Sex and the Single Quirkyalone: How to talk openly and honestly about sex . . . before you have sex

If you are a quirkyalone, and you’re looking for someone to be your life partner, you may find yourself single for an extended period: months or yearssssss. How do you keep touch, sexuality and sensuality present and alive in your life while you are single? How can we be “wet” when we are single?

To answer these questions, I’m taking a little tiptoe into the world of podcasting with this podcast with the great Carolyn Arnold, a social scientist, educational researcher, and friend. At the age of 58, Carolyn started a 50 Dates project to find her life partner. She found him by date 49! I’ve interviewed Carolyn about what she learned about loving herself while she went through the ups and downs of dating here. What’s interesting about Carolyn too is that she had a lot of lovers while she was looking for love because sex and touch are important to her. She didn’t want to be celibate and she knew she wanted healthy touch in her life.

In this podcast, I interview Carolyn about how to have lovers and have sexuality be present in your life when you are single and looking for a life partner, and don’t want to be celibate. How do you avoid the pitfalls of misunderstandings, hurt feelings, fantasy/illusion (I thought this was the start of something but he never called!), crossed boundaries, doing more than you really want to do, and more. In essence, we’re talking about how to have clear communication before you get busy and have clear access to your yes and your no at all times. We give you some scripts you can use even.

Carolyn is working on a memoir about her 50 First Dates Project, and in this podcast, we talk about what she learned about having having sex and lovers while looking for love. Carolyn has gone to many Northern California alternative relationship and sexuality seminars and she has learned a lot about how to set boundaries and communicate what you want with a partner in open, honest, loving communication. I’ve been on a parallel journey, and so Carolyn and I have often talked over her kitchen table about how to have conversations about sex when you are dating.

Here are some things we talk about in this conversation:
• How to have a conversation about sex before (or while) clothes come off to avoid misunderstandings and disappointment. We give you some scripts you can use to open a conversation about sex. In essence, the conversation starts with the question, “Do we want to be sexual?” Carolyn thinks you can have this conversation before anything happens. I think it’s a little more natural after kissing.
• The “monogamous mindset of dating” (if you start dating and quickly become exclusive, you can get awfully attached when you start having sex, but are you sure this is really the person you want to be with?)
• Being truly at choice in sex at every moment and why this is important to have access to your yes and your no at any moment, and never feel you have to finish what you started (you have to be able to say no so that you can truly say yes)
• What is sex (is it just intercourse, or can we have a more expansive definition that might or might not include intercourse and might feel like what you actually want to do?)
• How to have supportive lovers while you are dating and looking for “the one”
• Menopause and why you might want to keep your sexuality alive during your 40s (based on Carolyn’s experience)

Listen to the podcast here!

In Dating, Beware the Whatsapp Relationship (or Excessive Texting!)

what a brilliant image for this book . . .

what a brilliant image for this book . . .

It is surprising that anything surprises me when it comes to dating and relationships. I have twenty years of dating, relationship, and being single experience, I have written a book about being single and dating, I coach women and men about dating, communication, boundaries, sex, boundaries, self-worth, and love, and I’ve talked my friends through everything (polyamory, sexual exploration, sex while parenting young children, etc.). I find it surprising that I can still be surprised. Yet with technology making our world so incredibly new I can.

My latest discovery is the Whatsapp relationship, aka the “exclusive texting” relationship. Beware it.

Whatsapp is a “cross-platform mobile messaging app”: Think texting if you never used it. My ex and I broke up a few months ago, and since then I have been dipping back in the dating pool, mostly in Buenos Aires. In my last few months of reaching out sporadically through OkCupid or Tinder (which people do use in Argentina, Tinder more than OKCupid), I have found a pattern. We start messaging, and then, the other person asks for my Whatsapp to communicate.

This story starts with a man I met a man on Tinder. (Although Tinder has a reputation as a “hookup” application, I find it’s also possible to meet interesting people for dating and friendship. The interface is so simple, it’s a lot like real life if you quickly move to have an in-person meeting. If you are an intuitive person, you can tell a lot from a face. )

We started messaging and it was delightful. He asked beautiful questions. The kinds of questions that I dream of men asking, because really, I think all we want in a relationship is to be known. To be seen. To be cared about, yes, loved. He would send questions late into the night, and each question brought an exciting ding. So this was fun, it almost felt like we were falling in love like that famous promise that you can accelerate intimacy by asking and answering the right questions, and then, you will fall in love. But that idea presupposes eye contact. After a couple weeks, I realized I was the only one trying to make the virtual actual. Dates, we would call them. In-person meetings. Isn’t that what we are aiming for? Getting to know each other in the flesh?

