harder to get sex than women. Usually the man asks out, plans the date, pays for dinner, initiates the first gentle contact, pays for drinks, initiates making-out, pays for the cap ride to his/her place, initiates sex. I’m a little exaggerating, but broadly that’s the idea.

        Maybe “scarcity” is simply a psychological effect rooted in the fact that men invest more effort to get sex. Some time ago on another blog a commenter named dungone posted a paper about a speed dating experiment (http://people.tamu.edu/~eastwick/RotationPaper.pdf ). The study found that merely approaching someone increases the attraction to the person. Women became less selective when they had to approach. In short, they behaved more like men when they had to follow the male gender script.

        Only making the very first step of approaching made the other person more attractive to the approacher. Now men are supposed to make many of these first little steps like going for the first kiss, initiate fumbling etc. etc. Maybe if the gender roles regarding romance and sex would magically switch tomorrow women would face what men today perceive as scarcity.

        • Dunno I’ve done a great deal of approaching and asking in my day and getting laid is not always the easy thing men think. At least if I want to enjoy I’m getting laid with.

          • This is an interesting aspect of these discussions, that even if woman’s sexuality were fully encouraged, their sexual proclivities wouldn’t fix a scarcity problem. Not that all women are attracted to the same thing, but there is evidence that women are harsher judges. For instance in a NY Times article “New Math on Campus”:

            “Jayne Dallas, a senior studying advertising who was seated across the table, grumbled that the population of male undergraduates was even smaller when you looked at it as a dating pool. “Out of that 40 percent, there are maybe 20 percent that we would consider, and out of those 20, 10 have girlfriends, so all the girls are fighting over that other 10 percent,” she said. ”

            Or there was an OKCupid study which showed women rated men’s attractiveness on a much steeper slope fewer men were rated attractive or average while many men were related less than average compared to when men rated the attractiveness for women, which was a gentler slope with women rated attractive, average, and less than average like you’d expect a population to fall into.
            I wonder how much of this is a result of current conditions or part of a more intractable aspect.

      • I think a part of the issue is communication. When two people meet there isn’t really any effective way to know what page two people happen to be on about such a controversial topic as casual sex – so there’s no easy way to know whether suggesting it might result in drama.

        The shame about multiple partners that women suffer also has a secondary effect here, as it means that some women interpret a man expressing this kind of interest as an insult – because if he thinks she might be interested, surely that must mean he has a low opinion of her as a woman…

        Which just serves to compound the chilling effect the shame creates – everyone is afraid to raise the topic for fear of either embarrassment or causing offense. I’m not sure how we can defuse that, but removing it from the equation would probably be quite helpful in addressing this issue.

        • Yeah, the whole thing is messed up….

          • It is messed up, and I don’t think it helps that whenever people try to discuss this sort of thing the discussion rapidly devolves into who has it worse / Oppression Olympics. There are more constructive ways to address this issue.

            I’m reminded of a conversation I had at a party with a friends girlfriend (now his wife), there were a few of us and the conversation had turned to the seemingly random aspect of female behaviour. She was able to explain for us what might have been going on in the incidents we were describing and it was quite educational. As men, we often don’t see or get to be aware of the social pressures and factors that influence the decisions women make; we just see the consequences and from our perspective things just look erratic and confusing. There are likely to be aspects of male behaviour that women find equally inscrutable, and for the same sorts of reasons.

            We can’t really know what another persons world is like without them helping to explain it to us, but each and every one of us can bring a different perspective to bear on things. We each get to see the problem from a different angle through our own lived experiences but none of us get to see the whole picture. Without knowing what’s happening on the other side, all we can really do is guess (and likely guess badly) about the motivations involved, and that will likely only serve to entrench established opinions rather than promote real understanding.

            If we can manage to have a dialogue through which we can better understand the pressures, challenges and influences each side faces, that would seem like an awesome starting point for trying to figure out a better way of relating to one another.

    • L:
      This is coming from someone who gets sex from her husband twice a year (LDR) and hates masturbating. So, trying. Very very hard. Maybe someday I’ll be able to understand and sympathize with the plight.
      This could be a difference in the amount of sexual desire (which varies from person to person) , how close intimacy (just being with someone, nothing sexual) and sex are tied together varying from person to person, etc…

      Bear in mind that for a lot of people sex and closeness are tied together. Even if you aren’t having sex that often I not that you are married. Now while the amount you sex you’re having with him is to your satisfaction or not, you don’t say, but when you do it’s with a person that means a lot to you.

      Chances are you won’t understand and sympathize but I don’t think it’s because you don’t want to or are not trying. I think it’s going to be a matter of it being so different from your reality (unless your reality suddenly shifts, which I hope does not happen).

    • Lil Bit says:

      I read some interesting things which kind of made sense to me regarding how men aren’t allowed to show physical affection except through sex. Men hardly ever touch each other. There is minimal tenderness and affection in a man’s life because to do so would be an attack on their masculinity by society. It’s socially acceptable for them to show anger and little else. The only socially acceptable thing for a man to do to be able to experience these much needed emotions, tenderness/affection, is through sex. Women hold hands and and walk arm in arm atc. it’s socially acceptable for women to be physically affectionate with others so they have outlets other than sex. sex is just another emotional outlet while for men sex is their only outlet.

      I think that if this were the case and that I weren’t allowed an outlet for emotions that are natural for the body to have, or to do otherwise and get publicly shunned, I’d be craving and hunting down that sex whenever I could too.

