There are very few times when I discuss my romantic entanglements with my mother. Though she is an open-minded and let’s say (for the sake of propriety) “vivacious” lady, she is still a woman who believes that Fifty Shades of Gray was either about race politics or wallpaper. However, a few weeks ago, she called and I couldn’t hold back from sharing some of my neurotic concerns about a one-night stand that had seemed like it had a lot of relationship potential before fizzling out into nothing. (Rest assured, I didn’t mention that it was just a night of sex. I simply said it was a “date.”) In the middle of my rant about what I thought had gone wrong between us and that maybe he just hadn’t called because his mother died, she stopped me and said, “Oh for heaven’s sake, Lacy. You analyze everything to death. Including sex! Why can’t you just lie back and enjoy it?”
There it was, the best sex advice I’ve gotten in years, from the woman to whom I should have been listening all my life: my mother.
Her words have haunted me over the past few weeks, seeping into every sentence I’ve tried to write. That’s why—with a heavy heart—I’ve decided I am no longer the lady for this job. Make no mistake, I have loved my year of sex—the good and the bad—but most of all, I have loved writing every moment down. Now, it’s time for me to move forward and try to sleep with one person for awhile—maybe someone who I won’t write about. (No promises on that front, though. I’m still an artiste, after all.)
Even though goodbyes can be hard, I didn’t want to leave without saying one. So here’s a list of all the things I’ve learned from my year as a sex columnist. (By the way, this list might also be a thinly veiled attempt at letting you know the best way to get into my pants. I mean, I’m not dead! I’ve still got a pulse and I’m still single even if I’m not writing about sex anymore.) Here it goes:
Call Me: I cannot stress this more strongly—ENOUGH WITH THE TEXTING. Remember—years ago—when you liked someone and you would call them just to see how his or her day went? Then you would talk for hours and your ear would get hot and your arm would go numb from holding up the phone? I may have been thirteen the last time that happened, but I still miss it. Think about how many stupid misunderstandings would be eradicated by a phone call. Yes, it will be awkward, and, no, we don’t know how to really talk on the phone anymore, but I’d still like if we could go back to a simpler time when we weren’t all a bunch of sociopaths that couldn’t hold conversations on the phone. I want to hear the sound of your voice. It’s sexy and intimate and ultimately it shows me that you like me…you really, really like me.
Don’t Sleep with Anyone Who Has a Partner: I know this seems obvious, but…it’s not. It’s easy to have clouded vision when you find a person who seems perfect for you and acts like his or her partner is a huge a problem. I went into an “other woman” situation thinking “Who cares? It’s not my relationship, so it’s not my responsibility.” Sure, maybe I wasn’t responsible to him or to his girlfriend, but I was still responsible to myself. So when it didn’t feel great when I never heard from him again, I have only myself to hold accountable for that one.
Liking My Picture On Instagram Is Not a Sufficient Form of Flirting: Even more so when I can see that you liked a bunch of fetish models’ pictures too. I’m beginning to believe that all social media is ruining our ability to date. There is a huge effort problem when a person thinks that hitting a button is the equivalent of clever, face-to-face banter. So stop doing that thing where you “deep like” a year-old photo of me in a bathing suit, and start trying to finish my sentences about Monty Python. Is that really too much to ask?
Casual Sex Does Not Mean a Person Is Interested In Dating You: I say this having experienced both sides. I have been the person who hopes to win someone over by showing them my super sexy moves and I’ve been the the person that doesn’t return a text message about the iPod you left at my apartment. (Sorry!) What I’ve learned this year is that casual sex is great as long as you’re not using it as a means to get the other person to like you. If that’s the case, you’re going about it all wrong. In those situations sex develops after a mutual appreciation and respect is founded.
You Can’t Have Casual Sex with Someone Over and Over and Not Develop Feelings: I know a lot of folks are going to disagree with me on this, but the more physical you get with someone (especially if it’s over a prolonged period of time), the more invested you become. If you care for someone’s body long enough, you start to care for the whole of him or her.
The Best Sex You Have Is Not Always the Best Sex For You: Sure, I loved having sex high on space cakes with the poet who owned a ferret, but he always interrupted me, and we would have made a terrible couple. Really, the best sex I’ve ever had was on a Wednesday morning sometime in 2007, and it probably only lasted about twenty minutes because we both had to go to work. But it was with someone that taught me everything I know about love, sex, heartache and sacrifice. Usually, the least exciting stuff is the most important.
You Can’t Be Friends with Your Exes: Let’s be honest here, everyone we know that’s friends with the person who broke their heart is kidding themselves. Move on! Want to know why you’re still single? Because you still get weekly brunch with your ex and trade dating stories, pretending it’s ok and that you’re both totally fine with it. I’m not saying that you can’t send them a holiday card, or a rice cooker for their wedding, but please, I beg you, don’t organize the bachelor party.
Sometimes You Gotta Pick Bros Over…Well, Bros: I have sabotaged a lot of what could have been great friendships by making them sexual, all because I thought that was what I was supposed to do. When I was younger, the moment I had a connection with someone, my first inclination would be to sleep with them. I used to think that good conversation was just the precursor to even better sex. Now, after having lots of good—but also terrible and totally unnecessary—sex, I think I’ve come to terms with letting good conversation be just that—good conversation. I used to walk around wondering if every straight man I met was a potential lover or (even more ridiculously) my potential life partner. Every time I had a clever tête-à-tête with a dude, I would think, “Are you my soul-mate?” As a feminist, it’s the ultimate irony to recognize that I’ve been turning every man I meet into a sex object.
Don’t Try to Have a Threesome with Your Best Friend: Group sex works best when you are equally attracted to everyone involved. And let’s face it, your best friend is probably your best friend because there is no sexual chemistry. You gotta have one person in your life who you can keep the door open with when you pee.
Finally, Can We Be More Honest? Please?: I have ruined many a great encounter with a guy by trying to act tough and be cavalier. You know, all, “whatever, I’m a sex columnist…you are a notch on my bed stand and a note in my Excel spreadsheet.” It was hard for me to understand, but those guys had feelings too. And though we’re all out there trying to protect our little hearts, being vulnerable is its own achievement. Tell them you like them. Go on. I dare you.
That’s all folks. I’ve learned a lot and I’ve had a lot of fun. Thank you.