I Don't Like You That Way: Love, Sex and Dating On Four Wheels
August 30, 2015 5:25 PM   Subscribe

What do you do about your fear of intimacy and your lack of potential sutiors when you're a virgin at 25 and universally held to have the sexuality of a potato?

So I have cerebral palsy. Mentally okay, and all that's notable physically would be the use of a wheelchair. I'm a big guy, but not horrifically unattractive. OKCupid here, and open to critiques.
I have some issues with social anxiety and I do stutter. Even given all that though, why can't I seem to pierce this thick fog of asexuality that seems to be ascribed to anyone with a disability? It's so bad that the very idea of having another person who is sexually attracted to me touch me fills me with anxiety. I'm old enough now that I realize this isn't going to go away unless I work on it.

It bothers me that, at my age, I still give off an over-eager innocence that kills any potential butterflies anyone else might have. Either that, or I'm pursued by much older men with an attraction to that innocence that borders on creepy. It's because of this that all my "relationship" needs are filled through friendship with eternally unavailable attractive straight men. Not healthy, and painful for me.

How do I fix this? How do I express to others that I've come into my own and am a whole person with needs and desires like most anyone else. How and whom do I date? Already in therapy- looking for new perspectives and/or practical suggestions.
Thanks all!
posted by marsbar77 to Human Relations (35 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

Your okcupid profile is set to "members only" viewing, just fyi.
posted by Slinga at 5:29 PM on August 30, 2015

Ah, dammit. Thanks for the heads up! Should be good to go now.
posted by marsbar77 at 5:30 PM on August 30, 2015

Upon first glance of your profile, I can say two things: you're very handsome, and I'd recommend editing your answers so they're shorter and less detailed. Long, essay-like answers can be great but right now yours are feeling long-winded and sound insecure. It's OK to be a bit insecure but please focus on the good parts of yourself, since clearly there are many!

For example, this is great:

"The first things people usually notice about me
My shiny mane- Oscar Wilde status. That, and what I've been told is an infectious laugh."

As for "You should message me if," please do not list what you're NOT looking for. You sound mean, unnecessarily judgmental and maybe even a little homophobic. Chances are, the guys you're complaining about aren't interested in you either. If some of those guys write you and you're not interested, just ignore them! But please don't scare off potential good matches because they found what you write to be very negative and, therefore, off-putting.

Just stick to this:

"You think you could finally be the one to surprise me, to be fascinating, didactic and yet grounded, loving and yet rational.

You think you could be my Astronaut Mike Dexter."

This works! Your interest in pop culture, nerdy side, and intellectual interests are clear; too much can feel like overkill. I'm all about honesty and openness versus playing coy but there's also something to be said to saving some of the great conversations for the first date!
posted by smorgasbord at 5:44 PM on August 30, 2015 [12 favorites]

I only have a sec but three thoughts-

- You are handsome and smart

- It's important to say/show that you use a wheelchair, either via photo or text (if it's in there I missed it, so will others). Showing the wheelchair will weed out some suitors- good. For other people it wouldn't be a big deal but not mentioning it would be a possible flag. Self acceptance is hard but it's the most attractive trait. Model it (even if you don't always feel it). For the same reason, I'd suggest you mention your stutter too. Neither the chair nor the stutter are dealbreakers to the right person.

- You criticize people for being "pretty" and "ken dolls"- that sounds kind of nasty, I'd cut that part out.

A profile shouldn't try to repel those you don't want. Ignore them. A good profile is written to welcome those you do want. Use welcoming, positive images and words and speak directly to who you want to meet. Much more appealing that way.

Good luck!
posted by pseudostrabismus at 5:48 PM on August 30, 2015 [13 favorites]

Deleted. I actually haven't updated this in forever. Reread that part and got the same impression. Gotta love the hivemind! Okay, no more threadsitting
posted by marsbar77 at 5:51 PM on August 30, 2015 [1 favorite]

You look really cute.

I don't know how OKCupid works, but under the "they might be" section, you have the bar over to super old fashioned and super not sex driven. Those would be red flags for me to click somewhere else immediately.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 5:55 PM on August 30, 2015

Yes! Good call on the edit, and it's great to see you're truly open to people's feedback; I think you're going to see more results you'll like.