      I don’t know how well this applies to anyone here but I thought it was an interesting theory

    • Doug S. says:

      It’s not so much about genital stimulation as it is about feeling like you’re not worthy of romantic love.

  9. Dunno. I’d like nothing more than a long-term romantic relationship with a woman, but it rarely happens and never seems to work, and not for lack of trying. Finding a woman for casual sex is such an exercise in frustration and futility that I gave up on that long ago. Finding a man for casual sex – If I really wanted to, I can have a guy within an hour. (Don’t usually work quite that fast, though.) Never figured out what’s up with that, but at least I’m not suffering or anything. Too concerned about the STD risk to make a habit of it though.

  10. J P McMahon says:

    Ozy, There are a lot of feel good. love yourself jive in your essay, and I guess that’s groovy. but it is going to ring false to a lot of the guys reading this instead of sleeping with a woman. Your list of “Things that not having had sex in a while, or even ever, does not mean:” all may be true to a given individual. But when you compare this individual to other guys, who are after all out there in the world too, some fellows will find that these Things have some basis in the reality of their situation. It’s a numbers game to a big degree. Many men work in fields with few opportunities to meet women, and many of those who who do work around a lot of women wisely adhere to the dictum that you don’t shit where you eat. Socially, for the younger set, particularly once they get out of college (Assuming you actually went to college. If you didn’t this starts right out of high school.) there are almost ALWAYS more guys than gals at the bar, concert, club, opening, lecture, whatever. Anyone who actually leaves their house can tell you this. Women are also usually traveling in larger, less flexible groups than guys are. This ultimately leads to additional pressures, drama, and cock blocking. Older guys begin to see their social scene become filled with couples and increasingly women who are single for a reason, just like the guys, and the numbers diminish further. You also start getting shut out of events like dinner parties where it is couples only. And then there is natural selection among mammals. I’ve had three male room mates living in my house over the years, never more than one at a time. For one of the fellows and I, this was a time of severe drought on the female prairie. Nada. Zero. The other two guys had MANY romantic interludes and short term girlfriends, all of them quite attractive. Yet, all four of us hung out in the same social milieu of the smallish city where we lived. Same bars, parties, shows, and other places and events. Same women too. What was the difference? They are in that list, when you make everything relative just like in real life. Why do you think PUA is so big on ranking things, and people? Online dating? Same business, a numbers game. Search for the guy that hacked OK Cupid to do research on responses to dating site posts. If you have ever considered online dating, this will certainly change your mind.
    Finally Ozy, When you say ” whenever I find people incessantly complaining about how little sex they’re having, my first impulse is to say “I can correct that problem!”, do you mean that you personally will have sex with anybody? If that is the case…Oh…ha, Ha! If that is not the case are you trying to come off as…a pimp? I don’t get it.

  11. TheAverageOutlier says:

    I don’t know really. My hunch is that having a casual sexual encounter with someone is fairly easy and straightforward for an overwhelming majority of people. Of course, I don’t really know since I’ve never tried to have one myself.

    On the other hand, my experience tells me that ending up in a relationship is next to impossible, if you don’t belong to a community where there are other people seeking relationships. And such communities don’t exist for people like me. I could take up a hobby but I already fill all my spare time with hobbies, and I’m generally not interested in the kind of hobbies that people who seek relationships take up.

  12. QuantumInc says:

    I am definetely in a similar situation as Yiab, though right now my biggest regret is not seeking professional pyschotherapy sooner. I ask people out extremely rarely, and this is undoubtedly the cause for a never been kissed status. In high school, a woman approaching me (i.e. a het male) caused panic. Coincidently (or the opposite of coincidently) I’m also aspie.

    If one is dealing with a psychological problem, it’s hard to imagine it making sex or any other interpersonal relationship easier. Really this is something that requires it’s own seperate discussion. Ozy’s discussion isn’t really about people like me and Yiab, or rather it is about a much larger group of people who obsess over whether or not they get laid. This article is talking more about the mainstream than anything else.

    I have a neurological issue that directly affects my ability to connect with others, and I have some sort of psychological issue that has shot my confidence all to (bleep). It’s little surprise that getting a girlfriend. I probably wouldn’t bother “getting laid” (as in a one night stand with a stranger) even if I had the capability though, because of the beleifs I share with OZyFrantz.

    • If one is dealing with a psychological problem, it’s hard to imagine it making sex or any other interpersonal relationship easier. Really this is something that requires it’s own seperate discussion.

      Yep, yep, yep. I know exactly where you’re coming from here* and it’s just so important to stress this point in these types of discussions about “not getting laid”. I spent a year being celibate due to a lot of capital-I Issues. As sexually frustrated as I was, and as much as I idolized the idea of getting into a new relationship, I knew that I wasn’t ready or able to care for another person till I learned how to care for myself. Sex can be taken as a shibboleth for so many things, which Ozy lists above… it seems like proof that we are attractive, lovable, socially confident, still alive, have a bright future. And yet, all that is BS.

      This comes back to something I probably could and do say in any context, but as individuals we must develop the courage to see our own well-being as a priority. Sometimes, the social status, momentary pleasure, etc. of casual sex, or the frustration of seeking and not finding it, can actively tear us down or send us spiraling into a mental health crisis.

      This is not to ignore the pain that can come from a lack of sexual opportunities, but it would be nice if people wouldn’t conflate this with the struggles of mental illness. Even if one often feeds into the other.

