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Lesbian Dating & Sex: 3 Things to Help Decide

28 Jun Posted by in • Dr. Glenda Corwin | Comments Off on Lesbian Dating & Sex: 3 Things to Help Decide
Lesbian Dating & Sex: 3 Things to Help Decide

The key word in this title is “Decide”  This is different from “get swept away,” “fall into bed,”  “go with the flow,” or other versions of the fantasy that sexual desire just overcomes you and suddenly,  spontaneously, there you are!  To decide is to be intentional, and responsible, about a significant step in a new relationship.

Dr. Sue Johnson, author of Hold Me Tight and other books about attachment needs, has been writing recently about sex and safety.  She suggests that sex activates primitive longings for holding and attachment to another person. Because these feelings are so intense, we need to feel safe before giving in to that powerful current.  So the decision about being sexual also means being realistic about the strong feelings this can stir up in you–or your partner. Sex can be a vulnerable experience.

med911007Unless it isn’t. Casual sex doesn’t require that much vulnerability, and works well for some people,  at some times. But even with casual sex there’s often some negative fallout,  like someone feeling hurt and rejected, or irritated and scared, or embarrassed and disappointed. So when the opportunity to be sexual presents itself, here are some questions to ask yourself.

1) How many hours have I actually spent with her, in person?

“Susan” met up with someone for their first date, which was dinner together in a romantic restaurant. They talked and laughed and drank a lot, and then went back to her place. Susan said the sex was fun and felt good. The next morning her new friend said she was in a blackout and didn’t remember any of it.  Also, she had a girlfriend who was away for the weekend.  Susan felt terrible–hurt, foolish, and angry. Even though she knew it was irrational, she couldn’t stop wondering what she did wrong.

The problem is, we tend to overrate what people say, and underrate our observations of what they do. Susan was sure her new friend was single, because she told her so. The friend also said she drank a lot because it was a special occasion.  If Susan had spent a few more hours with her, she would probably have noticed that (a) her new friend was very vague about her living arrangements,  and (b) her friend always drank a lot.  She could have made a more informed decision about going down that path at this time

2) How well has it worked out in the past, in a similar situation?

We’ve all heard some version of “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results.”  This certainly applies here too.  So think about what your past patterns have been in terms of deciding if and when to have sex with a new partner, and how those past decisions worked out, and if you want similar results this time.  If not, it would be time to try something different—like maybe, adding more hours together so you can observe more and see how you feel with this person.

Women lying down on bed3) What’s my real motivation for having sex at this time?

They say that positive outcomes don’t come from negative motivations.  Hopefully, you want to have sex because you’re genuinely attracted to her and have a good feeling about your potential for an ongoing, emotionally intimate relationship.  But, there are often other motivations that turn out to have negative impact.

For instance, sex can seem like a shortcut to the arduous, anxious process of trying to know and be known by another person. It’s hard to feel safe when mutual feelings and expectations aren’t quite clear yet.  If you both focus on enjoying sex, you have less time to worry about what the future may—or may not—hold for this relationship. And with an oxytocin afterglow, it’s easy to believe that you’re soulmates. This feels great, but it doesn’t change the fact that you don’t really know this person, so you haven’t really made the process any shorter. Unfortunately, you may have just made it more complicated.

Pressure and expectations are not good reasons to have sex either.  Sometimes women have sex to please or placate a partner, or to avoid hurting their feelings. The problem is that if you go with that motivation, you’re very likely to regret it later, and to have even more negative feelings to deal with.  Rejections that happen after sex are usually worse than rejections before sex.  So this is a good time to take a deep breath and not let pressure or expectations push you into a decision you’re not sure about.

I think you’ll feel safer after asking yourself those three questions—because then you can trust yourself to make better decisions. If your answers point you away from this relationship,  you may respectfully step away.  And if the answers make you feel good, you’ll feel safer, and more excited, about going forward with the two of you.

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