I'm a 28 year old cis, straight woman who has never been in a serious relationship. Most of my dating life has consisted of short 2 or 3 month

I'm a 28 year old cis, straight woman who has never been in a serious relationship. Most of my dating life has consisted of short 2 or 3 month casual dating situations, however there was one, fucked up friends with benefits thing I was doing for almost a year and half. But other than that, my dating life has consisted of short, casual relationships.

Basically, I am tired of living my life alone. Yes, friends and family are great but they do not fill the need for the love of a partner.There’s no one to help me flip a mattress, help me install an AC unit, or run errands with. At this point, loneliness is the feeling that I am most comfortable with.

To most men I am just a body to fuck. A girl to casually hang out with until they find someone worth seriously dating. I can't tell you how many times a guy ghosted or broke up with me only to soon start posting Instagrams with his new girlfriend. I am forever stuck being a stepping stone between relationships.

My question is, how do I get out of this casual dating rut? I have never had a guy try and take our relationship to the next level. I hear all the time that guys are attracted to confident women, but how am I supposed to be confident when I am constantly getting rejected by men?

I'm OK in the looks dept, I have good style, a good personality, and a stable career. I try to not text guys too much or come on too strong. I've tried the opposite as well. Nothing seems to work. And as time continues to pass and my age continues to increase, my hope of finding love dwindles. I am just desperate to find love.

Hello Fren,

Allow me to tell you a story.

One night-- maybe it was 11th grade-- my friend, Ethan, had a bunch of us-- boys and girls-- over to his house. His mom was out of town, his parents were divorced. We all went up into his attic to smoke weed and drink (Green Apple Smirnoff?) until well into the evening.

After we were all good and fuggin stoned 420 off doobies and blunts and hella fat bong rips, Ethan invited us downstairs to watch a movie. With a sort of a eerie cockiness, he slid a DVD into the DVD player, turned to face all of us, and announced, “This is a very, let’s say, remarkable film.” He chuckled, “I think you will all enjoy it,” and gleefully joined rank on the couch.

The movie opened on a scene of a man lying supine on the couch in his therapist’s office. He detailed the stress of his job, his marriage. His sexy blonde therapist nodded, tapping her pen on her clipboard, and jotting down notes as she bit her frosted lips, crossing and uncrossing her tanned legs.

I’ve never particularly enjoyed watching movies while stoned; I get pulled deeply into a paranoid analysis of the simulacra of daily life, its uncanniness, the horrifying fact of actors engaging in the shoddy craft of pretending to be people, and the general horror of fucking everything (I don’t smoke weed anymore, s/0 non-psychoactive CBD oil).

And maybe I was super stoned, but this movie seemed to me to to be particularly hollow, cardboard, low budget, completely unlike real life. A jazzy stock music cue ambled aimlessly in the background as the main characters spoke. There was a soft, glowy filter lighting the cheaply decorated room.

I looked around at my peers, “What the fuck movie is this, Ethan?”   

“You know, Dave,” the sexy therapist interrupted her client, leaning forward, her cleavage pressing against the edge of her clipboard, “The definition of insanity is trying the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.”

“What the fuck is this movie?” yelled one of the boys. Chaos ensued, we were all talking and yelling amongst ourselves, yelling at Ethan.

Next we knew, the sexy therapist was unbuttoning her blouse lustfully and striding across her office toward Dave.

“Ethan, is this a porn?!” We all unanimously shrieked at Ethan to turn this fucking movie the fuck off right fucking now.  

What was Ethan thinking? Did he think any member of this platonic group of friends was interested in casually viewing pornography together?

The lines of consent were, clearly, shaky. Judgment was, clearly, impaired.

Anyway, that was the first porn I ever saw, and also the first time I ever heard anyone use the phrase, “The definition of insanity is trying the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.”

Every time I hear that phrase used, I wonder if the person using it had also been subjected to the same cheap therapist office porn, or if there is another source from whence that platitude comes. I’ve never bothered to Google its provenance.

My point is that sometimes, changing up your routine-- drastically-- can make all the difference in your life. Whether it leads you to long- lasting true love, or not.

Before we talk about embracing change, I want to acknowledge that you are in pain, and that you are afraid. And to say that this is absolutely a normal response. Many of us, probably most of us are--if not sexually monogamous-- socially monogamous. The fear of being alone, of being left behind, of being “different,” or “unsuitable” is primal; the fear of being unloveable is torturous. Many of us live with these fears.

You are not alone in feeling alone.

The idea that radiating confidence will-- without fail-- reap real- world results is faux- spiritual, The Secret bullshit. It’s a commodity- focused mindset; it purports love as being something you earn, as something you either deserve or don’t deserve; it promises you a material reward in the form of an actual living human being.