      Anyway, good luck on your journey, QuantumInc

      *(coming, heh, I am a 12-year-old)

      • “This is not to ignore the pain that can come from a lack of sexual opportunities, but it would be nice if people wouldn’t conflate this with the struggles of mental illness.”

        Quite true, but don’t mistake the relevance of mental illness to the discussion for conflation. What caused me to raise the issue was the fact that it appeared that the possibility of mental illness as the cause of a “dry spell” for someone hadn’t even been considered. If someone struggling with mental illness takes to heart this kind of broad idea, it can make them more willing to blame themselves for any failures in this regard and less willing to seek/continue psychiatric help.

        These kinds of positive-sounding platitudes often have some negative interpretations, most likely to be noticed by Those Who Don’t Think Like Us, who are the same people most likely to feel harm from those interpretations. I don’t expect everyone to be able to see how every reading mind will take their statements (wow, that would be hypocritical of me if I did), but I would just like to see more people realize that just because they think they have stumbled upon a Universal Truth (and possibly one that fits in with popular sensibilities) doesn’t mean it’s actually universal. I’d like to see more people take the attitude of “This worked for me and it might work for you too”, rather than the attitude I see all too often of “This worked for me and it will work for you too” – I think the former is less harmful.

    • Doug S. says:

      My experience is that therapy is useless. (This impression has been formed from my parents sending me to therapy because I didn’t do what people were demanding or expecting me to do. Such as get up earlier than I wanted to so I could get to school on time.)

      • Valter Viglietti says:

        Therapy can be effective and useful only when one decides HE wants to change.
        Until that moment, no therapy, help or advice is going to do any good.
        Nobody can change you (not even by force), until YOU decide to change.

        And nobody changes for the sake of others; we only change when we have a strong enough personal motivation.
        This dynamic is easily seen in Alcoholic Anonymous groups (or similar contexts).

        • Sometimes strong enough motivation comes from our wishes about others, though. I listen to a podcast in which one of the co-creators only stepped back from the brink of suicide because of his love for his daughter. Call that personal motivation if you like, but it’s motivation gained through devotion to another, and if that’s not changing for the sake of another I don’t know what is.

  13. It's The Touch says:

    I’m a 30 year old man. I first had sex shortly before my 28th birthday. I decided to seek the services of a sex worker because I realised I was absolutely terrified of initiating physical contact. I live in a place where sex work is decriminalised, I probably would not have done so otherwise. Anyway, I was absolutely terrified, nervous and even shaking. The lady was wonderful and very understanding. I think the experience was quite healing.

    Something happened to me when I was very young that I think dramatically shaped who I am. Not abuse or even anything that can even be blamed on anyone. Both my parents noticed that I went from being a talkative, outgoing child to very quiet and reserved. I was too young to really remember, but even now, just thinking about it is enough to bring up a great sadness that I only recently realised was still inside. I don’t yet have many regrets in life, but my biggest is about a wonderful person I met at 26. She was clearly also into me, but even after several dates I still couldn’t bring myself to even kiss her goodnight, even though it was obvious that’s what she wanted too. I did see a therapist afterwards, and that’s eventually led to me deciding to see a sex worker.

    I don’t go on many dates, maybe once a year if I’m lucky. I don’t like crowds or alcohol, so clubs and bars and other traditional single places are out. I do go out and explore the cities I’ve lived in, and I do travel for my own enjoyment. I’m not the type to approach someone I find attractive on the street or in a store, however, because I’d feel uncomfortable if someone did that to me. I don’t consider myself unattractive, and I am self aware enough to have occasionally noticed someone giving me an interested look. I have taken up hobbies to try and meet more people, but other than finding I really enjoy dancing that hasn’t been too successful. That leaves things like online dating. I’m certainly not the type to spam endlessly, but it can be very hard to get response let alone enough of a rapport to lead to meeting. Probably largely to do with the fact that the kind of women I’m interested in are also fairly quiet and discriminating.

    So, I do still occasionally seek the services of sex workers. It isn’t the sex that I go back for. That’s nice, but what I really crave, need, is to have be next to someone. To hold and be held. That is pure joy.

    • Dolores Haze says:

      Thank you for this contribution. You’re the type of client I enjoy seeing. I’m only one sex worker, but it is enjoyable and fulfilling to work with someone who knows why he’s seeking my services and what he gets from it, isn’t ashamed of it, and values my work.

      • David Byron says:

        Most everyone has to work, but not many people have a job that actually makes a contribution like yours.

  14. I mostly agree with Ozy’s and Captain Akward’s points. There is certainly pressure on men to perform in these situations to give proof of their virility.

    But there is another point and I apologize in advance for the silly analogy. Let’s say you only get offered cake once a year. If you reject such an offer wouldn’t you regret your decision every time you crave cake in the following months? It’s slightly condescending for someone who gets a lot of offers to say: “Don’t worry, you’ll get a lot of offers for cake. Then you chose the one you really like when you really crave it.”

    Many men rarely get offers for casual sex. The idea that they better take the offer and take it now because they don’t know when the next comes or if it still stands a day later is not only in their head. It’s their reality, it’s certainly my reality.

    • elementary_watson says:

      Many men rarely get offers for casual sex. The idea that they better take the offer and take it now because they don’t know when the next comes or if it still stands a day later is not only in their head. It’s their reality, it’s certainly my reality.

