#319: Captain Awkward Writes Your Casual Encounters Ad

Dear Captain Awkward,

I’m a single straight guy in my early 30s. I’m also a virgin. (Or at least I identify as one. I wouldn’t quibble with anyone who’d say I’m not. I have some limited experience receiving oral sex, for example.) I’m far from the negative virgin stereotypes, I think: I have plenty of female friends, I have at least some confidence that I could be a desirable partner for the right person, and most of all, I’m not obsessed with my virginity. I’m a virgin due to my own choices, and mainly due to my own hangups. I think I can get over them eventually, through a combination of therapy and willpower and getting really comfortable over a period of time (like, months) with someone I’m pretty into, but it’s not going to be a quick or easy process.

I don’t really get the sense that age-appropriate potential partners for me are generally into waiting for “a period of time” for sex, though.

To complicate matters more: My one long-term relationship ended on decent terms some months ago. (She was cool with no sex for awhile too, but in the end that was part of why things weren’t working.) At this point in my life, I don’t think I want another serious relationship. I think I’d rather try out open relationships, friends-with-benefits situations, etc. To take the pressure off, you know, and just because being “partnered” is not how I want my life to be right now. But that kind of casual relationship seems like it would make not rushing into sex even harder! “Hey, do you want to come back to my place and…make out for awhile like we’re 14?” I can’t imagine that’s too appealing to anyone my age, but especially anyone who’s also looking for something less serious. I really do feel like I missed out on the usual high-school-age or college-age development, in terms of casual relationships and “building up” from kissing to sex, and I worry that at my age, now that I want that, it’s too late.

So, what’s a guy to do?


I like your opening paragraph. The right person for you will not really care about your virginity – basically everything in here applies to you also, so keep not carrying it into dating situations as some giant hangup to be overcome. There are plenty of sexually-inexperienced-but-totally-horny women in the world, and they too are being bombarded by the weird cultural messages that say, “EVERYONE BUT YOU IS HAVING FABULOUS SEX 24-7. NOW BUY THIS STUFF!” Ethics prevent me from giving you the emails of the ones who are in my inbox, but the sample size is not small.

I think your assumption that no one will want to just make out with you is incorrect. I think some people would like some safe, fun make-outs with a nice person without too many complications. Provided you live in some kind of metropolitan area, I think you can use Craigslist or other dating sites to find them.

I wrote just such an ad for another poster long ago:

“Wanted:  Make-Out Slut To Make Out Like Teenagers”

I want a nice, smart, friendly, nerdy, cool man to come over and make out with me.

I’ll supply:  Comfortable couch, breath mints, and a movie we can pretend that we’re watching.

You bring:  Lips, good dental hygiene, and a clear, unshakeable understanding that everyone will be keeping their pants on and completely zipped/buttoned/sealed for the entire event.  Bonus if you have experience building sweet blanket forts.

Please send a photo and a brief description of why it would be fun to make out with you.

Change the genders, post at least one photo (A CLOTHED PHOTO) and maybe something that shows your living space so people can see that you don’t live in murder-dungeon with your feral cat colony.  Have a photo of your face where you are smiling ready to send interested parties and see what happens. Be ready to give your full name so people can safety-google you, meet in a public place first, and talk on the phone. And be willing to go to their house.

Also, make an OK Cupid profile (it’s free), put what you are looking for as “short-term dating,” NOT “casual sex.” Short-term dating MEANS anything between “let’s go on a few dates and maybe make out a little” and “let’s bang once in a while.” It’s honest – you’re not looking for a long-term partner right now. Put multiple nice photos of yourself, let your personality shine through, and write to some cool people and go on some dates. Pro-tip: Look at what other dudes your age in your area do with their profiles. Emulate  (but don’t copy) the cool ones. Avoid annoying things, like writing as if your first language is “bro.” Do not mention sex – either your prowess at or lack thereof – at all. It’s such a gross pet peeve when someone is all “I am good at backrubs and I really love giving oral.” Ugh. 1) “Oral” is not a noun. 2) Can’t that just be a nice surprise?

Finally, I’m going to say the same stuff to you I say to anyone looking for casual relationships:

1) They’re still relationships. So look for people you actually like in a friendly way. Look for people you can carry on a conversation with. Treat them with kindness and consideration. Manners count.

2) Each person you meet is a universe unto herself. She’s not a representative of Women. Assume nothing. Like, right now you are assuming that most of the women you meet will be disappointed if you don’t deliver your sweet, sweet cock and expert lovemaking right off the bat. No. And you’re assuming that all of them will want some kind of commitment. No. Don’t assume. Don’t try to be smooth. Ask. Out loud with words.

3) A lot of people won’t write back to you. It’s not personal. You have to risk some rejection in order to get to the cool parts of this.

4) You might find exactly what you’re looking for among the poly- or open relationship people, so don’t discount them. Someone who has a steady primary partner but is playing around (ethically, we hope!) on the side will not want to imprint on you and will hopefully have some skills around conducting the kind of relationship you’re looking for in a fun and respectful way.

Good luck! Keep your sense of humor, be kind and polite, be direct about your desires and hopefully you will find someone who will put her face on your face all regular-like.

