Tag Archives: Dating

Sex with Strangers: The Allure of Anonymous Coupling

Fantasies are like opinions—everyone’s got one.

Whether it’s full-fledged fetish or minimal kink, filming amateur porn or voyeurism, there’s a unique—or universal—fantasy for everyone. Recently I asked a handful of my best lady pals about their ultimate sexual fantasy, and along with the obligatory torrid affairs with famous actors and rock n’ rollers, the tie-me-up-tie-me-down scenario, and role play sessions, the most popular desire was steamy no strings sex with strangers. Yes, sex with strangers.

While anonymous sex always sounds dangerously appealing—I mean, who hasn’t dreamed about an impromptu liaison with an unknown lover in a dark alley?—I was curious about the origins of this fantasy and why it was so incredibly common among such a wide range of women.

I can’t speak for all women, but in my experience, sex with a stranger is somehow easier to perform mainly because my feelings and inherent need to attach emotionally are not at the forefront of the experience, or as my smart-as-a-whip friend Lucy says, “It’s sex with no repercussions.” I believe that sex incognito-style ignites the passion reflex in so many women simply because it allows us to divorce ourselves from the mind-fuck of sexual intercourse, and enables us to speak and think only with the intuitive motions of the body. It’s a liberating experience for some, and a way to heighten desire and release hold of the inhibitions we might experience with tried-and-true lovers. There are a lot of things you are willing to try with someone you know you’ll never meet again, and this newfound courage can be simply intoxicating.

While I know many women who have had smoking hot stranger sex, there is also a reason why this is merely a fantasy for most. In the same way that we want to not over-anazylize the monogamous sex we’re having, I think that many women will find that getting frisky with a complete unknown will also spark anxious thoughts about STDs, your partner’s sexual past, and even the potentiality of feeling dirty or emotionally low post-coitus. It’s this frequent over-analyzing that is so hard for women to abandon even though it’s extremely detrimental to our sex lives. It’s kind of a fucked if you do/fucked if you don’t scenario. Have the lustful no-commitment sex and over-think it, or have the loving sex with your partner and over-think it. There is good reason why we fantasize about lovemaking without the self-imposed thought spiral.

If only we could find some way to incorporate the mindlessness of a casual encounter into monogamy…

When I think back upon my younger and wilder days, most of my sexual experiences were lackluster and unremarkable mainly because I was sleeping with random people rather than an attentive lover who actually cared about getting me off. Up until age 24, I had only had short flings and one-night stands, never developing that bond or orgasm-centric sex that comes with monogamy. In addition, I used to walk away from these trysts feeling empty and unsatisfied because the very thing we are collectively running away from in our stranger sex fantasies (routine, safety, comfort) can be the very thing that makes coupling so rewarding.

Perhaps it was my fear of attachment, or my need to experience the newness of a random partner, but after a while I got really freaked out by the fact that I was sharing such an intimate side of myself with people who didn’t even know my last name—or even my first name for that matter. The twenty-one-year-old professional surfer I lost my virginity to impolitely asked me what my name was after we performed the dirty deed, and while there are a string of past lovers whose faces I will never forget, their names completely slip my mind. Unfortunately so does the sex.

Since a large majority of women in their late-twenties and early-thirties aren’t going to satisfy this desire for an anonymous hook-up, how we can recreate this anything-goes, inhibition-free sex with your partner? Is it even possible? In a perfect scenario your sex life is just as hot—or even hotter—than when you met. But what if you need to put your bedroom romps back in the XXX zone? I would suggest taking some time to recognize what your current fantasies involve—do you want to be tied up? Do you want to recreate a steamy scene you saw in a movie? Do you want to try posing for sexy photos then see where the evening leads?—and then share this information with your partner, no matter how weird you think it might sound. He’s guaranteed to have some equally as hot fantasies up his sleeve. Communicating desires that you can act out together will allow you to have the thrill that you might associate with a one-night stand and the safety and security that only your partner can provide. Talk about a win-win situation where everybody gets off.

Now what are your favorite fantasies?

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Let’s Get Wet: Practical tips for a sexual dry spell

When it comes to the realms of sex and coupling, sometimes it’s hard to not let the dark storm clouds of daily life bombard the bedroom. In the past I have been able to shelf my personal life outside of the boudoir and focus on the tactile task at hand. But last year when I was hit hard by the failing economy and laid off from my steady editorial gig, my lack of work and the financial strain that came with it put my libido in major cool down mode. Before the layoff my sex life had never been affected by life’s inevitable highs and lows, but once my unemployment was in full swing I found it hard to get down or get in the mood. With my troubled thoughts forcing me into a self-imposed metaphorical chastity belt, the lack of intimacy turned my once hot-and-heavy relationship into an artic war zone. While I’m not looking to give you a fight-by-fight lowdown on how I managed to stave off the acrimonious bad vibes of my bedroom and successfully re-conquered my feminine mojo, I want to offer some first-hand advice on how to push forward through troubled times with your sex drive fully functioning and your relationship in tact. Here is a practical guide for how to break a dry spell from someone who lived through it.