      This was my situation wrt non-casual relationship sex, when I still was in a relationship.

      I largely agree with your point, most of these “don’t worry if you’ve missed one chance to have sex, you will have many more” advices seem to come from a perspective of plentiness addressing people experience scarceness.

      • FlyingKal says:

        Well, replace “offers” with “opportunities” and with you… ;-)

      • AnonymousDog says:

        To a certain extent, I think that attitude is a result of non-frustrated people just not wanting to hear about other people’s frustrations, and saying things like that to just shut them up.

    • This has crossed my mind as well Thomas. If you are concerned about sounding silly I had this thought come to me in a different manner. How about this,

      It’s like the one who has “loved and lost” telling the one who has “never loved at all that love (or sex or dating) is that big of a deal.

      • I picture one person crawling through the barren desert sands, stumbling upon a cell phone, calling for help and being told “Just have a drink of water and calm down. Before I can send help I need to know the address you are calling from.”

        Context always matters.

      • Let me fix that.

        “never loved at all that love (or sex or dating) is not that big of a deal.

  15. FlyingKal says:

    Thank you for writing ths (again) .
    I think there’s a that needs repeating about this

    However, I take some issue with this part:
    There are lots of reasons why people don’t get laid much. A general dislike of leaving the house or meeting new people, prioritizing different things in their lives, not being willing to ask people out, only being attracted to a small percentage of people, and so on and so forth. , and also with what Captain Awkward writes about not wanting to have sex. Because it implies that people who are “virgins” or “on a dry spell” are so because of choise. They deliberetely turn down offers and flirts, and do things by their own choise to actively avoid situations that could lead to flirting, etc.

    For men, in particular, a lot of being a Real Man is tied up in being able to get sex with hot ladies more-or-less on demand, and you feel like if you can’t do that you’re a failure.
    It doesn’t need to have anything to do with being a Real Man!
    Going years on end without (ever) being seen as attractive/sexy, can really wear you down also on a personal level.

  16. Valter Viglietti says:

    Having sex is terrific.
    Not having sex when you don’t feel like to, is just as fine. :cool:

    @Ozy Frantz: “my first impulse is to say “I can correct that problem!” I wish that were generally considered a polite reaction… ”
    Hooray to you!!! :mrgreen:

  17. I lost my virginity very very late into my adulthood. I don’t regret this because I knew that as a man I wasn’t ready. I’ve refused the advances of my cousins best friend who wanted to “teach me”, I’ve left drunk/high women in hotel rooms with a kiss on the cheek, I spent my entire military career sexless and to me, prostitution is spiritual suicide although I have given a small fortune to strip clubs. (hell, I’ve put more women through college then the NAACP)

    Men have to know that sex is a form of self exultation. It’s a gift for you being you, from someone who cares about you or even when it’s just you.

    Sex is not something you do to prove your worth to society, its something you do because you and your partner deserves to feel good, but the 1st step is to feel good about yourself.

    • Dolores Haze says:

      Calling prostitution spiritual suicide is degrading to sex workers and our clients. It might not be okay for you – it might be spiritual suicide for YOU individually – and that’s fine. But we deserve respect.

      • Your line of work feeds on vulnerable men, Don’t lecture me about respect especially when your selling false validation.

        • Dolores Haze says:

          Stripping is a branch of sex work, and you said you have spent money at strip clubs. If you think prostitution preys on vulnerable men and sells false validation, uh… how is stripping any different?

          There’s no need to be pissed off and insist that sex workers deserves no respect. Prostitutes don’t “prey” on customers any more than a dancer does when she smiles and flirts and pretends to be interested in customer so she can sell a lap dance. I can’t yield to your insistence that prostitutes are evil. It sounds personal to you. (And of course it is to me.)

          • Valter Viglietti says:

            Dolores, to me sex workers are workers, period. They are selling their services to anybody is interested (and clients are buying by free will, not coercition; so, what’s the problem?).
            The fact that some kind of prostitution has always been with us, is telling that sex working is no “evil”, but part of human nature (OTOH, pimping is a serious crime and should be prosecuted).

            If somebody doesn’t like their services, just don’t buy it – it’s that simple.
            People against sex workers, like anything sex-negative, are projecting their own issues – judgment, shame, guilt…

            Personally, I’m glad you’re here and contributing your point of view on the subject.
            It’s about time sex workers make their voice heard. :)

        • Prostitutes “prey” on their customers in exactly the same way that charities prey on the privileged, doctors prey on the sick, and supermarkets prey on the hungry.

          Just because there’s money exchanged doesn’t mean that anybody’s being deceived or lied to (I know that when I give to a charity some of that money will go into administrative costs, but the good it can do outweighs that), it doesn’t mean that there’s no kind of personal connection between the people involved (would you visit a therapist you couldn’t get along with on a personal level?) and it doesn’t mean that somebody has to lose out on the deal (when I buy bread, the store gets the money and I get the bread).

          So do you have a problem with sex, a problem with a person using their skill set to make a living, or a problem with the exchange of legal tender for goods and services?

        • David Byron says:

          No no I think you have the emphasis wrong there. It’s fair to talk about men’s needs as a form of addiction perhaps but that metaphor doesn’t make sex workers into pushers because the need is there quite naturally. I mean what would you have women do? Doesn’t a sex worker have to make a living just the same as anyone else? Does a supermarket feed on our vulnerable need to eat food?

