“Women need a reason to have sex. Men just need a place.” —Billy Crystal
I am continually flummoxed by how men and women seem to see sex so totally differently. From my experience, it seems that men take sex much less seriously than women. I know I’m generalizing here. I know there are always exceptions, but stay with me.
It dawned on me that the difference is similar to the old joke about the chicken and pig looking at the breakfast sign in the window. It said “ham and egg breakfast.” The pig turned to the chicken and said, “For you, it’s just a contribution. For me it’s total commitment.”
Many women, although not all, see having sex as a sign that there is a commitment to the relationship. Men, although I realize not all, seem to be more cavalier. Sex, it seems, is considered merely a very enjoyable physical release. And to do it with another, even someone they’re not particularly drawn to, makes the experience significantly better. With someone they are attracted to, it is one of the best experiences on the planet. But, if the man is immature or less evolved, he doesn’t seem to appreciate that the woman can have a very different relationship with sex.
Often a man will press toward doing the deed without exploring what it would mean to the woman. He may not ask her philosophy on sex, and if they do it, do they have similar expectations about behaviors afterward. Would they spend the night together, rather than one getting up and going home? Would she expect to talk every day and see each other regularly? Does it mean exclusivity? What, exactly, would he be getting himself into, other than her pants? Would he be opening himself up to constant phone calls, tirades when he doesn’t call, even visits to work, or other unpleasant behaviors, just because of a little roll in the hay?
It seems a lot of tension, strife, and upset could be avoided if there was an adult conversation about sex — not only the physical issue of protection, but the emotional expectations, implications and ramifications as well. If both had their rational wits about them before they plunged forward with their physical cravings, it would prevent a lot of angst on one or both parts.
So why isn’t this conversation common, since it makes so much sense? My theory is that passion can evolve rather quickly, and one thing can definitely lead quickly to another. And soon you are further along than you would have rationally decided to be. But it feels so good you don’t think (much) about stopping. Your animalistic urges trump your sensible, prudent, mature sound mind.
The only way I can see to avoid this is to have the conversation when you aren’t in the middle of a passionate embrace. I know, sometimes you don’t know that you’re going to be in a passionate embrace until it’s happening. But if you have the presence of mind to call a “time out” and discuss it, you can always pick up where you left off. What if he gets upset that you stopped the action to have this discussion? Then it’s great that you know that now so you can release him back into the dating pool. He really isn’t interested in having more than a booty call with you.
So be clear on what sex means to you. Do you care if he sleeps with others while sleeping with you? Do you think it’s OK for you to sleep with others concurrently? Do you expect you’ll both be exclusive? Do you think it means you’re now in a relationship and you will talk to and see each other regularly? Does it mean spending the whole night together, not going home right afterward? The clearer you are, the easier this conversation will be.