Although we did meet three times and had a great time on each occasion, I was the only one initiating the dates. And it became increasingly impossible to meet in person. It was very strange. He didn’t seem to have a girlfriend or wife, which would be the obvious explanation. Gay? Just not that into me? Only into online/texting relationships at this moment of his life? I never could tell. Honestly the whole thing is a mystery to me still.

I met a new friend from Singapore for dinner and shared my bewilderment. She confessed something similar had happened to her. She met a man, an American who often traveled for work, and she saw him three times in the course of a year. For a whole year, they sent messages every day. He would text “Good morning!” every day and send photos of what he was eating. She felt they were in a relationship. A friend intervened after a year and she woke up to realize, This is not a relationship. She told him she didn’t want to carry on like this anymore and he disappeared.

My now ex-boyfriend (a real person who likes real meeetings! I need to find another man like him!) gave me a thoughtful birthday present: Modern Romance, a book by the standup comedian Aziz Ansari. Ansari, like me, likes to observe and analyze how technology is changing our dating and romance patterns. Ansari teamed with my friend Eric Klinenberg, the NYU sociologist who wrote Going Solo (and interviewed me about Quirkyalone: A Manifesto for Uncompromising Romantics for that book) to write a well-researched book on the agonies and ecstasies of dating in the age of technology.

My eyes were glued to the page when I read their chapter on dating in Buenos Aires. As part of their study of dating in Buenos Aires they found that men were often carrying on several text conversations with women, and women were doing the same. Everyone was hedging their bets, including people in relationships, flirting via Whatsapp to keep their options open. They also found they found that men chase, and women are trained to say no first to show that they are not “easy” to get. They call this “hysterico” behavior in Argentina, playing hot and cold. I’ve heard the word “hysterico” so many times while I have lived in Argentina.

The portrait the book paints is one of low-commitment game-playing enabled by texting. For the most part it seemed chillingly and accurately described. (I will say, in Buenos Aires’ defense, there are also sweet, sensitive Buenos Aires men who are devoted and highly therapized.)

The situation is extreme, but the situation is extreme in many places. Really, isn’t this a global problem, a symptom of our love affair with our phones?

Recently I was swiping on Tinder back in San Francisco and I noticed a man wrote in his profile, “Only if you want to meet. No text buddies please.” I suspect the texting-with-few-meetings relationship is a new kind of ephemeral relationship in the globalized world. Maybe these relationships persist over time because it’s all the attention that some individuals want to give relationships. It’s a fast-food way to flirt without risking vulnerability.

We are all spinning tops now, spinning with email, social media, phone notifications, and the world is spinning so fast, where does it all lead? When the world keeps spinning faster, what happens to our basic human needs for authentic connection, help, and love?
Will a percentage of the population just go for these false-intimacy, buzzing-dinging relationships that provide a dopamine hit of excitement but never a hug? Are these just the virtual frogs we have to kiss on the diligent search for something real, substantial, live and in the flesh, built on time and love?

It’s all far too reminiscent of the movie Her, where Joaquin Phoenix gets sucked into love with an Operating System (Scarlett Johanssen). I shared this story with a friend who is also dating, and she asked, “In the future are we all going to be trading texts with computer algorithms that know just what we need to hear? That give perfect textual satisfaction…and nothing else?”

In my recent story, I found it so bizarre that this man was texting me all the time with questions, and yet, he lived about a mile away. This was not a long-distance relationship that required texting. For about a month I found his messages thrilling, but also unhealthy to have my body get so revved up by the addictive dings, with no bodily contact to soothe, ground, connect us.

I learned something very valuable years ago: You want the people who want you. I need more from a man than Whatsapp. A lot more.

Doesn’t everyone?

A female Argentine friend and I reached the conclusion that we need to carefully screen. We don’t waste time with people who are only interested in virtual relationships. Like the guy in his Tinder profile said, no text buddies please. While I am part of a few online communities that are important to me, and those relationships are meaningful, when it comes to my closest friendships, family relationships, and my partner, I know those relationships all take time and energy to cultivate in person, on the phone, or via Skype (somehow seeing the face does make a big difference).