          And if you don’t see men’s sexual needs as an unhealthy addiction I have no idea where you are coming from.

  18. But all of that crud… it’s your brain. It’s not objective reality. It is your mind telling you things that are probably not true.
    How so? When you have nothing but a long trail of failure to your name in the realms dating/relationships/sex how can that be seen as anything else other than reality? Sure you can say that it’s a matter of “you haven’t met the right one yet” but that seems to depend on the numerical impossibility of crossing paths with every single person on the planet that matches your orientation. So it comes off sounding like “It’s not the objective reality because you haven’t met everyone (that matches your orientation).”

    For me personally this is no longer a matter of doing something to be considered a “real man” (but thanks for acknowledging that this can be a part of it for some of us). It’s gotten to the point where I’m left wondering if I’m even a person anymore. When you go decades and have no relationships, no dates, and extremely little sex it’s not that hard for the mind to wonder about such things. And I’m not sure said thoughts are necessarily wrong.

    As for turning down sexual advances I’ve done that exactly once in my life. And I did it because said sexual advances were coming from a woman that was extremely drunk. I mean yeah she was going on about how sexy I was and was trying to have sex with me (including sticking her hands down my pants and trying to take my clothes off) but there was something wrong with the situation, and I’m not talking about the immorality of having sex with a drunk person (but yes that is wrong).

    If you are only ever called things like “sexy” and “attractive” and “hot” when the person saying them is drunk, it hurts. If the only experience you have of someone being highly interested in having sex with you is when dealing with a drunk person, it hurts. When I tell this story and it illicits laughs and wondering why I didn’t “do it”, it hurts.

    • “And I’m not sure said thoughts are necessarily wrong.”
      Unfortunately yes, there are groups of people where the number of people attracted to them is much smaller than the size of the group itself.

      I firmly believe that no matter who you are, somebody out there would consider you attractive. Of course you may not be attracted to them, or you may may never meet them, or you may be merely one among thousands of available people they find attractive, or they may be an utterly horrible person for an unconnected reason, or they may have a prior commitment they don’t wish to break or any number of other things.
      I think I have good reasons for this belief, but it’s still extremely hard to feel that it applies to me, even though intellectually I know it must.

      I want to express my sympathy for you, but I can’t think of a better way than this sentence.

      • Just so I don’t leave nothing but a trail of sadness here I’ll share this bit.

        A week or so ago I had a friend call me up asking what I thought about blind dates. Well I went all into what I thought about blind dates and how she should try them because “you only live once”. Then she told me she was asking because she was thinking of introducing someone to me. Yeah I totally walked into that one I know.

        Anyway I wasn’t comfortable with first contact being a phone conversation (this friend wanted to give her friend my number and her number to me) so I got her to arrange a night out with a group (strength in numbers and all that). So skipping to the next day I spoke to my friend apparently the woman in question actually called me a cutie. Okay I don’t hear compliments like that very often (more like never) so I had to actively fight off the disbelief (and I managed to only ask “Are you sure she said that?” once).

        Maybe in my case there is hope?

        • Danny, there is a chance that the women who call you attractive when drunk genuinely do find you attractive Women are taught that men *should* make the first move (as wrong as that is). When they’re really drunk, many people forget about what you *should* do and stop giving a fuck. It’s very possible that they genuinely found you attractive, but whether due to cowardice or societal conditioning, weren’t able to make those feelings known. It’s also easier to be less embarrassed when you’re drunk. Rejection sucks, we all know this. And for a woman to get rejected sexually, there must be something REALLY wrong with them…since the stereotype is that men want it all the time and with anyone. It’s easier to make excuses to yourself and others afterwards if you’re drunk. There’s a reason it’s called “liquid courage.”

          And about the ‘cutie’ part. For what it’s worth, I’ve seen your pictures on your website (unless they weren’t really of you…you never know online). Based on that and your writing, I would DEFINITELY call you cute and absolutely would consider you an attractive man. This is coming from a woman that society considers very attractive (for now). There’s no reason for immediate disbelief, although I do understand. Many women rarely believe it when they’re told that they’re beautiful, although usually for different reasons.

          • Maybe you have a point about the liquid courage Aya but unfortunately it’s not like you can ever really know the truth. This was a random woman I crossed paths with at a bar in a medium sized city and more than likely will never cross paths with her again. And honestly if I did I’m not sure I could handle dealing with her again. That night REALLY fucked me up. I tried to focus on the good parts of that night (in fact Male Acts of Goodness #46 (or #45): The Caretaker is actually my attempt at trying to do so) but it didn’t work.

            And it also didn’t help that out of the three people (all women) that I told the full story to one asked, “Why didn’t you do it?” (this coming from a woman that was date raped via alcohol) and the other put WAY too much laughter into it (this coming from a woman that I know was sexually abused but I don’t know all the details). If the third hadn’t have been someone like Julie (yeah the one that’s hanging out here) with a good response I’d probably have lost some faith in women in general (yeah it would have been a generalization but when something like that is taken idlely the threshold for generalization drops).

            And about the ‘cutie’ part. For what it’s worth, I’ve seen your pictures on your website (unless they weren’t really of you…you never know online). Based on that and your writing, I would DEFINITELY call you cute and absolutely would consider you an attractive man. This is coming from a woman that society considers very attractive (for now). There’s no reason for immediate disbelief, although I do understand. Many women rarely believe it when they’re told that they’re beautiful, although usually for different reasons.
            Thanks. And yeah those really are picks of me and if you read the Men and Body Image series here a short while back those pics I put up on my posts were actually me as well.