Could you try rewriting your "My self-summary" right here and post your draft in the thread, without even looking at your old one? I find it a little confusing right now. Your other answers have so much good and interesting bits; your personality and interests will be clear but a short start might get more people to stick around for the details.
posted by smorgasbord at 6:02 PM on August 30, 2015

I don't think it's a universally held perception that people who have a disability are asexual, especially in a big city where there are lots of different types of people around. You said you're in therapy, so I assume you're working on combating this self-perception. It sounds to me like root of being perceived as asexual (if indeed you are perceived that way) is that you're anxious about getting physical with someone, not that you're in a wheelchair.

I agree with pseudostrabismus -- I'm guessing the best way to improve your OKCupid results is by being upfront about being in a wheelchair and maybe even about stuttering/social anxiety, to weed out people who would have a problem with that. And my guess is that the type of person who would be into your personality is not shallow.
posted by chickenmagazine at 6:03 PM on August 30, 2015

Great advice from the people above. You're in my target demographic and I wouldn't find a wheelchair or a disability to be a barrier to a first date. You're also attractive and your profile isn't a total turn off to me, but honestly I'd probably pass it buy unless you did a few of the following suggestions:

I'd suggest adding more pictures--especially a full length body one. This will allow people to see that you use a wheel chair and will self select out the people who would have a problem with it. I'd also be sure to add a few pictures that show you doing things you enjoy--reading a book, being outside, cuddling a cat/dog/iguana/whatever, playing a board game. When people don't have many pictures I feel like they aren't willing to put a lot of time into making their profile and I also wonder if they have something to hide (I don't care if people are short or fat but it's weird to me if they don't let me see what they look like before we meet? Hence the full length photo suggestion).

I can't tell how many quiz questions you've answered, but I like it when people have answered a lot of questions because that allows me to filter out people who have qualities that I know I won't work for me (i.e. people who are homophobic, aren't feminists, etc etc etc). Those will also let your personality shine through--as roomthreeseventeen said you might not necessarily want yourself to be labeled super old fashioned or super not sex driven. I think answering a few of the sex questions and adding an explanation that you're in a wheel chair but can have a perfectly normal sex life or whatever might be really helpful to people who are concerned about that.

I'd also cut out the negative/judgey language. It is a total turn off to me and would make me skip your profile for sure.

Basically, listen to to whatever everybody else wrote. Definitely work on sprucing up your profile (and working on your self confidence!) and you should have a lot of success.
posted by lucy.jakobs at 6:04 PM on August 30, 2015 [4 favorites]

Also, if you don't think you're God's gift to earth or Write. Like this. To. Emphasize. That You. Like, Totes Go to Art School and believe anything but an expressive stare/sigh is SO mainstream.

Life is not some dramaturgical social experiment. ( To clarify- your being an artful, imaginative soul is great. Being dour, morose and rough-edged for the sake of projecting a certain image is another matter entirely. Go to art school. Don't become art school).

I think that you should excise any negative commentary like this. Focus on what you are looking for, not what you aren't.
posted by Kwine at 6:05 PM on August 30, 2015 [3 favorites]

Two more things about your "message me if..."

I'd remove the art school criticism and, frankly, all of the criticism in the last part: again, I don't think you're going to have a deluge from pretentious artists just because you take it out. But taking it out mean you'll likely get more messages from people you do like! Ending at your second paragraph (the one about PBJ) would be so perfect because it leaves a great image that really captures what I think you're looking for.

If I may ask, I see you list your ID as bisexual but only see you talking about men in the last paragraph. It's totally cool for you to do that (and want and say whatever you'd like!), but as a woman (a queer woman at that), I'd assume you're not really interested in dating women. If you are interested in dating women, too, I'd change "the guy" to be "the guy or girl" and "best friend first, a boyfriend later" to read "best friend first, a boyfriend or girlfriend later" or what have you!
posted by smorgasbord at 6:11 PM on August 30, 2015

All of that's been deleted. Also, please do keep the profile critiques coming, though I was looking for more general life advice here. Assume that this is a theme for me, not only in what comes through on my profile.
posted by marsbar77 at 6:11 PM on August 30, 2015

You're a good looking guy, smart, and seem like a nice person. Anyone who automatically dismisses you as a sexual being or potential partner solely because of your disability doesn't deserve you.