93 thoughts on “#319: Captain Awkward Writes Your Casual Encounters Ad

  1. Hey, if I liked you, “Want to come over and make out like we’re 14?” would probably work! Although maybe not the 14 bit. I didn’t make out at 14 and I imagine it would have been pretty awkward.

    Some women probably would be put off by that, and some would be put off by your inexperience, and some would be put off by your lack of desire for boinking, and some would be put off by your lack of desire for Real Relationshipping, and some would be put off by the color of your eyebrows.*

    Other women would find it totally charming, and some would be relieved to have all the pressure off, and some would just think you’re kinda neat and want to know you better, and some will be quite tickled to be asked but not be interested, and some will be like OH I GET TO TEACH YOU MUAHAHAHA, and some will think the curve of your shoulder is just the most beautiful thing ever.

    You don’t know what any individual woman is going to think until you ask. When you do, keep it light, keep it no-pressure, and be prepared to accept a no with upbeat grace.

    And when some lady does decide she really wants to be up close and personal, ask her for feedback.

    I think it works best in a confident, flirtatious way. Also I am nerdy, so I think you should have a lab notebook where you record experiments together, but That’s Just Me.

    Good luck and have fun!

    *Note: Your eyebrows are just fine as they are.

    1. Actually, my eyebrows ARE weird and I never noticed before. THANKS.

      Actually thanks, though. Useful thoughts.

      (And I wasn’t making out at 14 either, but I figured if I wrote 15 or 16, many people here would think, “What? By 16 I was having sex!” There I go assuming again, oops.)

      1. Noooo… I think the average age to start having sex is 17? I guess that’s not too far off from 16. At any rate, don’t worry about it! I didn’t start making out until I was 18, so, not a big deal.

  2. And I was just thinking about how much I missed making out. Not dating as such, which is hard with my busy schedule and lazy tendencies, but cuddling and smooching on the couch watching a movie? Gods I miss that. Maybe I should follow you’re advice O Captain too.

    1. Anyone can place that ad, right? “I am Makeout Spartacus.” “NO, I am Makeout Spartacus!”

      I get dibs on stories. And, hey, be safe out there.

      1. This may need to be my fall plan. Dating has been off the radar for a while, but making out like teenagers? I could totally be into that!

      2. That’s a pretty excellent ad and I may steal it someday. I’m currently figuring out what I want to be doing with myself after a breakup, and have never done the online dating thing before. I have no idea how that *works*, though, or what general scripts/expected interactions are out there. (I know about safecalls, but don’t have a sense for, say, how much information is a good idea to offer/ask for.)

    2. Between busy schedule, lazy tendencies, and the occasional nostalgia for smooches and cuddles, I could have written this.

      Joining in on the Make-out Spartacus pile.

  3. Yo, LW, I am a lady who does not tend to wait much for sex. However, if you were up-front with me about all that stuff you put in your letter, I’d totally be okay with it. Although that’s partly because I’m poly and in a primary relationship, thus making casual friendly makeouts with no sex much easier on me.

    Sorry if this comes across as OMG EVERYONE BE POLY, but it IS also a possibility IF you felt comfortable with a poly person. I’m dating a guy, who I like and care for and enjoy being with, but it’s not srs bsns like it would be in a primary relationship, if you see what I mean. A person like me could fit what you’re looking for.

    I think the kinky community can be good for casual but friendly whatever-partners, too. You don’t even actually need to be kinky to associate with the community, honestly. It can be a good place to meet other people who tend to be more open about relationship styles and whatnot (bonus if you ARE kinky, and sex doesn’t have to be included at all). And they’re often more open to relationships that don’t involve sex.

    Just a thought, anyway!

    1. Thanks. I had been thinking along similar lines. I’m “maybe pre-kinky”, in that I haven’t yet learned about myself enough to know if I actually am or not, but for now the idea seems appealing. I was assuming that the kink community (and to a lesser extent the poly world) was particularly uninterested in not-sex. Good to hear that that may not be the case.

      1. If anything I think the kink and poly communities are going to be the ones with the broadest/most diverse ideas about how to be affectionate/sexual aside from “having sex” in the very traditional, penetrative sense. From what you’ve said about liking the idea of making out/cuddling and having received oral sex before, I think they could very well be right up your alley, so to speak!

      2. I agree with what Britt says — there are a lot of kinky/poly people who are asexual, etc, and very often kink doesn’t come with sex; especially at events and things. If nothing else, it may also give you some ideas as to what turns your crank.

        Also, I should add — if you do check your local community out, don’t go in just looking for action. Doesn’t sound like you’d be that type of person, but I thought I’d mention it.

        (There are many, many men posting ads that read something like “I want to lick the feet of women, please to message me nao?” Most people want to know a little bit about somebody before letting them lick their feet.)

      3. LW 319, you seem like such a likeable guy! I am concerned, however, about issues you have with knowing your level of kinkiness. I think you may need to talk to a professional about what’s been stopping you from facing whatever it is that has made it so difficult for you to be sexual with a willing partner.

        I don’t think there’s anything wrong with you. Period. I am wondering, though, if it might be a good idea to check in with somebody like a therapist in case you find out the hard way that you can’t handle the intimacy that you’re about to embark upon. Once again: it’s probably nothing, but it’s a good idea to try not to freak yourself out(or any partner you may come up with) in a dating venue.

