Nothing used to scare me more than my looming breakup. Until a few months ago, my relationship was turbulent, on and off, toxic — but comfortable. After a lifetime of friendship and three years of dating, you get to know someone pretty well and stop thinking about all the nuances between the sheets. So I had yet to learn how foreign it would be to actually hook up with someone different.
You get accustomed to what your sexual partners like and pick up on their (not-so) subtle signals. This familiarity is what makes new people and casual sex so much more high-pressure. Penises, like people, all like different things. I, like most people, hate being bad at something.
As a kid, I quickly cycled through generic upper-middle-class after-school activities. Things were harder than I expected, and after realizing my lack of hand-eye coordination and musical talent, I quit, thinking that would be better than failing. Admittedly not the best path to set me on, but since then, I’ve been known to avoid things that don’t come easy.
For a long time, sex was easy because I just had to know what one person who had never been with anyone else liked. Even if I sucked, they had no real way of knowing that. Now every hook-up has a full roster and 20+ bodies to compare you to, and I have some hard-core catching up to do.
Over Thanksgiving dinner at the kid’s table, my older cousin asked if I was “in my hoe phase.” While giving her the abridged rundown of my semester, I realized I am hard-core fumbling the thot life. I also realized that when your family asks for pictures, you should always say no because A. why am I showing them a Snapchat of a guy who likely does not care if I lived or died, and B. why are they joking that he looks like my older brother just because they both have dark facial hair.
After this unfortunate conversation, I decided to take matters into my own hands and join the rest of the world on my hometown’s Tinder. I had been strongly opposed to being on Berkeley Tinder, admittedly mostly so my ex wouldn’t have reason to judge me for trying to move on. But in Miami, I could just block everyone I knew and hope no random would mention my profile to him.
Obviously, that plan was not foolproof. I quickly saw his childhood best friend’s younger brother, followed by his childhood best friend and, out of curiosity, matched with a hometown-friend-group celebrity.
After the excitement of his “hey there, stranger” message subsided, I started to feel insecure at the thought of actually hanging out like he said we should. I do not have the suaveness needed to make casual sex not seem super awkward. I have always been a relationship girl, and I don’t know how to flirt with these new, less wholesome end goals. My only “move” is being that awful cute-mean to acquaintances and seeing if they reciprocate with banter. Still, acquaintances I run into multiple times a week are precisely the people I should NOT be trying to have casual sex with.
While I could be down to partake in a “hoe phase,” I’m not there right now, and I definitely did not want to start that journey in my childhood bedroom. I also don’t want to do real casual sex until I change my relationship with sex. I’ve realized that I have always viewed sex as something I do for someone else instead of for myself. Because of this, I have always seen my own pleasure as less important. In my mind, my role has been needing to please instead of being pleased.
A guy is a hot shit if he even goes down on me, let alone makes me orgasm, yet I have this strangely misogynistic thought that I should ALWAYS be an expert in everything that is their pleasure, and, if I’m not, I’m not only a failure but probably ugly.
Yeah, it’s weird to go from being someone’s personal porn star, respectfully, to your average five-setting vibrator found in the back of a Spencer’s. One knows you perfectly, while the other is rotating between the world’s five most universal sensations, just praying something works out.
While suddenly becoming the second has bruised my ego, that doesn’t mean I should hold myself to a standard that no male partner of mine has ever fulfilled. Until guys can consistently get ME off with some Owen Grey level expertise, they have no reason to expect gluck-gluck-9000 mastery on my end.