Until the age of forty-five, I’d only been with two men. I was nearly nineteen when I began my first sexual relationship. It lasted less than eight weeks from the day we met (October 31st, 1988) until the day he disappeared (December 26th, 1988).
The second man I slept with, I ended up marrying. That relationship lasted twenty-six years.
So, when I gained my independence, I was eager to explore my sexuality. This has resulted in some spectacular sexual encounters! It has also resulted in a few “would have been” sexual encounters, but the following things caused me to put on the brakes:
1. Your Resemblance
Some things can’t be helped; like the guy I really enjoyed until he took off his shirt. His shoulders looked exactly like an ex’s, right down to the texture of his skin and the smattering of freckles. I immediately got dressed and bid him adieu. It’s not his fault that he caused bile to rise in my throat. If I’d been able to guzzle a bottle of Pepto-Bismol, we probably would have had a great time.
But other things can be helped…
2. Your Breath
I don’t mean we just had Chinese takeout, and the scent of General Tso’s Chicken still lingers on your breath. I mean it smells like something crawled down your throat and died. A week ago.
If I’m sitting across the table from you, and you notice I’m shielding my nostrils, don’t try to kiss me. It’s not going to happen. Go home, get aggressive with a strand of dental floss, and call me after your gums have healed.
3. Your Hygiene
I once spent an entire day getting ready for a second date with a guy. We had great chemistry on the first date, and planned to hit the sheets on date number two. I went to the tanning salon, the nail salon, the hair salon, and bought a cute new outfit. The guy? He didn’t even bother to shower. He genuinely said, “I didn’t shower, but if I need to, I can do it later.”
I stared incredulously, but refrained from saying, “You came here PLANNING to have SEX, and you expect me to tell you if you need a shower?!”
If we’d been dating a while, and were in a comfortable place, that would have been entirely different. But if you can’t put your best foot forward the very first time, I’m not interested.
4. Your Feet
Speaking of putting your best foot forward, let’s talk about an area that a lot of guys seem to neglect. Maybe some women don’t even notice, but I personally LOVE feet. I have a foot fetish which results in some very nice benefits for the guy whose feet turn me on. When things start heating up, and shoes come off, I brace myself before looking down. Dirty toenails. Toenails that are long. Toenails that are jagged and broken because they were never clipped. Dirt between the toes. Dead skin crusting the heels. Skin fungus. These are deal breakers.
The sexiest thing a guy has ever done for me was to get a pedicure. I mean, his feet were already damn near perfect, but he went the extra mile just because he knew I would like it. It made for a very good night. In fact, I kept his socks. They’re currently in my nightstand alongside my vibrator.
(Check out Kathy Eliscu’s hilarious new book, “Not Even Dark Chocolate Can Fix This Mess!”)
5. Your Fingernails
At this point you probably think I’m super shallow. I mean who wouldn’t have sex with someone because of their fingernails? That’s ok. Casual sex is shallow. But honestly, I don’t think it’s shallow to look at a guy’s hands, and cringe at the thought of having his talons inside of you. The delicate flower of womanhood should not be marred and scratched by long fingernails. And it’s even worse if you just bore into it like a continuous mining machine carving out a mountain tunnel. So, keep them trimmed shorter than your fingertips, and make sure the edges are smooth. It will increase your chances of getting laid. Think about it this way: the only thing that would keep me from sleeping with Johnny Depp is if he were wearing his Scissorhands. I’m not entirely sure what’s keeping him from sleeping with me.
6. Your Shoes
When I was still married, I read an article that said women will often judge a man’s sexual prowess by his footwear. I mentioned this to my husband who regularly wore New Balance tennis shoes and brown Skechers. Suddenly, the closet was full of exotic looking shoes, and next thing I know, I’m divorced. Coincidence?
As a single woman, I’ve discovered there is a lot of truth to this. A good pair of shoes can make or break a guy’s chances.
Hint: While New Balance and Skechers seem to be the sole footwear providers for middle-aged men in the Midwest, there are a vast number of brand and design options. I know it’s hard to believe, but think of shoes like you think of your blue jeans. There are other brands besides Levi’s and Wrangler. Or perhaps that comes as a surprise to you as well.
7. Your sweat
I don’t expect you to have the body of a god (although I’m not opposed to it). However, if basic activity causes you to sweat profusely, it might be a good idea to hit the gym a couple of times a week. I have opted not to sleep with some guys simply because climbing a single flight of steps caused them to break out in a sweat. And while some sweating in bed is good, it shouldn’t be a detraction. I didn’t recognize this until I was in the middle of a sexual encounter and huge drops of sweat rolled off the dude’s head and onto my eyelid. I tried to ignore it, but the next one fell directly onto my upper lip and slid into my nostril. I was afraid I would drown before it was over.