My feedback would be: I think your answers are too detailed and a bit too "stream of consciousness" (using those words in particular because you used them yourself in your profile). A tiny bit of that would be fine, because it will help people get an idea of what your personality might be like. But too much could potentially ruin any kind of mystery and make it harder to get to know you through actual dates, rather than just through a screen.
posted by kinddieserzeit at 6:20 PM on August 30, 2015 [1 favorite]

Shorter sentences, fewer circumlocutions. Focus, edit, narrow, control. There's nothing wrong with the raw material: you're young, smart and cute. Stop second guessing yourself and babbling.

You should probably mention the disability. Be brief but up front. It's part of who you are. A set of people will need to know because they can't handle it and the rest will appreciate the candor.
posted by ead at 6:27 PM on August 30, 2015 [1 favorite]

Tiny edit: Janelle Monáe.
posted by umbú at 6:28 PM on August 30, 2015 [1 favorite]

Maybe we could give you more general life advice if you could talk a little more about what you're doing now? You say you give off over-eager innocence that kills off potential butterflies, for instance - does this mean you are currently dating, and just not getting past the first date? If not, what are you doing that perhaps we could offer input on?

(for the record, I'm not in your demographic but think there are some really nice lines in your profile (which stand out even more now that you're working to eliminate the negativity). If you were a gay lady and I were single, the statement "looking for the guy [well, lady] I can be a kid with well into my 80s" would have drawn me in, as would the line about magic in the real world. Maybe consider whether or not that kind of attitude comes across in your real-life demeanor?)
posted by DingoMutt at 6:37 PM on August 30, 2015 [1 favorite]

I'm not dating, so I need a roadmap on how to get out there, what to say and do to pique someone's romantic and sexual interest, rather than just being seen as harmless and milquetoast. The profile critiques help because, in my situation, I'm far more likely to meet someone online than say, at a bar, but still- that next step paralyzes me.
posted by marsbar77 at 6:46 PM on August 30, 2015

To address the general life advice aspect, I'm going to list a few things that have worked for me. Maybe they'll help you? Maybe not?

Message early--don't dwell on profiles or likes or who has viewed your profile. Exchange a few messages, then ask if they want to meet up for a drink/coffee/whatever. If I spend too much time messaging on OKC before meeting people, I'm more likely to be frustrated and insecure.

Date a lot! And honestly, I think it's good if you go on dates that you aren't super excited about. Certainly don't go on a date with someone you aren't even a little bit interested in, but don't be overly choosey and if you find something you like about them and have a free evening it never hurts to at least meet up and chat over coffee. Sometimes it'll result in a hilarious story, sometimes it will result in a match that is really great, and more often than not I realize that that they're okay, but not what I'm looking for and even though that's kind of pessimistic it makes me realize dating is a choice and that being single can be a good thing. I'm wondering if that kind of approach might help you with not feeling too over eager? I also think that it's good practice for feeling comfortable with new people and the idea of putting yourself out there. (This is something I struggle with.)

Not sure what you mean about the over-eager innocence exactly, but one thing that is a mood killer for me is when guys talk about how they've never dated, or talk about how they don't have a lot of sexual experience or have never been kissed or anything like that (This happens more than you might expect. Or at least it has for me?). Often times it just sounds sad and pathetic and kind of resentful? Hopefully you aren't doing that, but if you are you might want to try and cut that out. It's okay to be upfront and talk about your concerns with the person your dating, but play it cool in the beginning. A few dates in and you think you're going to be physical? Then you can say "Hey awesome date, I just wanted you to know that I haven't had a lot of experience and am pretty nervous."

Not sure if any of that was helpful, but that's the approach I take to online dating.

I just saw your update--once again I'm not sure if the above is super helpful, but my biggest piece of advice (and one I struggle to follow through with myself) is to just start messaging people on OKC that you like. All you have to do is say "I also love specific thing from your profile/picture/etc. Would you like to grab a beer/coffee next week? I'm free on Tuesday. No pressure--I'm just trying to put myself out there and meet new people and it seems like we'd have a lot to talk about!"
posted by lucy.jakobs at 6:55 PM on August 30, 2015 [2 favorites]

If you haven't already, consider getting involved with or at least consuming some of the media produced by the queer disability community. You might meet some cool people who are already really up to speed about things like disability politics and viewing people in wheelchairs as sexual beings. And just experiencing some of the art might give you some sort of paradigm shift or be liberating in a way.

Offhand, I know that in the Bay Area there is a group called Sins Invalid. Googling them or connecting with them might lead you to more stuff local to you. I'd also look around (or ask) on the NYC-based Facebook group called Queer Exchange. (That group is sometimes a hot mess, but I think it could be a really good resource for finding events and connections.)

