Originally published July 21, 2005:
I have a question I don't think you've ever addressed in your column. I'm a 32-year-old heterosexual female who was stricken with near-terminal cancer eight years ago. I've gone through every sort of treatment known to mankind (and had the gross misfortune of going through menopause at 27 years old). I was sort of a late bloomer when the disease took hold, and I had only had sex with one man, when I was 23 years old. That relationship lasted about six months.
For a long time, I suspected that I would not live, and therefore I didn't think too much about having a sex life. But about two years ago, I finished a final round of treatment, and now I'm cancer-free. I've reestablished myself professionally, and for the first time I feel like I may have a future. My problem is that I have no confidence in sex. It's been nine years since I've had sex—and I don't have an advanced skill set that one might expect of a 32-year-old woman. But I also know that a successful sex life is something I want and need and deserve, and I'm not willing to go without it much longer.
I took it upon myself to have some cosmetic surgery to restore my looks (I had some bloating that stretched my skin, and some really bad scars), and men are starting to notice me. I would very much like to have a sex life—and I very much want to rock the world of the next person I'm with. Do you have any suggestions as to where I might find a heterosexual man who would be willing to "educate" me? Would it be foolish to explain my predicament to people seeking casual sex on various websites? I am at this time more comfortable without the nervousness of an emotional entanglement—so please don't tell me to just find a nice guy.
Former Sicko Seeking Sex
My response after the jump...
Sorry, FSSS, but I'm going to have to tell you to find a nice guy—but one who, like you, isn't looking for an emotional entanglement.
You don't say so explicitly, FSSS, but the implication is loud and clear: You believe there are two kinds of guys out there. There are nice ones, those men seeking sex coupled with an emotional entanglement, and there are not-so-nice ones, those men seeking sex free from an emotional entanglement. This assumption is commonly made, FSSS, and it makes me lose my patience. Everyone seems to agree that people seeking emotionally entangled sex are kind and considerate and moral, while people seeking NSA—that's "no strings attached"—are cruel and selfish and immoral. But it ain't necessarily so.
Being in a long-term relationship with someone—whether you're just going steady, planning to marry, or already married—is no guarantee that you're going to wind up with someone "nice." Newspapers, divorce courts, and criminal trials are crammed with examples of people who found themselves emotionally entangled with cruel, selfish, and even homicidal lovers and/or spouses. Conversely, FSSS, bedrooms, backseats, and dungeons across this great land of ours are crammed with kind, considerate, and deeply moral people enjoying NSA/entanglement-free sex. Casual sex doesn't have to be cold, ugly, or diminishing anymore than marital sex is guaranteed to be warm, beautiful, and uplifting. That there are kind, considerate people out there searching for NSA sex should be apparent to you, FSSS—I mean, aren't you one of them?
With a little effort you can find yourself a nice guy who wants to have sex free from emotional entanglements. Advertise on those websites or, better yet, in this paper's personals. Be honest about your needs, what you're asking for (tutelage), and what you're offering (your ass). Women seeking NSA sex are few and far between, FSSS, which means you'll be in such great demand that you can write your own ticket. Ask to meet first—not one of those emotional-entanglement-making dates, just a meeting, in a public place, to see if you're into him, he's into you, etc. Let the guys know what you're looking for—and why. Share your story, FSSS, and the guys who stick around will be the ones who have the emotional depth and the kindness of heart to give you the entanglement-free sexual adventure/education you're looking for. Then, once you've screened the candidates, pick the one you want to keep—just like Jerry Hall on VH1's Kept. (Pick Austin, Jerry! Pick Austin!) Then bang the nice guy's brains out.