After a sabbatical from dating, I recently started chatting with a few guys online. I’ve noticed that they go straight to sexually driven conversation topics or ask me for sexy pictures. I’m looking for a meaningful relationship, not a hookup. This type of exchange feels cheap and disrespectful. Is this common practice or am I being overly sensitive?
Dear Sex Object,
I completely understand your frustration with these subpar gentlemen callers. It makes sense that you’re turned off. You want to be more than just a sex object. You want to be the object of someone’s affection.
A meaningful relationship generally doesn’t begin with requests for sexy pictures or an incessant need for sexual conversation. Part of me understands the request for pictures since men are visual creatures; however, paired with sexually explicit conversation is a call for concern. Consider the adage, “Men fall in love with their eyes and women fall in love with the ears.” With that said, it sounds like these guys are skipping right over the getting to know you stage. Slow down fellas and bring some romance to the courting phase.
We all have a specific love language. A relationship works when we gravitate towards potential candidates that speak the same language. These guys need to work on the Art of Seduction. As Robert Greene stated in his book with the same title, “There is too little mystery in the world; too many people say exactly what they feel and want.” These guys might want to see you naked and feel like having sex with you, but they don’t have to say it, especially in the beginning stages of a relationship.
I’m a firm believer that people should be transparent with their intentions. You’re waving an, “I want a relationship” sign and the guys that you’re talking to online are waving signs that read, “I want a casual encounter.” You’ve expressed the type of relationship that you’re looking for, yet the algorithm that connects potential partners online doesn’t always align.
Men and women think differently in terms of sex. Women think about sex less frequently than men. Also, more often than not, women need to form an emotional attachment before proceeding to the physical level. These guys aren’t following the playbook. Think about it in real-world terms. Imagine that you’re at a bar and a guy comes up to you and says, “Hi.” Immediately following the greeting, he asks to see a sexy picture of you or starts talking to you about sexual positions. What would you do? Slap him; I hope. At the very least you would walk away or tell him about himself. Why is online any different? The same rules of socially acceptable behavior apply. If you wouldn’t say it to someone’s face, then it shouldn’t be said online.
You have a couple of options. First, you can keep scrolling and ignore the messages that lead with sexually based talking points or requests for pictures. Second, you can express how you feel and see if the guys adjust accordingly. Let’s give these guys the benefit of the doubt. I know you’d assume a grown man would know better, but sometimes we need to teach people how we want to be treated. Guys need to understand what you will and will not accept. Remember, everyone’s boundaries are drawn differently. Maybe he interprets his behavior as a primal mating call or a pathetic attempt at flirting but does indeed have good intentions. If you express how you feel and the guy alters his approach then you might have a chance with him. If he continues to focus on sex then you know he’s not only “courting” you on a level that’s uncomfortable for you, but he’s also not respecting your wishes.
Pay attention to the red flags. Your gut will guide you through the process of weeding through the unqualified applicants to find the man for the job.