There used to be an online publication for gay disabled men called Bent and the archives are online. There's a more recent book called Queer Crips. I'd check those things out and also look for more current stuff (particularly any live/performance art) by any authors you find compelling.

Un(dis)sing Our Abilities is "an experimental sexplicit short movie showcase." Not sure if it will be shown anywhere near you but again, some of the people whose films were in it might be good people to investigate.

Also, this show ("My Body Love Story" by Dominika Bednarska) is really good. It's about how the artist came to figure out sex/dating/relationships and loving her body.
posted by needs more cowbell at 7:19 PM on August 30, 2015 [8 favorites]

I'm female so I guess not your target gender based on your "looking for", but I am in your target age range, and I have to say, I would message you in a heart beat based on this profile. However, I feel like you kind of start off on the wrong foot with this whole part:

TO LOVE YA UP OLD SCHOOL. Playskool Plays Cool ...Possibly trite, probably coming across as unbelievably pretentious and likely cliche as fuck but really and truly words that I try to live by.

Personally, I would recommend deleting that whole thing. Honestly, if the first words on someone's profile are "To Love ya up old school" I would probably close the tab before I read the rest of it. Although I like the quote, I have to say I pretty much just skipped over it the first time. I'm a big fan of collecting quotes and favorite lines from books and poems and what not, but I just don't think you should use valuable real estate in your profile for that kind of thing. I want to know what you have to say, not what someone else does.

But even if you decide to keep the quote, please ditch the all caps sentence, because I think everything else makes you sound like a real catch, and you're profile picture is attractive, but if I weren't reading this for askmefi, I may have given you a pass just based on that first part, because it kind of makes you sound like you're a 20 year old frat guy who drinks a lot of beer and makes casually misogynistic comments about women while playing beer pong, and clearly that's not who you are. (Maybe that phrase is some kind of reference to something, but I spent a lot of time on the internet and it's not something I'm aware of, so I worry that other people might not get it either.)

Also, the cerebral palsy, wheelchair, social anxiety stuff would be 100% not an issue for me. Of course, not everyone might feel that way, but I think plenty of people who are worth dating won't be bothered by it.

In terms of more general advice, I know this is hard, but I think you should try to stop trying to see yourself how you think other people see you (if that makes sense). Nothing about your profile would make me think you're asexual or milquetoast. You seem like great dating material to me, like really, a total catch. I obviously have no idea how you come off in real life, but the profile itself is great. People will think whatever they decide to think, but you might be getting in your own way by getting caught up in thinking that other people see you as this asexual being.

(I don't want to remotely dismiss your impression that people may unfairly judge you based on your disability/being in a wheel chair. It totally sucks if they do that, and I know lots of people kind of suck so it wouldn't surprise me, but just know that there are certainly people out there who won't be bothered by that at all.)

As far as how to get started with dating, I would just start messaging people and setting up casual coffee dates. Low pressure, if nothing comes out of it, no big deal. Just start putting yourself out there, and then keep going until you find what you're looking for.
posted by litera scripta manet at 7:27 PM on August 30, 2015 [2 favorites]

You are really attractive! That is a huge plus in the online-dating world, so more power to you. You come across as really genuine and thoughtful. That's great.

A few things I noticed, might be more my preference that anything:
--I get that you like On the Road from that very first quote. Don't list it again in things you like, because most people will get the reference, and those who don't won't think anything of seeing the title. Similarly, your sentence explaining the quote includes the words trite, pretentious, and cliche; you use them in the same way, so choose one and eliminate the rest.
--I'd definitely cut that bit about self-help books being crazy. They are not for everyone, surely, but it's a broad category, and I personally think you might alienate a lot of people by both denouncing/mocking the entire genre, and that statement comes close to an insinuation that memoirs tend to be written by the dramatic/"crazy" (also, "self-help" is gendered, so there's that)
--I think the quantity of jokes/asides feels a bit much, and a lot of it seems to fall within "less is more" territory. Maybe choose 2-3 jokes/asides, and try to pick ones that are both very you, and also kind. If more feedback would be useful, I like the anecdote about playing a mean game of Uno, the one about having a "bachelor" fridge, watching WWE reruns for the dudes... (But I would cut the bit about "no shame" -- it is implied!)
--you list yourself as bisexual, but your profile talks only about being interested in dudes, and frankly, it reads to me like you are exclusively into dudes. That is totally fine! But maybe consider changing your match preferences OR mixing up the way you refer to gender/your desired partner to not alienate potential female matches.

