Friends with kids normalizes casual sex

I saw the film Friends With Kids about two pals who decide to have a baby together without a romantic relationship. They are inspired to the arrangement by their married friends who went from being cool Manhattanhites to hate-filled suburbanites upon becoming parents. The story was interesting and unique and the cast rendered the film highly enjoyable, especially Maya Rudolph who is a personal favourite. The intense dinner scene at the chalet was a huge turning point in the film and I’ll stop there with the synopsis as I want you to see it unspoiled.

My problem with the film is not so much in its ridiculous premise, but with a scene in the film in which the lead actress (who also happens to be the writer and director) meets a wonderful man after striking out countless times on the dating scene….AND SLEEPS WITH HIM ON THE FIRST DATE. The act of sudden intimacy was portrayed as normal and desirable and the couple went on to enjoy a mature and loving relationship. What? Films are usually terrible about glamorizing casual sex and treating sex with a virtual stranger as the norm but the characters at least know each other a little bit before diving into bed! I was astounded to see sex on the first date touted as a cause for celebration. In reality, this woman would probably never hear from this man again if she gave it away on the first date. What a terrible message and what a LIE to tell women. Casual sex is not liberating unless you are a man. For women, it is punishing. If you want a relationship with a man …MAKE HIM WAIT! He will love you for it.

Shame, a film about sex addiction

Shame came out on DVD today. The film by director Steve McQueen stars Michael Fassbender as Brandon, a sex addict living in New York. I used to laugh at the idea of being addicted to sex – how ridiculous! Now I realize sex can be just like any other addiction – when you use something outside of yourself to fill a hole that only God can fill. The fellow in the movie was obsessed with sex, having daily encounters with strangers and prostitutes, consuming constant pornography both at home and at work, and masturbating several times a day at home and work. Ironically, even though he was swapping fluids with strangers, he was compulsively clean: a germophope. And fittingly for a sex addict he had no real intimacy in his life. When the opportunity came to have sex with someone he cared for he couldn’t get it up! Immediately he went and had sex with a stranger in a high-risk encounter. He was hooked on illicit sex but sex with any tenderness was impossible.

Brandon’s sister who has her own issues (perhaps alcoholism) comes to stay with him and turns his perfectly ordered life upside down. she speaks my favourite line in the film when she says to him: “We’re not bad people; we just come from a bad place.” To me, that ties into childhood traumas and how they can cause pain so deep that addictions seem the only way out.

The Single Woman

new kids on the block, relationship, marriage, men, women, dating, celibacy, abstinence, sex, God

“There is truth to the ‘just not that into you’ phenomenon. The more you accept that, the better off you are. Move on. Don’t think of striking out as a failure, or somebody not calling you as a failure…it’s just another step in finding somebody. Don’t fear rejection. Don’t put so much emphasis on it. It just may not be the right time or the right person. So what?” ~Jordan Knight via The Single Woman

I used to fear rejection so much that I’d do anything to avoid it, including having sex with someone I barely knew. Consciously, I didn’t realize I was seeking approval but in hindsight and after much self-improvement work, and nearly a year and a half of celibacy, I can see my motives clearly. I had no idea who I was or what I wanted because I was so busy trying to figure out what other people wanted, and altering myself to please them. It was truly soul-sucking and it wasn’t until I made a conscious effort to discover what made me tick – in other words what motivated me to do the things I did – that I could begin to change.

I wasn’t emotionally mature enough to realize I don’t want somebody who treats me poorly; I just wanted him to want me and it had very little to do with him as a person. He was more like a mirror to me of myself. If he rejected me, then I must not be lovable or acceptable. I had no inner core of wisdom to tell me I was fine on my own. For the past year and a half I have been on a mission to find self-love and I can honestly say I am finally there. Random thoughts run through my mind that say “You’re a lovely person” (and I am!) rather than “Loser!” or “You’re so stupid,” which is what my self-talk used to sound like.

If a man stops contacting me I don’t obsess on it or, heaven forbid, call him again. I know enough now to know that if a man wants to get in touch with you he will, even if it requires him to hire a private investigator – no lost phone number is going to stop him. Rather than fuming over a lack of attention, I acknowledge my need for a certain level of attention and if he can’t give it, he’s not the right one for me. Right now I have about 5 men interested in me. That would have been a big ego trip for me before, but now it is simply a weeding out process. 5 could easily and quickly become none. If he asks me what I want to do on the date, he’s probably not the one for me. If he doesn’t want to pick me up for the date, he’s not the one. If he goes three days without contacting me…not the one. I am learning what I want and don’t want in a man and it’s based on authentic desires rather than a desperate need to be accepted. I accept myself now, I really do.