Fortunately, he was also wearing an earring, so I pretended he was a sweaty pirate, and I was his lusty wench. That got me through the encounter without hurting anyone’s feelings, but I never went back for a second round. If I must mentally become another person in order to deal with what is happening during sex, it’s best if I just don’t engage in the first place.
8. Your Chemistry
I would have sex with Quasimodo if the chemistry was good, so don’t assume it’s about looks, money, or job title. I have gone out with men who were courteous, handsome, fit, wealthy, talented, and great conversationalists. But when it came down to it, I wasn’t turned on. It is possible for one person to be attracted to the other, and therefore assume there is chemistry, but that’s not always the case. For whatever reason, your pheromones didn’t attract me. Blame science.
9. Your Questions
Do NOT ask a woman if she swallows. Seriously. If we get to that point, you will find out for yourself. But since you asked, we will never get to that point. I will tell you this…it’s not the same across the board. What a woman will do for one guy, she won’t necessarily do for another. It’s not a party trick. Well, okay, it CAN be a party trick, but for most women, it’s not. There are a lot of factors to consider in each situation.
10. Your Eagerness
There’s raw desire, which is sexy, and then there’s eager like a little puppy dog who’s about to pee himself. You might think it’s a fine line. I mean, you want a woman to know that you are enthusiastic about being with her, so what’s the problem? I’ll give you an example. Each of these was a first date with an attractive, educated, well-traveled man I met on Tinder. Each had the potential to end up in bed. Only one succeeded.
Guy #1: We met at a nice restaurant. Over dinner, he showed interest in what I was saying, asked thought provoking questions, and complimented my smile. After a while, I noticed that he was leaning forward a bit in his seat as we talked. Interest was developing.
Guy #2: We met at a hip bar. Before our drinks arrived, he said, “I can’t believe how hot you are! I was praying that you would look like your pictures, and when I saw you, I was like, ‘THANK YOU, GOD!’ I don’t normally get the hot girls.”
Guy #1: After dinner, he asked if I’d like to continue our conversation over a drink. As we walked down the street to a bar, he rested his hand on the small of my back. I leaned into him a bit. While I was aware of this physical interaction, it didn’t register as a momentous event. We continued carrying on a normal conversation while we walked.
Guy #2: After having a pleasant conversation about our travels, peppered with remarks on how lucky he felt to be with me, we decided to find a place for dinner. As we left the bar, he asked to hold my hand. I slipped my hand into his, and he remarked, “I hope one of my students sees us. Then on Monday, they’ll all be saying, ‘Mr. Smith’s got game!’”
Guy #1: We sat at the bar, and he laughed when I cheerfully said to the bartender, “Just give me something blue with rum in it.” The bartender responded with some playful banter, at which time we all laughed, and then I turned my attention to my date. The conversation was stimulating, but I was more intrigued by how he looked at me. He wasn’t touching me, or making sexual remarks. He made great eye contact, paid attention to what I was saying, and smiled at the appropriate times.
Guy #2: We walked into a crowded restaurant with live music. He immediately went to the restroom because, in his words, he was so excited to be with me that he was afraid he might pee himself. While he was gone, I made a joke with the waiter about nothing that mattered, and the waiter responded in the friendly manner in which waiters do. Because it’s their JOB to be friendly. As my date returned from the restroom, he observed the second half of this interaction and suddenly became possessive. Putting his arm around my waist, and pulling me tightly to his side, he said to the waiter, “We won’t be eating here after all.”
Guy #1: As I became more comfortable with him, I got a bit flirty. In fact, I guess you could say I made the first move when I stated, “My daughter told me I shouldn’t be on Tinder because it’s only for people who want to ‘hook up.’”
“Really? And what did you say?”
His smile wasn’t as quizzical as it was knowing.
“I told her I’m ok with that.”
Having properly read the cues, he leaned in for a kiss. But it wasn’t a super long, sloppy, make-out kiss. It was a teaser.
Guy #2: We ended up skipping dinner, and instead went to a second bar where we sat on a couch. After ordering our drinks, he turned to me and said, “I’d like to rest my hand on your thigh.”
“I’m also going to touch your hair. It’s what I do sometimes when I’m talking. I’ll just reach over and touch a girl’s hair.”
It was exactly like when the gynecologist warns you of each move during a pap smear. I half expected him to say, “Now you’re going to feel a little pinch.”
Guy #1: “Would you like to go back to my place?”
Me (trying to be nonchalant even though I was secretly freaking because I’d never gone back to a guy’s place): “Yes, I would enjoy that. I just need your address so I can text it to my girlfriend.”
Guy #2: “Would you like to go back to my place?”
Me (trying to be nonchalant so he can’t tell I’m lying): “That sounds like a lot of fun, but I told the sitter I’d be home by midnight. Look at that! It’s 9:37. I better get going.”
Guy #1: “Good morning, beautiful!”
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