            • I’m going to quickly respond to the part about the female friends you talked to about this and be honest…hopefully not too politically incorrect or generalizing here. These are just my experiences and observations. For a woman to be a good friend to a man, she cheers him on in his sexual endeavors and you hold your tongue. It’s embedded in the cultural stereotypes. If you tell him that he should not/should not have engage/d in a sexual act: You’re jealous. You’re a prude. You’re a bitch, possibly crazy. You secretly want him. You’ve caught feelings and you’re trying to manipulate him into something. It’s lazy, but it’s a lot safer to say “yeah, you should have nailed her!” to a male friend than it is to tell him what’s wrong about the situation and risk coming off and being labeled as one of *those* women.

      • FlyingKal says:

        FWIW, I’m happy at this turn of events for you.

    • “For me personally this is no longer a matter of doing something to be considered a “real man” (but thanks for acknowledging that this can be a part of it for some of us). It’s gotten to the point where I’m left wondering if I’m even a person anymore. When you go decades and have no relationships, no dates, and extremely little sex it’s not that hard for the mind to wonder about such things. And I’m not sure said thoughts are necessarily wrong.”

      That’s my feeling exactly Danny. I’m not the most socially flexible individual, and people like me (and perhaps you?) are vulnerable to extreme isolation, especially as we get older and begin to really need people in our lives.

      The actuarial statistics on single men in their 40s and older are pretty dire. Anecdote is anecdote, but the only confirmed-bachelor straight friend I ever had ended up drinking himself to death at 52. The only sociability he found was at his corner bar. Part of me was angry as hell at him, but part of me really couldn’t fault him, somehow.

  19. I firmly believe that no matter who you are, somebody out there would consider you attractive.
    See to me this just comes off sounding like a cop out. Like some somebody does exist but the person giving the advice is hiding them behind numerical impossibility for the sake of trying to prove wrong the person that has drawn the conclusion that there is no one out there for them.

    I think this may for some people turn out to have results that range from giving false hope to blinding them from reality.

    But to expend a bit:
    It’s gotten to the point where I’m left wondering if I’m even a person anymore. When you go decades and have no relationships, no dates, and extremely little sex it’s not that hard for the mind to wonder about such things. And I’m not sure said thoughts are necessarily wrong.

    It’s not a question of manliness, it’s a question of heart. Do you have one and/or does it work right? (And just to be clear I’m not talking about the literal heart that pumps blood.) When mired in such a reality it makes you wonder about your heart. If you don’t have one then something is wrong. If it’s not working right something is wrong. Heart is supposed to be what separates the humans from the monsters. And most people, don’t want to be considered monsters.

    Thanks for at least trying Yiab. Even if you couldn’t come up with something better the mere fact that you tried to do so means a lot.

    • “See to me this just comes off sounding like a cop out.”
      If I were saying it to give hope, it would be. The rest of the paragraph is there to say that my belief about attraction isn’t there to give you or anyone else hope for the future, rather it is there to try and boost an internal sense of attractiveness (or rather, reduce an internal sense of unattractiveness).

      Of course you are quite right that some people never do find someone, and I too think that giving false hope is a bad idea. I just think that realizing that there is probably nobody out there for you doesn’t have to make you feel bad about yourself. I hope.

  20. I lost my virginity when I was 22 years old. What I did was lose weight and learn from books.
    Now it didn’t take long for me to get laid once I put my mind to it. It helped that I could read people very well.
    as I see it the gaping holes of ignorance is mostly where our cruelty rests. Just look at medicine. The less we knew during our history. The more we shunned the sick and the ones that tried to threat them.
    I feel that we do the same thing with sex. We don’t know that much about how attraction works so:
    We laugh or deny peoples suffering. Either the one that couldn’t get laid was cursed by something that the person brought on it self or the person wasn’t praying hard enough or wasnt true enough in it’s faith.

    The scary thing is that we seem to want the ignorance in thes matter. Even if that means that some will suffer. I understand why. We love the magic and the thrill of the whole unknown. But is it worth it, considering the pain it inflicts? Because frankly it seems that most are happy despite the hookup or dating scene. Not because of it.

    I think I will say something unpopular now. Maybe we need an fixed authority in this subject? maybe everybody shouldn’t be part of the discussion in what sex is? Oh we can enhoy sex. just like we enjoy modern medicine. But maybe the topic of sex should have her own doctors? Because, as an outsider it felt like most people did more harm then good. I learn’t from pua material. And i am the first to say that most of that stuff is horsepiss. But at least they are trying.

  21. As far as the scarcity thing is concerned.

    I think what is happening is that some guys who have little to no fortune in the realm of sex and relationships are treating the apparent way that women seem to have an easier time finding sex as having an easier time finding meaningful sex.

    Kinda like, “You have more opportunities than I do, so you must be getting more positive results.” While this can hold true on a case to case basis, it’s a stretch to flatly declare that is does hold true overall.

    Of course increased opportunity doesn’t necessarily equal increased results and things get real hairy because the definition of “meaningful” can vary from person to person.