        Why I’m mentioning this: lots of reasons, but mainly, my husband is waaaaay less experienced sexually than I am. Recently, he began having repressed memories of abuse during sex, which totally freaked us both out. Right now, we are on a sexual hiatus so we can sort it all out and he can stop hyperventilating. It’s going to be okay, but if we had seen a therapist together (or separately: I’ve had lots of therapy but he hasn’t had any) we might have seen something like this coming and helped him not to be so upset about it.

        As I said before, I don’t think you have anything wrong with you at all. I do want to point out, though, that if a person can’t read by the time he’s 30, we can assume he’s dyslexic or something. If he can’t bring himself to have sex with a partner, maybe he needs a little help sorting it out instead of experimenting. Sometimes experiments don’t go the way you expect them to.

        That said, good luck and have fun! Sex is a lot of fun if everybody is communicating and only doing what they feel like doing–and they like each other.

        1. I’m not necessarily concerned that he doesn’t know his level of kinkiness — why should he, if he doesn’t have anything that qualifies as a fetish/hasn’t tried stuff out?

          I’m still finding my kinks out. I truly didn’t have any idea I was a sadist until this year, and it’s because I needed help — help in the sense of “here is a submissive boy to play with.”

      4. No, no, the kink community is totally down with not-sex. I have seen so many makeout sessions at play parties.

        LW, you sound perfectly charming and if I were still single I’d quite probably answer a casual encounters ad looking for people who want to make out like teenagers. Making out is great!

      5. I suggest going to a munch (an event for just hanging out and having coffee or food with people in the community) if you can find one in your area, and getting to know people.

  4. Seconding the idea that there are definitely girls out there who will go for this, and especially that the poly community might be a good place to look. I know where I’m at, the okcupid poly people form this massive network of acquaintances/friends/fuck buddies/partners and that if you tapped into that and were considered a pretty cool guy, it wouldn’t take long to go from there to finding a makeout partner.

  5. “I really do feel like I missed out on the usual high-school-age or college-age development, in terms of casual relationships and “building up” from kissing to sex, and I worry that at my age, now that I want that, it’s too late.” Yes. This. This thing, exactly.

    LW, if it is any reassurance at all, I am a reasonably attractive, successful, non-cat-hoarding female in my mid-thirties, and I am in almost exactly your situation.

    Age-appropriate females DO EXIST out there who are also looking for something that is NOT immediate sexytimes. You’ll find women who are comfortable – and yes, as someone else said, relieved – with taking things slowly and making up for missed make-out time. Some of them are probably looking for exactly the same thing.*

    *I can say this with vast relief and authority now. I probably could not have been so reassuring five minutes ago because I’ve been too busy fretting over the same damn thing. The mantra in my head is that ‘everyone I date wants sex immediately. Perhaps sooner. Perhaps before the actual date. Aaaaaugh!’

    Thank you for writing in! And thanks for some good ideas, Captain. (Maybe it’s time to check Craigslist…?)

    1. OMG ME TOO. I logically know I’m not a unicorn, but it’s really hard to remember that some days. I would LOVE to find a guy who wants to take it slow, but I am so convinced that no one out there wants to deal with my ish that I don’t even bother to try.

      Good luck, LW! We do exist!

    2. Seriously, OKcupid is amazing. I put “just friends” on my profile and although that’s a lie, it kinda weeds out the ones with the Marriage and Baby Deadlines. I’ve been on so many coffee/lunch dates I’m a pro now. It makes it way easier than CL to weed out the crazy/creepies. You can look at potential date’s match questions that site asks like “do you feel that women are obligated to shave their legs?” (some of them answer yes, women have an OBLIGATION) and there are poly/kinky questions and things about kids and how serious you want your next relationship to be…

      At least in San Francisco, if you’re female it’s way easier to get dates, LW may have to send out many many messages in order to meet people but don’t give up. It’s just because there are a million dudes sending messages like “i would make a good husband please give me a chance” and “hey sexyface would you like to have sexytimes I obviously didn’t read your profile”. It takes time to find the regular ones.

      Currently planning for date number 6 with nerdy dude who likes to take things slow (but he explained this to me on our second date so I am prepared).

  6. So back in my single days I quickly slept with MANY men, but like some other commenters, if you had something along the lines of “hey, I like you, but I’ve never had sex before and I’d like to take it a little slow” I would probably have been okay with that. So don’t be scared by sluts! Just because we like sex doesn’t mean we’re sex-monsters 😉

    1. I totally just imagined a lady in her underwear going “SEX MONSTER!!! GRRRRR!!!”. … … …Awesome!

    2. I am a lady and I enjoy sex, and I more than likely would not be okay with waiting forever. And I would mention that right off the bat! And if you were like “hey, I’m not up for quickly jumping into bed” I would be all “Ah, that sucks, you seem like an awesome dude” and get on to being friends with you and helping you find an awesome lady who was interested in waiting.
      Throwing that out there as a scenario where yes, your need to wait would be a deal breaker in terms of a relationship, and then it would be no big deal at all. Being up front helps with many things, and I think online dating helps with many things as well. If you don’t click, or feel put off, or in any way do not ever want to see your online dating partner again, you never have to because they have no connection to you friend group. It’s a magically get out of anxiety free card for me.
      Mention things up front and it’s all kosher. Not everyone jumps into bed on the first date and not everyone looks kindly on the people who do. I have explained to more than one person that just because I had a tendency toward sex on the first date with people I like doesn’t mean that we need to automagically then be seriously dating, or that then means that we can never ever seriously date because if I was considering them I wouldn’t sleep with them (which, no. That makes no sense to me.). Relationships take navigation with sex, without sex, there are always weird ideas, and mismatches of how quickly things are looking to move, and all sorts of bumps and bruises to smooth out no matter where you are with experience.