Good luck!
posted by likeatoaster at 7:38 PM on August 30, 2015

TO LOVE YA UP OLD SCHOOL. Playskool Plays Cool.

Take this out; it is either an attempt at swagger or an ironic metadisplay of swagger, but in either case, it fails at being alluring. It is not needed. same with "as fuck" here:
likely cliche as fuck

Your last paragraph in the "My self-summary" section is disconcertingly honest and emotionally open; it is easily the strongest part of that section. It is discomforting and interesting and I think your best bet is to play to those people who are intrigued by that kind of honesty and forthrightness and thoughtfulness, especially as it transitions into your thing about neuroscience in the section following.

Speaking of the section following: take out "supposedly-glorious"; it has an undertone of bitterness that (even though you quickly move on) leaves a lingering not-so-good taste in the mouth.

Remove "sarcasm" from what you're good at; anyone who dates you will evaluate your sense of irony in realtime; "Disco Stu," as they say, "doesn't advertise."

"saffron-y gay friend": saffron is good, but it's unclear whether you're trying to position yourself as a platonic friend for ladies or an available guy for dudes. Maybe take that out?

"peep the monocle" is similar to that "playskool" bit, and should likewise be removed; excise anything that comes close to AAVE appropriation (even through thick irony).

the "Spend A Lot Of time Thinking About" section: the second half is so good, and kind of haunting by itself; you should stick to just that part.

The Privacy-being-damaging thing in the middle section of the privacy part is likewise that section's strength, and weighed down by the flotsam of the Stig and smile bits; remove those. No need to say you like smiles; your mate will either smile or not as is their wont.

A lot of these details sort of boil down to: stop trying to affect coolness; your profile shows the fact that you are cool and thoughtful, but there's a lot of extra song-and-dance that's getting in the way. The over-eager innocence you worry about in your question is a strength. It's good. You are curious about the world and other people. These are good things! That is what you have going for you! It's a lot! Pare the profile down to that curiosity, minus the Pixar-esque catchphrasing that currently brackets so much of that curiosity in the profile. Think more Joanna Newsom, less Andy Samberg. You're close, here.
posted by Greg Nog at 7:40 PM on August 30, 2015 [1 favorite]

I've known guys who gave off the vibe you're describing ("harmless and milquetoast," "over-eager innocence"). I obviously don't know you, but the guys I did know came across as socially fuzzy, by which I mean indirect, deflecting attention away from what they wanted and felt. It pretty clearly came from a place of insecurity and not feeling attractive themselves, but the effect was to dump all the work of decoding and expressing their own interest onto the other person, which is off-putting, especially romantically. They would defend this strategy by describing themselves as "nice," in opposition to the "arrogant" guys who pursued partners more actively. But it's not arrogant to let the other person know clearly and directly how you feel and what you want - that's the way to establish a connection and make someone else feel wanted. There's a big difference between being sensitive to another person's feelings and obfuscating or apologizing for your own feelings.

Your question also suggests a kind of blurring between how others see you ("thick fog of asexuality that seems to be ascribed to anyone with a disability") and your own feelings ("the very idea of having another person who is sexually attracted to me touch me fills me with anxiety"). My guess is that working on the latter will have a big impact on the former - and it sounds like you are working on it in therapy, which is great. You asked for practical suggestions - here are a couple:
-Physically, literally see yourself as sexy. Look at yourself, in total or in parts, and see how good they are and what pleasure they can give another person. Become a sexual person in your own gaze (not all the time, obviously, but now and then).
-Try to reframe asking someone out as you offering the person something rather than imposing on them or asking them for a favor.
posted by unsub at 7:58 PM on August 30, 2015 [13 favorites]

I just wanted to say that your profile looks really, really good right now. It sounds like you, just like before, but with your awesomeness loud and proud! I especially like your updated self-summary with its genuineness, self-awareness, humor and empowerment -- your last paragraph is especially strong. The vulnerability that comes with being honest + the power of owning who you are = incredibly attractive, yes!

