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Guest post! “I would like to be GGG for my new chap, but we’re taking it reallllllllllly slow.” (Question #105)

A big exclamation point.

With great kink comes great responsibility: Use your words!

I’m still posting at Feministe this week, most recently about how The Interrupters allowed me to finally process and write about some of the violent incidents I witnessed in my old neighborhood.  The filmmaker is a personal hero of mine, so when he stopped by to comment I had a little geek-out involving many exclamation points.

Today we have a guest-post from Holly at The Pervocracy.  She writes great stuff like How Not To Be Creepy and a monthly Cosmocking series and this pretty amazing breakdown of Why Does She Stay With That Jerk? from the perspective of someone who patches up domestic violence victims in the ER, and also sometimes about kinky kinky sex.

Hi Captain!

I have a problem. It’s a problem that might just work itself out in time but, being an incredibly impatient person, I’m worrying at it like a dog with a sock.

I have a new chap in my life. According to him, we’re “dating”. Being fairly new to this singles scene (I broke up with my boyfriend of seven years a year ago and haven’t really done much ‘dating” since), I guess that means that we’re keen on each other, but not yet committed (?). Which is fine with me since we’ve only known each other a month and since we met over “one of *those*” websites. That sounds justification-y, doesn’t it? I don’t have a problem with how we met…other than it’s harder to know much about a person other than what they tell you. As in, there’s no external context to them. So this guy is *this way* and says he’s *this way* and I have to accept that he truly is *this way* since I have no other point of reference. Mind you, nothing that he’s said or done over the last four weeks has indicated to me that he is anything other than what he says he is, so I’m getting to trust. (As well as being impatient, I’m not great on trust).

So, anyway. Here’s the maybe-problem. Everything is going really slowly. Why is that a problem? Because nothing has ever gone really slowly for me! Ever! The last boyfriend (he of the seven years) moved in with me after a month. We were sleeping together by the end of the first week. That’s the way I roll. And maybe there’s vast layers of my own dysfunctional history in that, and I’m not saying that going slowly isn’t The Best Thing Ever…it’s just unusual for me. And my head is now in the way. Maybe he doesn’t desire me? Maybe he likes me, but only as a friend? Maybe I kind of repulse him on some level? Why isn’t he hitting on me??? Isn’t that what men do?

Bear in mind that in other respects it’s all been quite full on. He’s been in my house four or five times. Three of those times we’ve ended up in bed together. We’ve slept together (literally), we’ve held each other and kissed and touched and it’s all been quite lovely; but nothing has progressed beyond…well, the neck. As in….second base?

And the complicating factor: he’s also told me that he’s into D/s. And that he’s the s. Which is where the GGG comes in, because I’ve been as vanilla as they come in my past relationships; but I would say that I’m game and actually quite excited to explore this, if he’s interested in helping me along. But in the context of our currently super-chaste relationship…argh!

 I don’t know what to do now. The old me would drink a bottle of wine and attempt to seduce him. The new me doesn’t want to do anything while drunk, and really doesn’t want to scare him off. Am I overthinking this (yes, obviously)? And how do I stop overthinking this? How do I figure out what I should do? Something? Nothing? Help

-Speedy

Hi Speedy,It sounds to me like he’s got something of the old-fashioned gentleman to him, and wants to get to know you–coming over more than once a week and sleeping in bed with you are quite intimate acts, if not physically intimate–before making a commitment to a sexual relationship.  If anything, I’d say this is more “normal” than your previous relationship; it’s not all that slow, just not blindingly fast.  And I promise you, if he’s at your house every week and getting in bed with you and calling your interactions “dating,” he’s not repulsed and he likes you as more than a friend.
It’s also possible that he’s waiting for you to make the first move, and is surprised that you’re taking it so slow.
Unfortunately for you, our society’s idea of “sexiness”–and one that you seem to be a bit attached to–is based in spontaneity, ambiguous communication, and the idea that sex is supposed to just happen. You mention “hitting on” and “seducing” as possibilities.  You don’t mention asking.

Which is what you’ve got to do.  Don’t get drunk.  But do talk to him. Say, “Hey chap, I would like to sleep with you.  As in sleep with you sleep with you.  How do you feel about that?”  It’s not “seducing” him; it’s just airing out the elephant in the room.  Is it awkward to spell it out like that?  Not half as awkward as spending the whole night in bed with someone never knowing if this time it’s going to suddenly turn into sex or not or what.  And after a full month of dating, bringing up the subject of sex is hardly shockingly forward.

If he’s into you, a little bit of bluntness isn’t going to suddenly change his mind.  If he’s not into you, better to know now than later.  If he didn’t know what was going on either, now he knows.  If he has some third situation–if he has no sex drive or he always waits a certain time before getting physical or he doesn’t have sex when he’s not in his kink role–it’ll come out.  Hell, if he thought your dating was totally fine because that’s the pace he always moves at and it seems normal to him, that will come out.  And if he dodges the question entirely and says something like “let’s just take it one day at a time, baby,” that’s an answer too; it means he doesn’t know what he wants, but now that he knows what you want, he knows he’s got a limited amount of time to figure it out.  (Ed. note: Now, before you have sex, is also the right time to talk about safer sex, birth control. This is a good thing!)