      1. Oh throwing on to ad that my current paramour was a virgin when we started dating (we are both mid twenties and it was not that long ago), and that we an issue for all of a few times having sex where we worked on angles, forcibly excised the notion of “I know sex isn’t like porn, but sex is kind of like porn right?” and worked on the concept of pacing and listening to your partner and so on. Which means that his being a virgin mattered for all of a month or so until it made no difference at all.

  7. ” I’m going to say the same stuff to you I say to anyone looking for casual relationships:

    1) They’re still relationships.”

    Yes! Thank you!

    The myth of “no strings attached” relationships is that an agreement to limit or to have no further contact implies a rather huge string.

    That doesn’t mean one can’t have casual relationships. Just that one can’t have no-obligation one. As you say they’re still relationships.

    Also, here here for smooching-only dating. I’m not sure why rates of smooching are so inversely related to rates of intercourse. Without loosening so much as a button we can still do things that are profoundly satisfying on social, emotional, sensory, and (depending on how one defines it) even sexual levels.


    1. Right – you should still screen for trustworthy, cool people who you can be naked and vulnerable and real with.

    2. YES. LW, YMMV, but all the times I have tried to have “friends with benefits” arrangements, it turned out that to me, the “friends” part was more important than the “benefits” and to the other parties, the “benefits” were more important than the “friends.” I hear a lot of myths around FWB relationships, and the biggest one is that they are easier and less complicated than other ones. Um, no. Use your words as best you can, and if you go for it, do so with a solid understanding that they can fail like any other kind of relationship, and it’s not because someone “broke the rules” or stupid shit like that.

  8. LW, I am a queer dude and not a straight lady, but I would LOVE to have a make-out buddy. Seriously. While my Sexytimes Libido is fairly low most of the time, my make out with/gnaw on/snuggle attractive people impulse is constantly VERY HIGH. I would definitely be up for a casual relationship with someone who either wanted to limit things to makeouts only or have further sexual contact develop slowly.
    I bet you’ll find that there are more fantastic people who are up for this than you might expect! Have fun. =)

  9. Just popping in to say that back when I was dating casually, I totally would have been happy with a makeout buddy. I really think there are plenty of ladies out there who are compatible with you right now. Definitely get an OKCupid account, and definitely be up front about what you want when you start chatting with people, and I think you’ll do fine.

  10. I tend to jump to sex pretty quickly as well…but I think in part because I’d be really horny and probably a little drunk and feeling a bit pressured (for lack of a better term) to go all the way just because I started making out with someone. So if I were single, not having that pressure would be great – because making out just to make out is a lot of fun. While I cannot speak for all lady-kind, I think there will be a more than decent number who would be totally down for that.

    On another note, the more more men brag about being talented at performing oral sex the more I think they’re lying about it, and the ladies they’ve had are just really good at faking. If you need to brag, you’re probably more interested in your ego than in actually doing a good job.

    1. “On another note, the more more men brag about being talented at performing oral sex the more I think they’re lying about it, and the ladies they’ve had are just really good at faking. If you need to brag, you’re probably more interested in your ego than in actually doing a good job.”


      Also, I would actually have to say I’ve gotten a lot more weird pressure from dudes about letting them go down on me then I have for PIV sex. Like, they didn’t actually believe I didn’t want it every single second…sigh.

      1. I wouldn’t say I’ve had a lot of weird pressure with men going down on me…but there have definitely been times when it’s sort of like “Whoa! you want to go down there? I don’t know why….it’s all….vagina-y and stuff.” (I’m self conscious about my vagina…it’s not a place I want people to visit if it’s the first time I’m having sex with them.)

        I asked my boyfriend about why men might think like that – his response was that after a generation of being told by the media that PIV doesn’t necessarily do it for women, men* have decided to show women that they are listening. Typically though, they only listened as little as they thought necessary, and thus are clinging to cunnilingus as the way to prove they are good in the sack and thus winning at being a man.

        *I know the above paragraph is a very stereotypical viewpoint of men…most of the men I hang out with on a regular basis aren’t like that – but alas there is no term I know of for a man being as stereotypically manlike as possible so I’m using the best language I have.

        1. Yeah, sometimes I think the pressure to receive oral comes out of the desire to Please A Woman. But, then again, remove the weird pressure and fixed ideas of what women must want, and there\’s actually nothing particularly hard to understand about why a person might enjoy giving pleasure. Moreover, some guys really do just really like ladyparts. Which is also understandable, when you think about it.

          So, basically, it\’s not weird that a guy might be enthusiastic about giving oral. But it would be nice if they checked beforehand that it was welcome, and didn\’t view it as a way to score ten manliness points or whatever.