  22. I found this site & have literally been devouring it and everyones’ conversations here as if it were a tall glass of water in the desert. I am a 40-year-old woman trying to be a better human being. I am confused and desperately trying to understand men better. I am grateful, and would like to thank everyone here for their braveness to openly write about their pain, frustration, and confusion regarding sex. So far, this is the longest thread I’ve been tracking. I have read every comment. I believe the more we continue to argue who has it worse, men or women, the more divided we become. It is not easy for any human being who is without companionship and intimacy, and our culture has made it as such. Your discussions are the beginnings of change. Thank you.

    For every 1 man that is “not getting laid,” there is a 1 man not having sex—not being nurtured, caressed, held, listened to, accepted, enjoyed, cherished, loved, nor seen. For every 1 woman that is “not getting laid,” it is the same. I believe we do a disservice to ourselves when we start to argue math or statistics regarding these subjects. Math is *a language* we use to keep airplanes in the sky, do business transactions, and abstract our location in the universe. Math and statistics are helpful for giving blanket statements to initiate a discussion. Math is good for clinical trials. But, statistics frequently dehumanize individuals, invalidating the uniqueness of their beauty or pain. I am witnessing some comments here where it looks like one person or another is feeling invalidated and not heard (not seen) with every comment. I am witnessing pain and loneliness. One of the most painful things a human can experience is not being seen or understood.

    I have gone from being a lifeguard and a model to a sick, depressed, obese person. I witnessed myself transform from being in a body where I got what felt like overwhelmingly too much attention, to becoming completely invisible. I became a non-person, simply because my outsides changed. I’ve returned from the land of being sick, obese, & invisible, but still I will experience periods of such loneliness that I feel I could just break in half. I have been so lonely and desperate for companionship, touch, and comfort, that I would take comfort in the only touch that I had: someone else having to sit or stand next to me on a crowded train, bus, or airplane. I had no touch otherwise. No physical intimacy, sexual or non-sexual. None. It is devastating for the human condition & experienced differently by everyone.

    I would think, “Please, lift your head, look up at me, smile, or talk to me. I’m here. I’m the same as you. Will someone please see me. Will someone try to look. Will someone please smile and say ‘good morning’. Will people please stop thinking I’m a weirdo for trying to initiate a conversation on my bus ride home from work.” Loneliness is something that can be experienced as an individual, but it is also contagious within a population, like smoking.

    If you look at photographs of men from the time when the camera was just invented, you will see men with their arms around each other, touching or holding each other, showing affection. It was completely “normal” socially for men to express affection with each other with touch. I don’t know exactly the date, (1800-something) when homosexuality was a word that was coined and then “normal” intimacy between men which was going on since man became man was suppressed. The only culturally-sanctioned intimacy available came from a religiously-sanctioned relationship (marriage,) or heterosexual sex. Intimacy between men was ruled as “disgusting, unnatural, pathological” homosexuality. Now the predominant socially acceptable (insert average statistic here) norm for touch between males who have outgrown the comfort & safety of their mothers is some kind of dramatic sport, or sex. Thassit. We’re bombarded with hyper-sex in the media, but contradicted with a totally non-logical shaming of the sexual impulse. Now so many non-sexual interactions between men and women are lumped into one classification: sexual. Initiating a conversation: sexual. Looking at someone: sexual. WTF. There’s no breathing room for people to be otherwise. How did all types of companionship or intimacy become all boxed into sex? (Except for women, as we can walk around holding hands, touching each other, go to the bathroom together, etc.)This is so wrong and such a disservice to all humans.

    Also, during the entire time humans have been walking around the planet, there are people who do not get sex. Not to sound callous, but by design, Nature is not exactly fair. There is no sexual partner for *everyone.* Some people will not have sex & that is the nature of things. But it is wholly unnatural and wrong for a culture to deny men/people other kinds of intimacy.

    Yes, it is somewhat “easier” to just have sex. Rub pink parts together. “Masturbate” with another human being. But, seriously, how do you really know you’re going to have “bad” sex without having it? Unless the fact is that *you* won’t have any good sex unless you have emotional intimacy first, which takes time. I honestly am a little put off by this opening statement of basically “I have no sympathy for someone complaining about not getting laid.” What does that really say? They don’t have any sympathy for someone experiencing pain due to lack of physical intimacy. That’s kind of…well, yuck.

    I don’t know how to fix this. I’d perhaps say start by: Lift your head. Be open to connecting with people. Try taking out your earbuds on your commutes. Do not assume being approached by the opposite sex is only for/about sex. Try to see people. The more you look, listen, & try to understand others, the more you’ll realize we are all in this together. We are not so separate. Then relationships, intimacy, and hopefully some sex will come. This desperate separation is artificial, imposed, unhealthy. I feel like I am a feminist in the sense that I wish to empower the manifestation of feminine energy in all humans, as we are all infinite manifestations of the varied mixes of the divine masculine and feminine. (Everything else regarding equality I think should be called the “humanist” movement, but that is a different topic.) Like any living creature or ecosystem we need balance between the prime energies for wellness & happiness—for homeostasis. When wearing my feminist hat, I believe it’s my “job” to support love, intimacy, & touch between men, which is one reason why I am here, devouring this website and all it’s discussions. I’d like to be a better Feminist. It is so wrong that the only culturally acceptable outlet for men to have intimacy is sex, but denied intimacy between brothers, fathers & sons, cousins, best friends, mentors, etc. We’ve got an epidemic of intimacy & touch-deprived human beings, and I’d like to do something about it…