Preparing for The One

single woman, abstinence, dating, relationship,
I will get the chance to find out more about that gentleman I was talking about in the last post because we are going out this Friday night. It will be my first date since I took a vow of abstinence in August 2010. The celibate period was only meant to last a year, mind you, but I got so involved with discovering myself and my own motivations that I needed a little more time to be sure I would attract the right person for me. Today someone told me quite simply, “you attract what you are” and I am hopeful that all the inner work I’ve done on myself will help raise the bar in terms of the men that come into my life.

I know my man is coming; in the past 3 days I have been asked out by five different men: three of them online, one from my past, and another who I met through friends. Now I get the pleasure of going out with these men and discovering more about them, finding out what I like and what I don’t like and I’m excited because I’m going into dating now as a new woman who knows herself and her boundaries. Rather than doing whatever I can to please the other person, I’ll be using my boundaries to weed out the ones who are not willing to wait. In a little over a year I have gone from being a woman who had sex on the first date to one who is saving sex for marriage and who will not kiss on the first date. How is that for transformation?

Tracy McMillan for Huff Post: Why You’re Not Married

Tracy McMillan wrote Why You’re Not Married

I consider myself a marriage-bound person even though I’m not dating 🙂 I’ve never been a dater and have been in a few very long-term relationship including a decade-long marriage. I’m not afraid of commitment, but what I have come to discover about myself is that I’m afraid of intimacy. I tend to choose men who are emotionally detached (the “man’s man”) and who are incapable of sharing deeply with me. Of course, I’ve been incapable of the same thing but it’s easier to blame it all on them. It also normalizes the situation because people expect men to play their cards close to their chest.

According to John Gray of Mars and Venus fame and many other experts (it’s science, people), our survival as a species has depended upon men’s need to retreat into silence when they have a problem and women’s need to talk, talk, talk about it to lower their stress levels. I’m a quiet girl but I can attest to the fact that my need to TALK about a problem is so strong that I will blow a gasket if I try to keep it to myself. Sometimes it is in the talking that I find the solution OR I simply feel a release of stress even if no solution presents itself. I don’t just feel better after talking it out, I feel as though I have saved my life. Women bond by talking; men bond by doing.

I came across an interesting article by Tracy McMillan for Huffington Post called Why You’re Not Married. Addressed to single women she outlines six reasons why women who want to be married aren’t. It’s brilliant in its simplicity and provides a template to follow if you are interested in attracting a suitable man. My favourite is #3 since I used to use sex to avoid intimacy (ironically enough).

1. You’re a Bitch.

You probably don’t think you’re angry. You think you’re super smart, or if you’ve been to a lot of therapy, that you’re setting boundaries. But the truth is you’re pissed. At your mom. At the military-industrial complex. At Sarah Palin. And it’s scaring men off.

2. You’re Shallow.

When it comes to choosing a husband, only one thing really, truly matters: character. Men of character are, by definition, willing to commit. Instead, you are looking for someone tall. Or rich. Unfortunately, this is not the thinking of a wife. This is the thinking of a teenaged girl.

3. You’re a Slut.

Hooking up with some guy in a hot tub on a rooftop is fine for the ladies of Jersey Shore — but they’re not trying to get married. You are. Which means, unfortunately, that if you’re having sex outside committed relationships, you will have to stop.

4. You’re a Liar.

You know if you tell him the truth — that you’re ready for marriage — he will stop calling. Usually that day. And you don’t want that. So you just tell him how perfect this is because you only want to have sex for fun! You love having fun sex! And you don’t want to get in a relationship at all! You swear!

5. You’re Selfish.

If you’re not married, chances are you think a lot about you. You think about your thighs, your outfits, your naso-labial folds. You think about your career, or if you don’t have one, you think about doing yoga teacher training. Sometimes you think about how marrying a wealthy guy — or at least a guy with a really, really good job — would solve all your problems.

6. You’re Not Good Enough.

Here is what you need to know: You are enough right this minute. Period. Not understanding this is a major obstacle to getting married, since women who don’t know their own worth make terrible wives. Why? You can fake it for a while, but ultimately you won’t love your spouse any better than you love yourself. Smart men know this.

What do you think of Tracy McMillan’s six reasons you’re not married?

The Pat Allen approach to relationships

relationship, man, woman, dating, marriage, marianne williamson

You may have read here about my favourite relationship advice expert, Dr. Pat Allen. I was lucky enough to meet her this weekend by attending a retreat she hosted where she gave us her take on finding and keeping the ideal relationship. That’s her first tip: you don’t commit to the man, you commit to the relationship. Her next piece of advice is that you withhold intercourse until you have an engagement ring on your finger. No blow jobs, either. She says it’s ok to “sleep together” and pet and touch and so on, but no penetration of any kind until you get the marriage commitment.