          1. some guys really do just really like ladyparts

            Agreed. But in my experience, the guys who really like ladyparts – who also tend to be the best at making ladyparts happy – don’t go around bragging about it. To a one, every guy who has ever claimed to be TEH AWESUM at oral – whether on an ad, in person, wev – has actually been pretty bad at it. Like the Capn said below, they seemed to have a system they used on everyone, rather than listening to what I, as an individual lady person, responds to. People (and ladyparts) are different!

          2. It’s not that I didn’t think men who liked ladyparts existed – it’s that men who liked MY ladyparts didn’t. Thankfully after two years of a loving relationship, I’m not as squicked about people going down there. I do know that genuine desire to give pleasure is out there, it’s just that until I started going out with my b/f, I hadn’t been with anyone genuinely interested in knowing I was enjoying myself.

            It’s not weird that a guy be enthusiastic about oral…I’m certainly into performing it on others, so I can understand that. But as others have said, it is weird and creepy when men focus on it because they’re more interested in the system than in the individual lady they should be pleasing.

        2. For a lot of people who like to have sex with female people, the whole point is that it’s “all vagina-y!” 🙂

          I think a lot of women (and many men) really internalize the social message that their genitals are gross/dirty/wrong and that’s sucktastic. Yeah, maybe some straight men think they need to perform oral sex in order to prove their manliness or something weird like that, but don’t discount how sexy and physically/emotionally satisfying it is for people who are sexually attracted to female bodies. 🙂

          1. It really is sucktastic how much I’ve internalized how the mainstream thinks genitals should be like. Because I’m totally into just about everyone else’s genitals…it’s just mine that are sub par.

        3. I think a number of men (not all, nor even many) do it for themselves. I’ve had dudes make things seriously not terribly fun because it didn’t seem they were actually interested in whether *I* liked what they were doing. Ugh.

    2. When they brag about prowess at one particular sex act, it makes me think they have some kind of weird, gross “system” that they think works for all women, and I really don’t want them near my delicate parts.

    3. Faking orgasms does no one favors in the long run anyway. One person is unsatisfied and the other person has an inflated notion of their skills in bed. Don’t fake orgasms! (Is what I believe, anyway. You all should believe what you want.)

  11. Dear LW, I think you might be the male version of me.

    I really do feel like I missed out on the usual high-school-age or college-age development, in terms of casual relationships and “building up” from kissing to sex, and I worry that at my age, now that I want that, it’s too late.

    That’s pretty much me too. I think I’ve been on 3 dates total in my life, all of them well after I got out of school and all years ago now, and was always the “buddy” around almost every guy I’ve ever known. I wouldn’t even know how to initiate a first kiss (aside from using my words and saying “I’d really like to kiss you right now” of course, although my personal hang-ups would rear their head if I tried. I get a little ill just thinking about it. *sigh*).

    But, I actually know quite a few women in their 30s and older who, while they may have had sex once or twice, have not had much sex or sex with many partners. I tend to remind myself when I get miserably depressed and in a “oh gawd I’m going to be a lonely miserable sexless person forever” that our perception that EVERYONE IN THE WORLD IS HAVING LOTS OF SEX BUT ME is bullshit. Many many people are not having sex, for a lot of reasons. And I would rather be in my current situation than have terrible regrets about sexual encounters I wasn’t ready for and couldn’t handle.

    I would actually be tremendously relieved to meet a guy who was interested in me who didn’t have a lot of experience with sex and dating and wanted to take things really slowly. I spend most of my time feeling like there’s this game everyone’s playing and everyone knows the rules and has played it lots of times before, but I’m sitting on the sidelines and still can’t even decipher the writing on the box. I guess people in our situation need to remember we’re not alone. *fistbump*

    1. (aside from using my words and saying “I’d really like to kiss you right now” of course, although my personal hang-ups would rear their head if I tried. I get a little ill just thinking about it. *sigh*).

      I DID THAT TO A GUY ONCE. THOSE EXACT WORDS. I’d known him for two years, there was cuddling, and he was rubbing my back, so it’s not like he wasn’t giving clear makeout signals. But I figured I would check! His eyes widened and he got super flustered and he had no idea what to do. We ended up going to the bookstore and getting coffee instead. It’s kind of adorable now, sixteen years after the fact (and oh god, I just typed the words “sixteen years after the fact”), and I did have a great deal of fun that night anyway.

      On the other hand, on my very first date with Mr. Havoc, he was showing me his Magic: The Gathering cards, or maybe it was his Warhammer 40k figurines (geek love), and I turned around and said “oh, hell with it” and kissed him. He kissed me back. FTB. And now we’re coming up on our 11th wedding anniversary.

      So, my entirely long-winded point is that I think that the rules aren’t actually out there. There’s no one handbook for relationships. I don’t know about for everyone else, honestly, but I’ve had to renegotiate the rules all the time, not just for new relationships, but for each time we reach a new phase in a relationship.

      Be much easier if there was just one set of rules that worked for everyone all the time, though, that’s for sure. (It’s the very first lie that romcoms ever tell you!)

  12. I don’t know, I kind of feel the opposite of you, LW. I mean, a kind man who wants to take things slowly and not have sex right now and not even want a commitment but wants to show up and kiss me… this feels rather like a man with a puppy on a beach. I think just using your words and being up front about what you are looking for will net you a decent amount of reaction. Just let people know what to expect from you and be consistent between your words and your actions. Everyone comes to relationships with expectations and desires, and it’s always a bit of a weeding process to get them all to line up, but I don’t think your desires are any stranger than most.