Always Make Time for Intimacy

No matter what you’ve been through emotionally that day, or how many bills you had to pay or cover letters you slaved over, there needs to be room in your life for intimacy—and that doesn’t necessarily mean full-on foreplay or sex. Sometimes just cozying up with your significant other on the couch, or taking a shower together at the end of a long day can be enough love-charged physicality. Also, with all that snuggling and shower time you’re more likely to end up in a steamy make out sesh than you would if you both sit stiffly on your designated sides of the couch. I found that any intimacy—even if it feels forced at first—will help steer you on the path back to romance.

Masturbate Daily

While you might not be feeling outwardly sexual, why not stoke your own fire with self-love sessions that will not only boost your libido, but are sure to stimulate energy and help to promote a better state of well being. Getting yourself reacquainted with the touch of your own hands—or your favorite toy of choice—will help to increase your desire for sexual engagements with your partner. It’s amazing how much the fantasies that you (literally) touch on during masturbation can spike a hunger for more sensuality, even if you’re in a depressed state of mind. So when you learn to love yourself again it becomes easier and almost impossible not to transfer that love to someone else.

Not In the Mood? Don’t Forget to Please Your Partner

When you’re down in the proverbial dumps it’s easy to become introspective and withdrawn. Since I went through this myself I can say that this can translate to self-focused behavior, which can leave your lover out in the cold. It is so very important for you to get outside your head once in a while and focus your love ray solely on your partner in pleasure. Devote some quality time to doing all the dirty things they love, because they are helping you through your hard transition, why not repay them the favor in spades. Work your magic for your significant other, whether it’s through monumental blowjobs, a much-needed massage or cleaning the apartment naked—even the smallest thing can help make a difference. My one regret was not focusing enough attention on my boyfriend because of my unrelenting fixation on my own negative thoughts. Believe me, your loved one will be thankful for the effort and will definitely enjoy the thrill of unexpected gratification.

What’s the Temperature of Your Sex Life?

Photo by Diane Arbus

It goes without saying that sex is an integral part of any healthy relationship. But after watching this week’s intimacy-themed episode of Tough Love Couples on VH1, I was completely blown away by how many people (on the show and beyond) are dissatisfied with the all-important sexual component of their partnerships. Some of the couples never have sex (one boyfriend described his sex life as “ice cold”), and one very unlucky woman has never experienced an orgasm—which is not surprising seeing as recent studies report that around 10% of women have never had one. The bottom line: when the sex isn’t working there’s definitely larger issues at hand.

The sex-related problems of these televised twosomes range from trust issues and infidelity to communication and the understanding of each other’s unique desires, but something that struck me as odd was the fact that the couple dubbed the “Dramaramas,” who notoriously fight dirty, were the pair with the most successful sex life. Funnily enough, my boyfriend and I thought that comical title would be most apt for our own love story. While we are both lovers, we are also fighters, but this seems more like a personality thing rather than a fatal flaw—if you ask anyone they’d describe both of us as opinionated hot heads.

"Tough Love Couples" cast members, courtesy of VH1

In some cases though, frequent verbal sparring might be covering up for something lacking in the bedroom—I am always telling people that if I’m not fucking, I’m fighting—or it’s an indication that perhaps the romance is over and it’s time to move on. But honestly, I am really convinced that a healthy dose of conflict helps to keep you interested. Love and hate are so closely linked, and when you get your tempers enflamed it’s hard not to get all fired up, if you know what I mean. They didn’t call it “hate sex” for nothing.

While fighting isn’t a solution by any means, it is a good gauge for seeing the dynamics of a relationship. It forces you to ask questions like, “is there enough fire here to maintain this?” and “what exactly is the glue that’s holding us together?” If there’s still love and attraction between a couple the conflict most likely stems from sexual tension—I know this from experience. And, in reality, if I find myself in a situation with someone where all we do is fight and everything about them annoys me (which seems like the case with the couples on the show) then it’s obvious that there’s nothing left but animosity between us.

I did find myself in this situation with my ex-boyfriend of three-years. It became apparent that I was using him as a placeholder until I could come up with a better plan, or find a better man. It got to the point where the thought of having sex with him would literally turn my stomach (why did he always smell like sweaty balls?), and we would maybe see each other once a week for an awkward dinner outing and a chaste goodbye kiss in his car. When I finally broke it off with him, he was so blindsided it was painful for me to watch, but ultimately I knew that neither of us were growing or moving forward and I, myself, was far from happy.

