The No-Sex Preemptive…

2 Feb

A few times recently I have heard girlfriends begin their tales of new-found romance with “I let him know beforehand that I wasn’t going to sleep with him.” This forewarning is relayed as if a no-brainer: “I told him before we started anything that it wasn’t gonna be tonight.”

Don’t get me wrong, it’s either party’s prerogative to opt for or against the sex act; but the idea that the forewarning holds simply because it’s put out there seems odd to me. It’s a kind of card that seemingly only the woman holds. (Or at least those are the stories I hear…) Perhaps it rings false to me because it rests on the assumption that the male member of the duo will always opt for sex than not. But is this necessarily the case? And doesn’t the far-ahead-of-time declaration seem fairly presumptuous?

I’m sure that I have been guilty of these assertions: hooking up with someone new–inebriated and restless, wanting to mess around but already foreseeing post-hook-up regrets, it seems rational to state ahead of time “there’ll be no sex tonight!”

Interestingly, it’s the feminist in me that both sees the need for such warning and finds the very warning disingenuous. Yes, a woman always must maintain the right (both physically and verbally) to say no. But when engaging in the beginnings of seduction it just seems downright contradictory to brandish the declaration. An empowering canard, if you will, where actions are declared to be null and void, if they reach a certain point.

Maybe it’s the idea that messing around is a linear movement that can only reach sexual intercourse–rather than being a sexual continuum, that sticks in my craw. When a friend was confiding in me about her recent meeting, and used the declaration mid-story, I asked her what the point of it all was. She said that she thinks that it’s really what most men (who are interested in more than a one-night-stand) what to hear. To screw at the first meeting/date/drunken escapade is to not leave the man with something else to look forward to; it makes the man think the woman’s a slut.

If this is really the thinking behind the speech than no wonder it bewilders me; the structure is suspect: women have to hold their cards to their chest at first, because to show their hands on the first date is to bare all. To want to see someone again, and to sleep with them right away, cannot be done.

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