    And dude, the idea that we’re all having tons a sex and are so much more experienced and know what we’re doing– totally a myth. And even when you’ve got some experience, the moment you’ve got a new partner, you’ve got to learn it all over again. You might become more comfortable with some of the logistics in time, but I’m not sure anyone is more learned than anybody else.

  13. LW, you might also want to try posting the kind of ad that the Captain suggested to a few asexual dating sites, and if you decide that you do want to do the ‘long term relationship eventually leading to sex’ thing, try looking in either of those places for demisexual folks, who are most likely to be looking for that kind of thing.

    (One warning, though: It’s probably a bad idea to identify yourself as asexual or demisexual in either of those situations – it’s appropriative and thus offensive, if you do experience sexual attraction. The term you probably want is ‘celibate’.)

  14. Reasonably experienced queer girl here. I would love a male makeout buddy, and am currently nursing a crush on a demisexual guy that I hope will culminate in sweet, sweet makeouts and hand-holding. ^/////^

    So yes. What you’re looking for is out there I am sure.

  15. LW! You are awesome. I count myself among the people who would love to the whole makeout-thing with you. I wish you the best Craigslist/OK Cupid adventures! You don’t happen to live in Northern California, do ya? 😉

  16. Dear LW, You are a lot like me from a year ago! I know that you will have some awesome Craigslist/OK Cupid adventures.

    You don’t happen to live in Nor Cal, do ya?

  17. Thanks, all. I’d actually stayed away from OK Cupid until now, since I only hear about it from friends who want Serious Relationships, and so that’s how I imagine the whole site. I assumed that the only people out there who might be interested but alright with not jumping right in the sack would be people I’m already friends with, rather than strangers, so I’d been (very tentatively) exploring the friends route instead.

    So it’s really nice to hear that more people than I thought might be accepting of what I want! Maybe I’ll try OKC (uh, after a few months of getting used to the idea…change, you may have noticed, does not come easily to me), and if I do, it would be hilarious if I met one of you there.

    1. You keep using the word “assume.” Stop assuming, is the overall message I have for you. 🙂

      1. Loud and clear. I didn’t realize how many unquestioned assumptions I had. This has been very useful.

    2. I used OkC and actually found there is an even balance of what people are looking for in relationships, and if you make what you’re looking for clear early on in the conversation (as well as on your profile, obvs) then people are pretty chill about it

      1. My approach to OKC is “This will generate some good stories.” And so it has. The elderly Nazi sympathizer (no, really) who was messaging me is at the top of them.

        1. You know about okcenemies.tumblr.com, right? Send them your Elderly Nazi, for sure.

          1. Dear God, that blog is terrifying. If that’s what’s waiting for me out there, I may as well join a convent now!

            “that’s what’s”? Why does that look so wrong?

          2. Chantelle, you just mock/block those people. I met my lovely boyfriend on OKC (and the one before that, aka, Intern Paul).

          3. True. I know at least two people who have met someone wonderful through OKC or similar sites. Just need to wade through the creepy people.

  18. And Captain, that Make-Out Slut ad is amazing. I laughed, and I really might use (some version of) it. Thanks.

  19. Just to throw my story out there: my freshman year of college, I had a relationship (of sorts) with a woman in her mid-thirties. It was exactly like you described your ideal relationship: non-committed (because of our different ages/places in life), fun, friendly, with a bunch of make outs and little else sexytimeswise.

    I tell this story not to brag (though I love to brag), but because this relationship was exactly what she wanted! She wasn’t inexperienced, she’d had both serious and casual relationships before, most of them much more sexual than what we had, and she was, in fact, really appreciative to find a relationship where she could hang out, make out a lot, and it wasn’t headed to Serious Shitshow Town or a causal encounter focused on fucking rather than fun.

    Now, I can’t guarantee that you’ll find someone just like I did. But I wanna let you know that your more-experienced peers may, even without the poly/teaching you angles, find that you’re exactly what they’re looking for.

    (Not that there’s anything wrong with the poly/teaching angles, if they’re what works for you, of course.)

  20. I don’t know how widely-used this acronym is, but: NCMO. Non-Commital MakeOut. (I know of the term from being Mormon, and you know what single Mormons often tend to be? Intentionally virginal and also horny. So making out for the fun of it is frequently on the table.) You might want to incorporate the (non)word “NCMO” into some online searches and see if anything turns up. Good luck! Enjoy all the kissing!

  21. I also suggest the poly community. I dated a married poly woman (I am also a woman) for a while who explicitly said at the start of the relationship that while she was really attracted to me, there was a really good chance that we would never have sex, and that if we did, it would not be for a long time. But we could smooch and cuddle and go on dates. And I was like, ok, I’m seeing two other people, I am getting my sexual needs met, and you’re cute and I like cuddling with you. The only reason we stopped seeing each other is that my business was falling apart around my ears, and I stopped having any time for anyone I was seeing, and stopped seeing all of them. We’re still friends, and there will probably be cuddling again in our future.

  22. Oh. My god. I ❤ this letter. First of all, if I were a lady available for casual makeouts with dudes I would be so keen (provided we got on well, were attracted to one another, etc, y'know).

