Today’s advice goes out to a flirtatiously challenged teen and a nympho government worker, by Karley Sciortino.
I’m 18, reasonably pretty, friendly and open-minded, and yet I have absolutely no sex/love life. I have zero game and am hopeless at flirting. Everything that’s ever happened for me relationship-wise has been the result of other people approaching me, and me either accepting or declining. I’m about to have lots of opportunities to meet new boys because I’m starting a new job and doing university taster courses. I’m bored of being lonely and waiting for guys to like me. How do I pick up guys without embarrassing myself? Thanks, A Very Frustrated Teenager
OK, it’s not 1912. Girls don’t have to wait for boys to ask them to the dance anymore. It’s time to take charge of your own vaj/life/vagenda.
I was at a party a couple years ago, and was feeling kind of flirtatiously challenged because I’d just gotten out of a long relationship, and felt out of practice. There was a really hot guy at the party, and after I’d spent the whole night freaking out about how to approach him and what to say, eventually my fed-up friend was like, “Oh my god, it’s not rocket science: just walk up to him and say ‘Can I give you my number?’”
It seemed suspiciously easy, but I tried it, and it worked–he said yes, I put my number in his phone, and he texted a couple days later. And afterward I realized that “Can I give you my number” is literally the perfect pick-up line, because it’s almost embarrassment proof. People are unlikely to say no to taking a number, because there’s no risk involved for them–if they don’t want to call you, they don’t have to. You’re not asking them to give out their number, which takes the pressure off. What’s also great is that by giving them your digits, you’re putting the ball in their court for the future--they’re the one who has to stress-out about if and when to call you, or how to fashion a casual text, etc, whereas all you have to do is wait. If they get in touch, great, but if not, who cares, you don’t know them anyway.
Having said that, I generally believe that people should be less afraid of rejection when it comes to dating. I say that a lot on this blog, but it’s true. Consider this: if you ask your crush out and he says no, you’re still in the same position as you are now: alone. So really, you can only gain from trying, and have nothing to lose (except a teeny tiny bit of your dignity, but that recovers fast). Just think of yourself an as actor, acting like the sort of person who’s confident enough to ask someone out on a date. (Also, actors have to deal with a lot of rejection, so it all makes total sense.)
I’m a 24 year old girl, and I recently went to a fetish party where I let a guy eat me out and fuck me in front of other people. There were assigned “sex rooms,” but we fucked in the hallway, not caring in the moment, but thinking back, people could have taken videos. Damn my exhibitionism! I haven’t had sex since then, because honestly I’m scared of what I could become if I let this dark energy within me loose. I think I have major potential to become like Joe from Nymphomaniac. I have recurring dreams where I ask two physically repulsive men to fuck me, and I enjoy it, which disturbs me greatly because it shows that deep inside I’m just a depraved sex addict who doesn’t give a fuck. I would love to be the biggest slut imaginable but I know sadly this kind of behavior has consequences. How slutty can I get away with being without compromising my future? I would love to participate in artistic and feminist erotic videos and photoshoots, but I’m working toward a future in government. How should I go about this? Is it okay to show my face if I use a fake name? Help, Kendra
OMG OK, a lot going on here.
First of all, I’ll get it out of the way and say that it’s not bad to sleep with a lot of people, or to be a slut. That’s fine–you just have to go about it safely and respectfully, which isn’t that hard. Joe’s problem in Nymphomaniac wasn’t that she was obsessed with sex–for most of the movie she loves being a nympho and is having the best time ever!–but that as the years go on, she begins to associate guilt and shame with her obsession (which is largely the result of the sex-negative society she/we live in), and the people her obsession has caused her to hurt along the way.
One of my close friends is an extremely successful lawyer, and she’s a sex maniac who goes to sex parties almost every weekend. She’s in a happy open marriage, and proudly states that she’s banged almost 1000 people in her lifetime–totally cray (where does she find the time?!). She’s the perfect slut success story because she doesn’t let guilt or fear get in the way of her having the life she wants. Putting up walls for yourself, or telling yourself you’re not allowed to do things, just makes you want to do those things more, which in turn drives you crazy. You should have all the fun you want, just be discrete(ish), use a condom, and don’t fuck your friend’s boyfriends or all of your governmental colleagues, and you’ll be fine. And maybe carry a pocket-sized vibrator with you, so that if you’re having a horny emergency you can just take care of yourself quickly in a public bathroom, rather than pulling a Monica Lewinsky.
If you are working toward a career in government, I’m sorry, but you just can’t be in erotic videos or photos, even if you have a fake name. I wish we lived in a society that didn’t stigmatize erotic performers, or people who get fucked by strangers in public places, but dammit, we just do. It’s widely known that it’s very hard for people who do porn to have a career outside of the sex industry afterward. One of my favorite feminist porn stars, Stoya, is very active in helping people who are thinking about entering the adult industry get real, safe information about the reality of that type of work. One of the things she’s repeatedly saying is: “A stage name is not going to fool people, because you have the same face! If you are naked in front of a camera your friends and family will see it, all of your future employers will see it, and there will be people who don’t understand who will say really nasty things about you.” This is just the reality. For example, I’ve done some naked “art” videos and have since had to reconcile the fact that my dad has seen me naked licking a banana or whatever–so terrifying. But thankfully, my job is literally the polar opposite of working for government, so it’s kind of OK. But we all know the government loves a scandal, and you don’t want that scandal to involve you!
Lastly, I’ve been to sex parties like the one you described. I’m not telling you not to be careful, but generally, the type of people who frequent those parties are very familiar with the rules and boundaries of the poly/sex party/exhibitionist scene, and are generally very respectful. I’ve never seen anyone break out a camera at a party like that, because people treat others how they want to be treated, and clearly no one there wants to be filmed. But we always have to be wary of creeps, so from now on just be 1% less rebellious and fuck inside the dedicated fuck zones. Happy slutting!
Main image by Nan Goldin