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Jewish Journal

Can we talk about Sex?

by Ilana Angel

August 12, 2011 | 12:12 pm

As my online dating life in hell continues, I cannot help but think about sex and the role it plays in my dating, and search for a relationship.  Whether or not I give it power is irrelevant, because when it comes down to the basics, is it going to be the most important aspect of dating for men, whether I talk about it or not.

To clarify, I’m not saying all relationships should be, or are, built around sex, simply stating that our relationships are often defined by sex.  You can have great sex with someone you don’t love, but can you love someone when the sex is bad?  When searching for your beshert, what comes first, the love or the sex?

Sex is important.  It’s an integral part of not only a committed relationship, but also of dating.  Particularly at my age.  I am a grown up, I’ve had sex, and I am old enough to understand what it is, what it means, whether or not it’s good, and if and when I am ready to bring it into my dating life.

Truth be told, dating and sex don’t mix well.  When getting to know someone, sex changes everything.  Can you build a relationship around great sex?  Can we give ourselves permission to use sex as a way to get to know someone?  Sadly, when it comes to sex, I’m not that cool.

In reviewing the last ten men I had dates with, there was only one that I was attracted to in that way, but we only had one date, which was probably because he was not interested in me that way.  Sexual attraction is very powerful and I wonder if it matters more to men or women.

It does not seem to matter to online dating sites because there is no mention of it.  People write about it certainly, but nobody really talks about it, or allows a place within a profile for it to be clarified.  How much easier would online dating be if sex were part of your profile?

Men write they are looking for a relationship that includes sex, and it would appear most of those men are recently divorced so I could assume there was not a lot of sex in their marriages.  I suppose it could be they are simply evolved and able to talk about it, but probably not.

Men can list what they are looking for, yet in looking around both Match.com and JDate, I could find no women who spoke of their sexuality.  Perhaps there is a fear that if a woman says she is interested in sex, a man will perceive her a certain way, a way that in her mind, is not good.

I have written before that I am looking for a relationship that is sexual, not a sexual relationship, and I wonder if by saying such a thing I am perceived as loose or easy.  How very sad that at the age of 45 I am not able to say I am a sexual person for fear of being labeled a slut.

There is no comfortable way to talk about sex when dating.  You just don’t know how people view it.  If a woman talks about sex, even in the most abstract way, men take it as an invitation to be liberal in their sex talk, and that is a turn off.  Can’t we talk about sex and still be decent?

I want to be in love and I want us to have an intimate and satisfying sex life.  When I was younger sex was easier to have.  Not that’s it’s hard to find people to have sex with now, but the older I get the easier it is to not have it, over having it with someone I am not in love with.

I’m not saying I would not sleep with someone until we were in love, I’m just saying casual sex is not an option.  Not that it ever really was, but it’s different now.  I am 45 years old, looking for love, and in doing so have discovered sex and love go hand in hand at this stage of my life.

The bigger issue is this, if I am looking for love, and cannot find it, and I attach sex to love, if I never find love, does that mean the sexual part of my life is over?  Am I at a place in life where I am able to embrace sex and how great it is, only to realize there is nobody to have sex with?

I got an email from a man on JDate who wrote in his profile that he wants to be with a woman who “craves sex”. My date last week said he could not decide to date me until we had sex.  For a subject that we don’t openly talk about, it holds a lot of power over us, how we present ourselves.

Dating is hard and love is elusive.  I hate dating, but I want love, so how does that work?  I am sexual, but sex without love is not appealing, so how does that work?  Men talk about sex is creepy, and women talking about sex is slutty, so is the lesson we don’t talk about sex?

Is sex discussed in marriages?  Are married people having as much sex as single people?  Are married people having sex with the people they are married to? Can you be happily married and have sex with someone other than your spouse?  How does married sex work?

I was married from ages 25 to 30 so I can’t go back to my own marriage and ask these questions because a) our sex life was very good and b) we are different sexually when we are young, newlyweds, and starting a family.  How is it something can be so good and so bad?

I’m not sure why I felt the need to talk about this.  Perhaps it was the Match.com email I received from a man who wrote to tell me he’d like to take me out dinner, then buy me breakfast.  I am one day closer to another cat.  Some days you need to just breathe in deeply, and keep the faith.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Ilana Angel writes two blogs for JewishJournal.com. KEEPING THE FAITH is about her worldview as a single Jewish mother, and KEEPING IT REAL is all about reality television....

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