Wednesday, May 19, 2010

What's YOUR Number? (Or Discussing Body Count)

"What's Your Number?"

What a loaded question! I mean, consider it in the case of a cutie you've been spying across the bar comes over to ask you for your digits before the night's done. That's good.

But, how about when you're dating someone for a while and the relationship is escalating into physical territory? Then it means that it's time for the talk about sexual history, number of partners... Which makes the question "what's-your-number" not so sexy. 

 While this topic is not a new, it's one that still matters, especially in this day and age which means that there's always room to break it down. Shall we?

Pro for admitting your true number: On one hand, you clear the air and get to keep it real and honest, especially when taking a situation to that physical level.  

Things to think about when admitting your number:
  • Does a number too high or too low create some type of stigma (slut or inexperienced)?
  • Moreover, would too much risky behavior such as pregnancy scares or past STIs make a person look less desirable? 
  • Can a woman and a man get away with having the same body count? Not necessarily -- that may cause insecurity. (Seriously, do you want your partner to flat out tell you they wished you did something someone else used to do to them in bed?)
But, don't be fooled by all of this because it's about more than a number. The truth is, it's not quite that black and white. In reflecting on the conversations I've had with friends, I was surprised to learn how many of them hadn't had that talk with past boyfriends, instead choosing to just jump into the sex which didn't always fare out too well.  I mean, the first time I was in an ongoing sexual relationship, I actually had a pretty long sit-down with the guy, even going so far as to ask all sorts of questions that in hindsight may have been overkill.

Admittedly, the conversation is a hard one and not easy to have.  And, for situations or people with whom the acts will be isolated incidents, maybe a whole formal conversation isn't worth the drama. But, asking the Test question is always smart (Have they had a test? When? What were the results?). And, of course, in cases where there is no monogamous relationship, making sure there's protection and birth control can help protect from unwanted pregnancies and STIs. 

Survey says: However, regardless of this obvious stuff, there are some things that may be fair assessments to make when it comes to the Number question in a dating relationship:
  • Body Count has nothing to do with the two of you at that moment: Regardless of the number of partners each of you had before entering the relationship, that should have no bearing on how the two of you feel about each other at that moment. The two aren't related.
  • Numbers aren't experience: The number of people a person has slept with isn't necessarily related to the amount of experience.
  • Having the talk is a smart thing to do: Sure, it's not fun. But having this unfun talk now is definitely a mature thing to do and if handled properly can avoid a lot of pain later.
  • Feelings Count: Each time you choose to escalate a dating situation into physical territory, it's an indicator that things are real. Truth is, a sexual milestone in a relationship is an important one -- it's a way to grow the bond you have. I mean, that may be old school, but the whole sex with feelings thing? Yeah, that's still in.
Choosing to reveal your number is all up to you. Ultimately, think about what you BOTH will be comfortable with and take it from there. Or, to sum up? Play it smart for you! That's always the best move, wouldn't you think?

Photo Credit: PhotoXpress

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Heart Lockdown

It may be pretty safe to assume that at one point or another, most of us have formed snap judgments on someone based on how they're dressed, how they carry themselves or even who they're with. Whatever it is, we immediately allow ourselves to run with all sorts of theories and speculations, which seem much more appealing over the realities.

It's this "ability"-- the one of making abrupt assessments -- that I constantly work on, especially in dating. While I've gotten tons better in the last couple of years, it does have its moments when it rears its head. In those cases, I find myself quickly cutting something off early, if only to protect myself and my heart. To do this, I find a reason that it can't work so I'm not disappointed when/if things do fail. I guess I see it as a way of keeping tough.

Anyway, I find myself coping with these feelings specifically with an old flame, Jason, with whom things just...Faded. Not "ended," not "broken up," not "bad" -- but just faded. In all honesty, I was bummed when that happened and for a while even believed that he could have meant quite a bit to me. We met after I'd gotten out of a relationship, then dated for a short while before taking a long hiatus while we both took up with other people... Then, when we got back on track, we had a great time for a little while, but it just never seemed like the right time for either one of us. And things genuinely felt real between us. Back then, anyway. Now we're taking about seeing each other again and even though I hadn't taken him seriously before, he keeps reaching via e-mails and texts in the hopes of winning me over.

There is a part of me that's been nursing some serious wounds from past situations and protecting my heart by conjuring up theories for his motives: He's gotten out of something, that's why he's free to pursue me again... Or, he'll be like the last couple of non-relationships and disappear with time.... Or, he's putting all this effort simply to get me into bed. But the rational side of me is balancing out the negative by trying to not make him responsible for any experiences before him -- at least, not before I've had a chance to really assess his motives.

What it boils down to? It's about telling the difference between a relationship that went sour and a relationship that didn't have a chance to happen. And, it's about being careful with how tightly we keep the padlock on our hearts so that we can let the ones with potential through.Essentially, put the baggage away. You can't make everyone pay for the mistakes of one.

The jury is out on this situation with Jason. Truth is, I'm still ruled by thinking about the dark side before the positive and learning how to balance my extreme fear with ideas on what my perfect match should look like. But as I talk to him, I'm trying something a little different: giving it a little more time before I make the call of which side of the fence he falls on. After all, there's no way of being loved without surrendering yourself to it, now is there? That much I know.

In the meantime, I'll keep the lock fastened on my heart, with the key not too far away -- just in case. After all, he's still got a lot of work to do if he expects to get anywhere. (smile)

Photo Credit: PhotoXpress