    Also, I am a bi/pansexual female-ish person who has way more experience with men and is comfortable being sexual and sexually forward with men but tends to freeze when it comes to going any further than kisses with women (and somehow in my limited experience attract women who seem to expect me to lead. *fear*) I am seriously contemplating the suggested approach in looking for bi-friendly queer ladies. ^_^

    While my Sexytimes Libido is fairly low most of the time, my make out with/gnaw on/snuggle attractive people impulse is constantly VERY HIGH.

    Yes! I previously had an incredibly high sexytimes labido, which was both awesome and frustrating. Somewhere I almost completely lost that but reading your sentence made me realise that hey, it’s way more like what you said. Which makes me feel less stink. 🙂

  23. My partner is only a few years younger than you, and is also a PIV/A virgin, for reasons of both his own and my own. We have some of the best sex I have ever had.

    Yes, follow the Captain’s advice! And yes, therapy! And yes, getting comfortable with things and listening to your partners on what they want! And yes, at the end of the day, you will find people who want the same experiences that you want.

    (also seconding/thirding/n-ing the votes for checking out the poly and/or kinky communities, if there are active ones in your area)

  24. I am yet another person who thinks makeout buddies are brilliant. I spent years wishing I had a makeout buddy!

    As for lack of PIV sex, I explained to current boyfriend (fiancee, actually. wow.) that I was a virgin and was up for fooling around but would like to not rush things. I was 24 years old at the time. He was cool with this, and after a while I explained that I thought my hymen was weird and perhaps PIV sex would not work, but we should try anyway. I was right! I ended up needing a small operation (TMI: local anaesthetic, snippage of the extra-strong hymen, stitches for a couple weeks) and was on the waiting list for *ages*, so by the time PIV sex could happen we’d been living together for several months.

    And it really didn’t bother him.

    So there are all levels of sex-type stuff that people are comfortable with, and all kinds of paces that people are happy to move at, and I like the recommendation of the kink and poly communities as places where you’ll find people who are aware of this and accept it, and who think makeout buddies are a good idea.

  25. I’m currently casually dating a guy. I took us a good six months from first make-out to first intercourse. And none of us are inexperienced really, we just didn’t feel a need to rush it.

  26. I have to say, I really miss the long teenage makeout sessions (kissing through an ENTIRE movie like Bridges of Madison County then trying to talk about the plot to my ex-bf’s mom the next day? Awesome!) The (fun) games and daring of each other, the frission of pent up sexual frustration/longing? This sort of thing doesn’t seem to last very long anymore before escalation to more naked times. 😦 Maybe it’s time to bring pre-sexy back! LW you’re in for an awesome time. Best of luck on your journey.

  27. I really related to this thread and if I can work up the courage, may try some of these things myself … thank you all for being so awesome, as usual.

    This is from a straight guy who has been in relationships, is on a bit of a lengthy time between relationships right now, and finds he misses the making out/cuddling more than the sex (maybe because it’s the bit he can’t do even an approximation of by himself? or maybe because like you, he just enjoys that kind of stuff?) . Primarily I would still be looking for a serious relationship but maybe something more casual might be good for me in the meantime? I will have to put some thought into it but thanks to this thread for opening my eyes a bit.

  28. I’m a 22 year old woman and this is exactly what I’m looking for at the moment 🙂 and I know a lot of my friends would love something like this as well. Don’t afraid – we are out there!

  29. Just one word of warning. Some people believe that non-PIV sexual contact won’t lead to as strong of an emotional entanglement as PIV. In my experience this is often not true–you definitely shouldn’t assume that it will be true either for you or for your partner. Snuggling and cuddling is one thing, but if you are doing things much more intimate than that, you should be prepared for the same potential barrage of feelings as if you were having intercourse.

  30. I just have to say that as I was reading this my first thought was “Oh my god! I want to date someone and for the first few months just make out on a couch like teenagers with zero pressure to have sex! Come find me!!”

    You may feel like the only freak who wants this but you aren’t. This world is full of lots of people who want lots of different things. There are people who have wants that overlap yours. Don’t think we’re not out here waiting to meet you.

  31. hey, I personally am 9 days away from being 24 and I’ve never had sex or anything resembling sex, nor do I believe in sex for any purpose other than to have a baby. I’ve had 5 different boyfriends throughout my life, each with different beliefs/personalities, like my first one has a lot of badboy image in him, and when we had a thing for each other I didn’t realize there was something wrong with dating that kind of guy, we had a thing for each other for a few months but it was nothing serious. I had another boyfriend shortly afterwards, who actually did count for a lot more, we broke up and got back together during high school, and we were a serious relationship and everything went well while it lasted, but in terms of chemistry it felt like something was missing. I was single for 2 years straight but “talked to” some guys as possible date material where interest may or may not have been mutual, and a mutual friend with her own initiative set me up with a guy I used to have a huge crush on when I was in 7th grade and he was in 4th, we were too young to date but it was finally okay to date each other once he was 16, but he and I didn’t have as high of chemistry as a couple as we did when we were just friends who were too young to date, and when we were together, if it wasn’t at a hot spot, he was all about doing things in the bedroom such as foot massages and wanted to do other things that I didn’t want, so he broke up with me. Half a year later, I dated someone else, a person I used to have a huge crush on during my last year of high school and was close friends with back then too. While he and I always got along very well, there was something missing between us in terms of romantic chemistry, and we had a hard time keeping in contact with each other when it wasn’t in person, that his mom talked to me more often than he did, which was not a good feeling, as much as I like both him and his mom. For 2 years and 8 months, I had been single, but for 2 years had been “talking to” some guys as possible date material, yet nothing happened between me and them, one of them is a guy who didn’t speak English as his first language and the other has learning disorders just like me but the second guy was sincere in liking me yet afraid of falling in love with me no matter how many times I said “don’t hold back” yet in different wording, and he was afraid of hanging out with me when neither of us had driver’s licenses, no matter how many times I tried to convince him of ways around it. Then I started to have feelings for a guy who has had a huge crush on me ever since the day we first met, which was during middle school when I became a new student, recently asked him out, and we began dating.