People are now giving you more general personal and dating advice but I wanted to share this link by comedian Santina Muha: Wheelchair Dating Questions You're Too Afraid to Ask. My partner just shared it with me today and I really like her attitude and openness. I recognize there are differences in her and your situations and experiences but it's a great "d'uh!" answer to a surprisingly common about people in wheelchairs and other mobility aids. I also just started watching this video on Sex with Disabilities. Sharing one of these or another video you prefer could be a good icebreaker regarding sex, depending on the timing and situation.
posted by smorgasbord at 8:28 PM on August 30, 2015 [3 favorites]


You have a lot going for you and you shouldn't wait too long to find the right man. However, don't feel compelled to put everything about you out there. You should leave some stuff for your first dates.

Your OK Cupid profile is so wordy that you come across as very insecure. This is reinforced by this AskMeFi post where you're basically threadsitting and giving off the same vibe, as well as appearing to be on the defensive.
posted by Kwadeng at 9:43 PM on August 30, 2015

bone marrow of this this supposedly glorious twentysomething experience
Delete the second "this"

Also, you want to say "loll about the cosmos" unless there's a slangy term "lawl" that I don't know.

(I'm the kind of person who would skip over someone for typos but would have zero issues with a wheelchair, so take that as you will.)

Also, you might want to have a better main photo, one with better lighting to flatter you even more.

I think you're very cute, smart, and fun (and funny), and your pop culture style tells the right person exactly who you are. And exuberant innocence is appealing among pop culture types. FWIW, although I'm not your goal partner in any way, when I was your age, I'd have had a huge crush on you.
posted by The Wrong Kind of Cheese at 9:46 PM on August 30, 2015

I'm a bi woman in my twenties who likes bi guys and wouldn't consider virginity, wheelchairs, or stuttering to be dealbreakers. Virginity is usually pretty easy to deal with, and I'd be interested in hearing more about how CP has deepened your perspective on things. In a field of OKC guys who can start seeming alike after a while, being unusual in some way can be a good thing.

I would however consider it a dealbreaker for a potential date to be insecure/negative about himself and judgy about other people. It is important to me to work on kindness toward myself for my own mental health, and I wouldn't want to deal with dating a person who was mean to himself or mean about other people. Significant self-deprecating, sarcastic, or critical comments in a profile would make me go "nope" - too much risk of that being turned on me in a not-nice way at some point. I mostly agree with this article: The failure mode of clever is “asshole.”. I might not be your target person! But this may be interesting anyway.
posted by mysh at 10:24 PM on August 30, 2015 [4 favorites]

one thing that is a mood killer for me is when guys talk about how they've never dated, or talk about how they don't have a lot of sexual experience or have never been kissed or anything like that (This happens more than you might expect. Or at least it has for me?). Often times it just sounds sad and pathetic and kind of resentful?

Just to follow up on this perspective, which I share:

It isn't that never having dated, not having sexual experience and never having been kissed are sad and pathetic. It's that talking about them before they're relevant comes across as whiny and often, entitled (in a "silenced all my life" kind of way.)
posted by DarlingBri at 11:38 PM on August 30, 2015 [6 favorites]

So, I am also a WC user. Tilt in space, even, with a neck brace. My chair is 400 pounds and it makes people uncomfortable - like it means Something Is Wrong, enough to need a wheelchair that costs as much as a one bedroom condo in Florida.

Being in this wheelchair has brought out good behavior from people around me? When I was in a scooter, that was perceived as optional. But now I get desexualized and totally deintellectualized and just generally infantalized all the time. I know where you're coming from. Have you ever noticed if you go into an encounter expecting somebody to be an ableist, you'll hang back and not give them any reason to see your intelligence and skills, though? You confirm each other's biases. They think you're a mute vegetable in a WC because you don't feel like engaging (fuck them for that; it's really not fair you need to prove your humanity all the time, I know it but it happens) and you think they're an ableist asshole. EVERYBODY WINS. um no wait. the other thing.

Same for sex and other physical affection. Anxiety is a motherfucker that way, almost like "the law of attraction" from all those self help books - clumsily summoning the life you actually don't want. I hear you saying you want to get laid. You want to have a boyf (or girl?) to lay in bed with until noon, discussing feminist critiques of privacy. But it sounds like, in your profile and in life, sex is still something you don't want to do casually. "Friends-first," your profile says. It seems to me like this is a bit at odds with what you've said here - and maybe it's tripping you up.