We who want authentic connection should be careful to not waste the time and energy on an illusion built through addictive dings on our phones.

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Buenos Aires is not just for WhatsApp, it’s also for tango! Join us for the next Tango Adventure in Buenos Aires to reconnect to yourself and your sensuality whether you are single or partnered. Equal-opportunity sensuality can be found through tango!
sasha_tango_photo_tangasm_2

Want help with dating and relationships? Check out the private coaching page.

It’s 2015! Wake Up Sleeping Beauty!

A reader sent me this question, “Curious…what is your take on books like He’s Just Not That into You?” I thought that was a perfect question to answer to start out 2015.

I will start by saying if someone is not into you, then you’re not into them. Case closed. You want the person who is into you. But you don’t know who’s into you until you get to know them.

There is a pernicious message underneath the seemingly logical advice of He’s Just Not That Into You.

Even before we are old enough to cross paths with books like The Rules or dating gurus like Christian Carter that tell women NOT to make the first move or ask a man out on a date, we watch fairy tales where the Prince Charming kisses us and we — sleeping beauty — awake to life beginning. Women get the idea that their attractiveness is dependent on men approaching us, and that men don’t want to be approached. That women should be pretty and passively wait. Those fairy tale messages cast a spell on women and girls. They keep us asleep.

In real life, in 2015, most adult women do not initiate contact on online dating sites or out in the real world.

Women complain about how hard it is to find a boyfriend. But often they are not willing to go outside their comfort zones to make the first move.

Someone should have explained this to all of us as little girls. For the empowered quirkyalone, quirkytogether, quirkyslut woman (or man). . .my 2015 dating mantra for you is: Your dream should not be to be chosen. Your dream should be to develop the confidence to be the one to do the choosing. And not care if you are rejected.

The big shift happens when you realize it does not matter what the reaction is. You hold the key to your own value.

What does this mean in real life? Say hello. Smile. Invite a conversation. Pick a guy in a bar or on a dating site and say that’s one I want. Try on the power of wanting. Ask yourself, Who catches my eye? Who do I want to talk to? Question your fears. Initiate. Repeat.

I shared this idea on Facebook and Michelle wrote in response, “With men, if they were not interested in you before, they are not interested if you choose them. I speak from painful experiences. At this point only Jesus Christ himself could live up to my standards and last time I read anything his return was supposed to be preceded by the four horseman and accompanied with four trumpets at the four corners of the earth with a rapture somewhere in between.”

I wrote back, “Not even Jesus Christ Michelle? It’s about resilience. And having fun along the way. And knowing it doesn’t matter what people who don’t know you think. Not immediately easy to do, but worth building as a skill. Maybe you would like Jesus Christ if you got to know him gradually. . . a no-pressure kind of thing . . .”

If you give this experiment enough time (I’m talking months if not years) and develop tolerance for being rejected (just as men are taught to do) you will be surprised by what happens when you go from waiting to be chosen to doing the choosing. You never know what’s going to happen.

Go get ’em and let us know how it goes!

P.S. Quirky men also can benefit from initiating more. Especially in this screen-obsessed age where we are all buried in our smartphones. . . stop being shy, make some eye contact!

P.P.S. There are still a few spots open in the Quirky Tango Adventure in Buenos Aires February 21-28 an March 14-21 where we teach you tango and tango as a metaphor for dating, life, and relationships. Act now because the adventures are coming up. If you come, you will learn how to be more bold personally from me. You will need to learn how to use your eyes to invite people to dance, and those lessons will serve you extremely well in 2015 when you learn how to use your eyes to create more connection wherever you go. Get all the details HERE–come dance with us in Buenos Aires!

Join us for a Nonviolent Communication Workshop to Heal Single Shame

Healing Single Shame Sasha Cagen Marina Smerling
Today, half of U.S. residents are single, and a third of all households have one occupant. Despite this fact, many people still struggle with “single shame”—the sense that there is something wrong with them because they are single. People who have spent years single especially struggle with this shame.

We all have our “thing” when we are dating and in relationship. The “thing” we think others may find unacceptable.

Yet single shame in particular tells you that something is wrong with you because you are still single or have been single for a long time. This single shame can get in the way of connection. Say you are out on a date, and someone asks you how long it has been since your last relationship. Maybe you don’t know what to say, or you lie. When you hold back your story, you may find it hard to forge true connection. In fact, single shame tricks you into thinking you are not worthy of connection at all.