    My advice is, if someone wants sex more than you do, she’s not the right person. Your Mrs. Right wouldn’t mind you being a virgin and waiting until marriage.

  32. Just stopping by to say that I basically used the Captain’s previous version of this Craigslist ad word-for-word and got two excellent make-out dates from it!

  33. I stumbled on this site by accident earlier this evening, and it is full of awesomeness, but this post made me smile a lot, so I hope you don’t mind me chipping in!

    The first time I had a kiss-date of the kind you’re talking about, I was totally inexperienced. I’d been in a long-distance relationship for three years; we broke up the week before I started uni. We’d met online and only saw each other for a week or so, two or three times a year. No sex. Then I was single for a good 18 months, building up my sense of self, before kissing a guy I met at a party for hours in the corner of that party. I assumed he’d want it to turn into sex (that’s how Real People operate in the Real World, right?) and he didn’t. From what I remember, this was pretty uncomplicated: “why don’t you come back to my room?” “um, no” – and it was fine; I was, I think, relieved. But we met up again with a bunch of mutual friends the next day, and I really didn’t know what to do with myself; couldn’t easily meet his eye or make conversation with him*. … Last month, I had another encounter that vividly reminded me of that first one, but in some important ways it was totally different. In the time that passed between the two was a world of sexual experimentation in an environment very accepting of different sexualities, genders and relationships; GOOD longer-term relationships; and a ton of reading blogs like this one about the importance of consent and negotiation and boundaries. And so this encounter, although it still caught me by surprise (“oh, so _that’s_ flirting?!” … I’m not at all perceptive!), was, from the outset, a lot more negotiated – we talked about expectations and boundaries, we made out like chaste teenagers (!) and that was that.

    Kiss-dates, for me, are refreshing and validating and lovely — and way better when you’re both/all clear about what you want. And your post came at a really good time for me, because I was kind of thinking “why is it that I do tender and cute more easily than sexy? Isn’t tenderness supposed to grow with love?” — but your post has prompted me to unpick that worry, and remind myself that these brief, gentle encounters are sweet, valuable moments of human togetherness and _do not_ invalidate the commitment of longer-term relationships, just because they are homely too. 🙂 I wish you all the best with finding some lovely people to kiss and snuggle up with.

    [*For the sake of a happy ending, it’s worth saying we both belonged to the same friendship group for a long time and we did get to know each other (and make out from time to time), and it was lovely. But the first encounter ended up awkward, and if we hadn’t seen each other again, that would have been Sad.]

  34. I have a ‘special friend’ whith whom I will often watch movies and cuddle – maybe even make out. There hasn’t been much of the sex happening lately but if we both want to we do.

    Making-out like a teenager is seriously under-rated!

  35. I have a vast array of friends for whom making out and cuddling is the bee’s knees. We exist, we come in all shapes including lady, and I’m sure there are plenty of folks on Team Make Out who would be tickled pink to have you join them. I’ve been with one of my partners for a year-ish and the kissing is pretty much all we do. I invented a party trick where I stand in a corner wearing a blindfold and a sign saying anyone who wants can kiss me, and it has gone splendidly every time I or one of my friends has done it. Don’t be disheartened. 🙂 It’s not ALL about the sex, and you can sex or not sex at your own pace and still find plenty of fun things and people to do them with.

  36. (Former?!) lurker dutifully reporting in:

    I’m a late-20s queer lady who’s 1) done little to no kissing, 2) a big fan of Captian Awkward and 3) prone to interesting late-night decisions. This post was like a perfect storm.

    I posted a slightly tweaked version of the Make Out ad to Craigslist, went to sleep, and woke up to dudes, probably dudes, ‘lol i like your post’, and… a lady who seemed interesting and into the idea of a make out buddy.

    We agreed to meet up, I managed not to die of nerves, and it turned out she *is* interesting and interested in making out. With me. So we went back to my place, put on Thor, and made out for however long Thor is. It was *awesome*. We’re planning on doing it again.

    So thank you, LW and Captain Awkward! Holy shit, it worked!


      Thanks so much for this story, I’m so tickled to read it. Moar please, Awkwardeers!

  37. Hey, happy reality (without craigslist, even):
    I know a 31-year-old who’s in a relationship involving neither sex nor much attachment of strings. With me. It’s awesome.
    Considering we’ve now had quite some time (over a year) to build up trust and comfort levels, sexual things might eventually happen. Or not. We’ll see.
    You could find that person in poly and kinky spaces (although that is not our story), so I +1 the people who suggested such groups.

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