Of course you know it's ok to save sex just for serious relationships or even just for your forever relationship. If you have that standard I wouldn't expect you to have fucked many (or any!) people at 25. You're effectively saying "I don't like you that way" or "Let's not rush into things" or "Don't try to hook up with me; I'm not like that. I need to be friends first." (Putting it as "knowing how to handle" being friends first makes it seem like a value judgment even more.) That's not so, is what I'm hearing; you'd actually like to get experience. Honestly, I think the answer is to have a lot of sex. It won't seem as fraught after you do - it'll be just another thing you do, that people do, not some feature of adulthood you've been unable to access. You'll become more confident and figure out what you like. Nothing will make you feel more able to pursue partners than regular hookups.

It's still summer! You're young, educated, incredibly sweet and have an amazing face, in NYC. Here's a full sentence: Grindr. Another: Tinder. Have some sweet, safe makeouts with people who appreciate your saffron pun.
posted by sweltering at 2:06 AM on August 31, 2015 [6 favorites]

Because your education may have been desexualized as well (other WC users I know never got any sex ed), I recommend catching up on comprehensive sex ed so you know about safer sex and aren't pressured into risky stuff by somebody more experienced. Read the site up and down. Also, it wouldn't be a bad idea to get the HPV vaccine (Gardisil? I don't know what it's called now) before you have sex - you can likely prevent yourself from getting it. Even if you don't plan to have sex with women, penile, throat and anal cancers are on the rise.

I hesitate to post pictures of myself in my wheelchair because of WC "fanciers." They scrape content from all over the web looking for wheelchairs - there must be some image recognition software. OP may have the same reservations.
posted by sweltering at 2:19 AM on August 31, 2015 [1 favorite]

"Honestly, I think the answer is to have a lot of sex."

Someone else said you should also go on A LOT of dates. Get good at saying "yes," even when you mean "meh," to dates. Get good at asking others to go on dates. The more you do it, the less awkward and scary it will be. Plus you'll learn what you really like about people and what you can do without.

As for sex, not everyone can have casual sex and that's fine. But sex is weird and awkward and gross sometimes and funny and fun and can make you feel amazing about you body and mind. So I think you should at least have some no strings attached sex so that the virginity isnt this thing hanging over your head each time you go on a date.
posted by Brittanie at 8:23 AM on August 31, 2015

What if, for "most private thing I'm willing to admit", you said something totally honest, like:

"I work really hard to accept myself; some days that's a work in progress. The flip side of this coin is that it gives me a desire to be compassionate to others. I experience social anxiety sometimes, and it's ok by me if you do too. I would love to have a deep, intimate, and loving relationship where we are patient and fun and work hard to accept ourselves - and where we work to provide a safe space for each other to feel open and sometimes vulnerable and always loved and desired and understood. Once all the getting-to-know-you stuff is done, and compatibility is established- that's what I'm really looking for. I have joy and depth and acceptance and passion to offer, and I am seeking same."

I mean saying something like that kinda puts cards on the table, and explains not just what you want, but what you offer. On a dating site, I personally would find a statement like that really appealing.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 9:11 AM on August 31, 2015

Just for the record, I think your OKC profile as it currently stands is quite good and I'd be interested in dating you if you lived in my area. I don't think it's too wordy. I, for one, like wordy OKC profiles. You get more information. I meet too many guys on OKC that are taciturn and incapable of carrying on a conversation and seem like they have nothing interesting to say. I've also seen much, much wordier profiles out there.
posted by zeusianfog at 7:25 PM on August 31, 2015

oh, also want to add that the insecurity doesn't bother me in the slightest, as I am also v. insecure and it makes me feel like I can relate and that you'd be able to relate as well. Though of course the perennial dating advice is that "confidence is always sexy," which since it's so frequently given must have some truth to it but confidence lives in the same HOA as arrogance, which is the biggest possible turn-off for me. Also, you misspelled Janelle Monae.
posted by zeusianfog at 7:31 PM on August 31, 2015

Re: what to say and do to pique someone's romantic and sexual interest, rather than just being seen as harmless and milquetoast.

This question seems familiar in a way that a lot of young guys ask this about women- as if there is a universal answer that works on all of us. That's the mistake many make~
For everyone it will be something different, so really- you just got to act interested and find out- and have enough of your own stuff to talk about and see how it goes. Stop thinking about "what works" and find out first if you even really want it to work.
posted by TenaciousB at 9:42 PM on August 31, 2015

« Older What kind of candy am I stealing?   |   How can I speak to a knowledgable person at... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.