May 7

Having a Voice

May 7, 2014

Dating

Hannah told me she’d had sex with so many men that she couldn’t even begin to count them.

“Why?” I asked.

“I don’t know.”

“Sure you do.”

“I’m not sure. It makes it easy to start a relationship.”

“Sure it does,” I said. “Most men are only too willing to have sex with a willing partner. If you put out any vibes that you’re WILLING to have sex—and you really do, because I’ve watched you—you wouldn’t have any difficulty at all finding men to have sex with you. But the question is, even though you can BEGIN a relationship with sex, is sex ever enough to make a relationship work?”

“No.”

“Sex is never enough, is it?”

“No.”

“So if you know that, when men ask for sex, why don’t you just say NO?”

“I’m not sure.”

“The answer is not complicated. If you didn’t ever have sex with a guy in the beginning of a relationship, what would you use to have a relationship?”

“I don’t know.”

“And THAT is the problem, isn’t it? Without sex—and I’m guessing some alcohol to make it even easier—you wouldn’t know how to relate to a man, would you?”

“Not really.”

“You’ve been having sex with guys since you were how old?”

“Thirteen.”

“Regularly?”

“Yes.”

“So sex is all you’ve ever had as a tool for relationships. For a very long time. But I know you well. You’ve been practicing Real Love for a while now. You DO have the personality, and the ability to engage in conversation, and the honesty that could create a great relationship.”

“Really?”

“Yep. Now you just need to trust that what I’m saying is true. AND you need to learn a skill.”

“What skill?”

“Before you can use the real relationship skills you already have, first you’d have to stop using sex. So you just need to learn to say no. I’ll teach you.”

“Okay.”

When people are unsure of themselves, they almost always tend to over-explain themselves. So without help, if a man leaned on Hannah for sex, she would tend to explain why she preferred not to, and the guy would begin an argument that he’d almost certainly win. So I taught her what to say to a man asking for sex.

“Just say that you’re only interested in dinner and conversation.”

“Oh, that won’t satisfy them,” she said. “They’ll push for drinks, then going to a club, and before you know it, we’ll be having sex.”

“I completely understand. That’s why you can’t explain yourself. Never. You simply repeat, over and over, ‘All I want is dinner and conversation.’”

Hannah was skeptical that this would work, but after her next date she called me and said, “I did it. I said exactly what you said, and he tried in a bunch of ways to get me to go out drinking and dancing, and I knew where that would go. So I just repeated what you told me to say, and I’ll be darned, he finally quit pushing me. He left. He was irritated, but he left. It’s the first date I’ve ever been on where a guy wanted sex and I said no. Can you believe that? The first time in almost thirty years of dating. It’s kind of embarrassing.”

“You finally have a voice, dear. That’s a pretty powerful thing. Nice work. Now, keep your voice.”

We’re all inherently worthwhile. We have the right to say no to situations we’re not comfortable with. And we don’t have to explain ourselves. We can just say no.

Real Love in Dating

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