The same goes for exploring his kinky side; let him know, in totally blunt unsexy words, exactly where you stand.  Kinksters are used to this; we call it “negotiation.”  Negotiation can’t be done entirely with sexiness and seduction; at some point, you’ve got to just say what you’re thinking.  “Hey chap, I would like to try this D/s stuff you like with you.  How do you feel about that?” And if he feels positively about it, tell him where you’re at: “Hey chap, I’ve never done this before, but I’m quite excited to explore it.  Can you tell me what your previous experiences are, and what kind of things you like?”  Make your first play session something short-term and not too intense, and talk afterwards about how it went and what you each liked and didn’t like, before taking on anything hardcore.

I can’t promise you a happy ending just by getting everything out in the clear with him, but I can promise you won’t feel like you’re stuck in the prologue forever.

Best of luck,

Holly Pervocracy

P.S.: You were on one of “*those* websites” too, and he doesn’t know any more about you than you do about him.  Maybe this is another reason he’s taking things slow.

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18 comments
  1. If you’re impatient and he’s come out to you as a sub, you could try asking him if you can tell him what to do a little. If he says OK, then you’re golden: “Rub my feet!” And you can take it from there.

    But you might want to take it slowly. Slow can be fun.

  2. Leah Jaclyn said:

    I’ve just been reading through Holly’s backlog, I think she’s amazing! we have the same learning disability!

    now to the post, I really didn’t realise it because as much as my ex was a humungous douche about some things, he really was pretty cool about starting conversations about sex , but I have some serious hangups about talking about sex, and it leads to my partner and I having to have a big talk out of no where (for him anyway) where I (irrationally) get upset that he isn’t somehow reading my mind and he (somewhat more rationally) gets upset that I haven’t told him that I didn’t like, would like more of xyz, it is a huge pain, Life would be much easier if I could just talk about this normally. so please, for the love of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, learn from my mistake and get in to the habit of talking about this stuff now! It will make sex better, you will cause spontaneous outbreaks of peace in the middle east, you will be happier in the long term for it.*

    *one of these promises is not like the other, one of these things just doesn’t belong…

    • Holly Pervocracy said:

      Haha, dyspraxia high five.

      (Which is to say, one that misses by several inches.)

      • Leah Jaclyn said:

        I have done this more than once

        • Christen said:

          fuck I didn’t even know what this was until just now

          *facepalm*

          *re-attempted facepalm*

  3. And my head is now in the way. Maybe he doesn’t desire me? Maybe he likes me, but only as a friend? Maybe I kind of repulse him on some level? Why isn’t he hitting on me??? Isn’t that what men do?

    Whoo, I have been where you are and had exactly those same thoughts running through my head, minus the “Isn’t that what men do?” In my first serious relationship, the +1 and I hooked up for almost a month before having intercourse, and it was surprising and a little disheartening. I was used to one night stands, where the expectation of sex was laid out from the beginning, and so being with someone who didn’t make any moves in that direction despite spending lots of time together and literally sleeping together confused me. And it also forced me to realize that if I wanted something, I should ask for it, and it would probably be a good idea to have a conversation with him rather than freaking out inside my head about why he didn’t want to sleep with me (an assumption on my part that was false – IIRC he just wanted to take things slowly, it wasn’t that he thought I was unsexy and repulsive).

    So, I agree with Holly’s advice. Communication is good! And it helps to make the discussion as low pressure as possible. I don’t mean that in the sense of not pressuring your partner into sex, which is a given, but in the sense of not accidentally putting emotional pressure on him. Saying that you’d like to have sex, what are his thoughts on that, is good, but I would like to suggest not mentioning the thoughts running through your head–he could feel that as unintentional pressure or emotional manipulation (“I have to sleep with Speedy, or Speedy will think I just want to be friends!”).

    Btw, Holly, thank you for mentioning low/no sex drive as a possibility. Outside of the fandom for the BBC Sherlock remake, I feel like asexuality doesn’t get much attention or even consideration that it exists from non-ace people, and I appreciate your bringing it into the discussion.

  4. k said:

    Bring it up, definitely, this is key! And I agree with Holly and via, it might very well be that he doesn’t have a very high sex drive. It could also be that he wants to have an explicit conversation about getting tested for STDs, and obtaining birth control, before the two of you get it on. Or maybe he needs to know clearly and obviously that he has your consent before he starts to make a move on you As Holly stressed, wanting to take it slow before important negotiations and conversations happen is a good thing and means he is a responsible dude.

    One other thing that might be going on and why it’s a VERY good idea to have this conversation with him: maybe he suffers from ED, or the pressure of having sex the first time with a new partner scares his dick away. If he explains and it’s something like that, definitely give him time and let him know it’s totally OK. And don’t obsess over only penetrative sex being “real” sex! If he wants to wait on vaginal intercourse because of physical issues, shyness / getting easily psyched out, or concern about STDs, there’s tons of fun stuff you can do in the meantime. Including, of course, exploring D/s.

    Good luck and I hope the two of you have great fun talking about sex. And then having sex. Etc.