    …So I did. I became a Licensed Massage Practitioner. (I didn’t become a LMP for the sole purpose of touching sex-deprived people, but to help people have less pain.) You can look at a whole slue of scientific studies (try PubMed online) that report scientifically how good for the body & psyche a massage 1x/week or even just 2x/month is. I am not talking about anything sexual, I am talking about providing your body with the wholly needed stimulus of human touch required during their entire lifespan. DO NOT ASK YOUR MASSAGE PRACTITIONER FOR *ANY* KIND “SEXUAL RELEASE.” It is entirely inappropriate and not legal here in the US. 1 full-body, swedish relaxation massage per week can provide the stimulation to the parasympathetic nervous system (something that happens during sex also) that *every* body needs. Try to include massage of your abdomen, where we hold much pain and tension (also your back is directly connected to your abdomen so that will help with chronic low back pain.) Massage is also proven to improve circulation, sleep, decrease anxiety & pain, among other things. Many insurance companies now cover massage. You can go to your PHCP and ask for a prescription for massage simply for mental health reasons. I have several clients that are without injury or pain but are essentially “touch starved,” and understand that it’s a good health habit to recieve massage. I provide a safe space of acceptance and gratitude for them to receive healing, therapeutic touch. It helps tremendously. I encourage people who are touch & intimacy starved to give it a try. Try giving your body some of the physical stimulus of human touch it needs. Massage is perhaps the oldest documented health care practice.

    I’m saying a prayer for everyone here: “Please send everyone here their own tall glass of water while they are in this desert.”

    Thank you. (& TY for tolerating my long-windedness.)

    • Bravo!

      What a deep and profound understanding of the human condition.

      Thank you so much.

    • PursuitAce says:

      Bravo. I am fortunate to live in a world with human beings such as yourself. I am too moved to stay in this mental spot. I must move on now. Thank you.

    • Thank you, this was very beautiful and thoughtful. This “starvation” is what I see all the time, but I never knew how to describe it or what knew what truly influenced it. You’ve provided me a little more clarity, thank you for writing this.

    • A heartfelt post. Nonetheless, it still reeks of trendy feminism and has me put off on multiple points.

      According to you, you once had a beach body and got a surplus of attention. Yet, you found yourself becoming despondent, letting go of your physical appearance, and starving for love. Wow! I had no part in your life, but unless some man (or woman, since I don’t know what you like) beat you and treated you terribly, one has to wonder if you are the problem. Women have a simpler time finding the touch. They can get the “touch” (sex) much easier, but, obviously, it’s tougher to take that to the next level to secure something more meaningful, soulful. I blame you.

      What if I felt attracted to a massage therapist, and I’m starving for intimate touch with a woman? I’m paying, so merely asking her if she’s interested is not inappropriate. In fact, it’s warranted if I want her. I know a lesbo masseuse who provides these types of services in hopes of touching beautiful women. It’s just sex. You treat it as if it’s something completely taboo and off-limits.

      So, you wish to engender love between men? Whatever! I have plenty of “boyfriends” who I am comfortable hugging, sharing deep conversation, etc. in public or private. It is not unacceptable for men to be together, especially in 2013. For Heaven’s sake, have you seen gay pride festivals? You must be lesbian, too. I saw nothing in that post about bringing heterosexual couples together.

      Thanks for trying to understand, but I’d wager that you’re just as lonely as the rest of us. You said that you still experience the despair and the confusion, which is indicative that you have no clue what’s going on. Keep massaging away that loneliness. It’ll keep coming back as long as you squeal at the thought of people having casual sex.

  23. In our society I think sex has too much significance in terms of relationships, and not enough in terms of building simple human connection.
    There is too much emphasis placed on having monogamy, a long-term relationship or marriage as the ultimate goal, so when anyone is engaged in pursuits of a sexual nature it is expected that their goal is to find 1 person to be with forever. For some people, I think this causes the starvation described where you lack physical connection with people. It is because of the emphasis placed on simple touching that invokes implications bigger and more emotionally daunting than people should have to consider. Like, if I sleep with him/her at this point is it too early, will he/she think I’m just a slut/player? Will they lose interest if we don’t do it? Will she think I am gay if I don’t make a move?
    I spent the majority of my college years pursuing girls for purely ego-driven sexual conquests and I can honestly say I never enjoyed any of the sex, and I’m sure none of the girls really enjoyed it either, because most of the time I was doing it out of being conditioned to believe as a man, I am supposed to want and pursue sex anytime it was possible. I got laid a lot. It was never memorable and I remember especially after my freshman year, I went home for the summer and did not know how to relate to girls outside of the college party atmosphere. It ate me up. I felt like a total loser and I realized how I missed the point. It’s not about me or her, it’s about us, together, sharing and communicating. That connection that develops in those rare situations when two people have the same approach, expectations, attraction and motivation are what eludes most of us in our romantic pursuits. We are too often saddled with the belief in formulaic approaches (often from media, films, tv, etc. ) that fail, and with expectations of something so profoundly grand as finding that 1 person who is perfect. And we also have unreasonable views on what is attractive or what we should find attractive, which then clouds our motivation. We are driven to fulfill an image and that leads us further away from individually understanding who we are, what we like, and how we prefer to seek what makes us happy.

  24. So, we are stuck with porn for the rest of eternity until our species become extinct to the ‘users’ getting laid every chance they get all for the sake of a better more ‘money understanding’ way of lifestyle for ‘there’ future are we? THEN LET IT BE!
    .

  25. I haven’t had sex in ages. YOU ARE NOT ALONE!

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