Come to this two-hour NVC (Nonviolent Communication) workshop aimed at supporting single people who want to rise above single shame to forge true connections in love, dating, relationship, and friendships. Through this workshop, we will help you to release this shame and find more confidence to share the truth of your dating history and authentically connect with others.

The workshop is a collaboration between Sasha Cagen, author of Quirkyalone: A Manifesto for Uncompromising Romantics, who has identified the problem of single shame in her writing and one-on-one coaching, and Marina Smerling, Bay Area Nonviolent Communication (NVC) Collaborative Trainer & shame counselor.

Sasha will share healing stories and insights about how single shame gets in the way of dating and intimacy, and creative ways she and other quirkyalones have gotten over it to connect with dates and partners.

Marina will guide us in using tools from NVC to help heal and transform single shame into awareness of our underlying needs, from which we are free to choose new strategies for showing up authentically in all of our relationships, first dates included. These skills help us build authentic, strong relationships, in which we are free to be ourselves, single or not.

This is the beta edition of our workshop, so it’s priced low as you cocreate this with us, take advantage and join us now!

Where: Bay Area Nonviolent Communication
55 Santa Clara, #203, Oakland, California 94610
When: Monday, December 15, 7-9 pm
Price: $20. No one turned away.

RSVP for the workshop here and share it on Facebook so others can release their single shame!

Note: I’ll be using strategies and insights to coach you through releasing single shame and sharing your dating history with more confidence in my upcoming online course and club Quirkyalone Society. If you do not live in the Bay Area, and want to benefit from this healing, be sure to sign up for the early notification list for Quirkyalone Society!

Deep Thoughts on Tinder

is less more in "mobile" dating?

is less more in “mobile” dating?

It’s like a love story. I remember that moment when we first met in July 2013 when my friend Jon held his phone up to me and told me about Tinder. We were sitting on the grassy hill by the farmer’s market eating tamales and drinking coffee on a Saturday morning.

”I’m surprised you don’t know about it,” Jon said. “It’s basically the straight version of Grinder.” Grinder is a gay mobile dating application. And yes Jon was right. Tinder was super-popular and I didn’t even know yet. I count on Jon to inform me of the latest trends.

If you have not been in the dating pool, or you’re not into the latest app, or you live under a rock, then maybe you have not heard about Tinder. Tinder’s premise is simple. The app shows you photos of people near you and you can like or not. Snap judgments: Hot or not. If you both swipe yes, you can communicate. We looked at Tinder on Jon’s phone, we swiped through the photos dissecting trends. We asked, Why are there so many girls wearing fake moustaches? Why are there so many men standing in front of Machu Picchu? Is that the ultimate signifier of adventure?

Of course I thought Tinder was absurd. Vapid. An app for bubbleheads. Not a way to find love or anyone of substance. Certainly this would not be an application for anyone mature to use. Well, I must be a bubblehead because I was sucked in quickly. That afternoon after leaving Jon I found myself lying on my couch staring at the phone for fifteen minutes at a time. I killed a whole hour in a swiping haze.

Sometimes I would swipe right based on looks. Sometimes based on shared interests or friends (Tinder exposes shared friends from Facebook). Sometimes because of a clever comment in the “tagline.” I was generous with my swipes. Jon told me later I am too generous. Like most men, he looked only at the photos.

Simple = addictive. Simple is the hardest to do.
I could tell that Tinder was on to something because it is so addictive. I’ve worked in the social media industry, and I know that simple is addictive and simple is the hardest thing to do. Tinder is crazy simple. You say yes or no based on gut instinct. I saw married friends in the pool. They told me they were on the app for research. The Tinder UI (user interface) is so addictive anyone who works in or around social media needs to understand it.

Tinder had become an app that many women like and use, but I found out months later that the Tinder founders were being accused of sexual harassment and discrimination by a female co-founder and marketing Vice President Whitney Wolfe. Wolfe alleged that the other founders called her a “whore” and stripped her of her title, because as the app grew in popularity, having a “24-year-old girl” as a co-founder would not help the company’s profile.

That suit has not been settled, having worked in the tech industry, I know sexism is rampant in that brogrammer world. The rest of this piece is not a swipe-right on Tinder, but rather, an exploration of the design of their application, and how we approach dating in this driveby world.

