Not an Odalisque

Myth Number Three: Men Want Women Who Won’t Put Out.

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This myth has declined in recent years from “wait for the ring” to “don’t fuck on a first date,” but the underlying assumption has not changed. The idea that men are naturally inclined to pursue women and will lose interest once the chase is over is the premise of the enormously successful dating manual “The Rules.” “Don’t put out” is the message, “or you’ll never see him again.”

I’m not generally inclined to resist the temptation of sex, but I have done it a couple of times. Most recently I decided a pursuer was unsuitable and not to be given in to. After a couple of months of late night phone calls and rather undemarcated visits, however, it seemed easier to give in to the narrative forces than to maintain my resistance. We fucked. I’ve hardly heard from him since. This time a month ago we were talking nearly every day; I’ve had one call from him this week.

It is true that the chase lends your relationship excitement. There is a lot of fun in the challenge of seduction, and a rather nice feeling of power in knowing that someone wants you as you withhold your favours. These feelings end when the chase ends, whether that’s taken two hours or two months. In fact after two months it is even worse.

The authors of ‘The Rules’ contend that after a man has spent a certain amount of time and effort on you he’s not going to waste the investment by letting you go. I, on the other hand, think that most people know when to cut their losses (as did, Ellen Fein’s now ex-husband, around the same time that she was bringing out ‘The Rules for Marriage’). The problem is that after weeks or months of holding out, rather than putting out, one sexual act becomes very important. You’ve been looking forward to it for a long time, one or both of you have fantasised about it, you’re a pressure cooker of desire and tonight has to be special. Have you ever waited for months for a film to come out and left the cinema feeling downhearted, even though the film was fine? Have you ever left your last exam of the summer ecstatic with your newfound freedom but crashed the moment you got home? If you build things up in your mind you are likely to be disappointed.

So it was with my attempt at holding out. The sex simply wasn’t worth the mental effort I’d put into avoiding it. I’m sure he felt the same. In the midst of all that disappointment, who would want to climb back into bed and do it all over again?

Once, I did as part of my second experience of delayed possible-gratification. I went on two dates with a man and then moved across the sea. Don’t worry, he had been warned. By the time he came to visit me, we’d spent an awful lot of time on the phone, exchanged a large number of emails and read each others’ academic work. So when his body betrayed him in his attempt to have sex with me, I didn’t feel that I could immediately sever all links. In the following months the sex improved only marginally. I think the lowest point was when I patted him on the head and said “valiant effort” as I drew some rather painful oral sex to a close.

So here’s the thing: if he’s got a tiny willy, a premature ejaculation problem, and a delusion that vaginal lapping is fun, then I’d rather know that now than in several months time. If he’s got a beautiful body, breathtaking staying power and the ability to make me gasp “how –are—you—doing—that—ooooooh!” I’d like to take advantage of that right away. Making him chase me for longer doesn’t make him any better in bed, or any more likely to come back for a second go, it just delays the discovery and the decision.

Even if delaying did work I wouldn’t do it. Relationships, even one night stands, are full of excitement and discovery. Whether that’s because he’s explaining Deleuze, cooking you his favourite meal or showing you what a circumcised penis looks like doesn’t matter, there are so many things to learn and share. It should be the same for him. If he’s listening to me ramble I’d rather it was because he was interested in the topic than because he thinks it’s the way into my pants. So it makes sense to fuck first and discuss poetry later. I’m quite confident in my ability to provoke sexual frenzy, so why would I refuse to sleep with someone in order to manipulate them into artificial desire? If someone really, truly likes me, he’ll be calling me up for the poetry conversations no matter where his willy has been.

Written by Not an Odalisque

January 13, 2010 at 3:56 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Tagged with , , , , ,

One Response

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  1. Laugh out loud funny…

    Well said.

    – Daisy X


    January 13, 2010 at 5:29 pm

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