I guess what I am really trying to say is that I think everyone benefits from taking action. Whether this means taking positive action and making an effort to love and respect your partner in a way that will make you both happier, learning to communicate what you both want so you will spend more time satisfied in the sack than fighting it out verbally, or to stand up and address what you truly want and need and if your needs aren’t being met then leave, dammit! It’s like what a wise man once told me, it’s better to be alone and happy then with someone and miserable

Quote of the Week: Rachel Shukert

photo courtesy of Guy Bourdin

Where do we draw the line between empowerment and objectification? It’s a wonderful feeling to be validated for our beauty and sex appeal, but it’s easy for men (and women) to take advantage and exploit this inherent need we have to be adored and admired. Writer Rachel Shukert wrote a great piece about this very subject on Salon.com, in which she shares her own questioning of whether vanity is really worth the emotional and possibly harmful repercussions. Here’s a great quote from the piece. Enjoy!

“[T]he moment I put my very human craving for admiration in someone else’s hands is the moment I lost what was worth admiring.” –Rachel Shukert

Please read her interesting take on female objectification on Salon.com

Question of the Day: Can You Forgive A Cheating Heart?

Is kissing NOT cheating? Can you forgive a cheating heart?

Cheating is a huge no-no in relationships—that goes without saying. But are there forms or different levels of cheating that are more forgivable? Many people believe that kissing is not cheating, or like on the most recent episode of VH1’s reality relationship show Tough Love Couples, a “harmless” rub-and-tug with the boys doesn’t constitute  adulterous behavior. We all have our own moral code, and different rules for fidelity, but if the tables were turned and you were the one who was cheated on, would you be able to forgive your partner? What would be forgivable cuckquean (or cuckold) practices and which things  would you not be able to get over? Is your partner’s sexual trespass harder to forgive than an emotional affair? Where do we draw the line with cheating, and what to you really constitutes infidelity?

Date Like A Hunter: Don’t Be Afraid to Make the First Move

Artemis, the Goddess of the Hunt.

Over a remarkably great pizza dinner last night in Brooklyn, my girlfriend and I talked about the two distinct types of lady daters—those who pursue, and those who prefer to be chased—and how this all ties into rejection, or the fear of it.

Being part of the former category myself, I find that in dating I pretty much always get what I want. I would encourage all women to try their well-manicured hand at pursuing, if only just once. Being the hunter-dater (even just for one night) is empowering, rewarding, and an instant ego-boost. I quickly learned that rejection is less like being turned down and more like not being a right fit; like a pair of too-narrow vintage snakeskin heels or that practically child-sized Herve Leger dress that just ain’t gonna fit! Remember, rejection is what you make of it. When actually faced with rejection—which rarely happens the way you’d think it would—I would consider it to not be an end-of-the-world dramatic situation and something more along the immortal lines of the king of the compulsive daters, Mick Jagger. The notoriously salacious singer—who most likely never experienced rejection—famously sang: “you can’t always get what you want/but if you try sometimes you might find/ you get what you need.” While this might seem trite or cliche, following this as your mantra will help you see the benefits of being romantically rebuffed, and to view it as a way to weed out the people who aren’t right in the first place. Like a biological imperative where if two single people don’t share that intangible pheromone-driven instant attraction to each other, then it’s just plain and simply not meant to be. Darwinist dating, anyone?

In reality, women rarely get rejected. This is something that us ladies really need to recognize. Because, let’s face it, men have an extremely hard time saying no to the mighty va-jay-jay. Unless you have a peg-leg, or some kind of flesh-eating disease it’s almost guaranteed that you can make a successful move on a man—given that he’s flashed you those telling signs that he’s game for a rendezvous, and isn’t gay, taken, or celibate. Men are transparent, easy-to-read, and pretty much defenseless when an attractive woman offers up the possibility of sex—because in the mind of a man that’s what all this courtship/dating hoopla eventually leads up to.

Armed with the knowledge that the rejection percentage is in your favor, some of the fear related to asking a dude out should diminish. While it’s still nerve wracking to put on the moves, there are some sure-fire signs to detect whether he’s feeling you. If you’re in a bar or group setting, ask yourself a few questions: has he’s been buying you drinks, or has he been attentive to you most of the night? Are there other girls around that he has been ignoring to talk to you? Has he touched you? If you’ve answered “yes” to any of these questions, or feel a spark of interest on his end, I would totally go for it. For example, it might seem silly, but even a seemingly innocuous tap on the shoulder or playful punches on the arm can equal an implied sexual tension that you can capitalize on. Playfulness usually translates as unactualized interest. Like the whole notion of why characters in Shakesperian plays fought so much amongst themselves: sexual frustration. Think of these love taps as a phenomenon that harkens back to our elementary school days when the boys would chase the girls around the playground, hurling insults and pulling at our perfectly coiffed hair or pulling at our pink garden party dresses. This was merely a primordial—and brutish—stage of flirtation. Men, and boys alike, have a hard time coherently expressing interest sometimes, and if you can locate the signs or have an intuitive sense of when a man is vibe-ing you sexually, you have the advantage and I would whole-heartedly encourage you to maximize on this.

Perhaps one night you should take this hunter-dating mentality out on a test drive just to see what it feels like, and to see if your inherent guy-sense is working or not. Remember, dating is like anything in life, the more you do it the better you get. If anything you’ll have an exciting time honing your hunting, er, dating skills.