Sorry, but you’ve met enough shitty people in relationships with other shitty people to understand-- empirically-- that romantic connection is not a measure of how good or deserving a person is. We are all flawed.

The people you know who are in relationships aren’t smarter than you or better than you at dating.

I promise. They haven’t figured out the exact right number of times to text a person to make them want to flip a mattress with them.

Maybe they are just lucky. Or, unlucky, as the case may be.  

So on the one hand, you might not have an actual problem here. To quote our father, who art in Seattle, Dan Savage, “Every relationship fails until one doesn’t.”

It’s possible you just haven’t met a person with whom you are romantically compatible in the long- term yet.  

And whether you choose to believe this circumstance was brought about randomly, karmically, as a test from God, or a message from the aliens, you are not required to blame yourself, or required to blame a lack of confidence or a dearth of positivity.

Fuck that. Live your live.

On the proverbial other hand, self- examination can’t hurt.

My advice is to--as best you can-- stop considering long-lasting romantic love as the result you are aiming for. Because in order to not choke to death on hubris, our best bet is to embrace the mystery and focus inward. Honor and acknowledge whatever beautiful and terrible force brings people together in love, romance and companionship, and recognize that you might not be in control.

And maybe this is a relief.

Because being in pursuit of yourself is noble, and it is hard.  

What about all of the aforementioned shitty people? Did they have to dig really, really, really, deep and know themselves before love entered their lives?

Maybe some of them did. And maybe they didn’t.

And maybe fate, or the superconscious beings that live under Mt. Shasta, or Morpheus from The Matrix, or the utter and total randomness of The Universe is inviting you to become one of the conscious ones.

You can rage against it. Or, you can count it as a blessing and move forward. Because what else can you do?

What I mean is that I think it’s time to work on yourself, to be accepting and honest with yourself, and to release results- oriented thinking in favor of process- oriented action.

So, diving in:

Have you ever contacted any of your former partners in pursuit of a post-mortem? If you think you might be met with friendship, I would try reaching out to a few of these 2-3 month guys, and to ask them for some honest feedback. I know that sounds terrifying, but it could be illuminating.

Similarly, do you have any friends who might be totally honest with you, rather than serving you dismissive platitudes about “confidence?”

From here, it is really difficult for me, Pussy Writer, to give you any kind of constructive feedback about your dating vibe, the men you are choosing, etc. etc., so let’s start with the usual suspects, and get them out of the way.

What’s going on with your job? Are you happy and fulfilled in your career? Do you like your coworkers? Do you feel like you belong? Are you able to express creativity in any capacity at work? If it’s time for a change, make a change. It might take a long time to find a new job, so being looking in earnest now. What are you waiting for?

Work is a great place to develop confidence, to develop friendships, to expand your social circle, and to bond with like- minded people. Who might incidentally have a wider net of like- minded friends and family. Some of whom might incidentally be single. Spending all your time and energy in a place that doesn’t bring out the best in you or utilize your strengths, and surrounding yourself with people who you don’t really relate to isn’t really the best environment for growth.   

What’s going on with your geographical location? Are you vibing with where you live? Is this where you want to be? Maybe it’s time for a major move? If you are able to find work in a new city, do it! Go!

This one is more vague but-- are you choosing “the same guy” over and over to go out on first dates with? It might be time to experiment with a new “type.” Don’t force yourself into anything, but if you’re adhering to rigid standards that aren’t working, maybe let a couple of walls down. Say “yes” to a first date with someone a little different. Dating apps make this pretty easy.

Moving on -- if I may make an observation, every time I read your letter, I am totally and completely jarred, and disquieted by this sentence:

“To most men I am just a body to fuck.”

I don’t mean to over-interpret, but from this description of the casual sex you’ve been having, it does not seem like you are enjoying sex. At all.

If you were, you’d have written something more like, “I’ve been having fun, but I’m looking for something more fulfilling.”

SO!

Why are you having sex you do not want to have? Why are you continuing to have sex that you do not enjoy? Why do you keep having unenjoyable sex over and over and expecting a different result?

And if you are not enjoying having sex with these guys, why, exactly do you want one of them to become your primary romantic partner?

Your relationship with yourself, with pleasure, with your own sexuality undoubtedly impacts the ole’ confidence, your choices and how you are perceived out there in The World.

What is your relationship to sex, pleasure, sensuality and sexuality? Have you ever done a deep dive there? Does sex and sexuality feel like a positive, safe place for you?  

Sexual attraction can definitely be one-sided, but real sexual intimacy is mutual. And if the people you are dating are looking for a sexual and romantic partner, and you are not really all that thrilled by the sexual part of that equation, they are going to look elsewhere, and find a partner that matches their desire for sexual intimacy.

If you are feeling like “just a body,” they are probably feeling it too.   