Hey, Tinderella, can I be your magic humpkin?
Most people think Tinder is a hookup app for sex. That’s what I assumed it must be. And it is. It’s also an ego boost app. Clearly the app is just as much about finding out who thinks you are cute as it is about meeting anyone. It’s all of that, and more. The app surprised me.

Certainly I have received preposterous messages like: “Hey, Fancy a bit of consensual sexual acrobatics this fine evening?” or “Hey, Tinderella, can I be your magic humpkin?” Or much hotter, “I want to eat you like a mango.” That one I actually found to be a turn-on. Later the guy apologized and said the mango message was a drunken message and when I asked him how many women he sent it to, he said “about twenty.”

But I can tell you that for at least one user—me—Tinder is not just a hookup app. I have formed two thingamabobs you could call relationships through Tinder. I’ve also made friends with women and been invited to book groups.

My experience was actually quite deep. After six months of using Tinder, I had met an array of people, even if we only chatted on the app and never met in person. I met another woman who had worked in user experience and technology for drinks for deep conversation and technology and life. I fell in love with someone in Atlanta and talked to him through the nights for an entire month. (That’s another story.) I met a TV writer from LA who had written for the West Wing and many other dramas. He was in the Bay Area for the weekend. We had a sociologist friend in common. Tinder exposes your common Facebook friends, which creates an easy stepping-stone in conversation. I’ve learned about social history and tango. I’ve learned about strange male fetishes. Yes it has been an adventure, this Tinder thing. Much more of an adventure, incidentally, than OKCupid and Match.com, by the way.

I started to believe that Tinder is an adventure because in its simplicity, it mirrors life.Now, I am not your average person. I will engage in conversation when many people would not. I am intensely curious, and I live by the idea that we learn about the world and ourselves through people. So for me, Tinder has not necessarily been just a way to meet my soul mate (or a hookup), but it’s been a way to bump up against and meet the world.

With online dating, is less more?
With Tinder, I started to wonder, when online dating, is less more?

I have used OKCupid off and on for years when I discovered Tinder. I long believed it was good advice to write a detailed profile about who you are and what you are looking for. Sure that can work. Anything can work. I gave the advice that writing a detailed, long, specific profile is a good idea and even gave that advice on this Commonwealth Club panel on the state of sex and dating in San Francisco. Weed people out by saying exactly what you want. Get to know yourself. Call in “the one” with your specific words about what you want. It’s a great theory and it definitely works for some, and it could work for me. But I found that reading uber-long soliloquies could be more draining than invigorating. I got messages, but very few seemed to be from men who would be compatible with me or met my “requirements”–and if they did, I didn’t feel attracted to them.

Tinder on the other hand provides so little information. Tinder mirrors real life. More like meeting someone in a café. When we see someone in a bar, café or on the street, we don’t know the “self-summary” or the “six things they could never do without.” We don’t know his 500 favorite books, or his vision of the ideal relationship. We go on intuition.

Maybe it’s the posture, maybe it’s the eyes, maybe it’s the smell (one thing technology can’t yet give us). But we have a sense. An intuitive sense about whether we want to talk to them. With the guy in Atlanta that I fell in love with, it was definitely his eyes–they laughed in a way that very few people’s eyes do. With Tinder, I started to believe less information is more.

The two ways to date: directed vs. intuitive
When I started to use Tinder, I could see there are two kinds of ways to online date (for those who are not lucky to meet their partner immediately on the first date!).

First, directed online dating. These are the people who are very ready to meet a partner. I’ve met people who go out on 20 dates in a month, or multiple dates in a day. Heaven help these people. I’ve talked to people for whom this online dating marathon strategy has worked. They keep their spirits up, stay optimistic, know themselves and what they want more with each week. They keep at it. More serious sites like Match, Eharmony, or even OKCupid are a good match for these people. I have respect for that. I’ve tried that. But I don’t have the endurance to go on that many dates. Yes, I want a deep, awesome long-term committed relationship. But in the process of finding that person, I kinda just wanna have fun. For me, it would kill my spirit to go out on dozens of dates.

Then there is mysterious intuitive dating where you learn from each person you meet, even if the person is not “partner material.” Tinder, whether it’s a hookup, dating, or friendship app, or some combination of all of the above, falls into the second category. I could meet my partner via Tinder just as I could meet my partner at the gym or at the dentist. Tinder has been like life. A way to have fun along the way and value the whole experience. To converse with people who were not going to be my partner and learn from them too. I’ve learned in some way from each one at a deeper level than I would have thought.