I was so happy to have Pat personally validate my own aversion to a man asking me to decide where we go on a date. I told her I find it highly distressing if a man picks me up for a date and says “Where do you want to go?” I get flustered and feel terrible when that happens. Dr. Allen said I had a good reason to feel that way and the reason is that I’m a woman! Men are supposed to make the decisions, pay for the dates, do the asking, approaching, calling and initiating. Hallelujah!

Dr. Allen also validated my feeling that men are to be the first to approach and speak to a woman with whom they’re interested. She said my job is to learn how to signal to them that it’s ok to approach. Because, she says, a gentleman will not approach a woman unless he is absolutely sure she wants him to. She said you do it with your eyes: you have to look him in the eyes for 5 full seconds so he knows you want him. Sounds easy but it’s horrifying to me! I said but what if you’re shy? And she said you do it anyway. She said to practice with men you’re not attracted to so it’s easier. So that’s what I did in the airport waiting for my flight home from the retreat. I practiced looking people in the eyes, both men and women. I held their gaze for 5 seconds and 90 percent of the time they looked away first. The other ten per cent of people looked a little confused. Thank goodness none of the men approached me because I wouldn’t have known what to do.

I’m relieved to know there is a relationship expert out there who shares my values and I can feel supported in my desire to attract a strong man who will take charge and lead! She also said a woman should never speak first when approached unless she wants to be the man in the relationship. I love that. So, now I have to practise making eye contact with people so I can use it on the the next desirable man I see.

She also said to never take a man’s phone number (yay!). If he gives you his card, accept it, turn it over and write your own number on the back and give it back to him. If you don’t like him, of course, just keep the card and forget about it. It’s not game playing because this all feels very natural to me. Asking men out and making the first move and deciding where to go on a date: that feels unnatural. I’m thrilled to have my feelings about men and dating validated in this way and I’m pleased I no longer have to feel like I’m from another planet because I don’t want to be equal with men.

Jumping the Broom

love, marriage, wedding, custom, black, african, american, husband, vow, wife, film
Jumping the broom is a marriage custom among Black Americans that has it roots in slavery: slaves weren’t allowed to get married so they demonstrated their love and commitment by jumping over a broom together to signify their union. I learned this from watching the film of the same name starring Paula Patton as a woman who gives up a life of casual sex and makes a vow to God to stop having sex until she is married.

The character Sabrina’s story mirrored mine because I was also leading a life of sleeping with nearly every handsome man I met until I realized that was not the path to a fulfilling relationship. Like Sabrina, I knew that if I were to ever have a healthy relationship I would have to take sex out of the equation and put God in its place. Sabrina asked God to send her a man and give her a definite sign that he was the one. Almost immediately, she ploughed into a pedestrian with her car. He turned out to be the one, of course, and she stayed true to her vow even while they were engaged.

Much ado was made about the fact that the man had to wait six months (!) for sex as though only men find it challenging to wait. I can tell you from experience and you know if you’ve read this blog that women find it hard to wait, too! I still doubt whether I’ll be able to wait for marriage to have sex with my future partner. That is a lot of temptation and the world accepts and encourages sex before marriage which makes it even more difficult to stay pure. I think the trick is to surround yourself with people who understand and support your commitment to save sex for your wedding day. Since I’ve put that intention out there more and more people are entering my life who “get it” and I’m grateful for that.

Courtship vs. Friends with Benefits

sex, abstinence, celibacy, relationship, marriage, courtship, single woman

“Friends with benefits” is an expression describing a friendship between a man and a woman in which sex is a casual component. If you’ve been reading this blog you know my views on casual sex: I don’t believe it’s possible, mainly because women become attached to the men with whom they have sex–whether they like it or not.

My friend told me about a “friends with benefits” situation in which she began to feel taken for granted. He wouldn’t call her when he said he would, or arrange ahead to meet, but would instead text her in the late evening and ask if he could come over. She was outraged by the behaviour but I have to ask, what other outcome could there possibly be?

When you give your body to a man without requiring a commitment from him, why would he feel obligated to call ahead to arrange a date? He knows sex is there whenever he wants it and he acts accordingly. It’s a case of teaching people how to treat you. How can you expect a man to respect you when you don’t respect yourself? Whether it’s spoken or not, a man must lose respect for a woman who gives away sex so easily. Their behaviour in cases like these is enough to prove my point.