I am not suggesting you are bad at sex by any means. I am observing that you are not necessarily enjoying  the sex you are having.

So, stop having sex you don’t want to have.  

I’m going to throw out some questions w/r/t this whole not enjoying sex hypothesis. Think through them, feel free to regard or disregard. These are just some wild guesses.

(*)

*Is it possible you are demisexual (meaning you are more or less asexual until and unless you establish deep emotional intimacy)?

If this is the case, don’t have sex with anyone until you feel an authentic sense of intimacy and friendship. Put this on your dating profiles, verbalize this on first dates; stop trying to be someone you are not. I promise, it will be such a relief. If you are not someone who enjoys casual sex, STOP HAVING IT. Yes, you will rule out a lot of people this way, but it will potentially narrow the dating scene down to more compatible potential partners.

*Is it possible you might be asexual?

Maybe you are looking for romantic partnership and companionship that doesn’t necessarily include sex. This triggers a full-on dropdown of other advice, but the main headlines are: don’t do anything that you don’t want to do; tell potential companions that you are interested in having a companion-based relationship only.

*Is it possible you might be gay?

Maybe you are unfulfilled by the sexual-romantic side of dating these men because it isn’t men you should be dating? This triggers a whole other dropdown set of advice, but I think the big “I might be gay” headlines are as follows: talk to queer friends and ask for their POV; only approach dating other women with openness and honesty; experiment, but do your best not to make any other human being feel dehumanized; it’s ok to not know what you are doing yet.

*I am not a doctor, BUT, are you on any psychotropic drugs that have sexual side effects?

Very often, people who are on SSRIs and other psychotropic drugs have little to no sex drive while on these drugs. If you have been on the same psychotropic medication for a long time, AND you are not enjoying sex, AND you are not forming connections with your sexual and romantic partners, you may be too numbed out. I would strongly advise speaking to your prescribing physician and/ or getting a second opinion. Not every condition is treatable via holistic medicine, but many are. Please do not do anything without a doctor’s care, but it might be time for a change.

*Again, not a doctor, but are you on hormonal birth control?

While birth control is A BASIC FUCKING HUMAN RIGHT, and  SHOULD ABSOLUTELY BE ACCESSIBLE TO ALL WOMEN AT ALL INCOME LEVELS AS A MATTER OF HUMAN FUCKING RIGHTS, ummmm… hormonal birth control sort of… how do I put this… sucks. It sucks so fucking much.

The desert of a dearth of research into the life- altering side effects of hormonal birth control is such a joke. And while EVERY WOMAN HAS THE RIGHT TO CHOOSE WHAT IS RIGHT FOR HER OWN BODY, hormonal birth control can alter your sex drive. If it’s right for you, you might choose a different method for awhile and see how you feel. Again, don’t make any major changes without speaking to a doctor.  

*Are you into anything witchy?

If so, I would astrologically investigate what’s going on in your 1st house (how other people perceive you), your 5th house (dating, pleasure), your 7th house (partnership), and your 8th house (sex). I’d pay special attention to the asteroid Juno, who rules partnership, and potentially check out any challenging aspects your moon and Venus might be facing natally.

*Do you live in your body? Or do you live in your head?

If all your energy congregates in your head, it might be time to crack open a mindfulness practice. Ever try meditation? Any method will do the trick.

I personally enjoy chakra meditation — maybe check it out, and really notice the energy in your 2nd chakra, which governs creativity and sex. Sometimes, a blocked sex channel is related to blocked or stifled creativity. You may also want to stock up on some fire- toned crystals-- Carnelian, Orange Calcite, Libyan Gold Tektyte, and Pyrite are said to heat up the ole’ 2nd chakra.

(*)

Above all, my #1 recommendation with regard to asking your immortal soul any or all of the above Q’s, and other big questions is-- if you have access-- to talk to a queer- positive, asexual-positive, sex- positive therapist so you have a safe place to work this out.

And if feeling out of control, dehumanized, confused, or traumatized is a recurring theme in your life, especially in your development as a sexual being, I’d strongly urge you to take a good break away from dating until you are ready to feel empowered by your own choices, and to know what you really want from a partnership.   

In order to be positive, confident, in order to attract the “right” person into your life with the “right” kind of energy, you can’t just paint your whole self Gen-Z yellow, slap a smile on, and *poof* become positive.

The whole “power of positivity” thing has less to do with cheeriness than it does honesty. And the most honest thing you can do is to feel your feelings.

Feel the pain. If you’re sad, be sad. Fuck it. Feeling lonely is sad.

Your best bet towards experiencing and manifesting “positivity” is to get very, very real with yourself about your fears, your loneliness, your identity, and what you really want.

De-center meeting “the right guy,” and work on getting right with yourself. And if the “right” person happens to walk into your life, it’ll be whipped cream.

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