The epidemic of disappearance
There are things about Tinder that I gravely dislike. I used Tinder for about six months, and then I got sick of it. Maybe I will go back in the future if I find myself single and wanting to date. What I dislike most about Tinder is that it exacerbates the trend of “disposable dating.” The disposability and disappearance.

People are not taught communication skills in this world of instant messaging and when people are done with a relationship, or the sexual part of a relationship, they don’t have the skills or courage to speak about it or transition to the possibility of friendship. Everyone could stand to take a communication class or two (these are skills I teach in my classes and coaching), in nonviolent communication or other class. I have polled men and women. Both men and women, and especially men, are guilty of disappearing without a word in dating. Disappearing is okay after a date or two but not so OK after you have shared intimacy, and I don’t mean just sexual intimacy, I mean emotional intimacy. They are not horrible people. They just don’t know how to have a difficult conversation or be honest.

Tinder makes it so easy to hop on your phone and move on to find someone new. Discard the old person, find someone else. It’s OK to move on, but it is far better to not disappear. Far better to send a text at the least! A call is even better! A conversation! Disappearances happened to me twice in this fast-to-be-intimate-fast-to-disappear-Twitter-world with the men I met through Tinder—the Southerner and the Indian man. They were both very hurtful, so I’m more cautious now. I’m slowing things down. That’s my commitment to myself. I don’t blame Tinder so much for those disappearing acts because that could happen anyway. My commitment to myself now is to slow down and pace things more slowly.

The man that I’m seeing now I met at a café. Through the eyes. The real-life Tinder is even better than Tinder itself.

Talking Tinder, Fearlessness, and More at the Conference on World Affairs in Boulder, Colorado

Next week I’ll be going back to Boulder, Colorado to participate in what might be the quirkiest conference in the world. It’s called the Conference on World Affairs, but it’s really a weeklong conference on everything under the sun: the arts, media, science, diplomacy, technology, environment, spirituality, politics, business, medicine, human rights, and so on.

CWA is a community-driven conference. Students and community members of CU-Boulder choose 100 writers, artists, scientists, journalists, businesspeople, and so on to invite for a week. Community members house us and feed us and students drive us around. It’s a percolation of people and ideas. This is the third time that I have been blessed to be invited. . .

This time I will be talking on panels about:

Tinder and Sexting: The Evolution of Dating
Being Fearless in Your Work and Life
Sex: Just Do It (or Not)
The Radical Notion That Women Are People
Hi, Mom and Dad, I Majored in…Now What?
TALK AND PLAY Rhythm and Movement

If you’re quirky and you know it and you live in or around Boulder, I’d love to meet you. Come to one of my panels and introduce yourself.

The Hidden Plus Side of Rejection

“Letting go of the strain of yearning was a relief, like stretched elastic retracting.”–Tessa Hadley, “Experience,” The New Yorker, January 21, 2013

I have been thinking for the last 24 hours about what a relief–and even a blessing–it can be to be rejected. How liberating really.

You see, I had a crush. A crush that was bothering me. I wondered if I had been clear enough. If I had done all I could to show my interest. Maybe he was a shy guy. Maybe I would have to really put myself out there. Showing my interest felt like a to-do list item to cross off to make him really know that I was interested.

So I chatted him up. I told him, I have a story to tell you. And he acted like he was interested and then he got quickly bored and abruptly latched on to another woman walking by. He acted like I was telling a very boring story and I do not tell boring stories. Ha. What happened was not so important. What was important was the knowledge: this man is not interested. And obviously I/we want the person who is interested.

At first I felt a hot flash of humiliation. What? How could you so abruptly cut off our conversation to talk with another woman? Then I realized, I could stop thinking I need to do something about this crush! He had made it so clear; I could move on. My crush could shrivel up and die leaving space in my brain (and soul) for other crushes to take root. Fantasies about other people, or other places, or other things. I actually felt so cleansed. It was hard to believe but after an hour of feeling dejected I felt light and free.

The hidden plus side of rejection is this impetus for movement. Get out of endless fantasy, collide with reality, and see what happens. Act on the crush, business idea, creative project, travel plan. If you fail, great, you can move on to the next person, thing, crush, place, dream.