  5. Allie said:

    I’m a Domme and typically subs want you to make the first move for sex. I think he’s probably waiting on you. Totally agree with Holly on the ‘just ask him,’ especially about his fantasies/kinks.

    • FW said:

      This was absolutely the vibe I got as well. That he already told her that he’s submissive – well I wouldn’t expect that admission so soon from someone looking to ‘take things (that) slowly’ in a larger sense.

      I also have a slight feeling of apprehension about this situation, I think it’s because he seems to be playing at, or wanting to play at D/s – like he’s just telling her ‘oh i’m sub!’ then expecting her to put that into play when it’s cuddle-kiss-grope time without actually negotiating or communicating boundaries, limits, or expectations.

      It actually sort of reminds me of this Louis C.K. bit, but with the genders reversed:

      • FW said:

        Oh jeez I’m sorry I thought it would just be a link instead of embedded…

      • piny said:

        Yes, this is something I worried about, too. And my solution is, “Just talk to him, immediately!” He may very well want you to take the lead. He may also be feeling shy about his kinky desires. He may not be quite as experienced as he seems. (Some kinky people, especially IME bottoms/submissives, get acquainted with kinky practices before they learn about negotiation. It’s unfortunately easy to find tops who aren’t all that good at negotiation, or conscientious about it. So he might have some experience with D/s but still not know how to discuss his needs.)

        It’s still not fair to expect you to read his mind. Really, it puts you in a terrible position, both because you might cross some unknown boundary and because you’re not that experienced with D/s or this guy’s definition of D/s. It’s a complicated question; D/s covers everything from The Fellowship of the Purity Rings to Victorian fem supremacy.

  6. Christen said:

    For many years my modus operandi was Fuck First*, Ask Questions Later. It worked out pretty well for me for a long time. I had some great relationships that started as drunken hookups, and some great platonic friendships that started that way as well. But over time this approach began to work less and less well for me (there are also bars and sections of my neighborhood that I avoid visiting because I know I am likely to run into people I should have questioned before fucking). And now I am in a relationship where, it turns out, 100% spontaneous sex is not really possible. We also moved very slowly in the beginning, and my partner and I are still getting comfortable being really blunt, rather than coy, about what we want from each other. And because the idea that sex should always be spontaneous is so deeply ingrained in both of us, this is not always easy. But then I remember that I sought out a relationship where the emotional part came before the sexy part, and I sought it out because the old approach was not working for me anymore.

    The point being, there’s a reason you don’t want to just get drunk and let things take their course, as it sounds like you have in the past. And it’s totally normal to think, OK, this isn’t how I’ve done things before! This feels weird! But also good to remind yourself that maybe things being weird and different from before = good.

    *with condoms!

  7. Just something to think about, Cap’n, but if you’re ever stuck for a subject I’d love to hear your thoughts on Geek Sexual Fallacies. You refer to the Social Fallacies a lot, but there must be particular misconceptions, particular wrong ends of particular sticks, etc. that apply to sex and dating in that same milieu.

    • I second this request!

    • JenniferP said:

      I will think about it! I think most serious problems with Geek Dating involve some combination of:

      1. Shy people who don’t want to make the first move or risk looking stupid….so they wait….and in some cases turn into NiceGuys/NiceGirls when someone actually does ask out the object of their twisted little affection, and it’s like, dude, I know you quietly Firthed her for years, but you never SPOKE UP.
      2. Being constantly bullied, excluded, and/or rejected does not actually make you nice. There is a lot of raging misogyny among geeks that is not apparent at first because they are coded as “nonthreatening” but then you get to know them and see the dark rapey anger/body policing/mansplaining horror within. The whole “science is more rigorous than art” crowd, the “my thoughts are made of superior logic, while your thoughts are made of inferior emotions” crowd, the “Natalie Portman used to be a 10, but she’s only a 7 now that she’s pregnant” people. One problem is that they measure their perceived social status only in terms of other men because women aren’t entirely people to them. That’s why the first rule of geek dating is “The opposite sex = they are just people.”
      3. A rigid understanding of gender rules…so shy dorky guys feel forced to do the asking and confident nerdy girls feel frustrated waiting to be asked, and everyone would just be happier if the girl said “Hey, would you like to go to (this place) at (this time) with me, by the way, it is a date?”
      4. Poor boundaries, inexperience with boundary setting, lack of confidence in your own desires and needs being important (so you don’t speak up, or you assume, or someone shows you some kindness and you LATCH ON FOR DEAR LIFE, or you have weird movie ideas of what relationships are supposed to be like and try to recreate that without talking about it, and lord help you if you didn’t want the same movie).
      5. Building on that weird Hollywood thing, the fallacy that getting a relationship will magically change your life.

      I will develop this further, but do you have any thoughts on this preliminary assessment?

      I will think more on this question.

      • Argh, I wrote a long comment and the Internet ate it! It sort of said: yes, I very much recognise these! The geek beliefs that life ought to fair and nobody ought to be shallow, which are admirable in themselves, mess a lot of things up if they get twisted and misapplied.

      • SJ said:

        Oooh. This is good. Agree agree agree!

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