“Friends with benefits” is another modern lie that hurts and confuses women and creates animosity between the sexes. Casual sex in all its forms simply does not work, except for the initial and short lived sexual pleasure which is fleeting and quickly turns to heartache. My intuition always told me certain truths: you don’t call men; you don’t ask men out; and you let men plan the date. There is a necessary pattern to courtship which has the man wooing and winning the woman. If she is so easy to catch, what’s the point? Something sacred is being lost.

Guest Post: 6 years celibate and finally happy

abstinence, sex, men, women, relationship, single woman, dating, one night standToday’s post comes courtesy of Madi, a reader who has been celibate for over 5 years now. I can relate to the experience of having casual sex with men and then becoming afraid of them when you stop. I can also relate to feelings of inadequacy and people pleasing. Here is her story:

My celibacy journey started with a break-up six years ago.  Back then, I thought I was in love with the man but now I know I wasn’t. Now, I know something I didn’t:  Love mustn’t hurt. I only loved the fact that he took care of me. I thought he did, but I wasn’t good enough for him to take me out. He destroyed my self-esteem which wasn’t very strong and made me think I was good for nothing except being his sex-toy.

I let him use me as a tool and for almost 5 years of my celibacy journey, I still acted like one: never saying no, always smiling, forgetting what I love, what I don’t.  The worst of it is I wasn’t aware I was erasing myself.
I was with another man that I thought would take care of me, but I didn’t love him: I only held the hope that he could make me happy and love me.
After that I remained alone; in fact, I was lonely because at that time I lost myself. I slept with a friend who only wanted a one-night stand. I was crying but he didn’t notice.  I felt very bad. I don’t like that.

At that time, instead of treasuring myself, I wore a suit of armor.  I built it and polished it:  nobody would find the real me. I was smiling here and there, saying exactly what people wanted to hear. I survived three years like that. Then, I discovered “The Secret” and things slightly changed. It was the year before. I started to go out with friends again but I was still in my “love me” role. And I was thinking the more I go out the more chance I would have to meet my soul mate. So with “The Secret”, I was only imaging the future and still being haunted by my past.

I started salsa. I always wanted to dance but I always needed someone do things with for everything. I wouldn’t do things by myself.  I discovered that I fear men; I didn’t want them to touch me. It’s quite annoying when you are dancing!!
But, God sent me last month all the answers I wanted to destroy this armor. I have freed myself and I can dance now.
These are the rules that I apply:

1.       I must treasure myself and take good care of me.
2.       I must love myself as I’m a part of God.
3.       I must live now and enjoy every moment: appreciate food, books, and flowers; there’s nothing extraordinary but it’s life.
4.       I don’t have to pretend to be perfect
5.       I don’t care if people don’t love me as long as I do.
6.       I don’t need to change
7.       I stop with the “when I‘ll have that, I’ll be happy”
I know I’m not ready to be this someone although I’m nearly 30 and everybody puts pressure on me. But it doesn’t affect me. I’m well with myself. I take my time to appreciate all the things I do in life and I can say: I’m truly happy.

A new approach to sex

sex, relationship, celibate, abstinence

I used to think I needed men. Not for an emotional or intellectual connection (I could get that from women) but for sex. I thought if it weren’t for my desire for sex (which I misinterpreted as a need) I would have no use for men at all. When I first embarked upon this journey of living sex-free for one year, I did a lot of tossing and turning and almost daily masturbating just to get through the urges I felt and couldn’t fulfil.

Pretty soon I found out that my issues with men weren’t sexual so much as related to self-esteem. My ego felt a small and short-lived lift when a man paid attention to me and since I was scared of men, getting them into bed was the only way I could feel like I had any power. They were less threatening to me that way.

After a few months of learning how to enjoy my own company and find my validation within rather than from the opposite sex, I began to see that I don’t need sex the way I thought I did, and that I was using it for the wrong reasons. Sex isn’t something you “use” at all; it’s the ultimate connection with the one you love. “The One”, not whoever you picked up at the bar that night.

I’ve decided I won’t be having sex until I’m in a committed and solid relationship and it’s possible I might hold out for marriage. Having sex too soon never did me any good, never helped me get close to anybody, and made me feel cheap and dirty even though I didn’t admit it then. Most of the time I did it because the other person wanted to and I was a people pleaser. I promise you I’ll never do that again. Having sex with someone when you don’t really want to has to be the most soul-destroying thing a woman can do and I’ve done it more than once. Granted, I’ve done it lots of times when I wanted to as well but my reasons were flawed.

Having sex for attention, approval, inflated ego, power, are all the wrong reasons because they have nothing to do with the person you’re with: they are all about you. Sex is something that’s shared between two people. It should be beautiful and sacred and bring you closer together; it should be tender and caring and filled with love. I have no idea what that kind of sex is like. I’m going to have to wait to find out.