Tale of Quirky Living: Tantric Men in Buenos Aires

There must be something about my “energy” that is radiating out in the world, “I want a Tantric lover.”

I have a completely bizarre (or amazing) tendency to attract Argentine men who on our first meeting sit across from the table from me and tell me–at length–about their knowledge of Tantra. This has now happened twice in a row in one month. I hardly know what to say. “Great!” “We just met!” I know they are trying to impress me but it feels fast. They want me to know I know they are not like all the other Argentine men. Typical Argentines, they say, want to score with as many women as possible to prove their masculinity.

A male tango teacher used the word “horny” to describe Buenos Aires. “Sexy” would be nice, but “horny”? “Horny” sounds like a city of teenage boys. Everyone is on the prowl for sex, but I get the sense (especially from talking to these chaps) that the norm for sex is traditional and fast. It’s a macho culture.

These non-macho men tell me about how most heterosexuals orient sex toward men’s needs. Until men realize that women have more sexual energy then men, and orient sex around women (learning how to make sex slower and more sensual, and to delay ejaculation), women will not be satisfied and men will have a cheaper version of sex than what’s possible. Read More

Carolyn and Her 50 First Dates Project, or, How to Fall in Love with Yourself While You Look for a Partner

Carolyn and Her 50 First Dates Project, or, How to Fall in Love with Yourself While You Look for a Partner

Dating is not for the faint of heart. Inevitably, dating means putting your heart out there on the line for people you are just getting to know. Along the way, we may get rejected. Or we may reject. The whole experience can make you want to retreat and watch Netflix for the rest of your life. What does it take to stay upbeat, treat dating as a way to expand your life, and even fall—and stay—in love with yourself while you look for love?

I’m doing a series of profiles and interviews of Quirky Characters. For Quirky Character Number 2, I want to introduce you to Carolyn. Carolyn, 61, is a social scientist. We met in a memoir-writing class taught by Laura Fraser earlier this year and since then I’ve been giving Carolyn feedback about an exciting writing project–so exciting I want to share it with you here.

Carolyn is writing a memoir about her Fifty First Dates Project. When she was in her late 50s, Carolyn decided to go on 50 dates to find her next partner. I’ve loved getting to know Carolyn giving her feedback on her writing; I’ve gotten to absorb her philosophy and it’s helped me to be wiser and more positive in my own approach to dating. So I want to share her with you.

Here’s our interview on what it takes to stay in love with yourself while you look for love.

Carolyn


What made you decide to go on 50 First Dates to find your next partner?

I was in a relationship with a wonderful man for eight years during my fifties, and I thought he was perfect for me but there were also limitations and were we growing apart. He lived in Hawaii, and I lived in the Bay Area, California; we had a long-distance relationship and he did not want to commit to a long-term relationship. I wanted someone who lived closer and to have a deeper relationship.

I thought, How am I going to get over him and find someone else when he still seems like the perfect partner for me? I decided I would need to go out with a lot of men, and I decided 50, not just as a way to find a partner but also to break open my idea of the perfect man. We all have a type, sometimes we can’t think beyond that type. My goal was to experience lots of different types of men, in terms of personality, lifestyle, life plan, jobs, ways of living.

Where did you get the idea of fifty?
There was a movie 50 First Dates that I saw on an airplane without sound. The number just stuck in my mind. I’m a statistician; fifty is a significant number for results. In real estate you look at 100 houses before buying. I thought 50 would be a good start. Read More

Coaching Chronicle #1: How to Use Your Intuition to Find Love (or a Lover)

Coaching is about learning to tune into what you want, and clearing out the voices that tell you you can’t have it. This session my client didn’t want to talk about her career. That had been the primary focus working together. This time she wanted to talk about finding a new lover. So we switched gears for a session. Everything is connected. What we discover in her approach to looking for a lover could help us understand how she approaches moving forward in her career.

I asked her what she wanted in a lover, and what had worked in the past to find one? Dancing, she said. When she lived out west, she would go out dancing and amaze her friends with her ability to reliably pull in men. She had a sensual shrug in her shoulders. (She showed me over Skype and I could believe it.) Now she lives in New York and she had not been able to find the right kind of club to go dancing. The only places where people danced, she said, people were drunk and out to score or grope, and the dancing did not have the natural, uninebriated quality that she likes. Read More